Saturday, May 1, 2010

Breeding Dogs

Spring breeding season is here. Breeders planning litters have researched potential mates. They look for a dog whose conformation will compliment and improve that of their bitch. Health clearances are checked. When the time is right, supervised copulation occurs.
The breeding of pure bred dogs is planned parenthood. Breeders dedicated to improving their stock attend seminars to gain skills in this endeavor.
Educators like Dr. Carmen Battaglia will lead the way in breeding better dogs as he has for decades. His popular seminar always contains the latest advances in science. I remember how exciting it was to hear him speak about the genome project, when they didn't know anything more than the sequence. Now, scientests have learned so much about what trait is where on the DNA chain.
Lately, pure bred dogs have taken criticism. Breeding for popular features has created problems, no doubt. Breeders have advances in science to aid them as never before, so the outlook has hope.
Where is the hope for the millions of stray dogs procreating without any human intervention? I hear talk of mix breeds being healthier, more sound. Sure, why not with a mortality rate of maybe seventy per cent, the ones that make it should be plenty strong.
The stray dogs I am familiar with are the Puerto Rican island dogs, the Satos. I've seen bad bites, mismatched fronts and rears. These are things breeders try hard to prevent. The pups with more serious defects die alone after miserable suffering.
As we prepare to head back to Puerto Rico in time to watch dog behavior during breeding time, I think about how much I have learned from this spectacle. Dogs acting normally without our interference teach us so much.
I look forward to reporting on all that I see and hear, but make no mistake my great objective is a massive nueter campaign.
Dogs are our creation. I support the breeders of the planet, who love dogs enough to take the time and money to educate themselves to breed the best dogs they can. That is still no guarantee, but with the help of science we are getting there.
If any of you know about writing for grants, please, contact me. It's another one of those areas where I am going to need some help. Thanks.


  1. Well said. I find myself very "alone" at school as a dog breeder. It seems that the majority does not understand what breeders do. (Good ones!) There is a very negative stigma to dog breeders among most veterinarians that I find very disheartening. We should be teaming up together to breed better dogs. This is evident over and over on a well known veterinary information network where questions can be posted by vets to vets. If a question arises due to a breeder there is typically a flurry of negative breeder talk. There is one breeder veterinarian who frequents the network and usually screaches it to a halt, but it always raises my bloodpressure.

    Thank you also for making the statement about mix breed dogs. I have seen just as much illness, disease and unsoundness in mix breeds as in purebreds. The difference is there is no prediction... You don't see a certain disease it is just a mix of all of them. Cancer, hip dysplasia, entropion. You name it mix breeds get it too. Thank you for this post.

  2. Before becoming friends with Melissa, I didn't have much respect for breeders. Where I come from the "breeders" that I had met were basically just "puppy makers." I was not impressed. But after several conversations with Melissa about breeding, I see things a lot differently. I definately have a different mindset now and a new found respect for true breeders.