To Breed Or Not To Breed...

Discussion in 'Dog Breeds' started by elissa, Jun 7, 2014.

  1. elissa Well-Known Member

    The vet here has said it's good for bitches to have at least one litter... Is that true? I've found conflicting reports online, either written from a breeder perspective or from a too many unwanted puppies already perspective... But I really want to kow what's best for Chewie's health.

    I want to have her spayed, but I don't know if I should let her have a litter first? I want a playmate for her anyway, so keeping one of her pups would be a reality and she's so cute I doubt finding a good home for her others would be that difficult... That said, I am also well up for adopting from a shelter.

    What do you guys think? Any advice on what's best for her health?

    To breed or not to breed, that is the question!
    running_dog likes this.

  2. southerngirl Honored Member

    No, no and no. A dog does not need to have a litter. Plus go to the shelters and you can see a ton of perfectly healthy dogs and yes even puppies being put to sleep. I'm am against breeding Especially Mutts, unless you are breeding a purebred dog and you do all the health checks to make sure your improving the breed. There are mutts all over the place being killed every day. Even one of your puppies could end up in the pound being put to sleep.
    My dog Piper was spayed and Never had a litter and is perfectly healthy.
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  3. running_dog Honored Member

    It's a good question and I'm glad you have asked it. The short answer is like Southerngirl that I would say DON'T breed from your dog.

    The longer answer is that unlike Southerngirl I'm not against breeding from mutts in every case. I believe that sometimes a carefully bred mutt is better than a pedigree. Working bred lurchers are mutts that are bred for a specific purpose and as long as they are bred responsibly from dogs that are proven in the field I don't have a problem with that, the fact that too many are bred does not say that breeding them is wrong simply that breeding too many is wrong, just like breeding too many pedigree staffies and pedigree pits is wrong. Many working border collies and terriers don't have pedigrees as we know it but they have a working track record that often stretches back for many generations. Owing to the lack of focus on working aspects of breeds in our modern pedigree beauty contests it is often not possible to find either a pedigree dog nor a rescue with the working credentials

    I considered breeding seriously, very very seriously with Zac, he would have been bred to a useful working lurcher similar to himself (the same one he had a crush on a little while ago). I know the owner well and the pups would have been homed as working lurchers, I would have hoped to keep one myself. I could not however reconcile bringing more pups into the world with the fact that there is a dog called Jed in the local dogs home who has been there for the last 8 years. Every one of those pups that found a good home would cheat Jed of one more chance of finding his forever home. In the same way even if Chewie's pups are really cute and find homes without problems they are cheating other dogs that need homes of that opportunity. Not to mention that I would never know for sure that the dogs had good homes forever and much worse than the thought of them being put down is the thought they could end up unloved, starved and abused.

    As far as Chewie's health is concerned I don't have a problem with spaying a mature female. There are sometimes problems when a female puppy is spayed before she is fully mature (a lot of rescues do this and I don't like it though I can see why they do), but as long as she is full grown she really doesn't need to have a litter. If you are sure you want to breed from her do something first... Go for a walk round your local kill shelter, have a look at the puppies, have a look at the dogs on death row. Go to your non-kill shelter too and look at the lifers like Jed. Look them in the eye and tell them you think breeding another litter of puppies is a good idea.
  4. southerngirl Honored Member

    Thinking of it this way yes, I agree with this. I didn't think of how some dogs are cross bred for working reasons. I was thinking about people who are like "oh my dog would have cute puppies. or my kid should experience the miracle or life" reasons such as that to why they breed a mutt.
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  5. elissa Well-Known Member

    That's a bit harsh... If it weren't for people breeding their mutts, I wouldn't have Chewie in the first place... And I wouldn't be without her. It sounds a little nazi to say only pure bred dogs should be bred!

    Again, quite harsh! I realise that there are puppies being put to sleep in shelters, but I live in a country where they don't really have animal shelters, so that isn't something I can do much about. In a perfect world I would live on a massive free-holding and have a bottomless supply of money and I'd save them all. Like I said in my OP, I'm more than happy to adopt.

    However, my question wasn't an ethical one about the morality of breeding, it was from a health perspective as the vets here are adamant that having a litter is better for a bitch than not and I can't find any unbaised perspectives on it online.
    Ripleygirl likes this.
  6. elissa Well-Known Member

    Again, though... If adoption is an option for me, then that's a route I'd use. However I live in Italy at the moment and they don't really do animal shelters. Dogs are bred and puppies get given to people. I don't necessarily agree with it, but it makes adoption a bit tricky. I've been told by friends already there, Spain is similar, so it could be that adoption from a shelter is not an option for me. I just don't know yet.

    From a health point of view, I've read conflicting reports about dog breast cancer that say allowing a bitch to have a litter before she's spayed decreases the chances she'll get it in later life, and others that say it increases the chances of other cancers. Like I said, I'm looking at this from a what will be best for Chewie's health perspective, not an awww I want her to have cute puppies perspective, so a walk around a shelter wouldn't really affect my decision.

    Plus they don't have kill or non-kill centres where I live... They're just not something the continent does very well, I'm afraid. Unwanted dogs are mostly left on the streets to fend for themselves :( And as much as I'd love to, I'm not going to risk taking a dog off the street and bringing it home in case it attacked Chewie!
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  7. elissa Well-Known Member

    Sorry, I don't mean to sound ungrateful for the replies, I'm just asking from a health point of view, not to be guilt-tripped about shelter dogs. I really just want to know what's best for Chewie's health.
    running_dog likes this.
  8. southerngirl Honored Member

    Two of my dogs are mutts. One was from an accidental litter, the other was found at a park. My youngest one may be a mutt who I found roaming the neighborhood. And it doesn't sound Nazi what I'm saying is there are Already mutts all over the place. Accidental litters happen every day, street dogs breed too there is no need to breed mutts on purpose to get them. Once again my three dogs who a adore and love are mutts.

    I took Missy off the streets and brought her into my house where I had another dog. I don't feel that I was putting Chase in danger at all. I also kept my newest dog Piper from the streets. Once again I slowly introduced her to my other dogs an monitored them together. I could tell by her body language that she loved other dogsl


    I told you at the end of my post that I had my dog Piper spayed and she is perfectly healthy. I've also had other dogs who were fixed and never had breast cancer. I've heard about the one litter can prevent it and I've found. My dog Missy had two litters that were an accident, as much as I loved those puppies for Missy's well being I wished she never had them. After her first litter was born she was under weight dispiet being feed a lot of puppy food. It took about two years to get her weight back to normal. She had runny poop, messy for the first few weeks, her poor stomach was really torn up. And in a way it stole her... I guess you would call it youthfulness. After having puppies she no longer well seemed to have that I don't know how to describe it, but say she went from being a young goofy overly hyper dog to being middle age.
    My friends dog's mom has bladder problems after having puppies.



    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2 2109&aid=926
    http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?c=2 2087&aid=460

    I am sorry for coming off as harsh, but I've seen dogs in shelters that were so sweet and healthy be labeled as being put to sleep the next day. I've heard of newborn puppies being put to sleep. I've seen people at my local grocery store with sighns saying "Free puppies" or "puppies for sale" who knows who they'll end up with. And my own two dogs that I found on the streets who knows they could have been put to sleep or ended up with the wrong people if I had not have found them. I should have also provided more information for your original question.
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  9. southerngirl Honored Member

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  10. elissa Well-Known Member

    It does sound nazi to say that you are against breeding "unless you are breeding a purebred dog" though! :confused:

    I would never, ever, bring a feral street dog in to my home and risk Chewie. She is very small and incapable of defending herself against a dog who would have experience living feral and without knowing the history, I would never truly trust a street dog alone with her. I'm glad it worked out for you, but it's not something I would personally ever do.

    I'm not disagreeing that there are unwanted puppies out there; that won't however effect my decision regarding Chewie as I live in countries where shelters as you know them do not exist. Nor would I ever give a puppy to somebody who wasn't known to me or somebody close to me or before checking that it was a good environment for a dog. But this is not what I started the thread for... I wanted to know if anybody had any medical knowledge about the issue, not more of the same 'adoption only' mantra and I feel it has been derailed slightly. I posted here because that's all I could find when I researched it online and I don't think biased views on either side are a good way to make an informed choice about what's best for the health of my dog.

    Thank you for the information you linked to :) I'd already seen that site and I kinda feel it's biased towards the 'no breeding' side and I was really hoping for something more balanced.... But I understand this is a very emotive subject and people tend to sit very firmly on one side of the fence! O_o
    Ripleygirl likes this.
  11. elissa Well-Known Member



    Awwww, che bello! He's a sweetheart! Palermo is in Sicily,so not too far away from me, but I can't get another dog until I'm in Spain now as I'm moving in less than 3 weeks and I wouldn't have time to get his passport sorted out :(

    I know of this site through a friend who works with strays here, it's the closest thing to a shelter Italy does and it's basically just facebook for strays! I'm hoping Spain will be a bit better!

    As I said though, this isn't about getting a playmate for Chewie, it's about whether or not a litter would be better for her before I have her spayed. I only mentioned the playmate part as if I did breed her, I would most certainly keep at least one of her pups myself! :D
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  12. southerngirl Honored Member

    The Nazi's tried to destroy an entire race. I'm not saying get rid of mutts I love mutts, and will always have one. I'm just saying that there are a heck load of mutts that whether we breed them or not they aren't going anywhere because strays breed, there are accidental litters. There will always be mutts out there. And I'm not saying hey you have a purebred dog go breed it, no. As I said above I said that the dog should be registered the breeder should have the dog health tested and so on. I really wish there was someone to keep just anyone from breeding, because there are also purebred dogs in shelters.
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  13. southerngirl Honored Member

  14. 648117 Honored Member

    I don't think it is a good idea to breed Chewie. Where I live (NZ) most people spay there dogs at 6 months, I know very few pet dogs that have not been spayed (the only one I can think of is a male labX and Skye was a relatively late spay because her owners could not afford it and were on the city council waiting list to get it done for free, she was done at aound 18 months).

    Getting your dog speyed is pretty much a given for most here (unless definite breeding plans are already made - that mostly includes working dogs, pedigree dogs, puppy farmers and back-yard-breeders), when Holly was doing her puppy obedience nearly the entire class had to have the same week off because they had all reached 6 months and were all getting speyed/neutered that week.
    We have to pay registration for our dogs every year and you get a discount if your dog is speyed/neutered. So speying/neutering is big here.

    Considering that most dogs here do get speyed (and most at 6 months, well before they could/should have a litter) if there was a significant health risk I would think it would become fairly apparent. I don't think there is a higher incidence of any cancers etc in NZ compared to countries that don't have such a large "spey/neuter culture" (other than perhaps skin cancer due to the hole in the ozone layer :unsure:). There is also relatively few dogs in rescue here, there is a much greater problem with cats.

    I don't think having a litter is really protective against health issue, and even it were very slightly (I don't believe it is, I think having one litter is an old wives tale), I don't think it would be worth it concidering all the thinks that could go wrong during a pregnancy/birth/the future of the pups.


    Some more personal/selfish reasons:
    The things that really put me off ever breeding any female dog that I will ever own (mutt, pedigree or any dog) is the potential complications that could happen with a pregnancy. For example, I would not want to risk Holly's health and life just to have puppy's, she is sooooo much more special to me than any litter of puppies that do not exist.I also would be worried about how having a litter could effect her personality, she is my baby. My baby can't have babies.
    Dogs can and do die during pregnancy/birth. Sometimes they have complications that require surgery. A c-section is pretty traumatic and could kill the dog, cause an infection, could cause incontinence issues in later life. Sometimes all or some of the puppies are born dead (I believe it's pretty common to have at least one dead puppy in a litter). There is more to breeding dogs than it sometimes seems, especially if any complications occur.

    An additional reason that I would not breed Holly is I know nothing about her parents. This worries me about all of our dogs actually, I don't know what their parents health is like: are they even still alive? do they have all their teeth? should I expect any of my dogs to go deaf when they are 5 years old or develope cataracts?
    When we were looking at getting an adult dog, before we met Lewis, we visited a 4 year old shi-tzu X (orginally from a petshop) that needed a new home, he was a very nice dog. His owners had said they had been contacted by some puppy farmers who were willing to fly him to them etc at their expence.
    His owners wanted him to go to a family so they got him neutered before trying to re-home him again. The bit that shocked me was that this 4yo dog had bearly any teeth left! He had just been at the vet/dentist getting another tooth removed. He was only 4, he had a good home but most of his teeth were gone and yet if he had gone to one of those puppy farms who knows how many puppies he could have passed his truely awful teeth to?
    So, although Holly (and Chewie) has perfect health at the moment, we don't know what their parents health was like. And when you select the male dog to mate with you have just multiplied the problem (especially if you use another mutt). It also means that you don't know what sort of recessive disoreders are going to show up in the offspring when you double up on genes in the offspring because you don't know what is lurking in your dogs ancestry. If you get unlucky the puppies could be born with so many awful things wrong with them. You would be blindly playing with genetics.

    I would also worry about where the puppies ended up. I think I would have a very dificult time selecting homes that are good enough. And would worry about the puppies forever.


    Anyway, that's my personal opinion :D
    I hope it hasn't scared anyone too badly. I just know that aside from the moral dilemma of adding more puppies to the world when there are so many without a home, there a lot of reasons that I will never breed any female dog that I own. I would rather let somebody else accept the risk if they choose to and just buy/adopt a dog/puppy.
  15. running_dog Honored Member

    I think that if you read Southerngirl's response to my post you will see that she had not at that time fully thought through that there are times when mutts can be bred for good reasons. Our opinions are not because we wish harm or genocide on any creature but rather that we want to reduce the suffering that we see in the world.
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  16. running_dog Honored Member


    You are right that I am not familiar with the lack of rescues in Spain and Italy, nor the street dogs, somehow to me these factors make the situation regarding breeding pups worse not better, but that is my gut reaction not a rational thought process. All I will add from and adoption point of view is that you already had one puppy offered to you, I'm sure that if you let people know in Spain that you are looking for a pup you will have the option to adopt one if the idea of bringing one in off the street worries you so much - and I know it is a worry when you have a smaller dog and you feel how vulnerable they can be.

    There was a thread regarding health problems and spay/neuter which I have linked to here, as you will see different people came to different conclusions.

    Now regarding Chewie's health specifically, I am bowing out of this discussion now because I don't feel I can discuss breeding just from the perspective of one dog's health when I feel that it impacts on the health and quality of life of about 6 other dogs (12 if you keep a girl puppy and end up deciding to breed again).

    I wish you well in your quest for the right answers and I know we will all rally round and support you whatever your decision.
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  17. Ripleygirl Experienced Member

    I afraid I have to agree with the above on the spaying aspect - I think that the health aspect is diminished by the further factor of the future increase of unwanted dogs in the world if everyone did not spay/neuter for this reason. I do agree there are very conflicting reviews regarding the health aspect and that there are conflicting views healthwise between spaying females and neutering males but I think I would still spay rather than risk more unwanted dogs out there. Unfortunately the hardline is that dogs will get ill within our lifetime whether or not they are spayed. Their life is shorter than ours and all we can do is love and care for them as much as they do for us for as long as we have them for and then when it is their time the best thing we can give back to them for all their love and affection and loyalty that they gave to us is to have them put to sleep to put them out of illness and pain rather than keeping them holding on longer than they should be to hold onto them for us. Very harsh and heartbreaking and difficult to get over when it is time though.
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  18. ellieh Active Member

    From a training/behaviour point of view i would say no do not breed from her, but certainly allow her to have at least one season. Too many females are spayed too early and too many males are castrated far too early. Lots of vets around here do discounts for 16 week old spaying/castrating which in my 'training eyes' is criminal.
    They need their hormone spurges for confidence and to learn how to interact properly with both their own species and others.
    I do not however agree with walking females in season, i have know too many males who have always had good recalls to suddenly get a scent and dash off, too many that i know have been killed - found on dual carriage ways etc. It is (in my eyes) irresponsible to walk a female in season. Even on a lead, she will of course be fine but local entire males could be fighting over her scent and as i said above running off to find her.

    Breeding from her will not help her in any way, she is no 'better' as a dog, positive experiences and gentle socializing is what creates a well balanced dog, having a litter or not will not change that.


    From a rescue point of view which is something i am heavily involved in I again would say no, do not breed from her. Even if the vet says it will help her health, she isn't unhealthy now. She isn't suffering in any way and to be honest breeding from her, creating more lives even if fantastic homes are found for all the puppies, those fantastic homes could have gone to desperate pound/rescue/homeless dogs who need it most.
    These homes are now taken, so for every puppy bred there is one less home, which is one less space in rescue, which is one more dog dead in a pound.

    So to sum up in my opinion, as long as she has had at least one or two seasons, i would get her spayed.
    Hope this helps x
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  19. elissa Well-Known Member

    I really regret posting this thread... I feel like I'm being bashed over the head with the 'puppies in pounds' mantra and that is not what I started the thread for... I was asking simply fro a health point of view.

    For the last time, I'm aware that in the UK and the USA there are lots of dogs in pounds. I do not live in these countries; where I live they do not have rescue shelters, my dog having puppies would not have any effect on the puppies in the pounds in other countries so please stop guilt-tripping me about the unwanted dogs in countries I don't live in and can't do anything about!!! I don't want Chewie to have a litter because I want her to have cute puppies... I was asking because the vets in Italy believe it is better for the dog to have a litter before being spayed and I wanted UN-BIASED health information about that because it's not something I had heard of before.

    Checking out of this thread now, because I'm tried of being beaten over the head with the ghosts of dead puppies that my hypothetical question has killed.
  20. Anneke Honored Member

    Healthwise, if a female dog has had puppies, they say it reduses the chance to uterus cancer and cancer of the mammar glands at an older age.
    BUT having said that, when spayed the uterus is removed, so that takes away the chance to cancer completely, leaving mamary glands. Well I know of at least two dogs, who have had pups( several litters with a very responsabe breeder) and who have cancer to the mamary glands.
    So there are no guarantees. Some dogs have a bigger risk to cancer than others, that is genetic.
    I personally think spaying should not be done before the first heatcycle. The hormones produced by this are important to growing up. With male dogs I would wait untill they at least a year old.
    I don't know where you live, I am in the Netherlands. We have shelters, all no kill. But the dogculture is a lot different from the US. There are hardly any strays here(there are, don't get me wrong! just not such a large scale as in america) So our breedingmentality is different too.
    Yes I think there are too many puppies in the world already. But even when you breed a "breed" there is no guarantee, that dog won't end up in a shelter. There will always be people who get a dog on a whim and realise that it is too much work.
    If you do breed your dog, have her tested on most common heridatary defects, HD, ED, eyes. And choose the sire wisely. (I'm sure you will)
    But healthwise there is no reason to have a litter. Your dog won't be heathier or less healthy.
    If anything there is an extra risk in having puppy's, as all sorts of things can go wrong during pregancy and delivery.

    On the subject of spaying... though lots of dog do get spayed an neutred here, the reasons for this is very different. Females get spayed because the owner doesn't like the messy heatcycle and having to be carefull about where you go with your dog in heat( no free running in the dogpark, no competions) and for males it is mostly because they calm down9 not so much territoial marking/sniffing, not going nuts when the neighbours dog is in heat, and behaviour(less dominant)
    There also are a lot of people who don't have their dog spayed/neutred. Only on medical indication. They believe you shouldn't cut into a healthy dog.
    My Jinx is 4 years old and still in tact. I have been in doubt for a few years now on having it done or not. But I always seem to find an excuse not to do it. There is minimal risk of her being "sexually attacked" I live in a small town and there is an on-leash policy within citylimits. I choose the places she can be off leash very carefully. And they are never outside unattended, simply because I have no yard.
    Cooper, my male, is neutred, but that was done when he was 2 years old and it was for behavioural problems(which didn't get any less, by the way)

    So don't feel attacked by the comments above. All of us have te best in mind. It is just a matter of where you live, that causes gaps in mentality and opinion. Like I said, the straydog/shelterdog problem is MUCH bigger there, so naturally the people who really care about the wellbeing of dogs will be more passionate about the whole thing. ;)
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