I know you have the best dog ever (none of you are wrong), so it makes sense that you want another one just like her. She’s great with your kids, and maybe you think it would be valuable for them to experience “the miracle of birth.” You’re thinking about breeding her, maybe just one time. Puppies are so cute. There’s that neighbor down the street with a male dog. It could be a fun family experience, right?

Stop right there. 

Regardless of whether it’s “just one time,” there are only two ways to breed dogs: responsibly and irresponsibly. It takes a LOT of work to be a responsible breeder (I made an entire 7-page checklist to get you started) and we don’t need more irresponsible breeders. So before you call your neighbor with the cute boy dog, take out your emotions and critically ask yourself, “Would it be responsible to breed this dog?” 

In 99% of cases, the answer is going to be no.

If you consider the big picture and come to the conclusion that the world doesn’t need your dog to have puppies, you don’t have to give up on your dream of letting your kids (or yourself!) experience the joys and frustrations of canine pregnancy, whelping, and litter-raising. 

Consider the following options: 

Volunteer as a foster family for a local animal shelter or rescue. These organizations are always looking for more responsible foster families, and pregnant momma-dogs are often especially challenging to place because they come with a LOT of responsibility!  Shelters aren’t the best place for pregnant moms and puppies because they have weaker immune systems and shelters have a lot of potential for exposure to sick dogs. Give these babies a great start! 

If you’re willing to negotiate on puppies and accept kittens instead, you would definitely have your hands (and arms) very full in the spring, which is prime kitten season! The birthing process is essentially the same, and your kids would still get to experience the joy of listening to painful screaming as the baby forces its way through the birth canal. Then in a few weeks, you could recreate this photo from my most recent kitten season: 

Connect with a local breed club. Many breeders are thrilled to work with the next generation of passionate dog lovers. Find a responsible breeder in your area and ask if your kids can assist with the next litter. This is definitely dependent on finding the right match between a responsible breeder and your family, but this might be a great option if your kids are especially invested. Who knows, they might decide they want to become responsible breeders themselves! 

Spend an afternoon watching birthing videos. YouTube has a plethora. Dogs, cats, humans, horses, elephants, pigs, you name it. If you or your child get squeamish about birthing videos, imagine how unfortunate it would have been for your dog to go through an entire pregnancy only for the kids to run into the other room when it’s go-time. 

Go all-in and commit to being a responsible breeder. If you’ve considered these options and you still want to proceed with breeding, start planning now for your NEXT dog to be responsibly-bred. Network with responsible breeders, learn about health testing, and download my Responsible Breeder Checklist. Focus on educating yourself and setting up for success!

Bottom line, no matter how fun you think it will be, if you aren’t going to breed responsibly, don’t do it at all! I’m here for you to answer any questions you may have on getting started!

Categories: BreedingDogs

Dr. Kristina Baltutis

Dr. Kristina is a reproductive medicine enthusiast with an okapi obsession. She lives in Burlington, NC with her dogs, cats, chinchilla, and spouse.


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