Some changes coming…
Some changes are coming to how we do things, and we want to make sure that we explain why these changes will be taking place. The first change comes after many long months of debate, research, and a collective decision that was based on not only facts, but our extreme love and devotion to our pack. For a very long time, we subscribed to the idea or “belief” that our girls should only be bred once a year to allow them a chance to have some “time off” from breeding. Our pack is part of our family; these dogs are not just puppy makers. We are actually extremely against mill operations – but what actually makes a breeder a “mill”?
Unfortunately, breeders are instantly placed in the “mill” category simply because they do back-to-back breedings. Meaning, they breed their females each heat cycle. To the uneducated, this might seem unhealthy, unethical, irresponsible, and worthy of condemnation. However, there have been multiple studies which have proven that skipping heat cycles in breeding female dogs is actually very hard on them, much harder than just allowing them to breed each cycle. Physically, they can develop problems affecting their uterus, and potentially cause serious complications during pregnancy and delivery. We have not experienced having any issues with our females, but we also want to do what is best for them. This is a difficult area because there are SO many people who have stigmatized opinions based on disinformation and common misconceptions regarding breeding dogs. Even with facts backed up by well educated professionals in the field and scientific research, people will still hold onto their “emotional” beliefs as to what is best for animals without understanding that NATURE ultimately always knows best.
We have spoken with multiple breeders who have sworn that their dogs have had complications during pregnancy and delivery after skipping one or more breeding cycles. Stories of C sections, pyometra (infection of the uterus) prolapse uterus, miscarriage, and even deformities in pups. Breeders who breed their healthy girls back-to-back do not have these issues occur nearly as often, if ever. Some breeders with very strong opinions will even trash another breeder simply because they choose to do back-to-back breedings – but this is not based on anything other than opinion, and should not be used solely to determine the ethical or moral code of a breeder.
Recently at an AKC Dog Breeding Symposium held at Michigan State University with key note speaker Dr. Claudia Orlandi Ph.D. (AKC’s breeder of the year and author of The ABC’s of Dog Breeding) shocked many breeders when it was disclosed that there have been scientific studies to show that it is detrimental for bitches to skip heat cycles. It was shared that once you have begun to mate a bitch that you should NOT skip any heat cycles until she is completely finished breeding. A bitch is said to be “finished” breeding when her litter size is drastically decreased. The study involved following females that were bred every heat cycle and females that were bred every other heat cycle. After they were “finished” breeding, the bitches were spayed and their uterus dissected. Those showing most stress, and damage of the uterus were the females that were bred “every other” heat cycle. Part of the rational that skipping heat cycles is harmful stems from the fact that with consecutive heat cyclesthere is no “flushing action” of the uterus, that normally occurs by having a litter of puppies.The female will go through Estrus no matter if she is bred or not and by breeding a healthy bitch back to back,can lesson the chances of the female experiencing pyometra, infections and false pregnancys.
Despite modern veterinarian science and findings, many, even some breeders, will continue to hold onto outdated ideologies at their own expense. Some will also attack and try to discredit other breeders based on claims that are derived from conjecture and opinion rather than fact or truth. Over the years, veterinarian science has found that many old school beliefs have contributed to serious health problems that were otherwise misunderstood, such as over-vaccination, and spay or neutering before sexual maturity having huge impacts on long-term health and development. It is imperative that any breeder stay up to speed on modern research and findings, to be cautious and not allow profit generating propaganda give false senses of security, and to not fall into the trap of cognitive dissonance or disservice the industry by condemning others based on opinion while continuing to spread disinformation.
We keep to ourselves and we are a very humble and relatively small breeding program, however, we take education and research extremely serious and are always open to discussing things with an open mind and without ego.
Based on our findings from genuine research, as well as our multiple consults with ethical and professional breeders, we will start doing back to back breedings so long as our girls are healthy and active, their previous pregnancies went smoothly, and are cleared by our veterinarian. Due to this change, we will probably retire our girls earlier depending on their litters, and their physical and emotional health. We still may choose to skip a cycle, but it will be based on the individual health of our girls.
It is imperative that people understand that there is absolutely nothing that suggests it is better to skip cycles in normal, healthy, happy breeding females – nothing. Therefore, we cannot justify skipping cycles for the mere benefit of appeasing other’s misconceptions and opinions of what they feel is “unethical”.
There is still a very definitive line between ethical breeding and mill operations. A mill will not take into consideration the health, well-being, or risks to their dogs – it truly is all about the money with these operations. Many people do not look at the difference between an ethical breeder who does back-to-back breedings, and mills that do back-to-back breedings. The difference is in how they treat their dogs, the quality of care and individual attention they get, and how they base their decisions. Mills also often produce so many puppies that they end up not placing them in proper forever homes, they do not educate their potential buyers, and will often sell to pet shops just to make a buck and make room for more pups. These mills also notoriously breed dogs with known genetic disorders and do not properly provide adequate veterinarian care to their breeding females during, before, and after pregnancies which end up producing weak and unhealthy litters.
With all that being said, we encourage you to do your own research, come out and visit with us, see our dogs, and know who we are as people, as well as breeders. Starting in 2020, as long as our girls meet all of the responsible criteria for having a second litter, and we have ample deposits from qualified homes to ensure proper placement of pups, we will allow nature to run its course.
We appreciate you taking the time to read this article, and encourage you to reach out to us if you have any questions or feel you would like to share something with us!