Know The Facts Before You Breed

Did you know that if you breed your dog once, in 8 years there will be an average of 4,200 new Shih Tzu?

STFSC thinks it is extremely important to learn the facts and possible consequences in advance if you are contemplating breeding your Shih Tzu. In today's overcrowded world, we, the wardens of our domestic pets, must make responsible decisions for them and for ourselves. The following points should be reviewed carefully.


QUALITY

AKC registration is NOT an indication of quality. Most dogs, even purebred, should not be bred. Many dogs, though wonderful pets, have defects of structure, personality or health that should not be perpetuated. Breeding animals should be proven free of these defects BEFORE starting on a reproductive career. Breeding should only be done with the goal of 
an honest attempt to create puppies better than their parents. Ignorance is no excuse -- once you have created a life, you cannot take it back, even if blind, crippled or a canine psychopath!


COST

Dog breeding is NOT a money making proposition, if done correctly. Health care and shots, diagnosis or problems and proof of quality, extra food, facilities, stud fees, advertising,
etc. are all costly and must be paid BEFORE the pups are sold. An unexpected Caesarean 
or emergency intensive care for a sick pup will make a break-even litter become a big liability. And this is IF you can sell the pups. SALES: First time breeders have no 
reputation or referrals to find buyers. Thoughts of "I want a dog just like yours," change 
or evaporates. Consider the time and money spent for care of pups that may not sell until they are four months old, eight months old or more? What WOULD you do if your pups did not sell? Send them to the pound? Dump them in the country? Sell them cheap to a dog broker who may resell them to labs or other unsavory buyers? Veteran breeders with 
good reputations often don't consider a breeding unless they have cash deposits in 
advance for an average-sized litter.


JOY OF BIRTH
 
If you are doing it for the children's education, remember the whelping may be at 3 a.m.
or at the vet's on the surgery table. Even if the kiddies are present, they may get a 
chance to see the birth of a monster or a mummy, or watch the bitch scream and bite you
as you attempt to deliver a pup that is half out and too large. Some bitches are not 
natural mothers and either ignore or ravage their whelps. Bitches can have severe 
delivery problems or even die in whelp -- pups can be born dead or with gross deformities that require euthanasia. Of course there can be joy, but if you cannot deal with the possibility of tragedy, don't start.



TIME 

Veteran breeders of quality dogs state they spend over 130 hours of labor raising an average litter. That is over two hours a day, every day! The bitch CANNOT be left alone while whelping and only for short periods of time for the first few days after whelp. Be prepared for days off work and sleepless nights. Even after delivery, mom needs quite a
 bit of care  and feeding, puppies need daily checking, weighing and socialization. Later, grooming and training, and the whelping box needs lots of cleaning. More hours are spent on paperwork, pedigrees and interviewing buyers. If you have any abnormal conditions, such as sick puppies or a bitch who can't or won't care for her babes, count on doubling 
the time. If you can't provide the time, you will either have dead pups or poor ones that
are bad tempered, antisocial, dirty and/or sickly -- hardly a buyer's delight.


HUMAN RESPONSIBILITIES
 
It is midnight -- do you know where your puppies are located? There are about EIGHT 
AND ONE HALF MILLION unwanted dogs put to death in pounds in this country each year, with millions more dying homeless and unwanted through starvation, disease, 
automobiles, abuse, etc. The breeder who creates a life is responsible for that life. Will 
you carefully screen potential buyers? Or will you just take the money and not worry if 
the puppy is chained all of its life or runs in the street to be killed? Will you turn down a 
sale to irresponsible owners or will you say "yes" and not think about the puppy you held and loved, having a litter of mongrels every time she comes into heat, helping to fill the pounds every year with more statistics that are your grand pups? Would you be prepared
 to take back a grown dog if the owners can no longer care for it? Can you live with the thought that the babe you helped bring into the world will be destroyed at the pound?