Advice for breeders
The decision to breed German shepherds should be deliberated on carefully. A dog breeder has important responsibilities that should not be taken for granted or ignored. There is so much at stake and in order to ensure that as a breeder you help support and strengthen the German shepherd bloodline, here are some factors that you should take into consideration.
Do you have the time to devote to the operation of the kennel?
Aside from taking care of the parents, the birth of puppies will entail both time and effort. Caring for newborn puppies is a 24-hour job particularly during the first few days of life. As puppies grow older, you will have to start housetraining and socialization. Parents will also need to be exercised and groomed regularly.
Are you ready to shell out money for business venture?
The financial aspect is an important factor in your decision regarding whether or not you want to become a dog breeder. To be a reputable breeder of German shepherd dogs, you should be prepared to invest not only time but also money. If you have a female GSD, you will have to pay for expensive stud services and other associated costs. You will also have to allocate a budget for veterinary bills, grooming supplies, vaccines, worming and other medications, drinking and food bowls, blankets and more. A contingency fund should be available to take care of emergencies such as caesarean sections and puppies that need intensive care.
Do you have an outstanding German shepherd dog to be used for breeding?
A GSD with AKC/UKC registration does not guarantee soundness and outstanding quality ideal for breeding purposes. With indiscriminate breeding of German shepherds, there are many dogs that possess health and physical problems that can easily be transferred from parents to offspring. A responsible dog breeder knows that the puppies he will be selling should be an improvement of their parents. This is a responsible effort of perpetuating the breed.
Is there a big market for German shepherd puppies?
One of the problems met by first-time breeders is selling their puppies because they are still trying to build up their reputation in the industry. In order to have potential clients, you need referrals and advertisements. When puppy buyers are far between, you have to take care of the puppies and their needs until they can be sold.
Are you ready to deal with the emotional roller-coaster ride?
As your puppies go home with their owners, it can certainly tug on your heartstrings. You are not alone though. Even famous dog breeders are never immune to these emotional setbacks. You have to be ready to deal with these situations for these are a given when you become a dog breeder.
Are you aware of your humane responsibility?
Every day, there are many dogs which are subjected to inhumane conditions and there are those waiting to be destroyed. Nearly a quarter of these dogs possess registration papers and many have been bought from reputable kennels. As a responsible breeder of German shepherd dogs, it is your task to screen potential buyers of your puppies.
Do you have adequate knowledge of existing dog laws?
There are important laws that protect and oversee the dogs and the dog breeder. A responsible dog breeder makes an effort to be familiar with these laws including the Animal Welfare Act of 2006, Breeding and Sales of Dogs (Welfare) Act, Control of Dogs Order of 1992, Dangerous Dogs Act of 1997, and the Animals Act of 1971.
These are the following areas that you must adhere to during routine and/or unscheduled inspections:
I. Record Keeping
- identifying marks (tattoo/microchip, kennel club registration)
- disease and infection control
- numbers of puppies
- sales records
- cleanliness and disinfection
- exercise areas
- kitchen facilities
- first aid provision – human and animal
- food and water – storage and provision
- isolation facilities
- staff training and facilities
- emergency procedures and fire prevention
Preparing the Bitch
A bitch which has been proven to be ideal for a breeding operation should be primed before her first mating at two years of age. The dog may show signs of heat during the onset of puberty but waiting until it is two years old will have its just rewards. At two years of age, the dog has already undergone physical, mental and social changes thus making her better prepared for mating, pregnancy, whelping and taking care of her puppies.
Good nutrition and regular exercise should also be in your management program when preparing the bitch for breeding purposes. Your veterinarian is a good source of information regarding what dog food you should give as well as vitamin supplements which are necessary for your dog. You should also ask and follow your vet’s advice on worming schedules, vaccination and booster shots. Before her first mating, make sure that your dog has undergone and passed specifically indicated health checks to guarantee that they are free from congenital health problems.
Choosing a Stud Dog
The stud contributes fifty percent of the genetic makeup of the offspring thus it is very important that you choose the best one. If this is your first time to pick out a stud, you can gather as much information by asking for recommendations or referrals, talking with dog breeders, and getting ideas from experts and veterinarians. When choosing a stud, make sure that you take these factors into consideration:
- Health test results including hip scores, eye certificates, elbow scores, DNA test results
- His body conformation in relation to your bitch
- Genetic makeup that will include both his genotype and phenotype
- Records of awards in competitions
- His offspring
- Stud fee and/or other conditions concerning the use of the stud
Keep a record of the following important information for each bitch and litter that you produce:
- Name of bitch
- Litter Number (way to differentiate between litters at your kennel)
- Date of onset
- Smear date and results
- Progesterone Test date and results
- Breeding dates and comments on breeding
- Palpitation dates and results
- Ultrasound date and results
- X-ray date and results
- Notes on pregnancy
- Track weight gain weekly
- Track temperature from day 58-65, 3 times daily
- Date and time whelping began
- Date and time whelping ended
- Notes on whelping
- Registered name and KC number of dam
- Registered name and KC number of sire
- Sire’s owner’s name
- Date mated
- Date litter whelped
- Number of male puppies born
- Number of female puppies born
- KC Litter Number
- Sex, Colour/Markings, Puppy ID number, Date Sold, Date Died, Name and address of person to whom sold, Dates when following paperwork was supplied: registration application or certificate and bill of sale; name and KC number of puppy.
Additional Litter Information
- Time each puppy was born
- Ribbon colour or other identifying mark
- Colour of puppy
- Weight at birth
- Length at birth
- A description of any problems
- Whelping date
- Sire and Dam
- Time whelping started and ended
- Notes on whelping
- Ribbon colour
- Call Name
- Registered Name
- KC Litter No.
- KC Registration No.
- Date of Birth
- Sire and Dam
- Weight at Birth and when sold
- Vaccinations Given (Date and Type)
- Owner (include address and telephone numbers)
- Date sold
- Conditions of sale
- Notes on Development and Temperament
- On the back of this form, track the weight of the puppies daily until they are three weeks old and then weekly thereafter.
Litter Registration Application
Its very important to register you new litter with KC (The Kennel Club), this application should be completed as soon as the puppies are whelped so you can deliver the correct paperwork to the puppy buyers.
Puppy Registration Forms
Once your litter has been registered you will receive a registration form so the puppy buyers can register their puppies with the KC.