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Responsible Breeders devote a great deal of time learning as much as they can about such things as their breed, other breed specimens, health, behavior, training and AKC rules.

They study their breed standard, and attend dog events. Looking at lots of dogs of your favorite breed and studying the pedigrees of those you like can help you learn about different lines of dogs. If you want a dog that will excel in obedience competition, you will want to find a line producing the attributes that contribute to that ability.

Responsible breeders know their dogs well. Every dog is the best dog in the world to its owner, but responsible breeders are able to step back from their love for their dogs and honestly evaluate the good and bad points. Breeding is a LOT of work. Good breeders know that if they are going to exert all that effort, the result must be a better dog. To reach that goal, they need to recognize their dogs flaws, and hopefully find a mate that can eliminate them.

Test your dog against others- If you want to breed a better specimen of the breed, enter dog shows. If you want to produce a great obedience dog, enter obedience trials. If you want a great hunter, enter field tests and trials. If your dog is a success in these events, you may be able to make a contribution to your dog's breed and to the world of purebred dogs.

Good puppies start long before the breeding ever takes place. Both parents need long term care- or conditioning-to produce the best offspring. This means regular veterinary care, screening for genetic problems, both general (eye problems and hip dysphasia) and those specific to your breed, pre-breeding tests and of course exercise and good nutrition.

Your dog also must be in good mental health. A dog that is stressed out can experience fertility problems. Many reputable breeders claim that the females temperament affects the puppies-good puppies only come from good mothers.

A responsible breeder is more than just a breeder. They are a nursemaid, nutritionist, nursery school teacher, child psychologist and of course, pooper scooper. During the first couple weeks the mother normally takes care of the puppies needs, but you always have to be prepared for unusual situations such as the mother that has no milk or an orphaned litter. Even when the mother is a good mother, you must provide a safe, warm (sometimes 90 degrees) dry place for the puppies. Once the puppies begin to be weaned, they become more work. All the normal cleanup, feeding, grooming, training, vet care, and play time you have put in for your dog must be multiplied by four to six to ten. The average time you will put in for a mother and her pups is 345 hours!

You must make sure that the puppies go to owners who will provide the kind of home for them for the next 10 to 15 years that you've provided in the first eight weeks. This means you must carefully screen and ask lots of questions, such as being an adoption counselor.

Breeding is not a profit-making activity. The average loss of money per litter is $1, 275, and that is without counting for your time. Some breeds are so popular that puppies may be easy to sell, others in such little demand may take months to find the right home. Responsible breeders learn to ignore the financial realities in order to find just the right home for each of their puppies.

Responsible breeders are there for all situations-good and bad. They know that they are responsible for the birth of these puppies, and that means they are responsible for the dog until the day it dies. They are willing to answer as many questions as they are asked and provide resources and information and are always concerned about their puppies. They are also willing to take the dog back at any time in the dogs life.

Common Questions

When will my female come into heat?
Females experience their first heat (season) cycle sometime after 6 months of age, but sometimes with larger breeds it can be as long as 18 months. Keep in mind that females should not be bred until at full maturity, which happens at 2 years old.

How often will my female come into heat?
Twice a year, about every 6 months.

How long will her it last?
Usually about 23 days.

When can I breed her?
This depends on the dog. Some females will accept a male at 10 days into the cycle, with some it is 14-20 days, it depends on the female.

How long will my dog be pregnant?
63 days. This can vary a little either way, but the average is 63.

How will I know when she's about to have them?
There are several signs of a dog about to give birth. Keep track of her temperature, and when you notice her temperature dropping, she's getting closer to whelping. She will also lose her appetitie, and start digging at her bedding (trying to make a nest).