Technical Breeding Articles
The purpose of this page is not to create a road map or formula for breeding a litter, but to offer individuals who are truly ready to breed their dogs collective knowledge and advice from individuals who have many years of experience in breeding, evaluating, raising, showing and training Greater Swiss Mountain Dogs (GSMD). Also included are some articles written by people who have gained their expertise through research and practical experience. The opinions expressed in these articles and websites are strictly the opinion of the author and do not express the opinion of, nor are they endorsed by the Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America. Whelping a litter can be wonderful thing, but conversely it also has the risk of being life changing, and potentially heartbreaking. You must seriously consider why you want to breed your Swissy and if you and your family are up to the challenges that breeding a litter will present. There are many reasons that individuals give for wanting to breed a litter; however the only good reason is to improve and enhance the breed. Each year, we have more and more Swissies given up to Rescue.
Please do not breed a litter unless you are truly prepared to take responsibility for the puppies you produce!
Some things to consider before breeding your Swissy:
•What are your reasons for breeding your dog? If you want to breed a litter so that your children will experience the "miracle of birth" you should also be prepared for them to witness the reality of death. Loss of one or more puppies or even the dam is a very real occurence in many Swissy whelpings. •Are you and your family prepared for the time commitment that planning a breeding, whelping and rearing a litter, placement of puppies and on-going contact with the puppies' new families requires? A breeder is solely responsible for the health and well being of the dam and every puppy produced in a litter for its lifetime. Raising a litter takes a tremendous amount of time, it is not a 9 to 5 job but rather a 24/7 commitment for several months. Even after the puppies are placed, the breeder has a responsibility to mentor the puppies' new families. •Are you financially prepared for the costs of breeding a litter? Every breeder hopes to break even on a litter. However, very often the cost of breeding, whelping and rearing the puppies far exceeds any money that is obtained from puppy sales. Thousands of dollars can be spent on veterinarian bills for breeding or whelping assistance as well as routine litter care for vaccinations, microchipping, dewclaw removal, etc. •Have you read the breed standard? Have you attended Regional and National GSMD Specialties so that you have had the opportunity to speak with knowledgeable breeders and owners to develop your understanding of how the standard is to be applied? •Can you point out your own dogs' deviations from the standard – structural, type-related ? •How well do you know your dog's pedigree? Can you name your dogs' grandparents readily without looking at their pedigree? Have you seen your dogs' ancestors or spoken with individuals who are personally familiar with them so that you have and in-depth knowledge of your dogs lineage? •Have you thoroughly researched the health problems in your own dogs pedigrees and in the lines of the mates you are considering for breeding? (Note: NO line is free of health problems whether epilepsy or a skeletal, eye abnormality or other problem) •Have you obtained basic health clearances on the dogs you plan to breed? (OFA for hips, elbows, shoulders; CERF for eyes)
Is your dog temperamentally sound? Has he/she passed a temperament test?
•Have you shown your dog to its AKC Championship? Have you obtained any working or obedience titles on your dog? •Do you have mentors who will be honest with you about your abilities to breed a litter and be willing to assist you with the breeding and the litter? Have you had the opportunity to assist an experienced breeder with a whelping so you know what to expect? •Do you have a vet experienced with the GSMD-- specifically reproductive issues? •How do you plan on finding GOOD homes for the puppies? Do you know how to effectively screen homes? Do you know how to evaluate puppies properly for temperament, structure and breed type? (Note: perfect markings do NOT make a puppy "show quality") •Do you have experience so that you thoroughly understand the specific health and training concerns of the breed? To be a good and dependable mentor to your puppy buyers you will need this knowledge and the ability to share it with others. •Do you know enough about dog behavior to mentor your puppy buyers on how to raise their puppy and how to correct behavior problems before they become major? •Do you have the room and time to keep numerous puppies for up to several extra months when you have yet to find a good home in which to place them? Can you take puppies or adults back if they are returned to you when the owner can no longer keep them? As a breeder you are responsible for the dogs that you produce for their lifetime?
We encourage you to take the prospect of breeding a litter very seriously and to seek the advice of those with more experience. There are many experienced breeders in this Club who will help you if you choose to take on the responsibility of breeding a litter. If you ask for help from the start, you will benefit from their experience and possibly avoid making mistakes common amongst first time and novice breeders. If you are unable to find an experienced breeder to be your mentor, please contact a member of this Committee who can assist you in your search for a mentor.
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Greater Swiss Mountain Dog Club of America