Breeding a litter of puppies can be very rewarding, but if you are new to dog breeding, you should remember that it can also be a costly and time-consuming experience. Below is some useful information if you are considering becoming a breeder, and we hope that established dog breeders will use it as a reference tool. We recommend that you familiarise yourself with the relevant GKC rules on registration before breeding.
Questions you should ask yourself before breeding a litter:
Have I the time to devote to the litter until the puppies are old enough to go to their new homes, which is usually around eight weeks of age?
Am I knowledgeable enough to advise new owners about the various aspects of caring for their puppies, including rearing, diet, training and health problems?
Can I afford to pay for the various recommended health tests for the bitch prior to the mating?
Do I know enough to help the bitch during her whelping, if necessary?
Can I afford to pay for a caesarean section, should the bitch have difficulty whelping the litter?
Could I cope with a very large litter, for instance of ten or twelve puppies?
Do I have sufficient knowledge to rear the litter correctly, including worming, vaccinations and socialisation?
Would I be able to find good homes for the puppies?
Am I in a position to take back or re-home any of the puppies?
If you have been able to say yes to all of the above questions, do not forget that you will also need to keep the following in mind:
Responsible dog breeders believe that each litter they breed should be an improvement on the parents.
Responsible dog breeders give careful consideration to health issues, temperament and soundness.
Responsible dog breeders plan ahead of each mating to ensure that the puppies will be bred in the best possible environment.
Responsible dog breeders accept responsibility for a puppy which they have bred, and make themselves available to give advice, help and information to new owners.
Some questions you need to ask yourself before breeding from your bitch:
Is she Guernsey Kennel Club registered in your ownership?
Is she healthy, and had normal seasons so far?
Is she between two and four years old?
Has she been tested for the hereditary diseases applicable to the breed (including any DNA tests), and scored for hip dysplasia if required for her breed? (To find out which tests for hereditary diseases are applicable to your breed, visit the Kennel Club website, or contact your breed club).
Finding a stud dog
Start well before the planned mating. Study your bitch's pedigree carefully to find dogs of similar breeding, and make yourself a shortlist of the dogs you think will complement your bitch. Bear in mind that if the preferred dog lives within the Bailiwick of Guernsey it must be registered with the Guernsey Kennel Club if you wish to register the litter.
Visit your shortlisted dogs to assess their temperament and suitability. Let the stud dog owner know roughly when your bitch will be in season, and check the dog is available at this time. Also check the fee required and whether you are able to make a return visit if the mating is unsuccessful.
As soon as the bitch comes into season, let the stud dog owner know. Optimum days for mating are usually between day ten and day fourteen, but can vary. Consider the value of a pre-mate testing at your vets, particularly if a long journey is necessary.
Keep your bitch as stress-free as possible during the journey and when you arrive give her the opportunity to relieve herself before introducing her to the stud dog.
Hopefully, you will get a successful mating with a good 'tie' after which, place the bitch in a calm place and exchange the necessary paperwork with the stud dog's owner. This should include a signed, dated document with the registered names and numbers of the dogs.
If you have taken your bitch to the UK for her mating, you will need to apply to the Kennel Club there for a three-generation pedigree of the stud dog.
Your vet will be able to feel for puppies at around four weeks after mating, or you can now have an ultrasound scan. Normal gestation is around sixty three days.
The breeder should register the litter with the Guernsey Kennel Club (contact the Registrar for details).
The breeder should provide the new owner with a signed pedigree, insurance cover for the first few weeks and written information about the care of the puppy including diet from puppy to adult, worming, grooming, innoculations, training, exercise, and basic health. The registration of the puppy should then be transferred to the new owner.
Some question you should ask yourself before using your dog at stud:
Is your dog registered with the Guernsey Kennel Club, and in your ownership?
Is your dog healthy and with two descended testicles?
Is he reasonably young?
Has he been tested for all the relevant hereditary diseases for your breed, including any relevant DNA tests? (To find out which tests for hereditary diseases are applicable to your breed visit the Kennel Club website, or contact your breed club).
Has he been hip scored?
Have you some experience of mating dogs? If not, do you have an experienced acquaintance you can call on for assistance?
If you can answer yes to all these questions then:
Keep your dog's pedigree handy should you get an enquiry. The bitch owner will want to know how your dog is bred, and whether he is an outcross, or line-bred to her bitch. You have the right to refuse your dog's services if you feel the bitch is not of the required standard, so it would be advisable to see her before the planned mating.
Decide on your stud fee, whether you are prepared to offer more than one mating, and whether you are prepared to offer a return free mating should the first be unsuccessful. If your dog is not proven, you may like to consider this fact when deciding the level of the fee involved.
Make sure you give the owner of the bitch the correct documentation, ie, a signed and dated record of the mating with the dog's and bitch's registration names and numbers.
You should also provide a copy of your dog's pedigree and health certificates and a written receipt for any monies involved.
In due course the bitch owner should advise you whether there is a successful pregnancy, and of the eventual arrival of the puppies.