Just having a female or a male Spinone, or both, is not necessarily a reason to breed. There is so much to consider.
- Why do you want to become a breeder? First off, if it is to make money or get back the money you paid for your pup, make no mistake, if you do it right, you will be disappointed. Being a dog breeder is not to be taken lightly and not for the faint of heart. Hopefully after considering the information presented here, you will be better able to determine if this is a committment you are willing to make.
- Is your dog a very nice example of the breed? In most cases it would be recommended to get some unbiased opinions. There is so much to consider with structure and temperament. The Judges Info section of this site should help assessing your dog.
- Do you have breed mentors? We all need help and mentors can be invaluable in starting the process of becomming a breeder. Mentors can be the breeder of your dogs and others that you respect for their knowledge of the breed.
- Are you prepared for the ultimate sacrifice? Make no mistake, things can go wrong. It is too common to have still born pups or pups that are too weak to survive after they whelp. The first two weeks are critical and most responsible breeders sleep with their new mom and pups to be there to get a pup out of the way if mom lays on them. This does happen. But the worst thing that can happen is to lose the litter, or the mother, or both. Are you prepared to lose your bitch if something goes wrong?
- Have you had health testing done on your dog? While SCOA does not require testing, it is HIGHLY recommended and it is something responsible and respected breeders do. It can assist in letting you know what issues might be involved when breeding a particular dog. Hip x-rays for OFA certification are typically done at 2 yrs of age, so most breedings wait until the dogs are at least 2 yrs and have been tested. In many areas there are clinics that hold a "breeders day" on a weekend and they will offer all health testing at a reduced rate. A note here that testing only can cover certain issues, but not others. There are other diseases that are outside of OFA testing capabilities. Most of these diseases do not have a simplistic method of tracking and the mode of inheritance is unknown (in spite of a great deal of research). In these cases there are not black and white answers on how it is best to proceed. The most knowledgeable and prudent way to proceed is with the advice of several geneticists (canine) as well as several different veterinarians that are used to working with breeders. Looking at your dogs pedigree will never tell you the whole story. Hearsay among breeders is also a questionable route to go down. Do your best to do your own research about health issues in your dogs pedigree (there ARE health issues in all dog breeds and the Spinone Italiano is no exception) and add that to the advice of seasoned geneticists and veterinarians. Make sure you consult a veterinarian that has a lot of experience and works with other breeders. Even if your dogs are OFA perfect, there is no guarantee that they will produce the same in their offspring. It is however, a very good starting point. The old saying that knowledge is power certainly applies here.
- Pre-breeding testing. You want to work with your vet to be sure your female is healthy enough to have a litter. Also, both dogs should have a Brucellosis test. If either dog is positive, they must not be bred. An affected female in whelp will most likely deliver a litter of stillborn pups, usually a week early.
- Do you have access to a reprodcutive veterinarian? Most breeders work with 'repro vets'. These are vets that specialize in canine reproduction and their expertise is a real asset for most breeders. Having a litter of pups is not cheap and there can be vet expenses incurred for the breeding process. It is important to use a vet that is an expert or your money can be wasted. Add to that, if you own a dog that is being collected for a bitch owner in anonther location, it is critical your vet knows what they are doing for the artificial insemenation (AI) collection.
- Finding homes. An average size litter is 9 pups. That is the average. Litters can be much larger. How will you find homes for the pups that you do not keep?
- Are you in a position to take back pups/dogs that the owner can no longer keep? Some people live in areas where there are dog limits. This could present a real problem for a breeder. Part of being a responsible breeder is being able to take back any dogs that the owner can longer keep. It is not Spinone Rescue's responsibility to rehome these dogs.
These are just some things to consider before taking on the responsibility of being a breeder. There will be more information coming so please check back. If there is anything you would like to see more information on or other breeding topics you are interested in, please contact [email protected].