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  #21  
Old 03-14-2011, 04:25 PM
UniquityBelgians UniquityBelgians is offline
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Alot of these questions, in my opinion, aren't just about the dogs themselves, but for the breed as a whole. When we're breeding, we have to accept the fact that we are ALWAYS putting our dogs at considerable risk no matter what we do. You have to ask these questions: Is breeding a nearly perfect bitch so many times going to help the breed? Or is it just a mediocre bitch who really won't contribute anything better in the next litter than the last? Is this a rare breed trying to gain recognition and needing a wider gene pool, perhaps warranting that many litters per year? Does your breed suffer from any health problems that tend to pop up in the earlier years, making it a wise choice to breed older females/males?

1. Breed a bitch up to 5 times
I see this happen fairly often. I think it really depends on the bitch involved, and if she's really doing the breed a favour by having so many litters. I'll be breeding Visa for her 5th (and last) time this year. Her breeder had a singleton litter from her, then I had a litter of two pups, another litter of two, and a litter of four. So in breeding her four times, I have as many pups as I could get from a one big litter (it ain't much!) She has so much to contribute to the breed, that yes I'll breed her once more. She has many features that are incredibly difficult to find in a Belgian these days, and her lines are very old and considerably rare; With the small gene pool we have, I feel it's for the best of the breed to keep these lines going, and therefore breed her once more.

2. Breed 5-6 litters in some years
The main word here being *some.* I can see in the odd 10 or 15 years, having that many litters for some important reason (a line ending, some amazing stud dog getting neutered, or maybe you're moving or taking some big job and so breeding won't be possible for several years). In most cases that I see this (reputable ones) some of the dogs live with co-owners, so it isn't really the breeder that is having several litters at a time. The breeders who I know that *regularily* have this many litters per year are no good, and the dogs they produce are no good.

3. Breed back to back heats (not all time time, usually just 2 litters on back to back heats, I've never seen 3)
This will be my 3rd back to back breeding with Visa. She has some fertility issues, likely caused by a severe fever as a pup. The repro vet recommended back to back heats only for her, after I had issues with my first breeding with her (her second one). Do I enjoy it? Hell no. I HATE having puppies 8 months apart. Visa has never had issues recooperating, bounces back right away, and the day after having them you'd never even know she had them by looking at her.
Studies now show that it's actually better for the bitch to be bred on back to back heats. doesn't mean I plan on doing it in the future. I hope Visa is the only "special" one that requires it. If I could have one litter every two or three years I'd be happier.

4. Breed 7-8 yr old bitches
Depends on the dog, and the breed. Visa will be 8.5 for her next litter. She's in prime condition, acts like a two year old, moves like a two year old. Other than parvo as a pup she hasn't had a sick day in her life. I've never had such an athletic dog. People that meet her expect her to look old, and always remark at how young she seems. I think she's going to be one of those ugly emaciated 17 year old dogs before she dies.
In my opinion, while this isn't ideal for most (and I am not always going to take my own advice), I think the most beneficial thing for every breed would be to wait until females are older, and males are old or dead (use frozen semen) before breeding. In a perfect world. How many dogs are getting epilepsy at age 4, and dying of cancer at age 6, etc? Don't their breeders sit back and think "wow I wish I would have know that before breeding her twice. Now I have some epileptic pups, epi carriers, and some will probably die of cancer eventually." Visa was 6.5 when she had my first litter from her. I bred her to the frozen semen of a male who died at 14. I knew that Visa didn't have epilepsy, was still healthy at 6. I knew how long the male lived, what he died of, what he'd produced. My last litter, and my upcoming litter, are out of a male that is over ten years old. Again, I know his health status, and I know what he's produced. Visa will be 8.5, I'll know her even better than before, and I'll have an even better idea of what SHE has produced. It's purely ingenious to know your dogs as much as possible before breeding them. Therefore, breed them older! It's not as easy on the bitch, but it sure ain't easy on the breed when you're accidentally breeding dogs who'll get epilepsy two years from now (especially since their siblings in breeding homes, still get bred). And when you'e breeding, with the risks you already take, it isn't just about your bitch. Your bitch can get a c-section and be a-ok. It's about the breed. Selfish as that sounds, every breeder takes phenominal risks when they breed, and so they have to accept the fact that bettering the breed is just as important (if not more important) than their own dogs. Otherwise they wouldnt take that risk. It's the bigger picture.
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  #22  
Old 03-14-2011, 05:39 PM
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What is your breed?
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  #23  
Old 03-14-2011, 06:47 PM
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Copying and pasting

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Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir View Post
For you, what is considered acceptable breeding practice and good breeding practice?

I've recently noticed some breeders or what a lot of people consider to be good to great dogs do several things.

1. Breed a bitch up to 5 times
2. Breed 5-6 litters in some years
3. Breed back to back heats (not all time time, usually just 2 litters on back to back heats, I've never seen 3)
4. Breed 7-8 yr old bitches

Are these practices considered to be acceptable by your standards on breeders that you think are reputable/good?

If not, what are your accepted limits for the 4 items points shown above?
Trent's breeder has done all of that with the exception of #4, but the breeder of his dam in Germany is still breeding her bitch at 8 years old, I believe (Trent's granddam). Beautiful bitch, produces great dogs, very athletic and both physically and mentally fit. Better looking than 3 year old dogs I know. They aren't in it for the profit or out of laziness because they breed very occasionally, and then it is only to top stud dogs. Additionally, on the breed specific board I am a part of, a highly regarded breeder has bred a bitch 4 to 5 times (in a span of 4 to 5 years) and has argued for back to back breedings as being a healthier option for the bitch in many cases. And this is a breeder whose dogs, as the board jokes, seem to be owned by almost every long time member and moderator.

I would have no problem with a breeder who did this, and would not discount all breeders for any of the practices listed. Obviously I don't think the average 8 year old bitch should still be bred, but I know an 8 year old dog can still be in excellent condition and fit for breeding. It is always a case by case scenario for me.

5-6 litters again, I am okay with. I am more concerned with the quality of the dogs being bred/produced, and, as someone who cannot look at a pedigree and tell you what you'll get, the breeder's intentions behind each breeding. 5 litters a year from Trent's breeder wouldn't surprise me - I keep regular tabs on his website. However, in the 2-3 years I have watched the website, not once have I noticed a litter where the puppies had not all been sold before 2 months of age (where litters of 6 are the norm, and litters of 11 aren't unheard of). These dogs go to working, sport, breeding, and pet homes and there is, evidently, a high demand for them. Family members (all involved with working, breeding, and training dogs) and hired employees help raise the puppies in the breeder's home, and I was completely comfortable getting a puppy from them knowing that.

I don't have a specified list of what is and isn't acceptable. What makes a good breeder for me is not going to be what makes a good breeder for someone else, so I try to keep things in perspective. I want certain things in a dog, and others will have different criterion, and maybe I'll end up seeing things their way. Right now, I know what I want and that is what I will base my search off of. But a lot of it ends up being about how I feel about a very specific breeding program, rather than one aspect of all programs (number of litters, number of back to back breedings, etc.). Situations vary so greatly it's always near impossible for me to assign strict, hard rules, a mental checklist to go over every time I speak to a breeder.

I look at everything in context. I may find one breeder okay, and then turn and walk away if I find out they are breeding their 7 year old bitch. I then may talk to another breeder, find that they just bred an 8 year old bitch and that she has been bred every year for the last 4 years and be completely okay with it and put down a deposit for a pup. For some breeders I would not be able to fathom why they breed 3 litters a year and have no wish to get a puppy from them. With others, I know they breed 5-8 litters a year and would feel privileged to meet their approval and get a pup from the kennel. For me, it becomes about perspective and context, looking at the big picture. No specific list on my part.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:02 PM
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I think we try to make it too black and white. It all really just depends on the dog in question and the breeder's goals. The only way I'll find someone I 100% agree with is likely if I do the breeding myself. I agree a lot with what other people have said. It all just depends.
Just wanted to say that this is something I can 100% agree with

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Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
Rarely, if ever, should a dog or a bitch be over bred.
What is "over bred" in your terms, may I ask? How do you define that for a breed? I know it can be very obvious with puppy mill situations, but I've always wondered about the term outside of that context.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
Few breeds "need" that many puppies in any given year.
Here, are you talking about numbers of litters a breeder has/number of puppies produced, or a single bitch being over bred? One of the breeders I talked about earlier bred 4-5 litters from their bitch, but over a course of 5 years or so, and she was their only breeding bitch during those years.

Quote:
Originally Posted by AdrianneIsabel View Post
I think when you're breeding 5 litters a year you're by passing a hobby/passion breeding status. Where do you have the time to work and title your stock when you breed 6 times a year? I've worked for a gal who did this and yes, her stock was titled but they also lived in kennel runs only to be show and bred. Gee, what a glorious life that must be.
My dog's breeder has 5 or more litters a year. His wife and two children work with him raising and socializing these puppies, as does the employees of the boarding kennel/supply store/training facility they run. He and his daughter are both certified DVG judges and train, work, and title many dogs of their own stock, and these are dogs that live with them in their homes.

Some of their breeding bitches also live with members of their Schutzhund Club as an "only dog" or with one or two other dogs, and these dogs are not in kennels and are instead family companion and Schutzhund dogs that go back to the breeder to be bred once they are titled, health tested, and determined "worthy" of being bred by the breeder.

Of course, the situation you talked about is all too common and I absolutely agree with you on that aspect. Just wanted to give an example of a breeder whose program I am quite happy with, regardless of the number of litters he breeds.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:50 PM
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I guess I could ask why breed that many times a year?

There will always be examples made as exceptions to opinions, which I totally respect and believe valid, but the vast majority of over breeding is monetarily based and makes me uneasy.

Reason I feel against "over breeding" any dogs (no, I have no mathematical ideal unfortunately) is not honestly the humanity pressed upon the dog itself but rather the lack of available suitable homes for this over breeding.

Should my dogs pass their breeding exams and health tests we may consider breeding but I'm already sweating bullets at that idea and the concern of finding appropriate homes for all the little land sharks.

Pet breeding must be much easier but then again the world is filled with wonderful pets dying daily for lack of a home.

I think a lot of my concern with breeding with such frequency, titled or not, is there is such a small market for truly appropriate working dog homes and the vast market for pet homes could just as easily be shared with the rescue dogs of the world.

There has to be a happy median and breeding is not an evil doing (when responsible) but I do believe that many breeders (even those with excellent dogs) breed more puppies than needed in society today.
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Old 03-14-2011, 07:52 PM
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I must add though it is always a relief when a breeder demands of his bitch the same he does of a dog as far as titles are concerned. Far to many settle for a broad bitch as females are harder to title in sport (and some breeds in show).
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Old 03-14-2011, 08:16 PM
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Thanks, AdrianneIsabel. Wasn't trying to tell you that you were wrong or right just wanted to hear your thoughts

The breeder I am talking about does require all dogs be titled and health tested before being bred, not just the males. Taking a look at the older dogs on his website (as opposed to the 2-3 year olds) there is a very nice distribution of SchH/IPO/VPG 3's, 2's, and 1's among his females. Most of his breeding bitches retire with a 3 or 2, and a couple of his current ones live with another family and only go back to him to be bred. I do like to see that, because while these females do not live with him, they live as family dogs, proving to be good companions, and still train in Schutzhund with him, his daughter, and their club so the breeder can evaluate their ability as working/sport dogs.

As far as demand goes, even I find it uncommon, but this particular breeder, in the last 2-3 years I have been watching his website, has always sold all puppies in a litter before they hit 8 weeks old. No online or newspaper advertising needed, he has been breeding for almost 40 years, he and his daughter are DVG Judges, his son a certified level 3 helper, and they run a boarding kennel, supply store, and training facility. Perhaps that is how word gets out? Either way, I have seen them have litters of up to 11 puppies and all puppies were sold before they were 8 weeks old. In a single litter, there are often puppies that go to working homes, protection sport homes, performance homes, and pet homes.

I think for a breeder who is heavily involved in the working and sport world, with family also equally involved, (and for almost 40 years!) the demand becomes higher. It also makes it easier when the same dog that would do okay as a police dog could also be a beginner's Schutzhund sport dog, or just a good, active family pet.

Of course, I do agree that there are more dogs being bred than needed in society today, but at this point I think that if we ONLY bred the amount needed in society today, 90% of the population would no longer have pets, and the number of sport and performance dogs would decrease drastically.
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Old 03-15-2011, 12:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michiyo-Fir View Post
1. Breed a bitch up to 5 times
2. Breed 5-6 litters in some years
3. Breed back to back heats (not all time time, usually just 2 litters on back to back heats, I've never seen 3)
4. Breed 7-8 yr old bitches

Are these practices considered to be acceptable by your standards on breeders that you think are reputable/good?

If not, what are your accepted limits for the 4 items points shown above?
1. No, I don't think any bitch is *that* special. If she's having smaller litters than the breed's average, perhaps you should consider that's a problem you're passing on by continuing to breed her. I just feel if you can't get what you want out of one or two litters from the same bitch, move on. I've personally never bred a bitch more than twice.

2. Again, no. Some years, any years - to me, it's too many puppies to do right by when raising them, too many puppy owners to reasonably support well and it's breeders like this whose dogs we always see in rescue. They breed too much to be able to take the ones back that can't be kept for whatever reason.

3. I've seen some information saying it is good for the bitch's uterus to breed back to back. Ok, well, what about the bitch herself??? I care a little more about my bitches than I do their uteruses. In my breed, my dogs come in season like clockwork every 6 months. For me to breed back to back, a bitch's first litter would just be 4 months old and frankly, at 4 months old I have no idea what they are going to be and what I've even done yet so imo, breeding back to back would be an irresponsible and stupid thing to do.

4. In my breed, they are considered seniors at 7, so it's too old for my breed. In other breeds, I would find this practice acceptable.
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  #29  
Old 03-15-2011, 02:45 AM
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^Good post.

E, sounds like this breeder has his game together, I hope all those homes are lasting homes but it also sounds like he'd be the guy who'd take back puppies that didn't suit their new home should the need arise.
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Old 03-15-2011, 03:59 AM
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How someone can say i'm going to breed this bitch 2-3 times and then she'll be done? What if your first litter sucks? going to breed her again? what if it was the male? what if it was her?

what if she has a tough delievery? what if she has a lot of trouble raising the pups? Still going to breed?

what if the puppies are phenomenal? what if the traits are so perfect and so consistent are you going to stop at one or two breedings?What if she's 8 and acts 2, can run circles around most dogs half her age and has never had issue being pregnant or giving birth? Not going to breed because you have some number in your head?
If Riley and Travis produce a crappy litter by some chance I will not use them together again. I will use Riley with the stud I have chosen. If by some one in a million chance that litter is cr@ppy, Riley will be spayed.

If she has a tough delivery and has trouble raising the pups, I would spay.

If the puppies are phenomenal I will breed her a maximum of three times. She is my pet and her quality of life if far more important to me then pumping out puppies.

I will not breed her older then 5 because I want her to have fun in life, I want her to enjoy herself and not be bound to having puppies as an older dog. That is MY choice and I will stick to it. If others want to breed older dogs I have no issue with it. Riley's sire is 16 this year. Riley's mother is 6.
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