Most dog owners consider breeding at least once during their pet’s life. While having a litter of puppies to play with may sound like fun, it’s actually a lot of hard work. If you’re not prepared to spend the time and money necessary to do it properly, it’s best if you don‘t get a dog in the first place. Selling puppies is the simple part of the process. Other factors you should keep in mind include: • Finding a decent, caring home for each one. • Responsibility for tracking the sold puppies for the rest of their lives. • Having to keep unwanted puppies yourself or ones that the owner has grown tired of or simply can’t manage the appropriate level of care. Studies reveal that 10% of puppies end up remaining with the owner. • Having enough time, money and space to provide excellent care for all dogs living in your home. You have a duty of care to your puppies, and to their purchasers, to produce the healthiest dogs possible. Every breed has temperament and genetic problems that may be passed to the puppies. You need years of knowledge and experience in order to recognise any problems. Even if a dog doesn’t have a visible problem, he may pass it onto the puppies genetically. Extensive, expensive testing and a comprehensive knowledge of pedigrees and breeding is needed in order to avoid puppies with major health issues. Reputable breeders thoroughly check their dogs for eye diseases, allergies, skin problems, hormone and thyroid issues, elbow and hip dysplasia, bleeding problems and many other issues before they would even think about breeding. A breeder needs to guarantee the health of the puppies (genetically speaking) until they become adults. This may include either refunding or replacing a dog many years down the track. Lots of places have “lemon laws” that mean a breeder is obliged to pay for medical bills or refund up to triple the amount paid for the dog in the first place. Even the temperament of a dog is covered by a guarantee because nobody wants a dog who bites as that may result in a lawsuit. You’ll need to be available to offer advice to buyers regarding medical issues, behavioural problems and training and this support service is likely to continue for 10-15 years. If you’re making your dog available as a stud service, you still have responsibility to care for all puppies bred as a result, as do the owners of the bitch bred to your stud. Being a breeder means you’re responsible for the reproductive future of all puppies you sell. It’s very expensive to care for dogs and litters. You need to spend a bucket load of money on your bitch before she’s even old enough to produce puppies. This can include pre-whelping and post-whelping exams, x-rays and shots, removing the dewclaw, tail docking, two sets of puppy injections, worming medication and equipment such as crates, playpens, whelping boxes and heating pads. Difficult pregnancies are very common. Then there’s the cost of food, bedding, toys and the certification needed so she’s able to breed. You also need a good quality stud and he’s quite expensive as well. If you have a job, apart from being a breeder, you’ll need time off work to help with the whelping and monitor the mother and pups for the first few days to ensure there aren’t any problems. Dogs may not know what to do and could accidentally kill one or more puppies if you’re not there at an important time. There’s a 25% mortality rate in newborn puppies, regardless of how well they’re looked after. You bitch may lose her own life if there are any whelping problems when you’re not available to care for her. When you’re ready to sell your puppies, there will be advertising expenses. It can take up to four months to locate a good home for the whole litter. Even the breeders of the highest quality show dogs hardly ever cover all their costs. It may seem like having one litter won’t affect the number of dogs in the total population, but if your bitch or dog merely produces four puppies and each of them only produces a single litter and so on; after seven years, your dog will have over 4000 descendants. This clearly shows the serious repercussions of having one single litter. Smaller dogs, such as the Pomeranian, may suffer from whelping complications and this can easily rack up hefty vet fees. If the mother can’t whelp naturally, a C-section is needed and this is also common for Pomeranians. One C-section can cost up to $3500. There are a multitude of problems that may occur so your dam needs plenty of postpartum care. Typical reproduction problems that can follow whelping include: agalactia, eclampsia, metritis and mastitis. Knowledgeable breeders have a nickname for Pomeranians and that is – “the heartbreak breed.” If sufficient advice and help isn’t offered fast enough, the mother and/or puppies may die. The mother might be incapable of feeding the puppies. If so, they need to be bottle fed or tube fed every two hours around the clock for a number of weeks. Puppy should stay as clean as possible and you may need to give the puppies help with bowel and bladder emptying after every feed. Do you feel certain that you have the time, energy and motivation to successfully provide the right care for Pomeranian puppies? It takes an immense amount of tireless effort and boundless energy to look after this breed of puppies as well as the other dogs you own, including their mother. If you believe that the Pomeranian breeders rake in the money, forget it. Ask experienced, registered breeders if they make plenty of cash and I’m certain their replies will be a resounding “NO!” Unless your Pomeranian is an exceptional breed type, is registered with a Kennel Club and you’re prepared to find the most compatible match with which to mate her, stop! Think long and hard before making such a huge decision. Sadly, most dog shelters are vastly overcrowded and the majority of dogs housed there are unwanted, untrained and may have been there for a long time. Ask yourself these questions before making that decision: • Do you have access to a very experienced vet 24/7? • Do you have enough money to pay all important vet bills related to the care of a mother and her puppies? This includes unexpected emergencies. • Does somebody in the home have the ability to stay home all day and look after the needs of the litter? • Can I find a secure, safe, permanent, loving home where the puppies can thrive? • Well-known breeders usually have plenty of contacts and homes ready to accept responsibility for a puppy litter. • If the worst case scenario happens and the new owner can’t care for the dogs any longer, can the breeder take them back into his loving home for an indefinite time period? • Does the buyer know if the puppy has any gene defects? Buyers can return dogs if they have defects and the breeder must refund their money in full. • Your female Pomeranian won’t necessarily have a litter before the owner desexes her. Doing this greatly decreases the risk of mammary and other tumours growing later in life. All Pomeranians must be desexed prior to puberty. It’s vital that you consider all the reasons why you may want to breed a litter. These are a few of the popular reasons: The kids want the puppies. Giving birth isn’t a pretty sight. It commonly happens in the middle of the night and the kids may be scared at the sounds the bitch makes when in labour. You can get DVDs and books that show children what it’s like to give birth, without having to spend a fortune in both money and time and care for a real litter. They want another dog the same as this one. No two dogs are the same. Each one has its; own unique behaviour and personality. The puppies have a 50% chance of taking after the other parent. Most of the dog’s personality will be developed as he grows, not inherited. The kids want a puppy to keep. It’s much cheaper and simpler to buy a new puppy instead of going through the breeding process. All your friends want one. Yes, they may want a puppy when they say it. However, when the time comes, it’s not a good time for many reasons and you’re left with puppies you never wanted in the first place. We want to get back the money we invested in the dog. It’s rare to ever make a profit when breeding puppies. Raising a litter will most likely cost you a lot more than you could have imagined. You probably bought a dog initially for companionship and fun and, even if you spent $500, that equates to $50 per year if he only lives for 10 years. It’s less than $1 per week and much cheaper than a cup of coffee. “It will calm him down” or “she has to experience sex.” This is a fallacy on both counts. Hormones govern sex in animals. There’s no thought process or emotion attached to it. A bitch only “thinks” about having sex when she’s in that season. Once it has finished, she forgets all about it. Males only think about it when they’re in the presence of a bitch in heat. Breeding never settles a dog. It makes males worse. He gets more aggressive and territorial, can lose his usual house manners and will be almost impossible to control if there’s a bitch in heat nearby. If they’re virgins, they don’t miss it. Settling a dog isn’t sex, it’s training and maturity. Nature intended dogs to produce puppies. People control the pet’s reproductive lifestyle. Nature’s way is totally different to ours. Nature didn’t want animals to ever reproduce. In the wild, only the strongest, smartest and fittest ever last long enough to reproduce. Females can only get pregnant when the environment and their food supply is such that the babies have a good future. People let animals procreate whenever they want to, regardless of the consequences. Bitches need not have a litter before they’re spayed. Anyone claiming this to be the case is living in a dream world. Studies show that puppies can be neutered or spayed and not suffer as a result. Spaying a bitch prior to her first heat period decreases the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer. Neutering a male doesn’t make him into a wimp. It makes him easier to train by channelling sexual energy into other areas of his life. If you’re going to join the Kennel Club, you must learn the record-keeping requirements and their rules. They can conduct surprise inspections. If your records don’t meet their satisfaction, they may not register your litter and fine and suspend you from registration for life. The first step in breeding is to contact the Kennel Club to get referrals to national and local breeding clubs. Join a club and you’ll be able to learn from other breeders. Take out subscriptions to various dog magazines including the Kennel Club magazine. Improve your knowledge by reading everything you can about breeding your dog and also all dogs in general. You’ll need to learn about anatomy, structure, medical issues, training, psychology, behaviour and much more. Attend dog shows to learn how to make your dog better than the average breed. You need to learn what the “breed standard” actually means. Every Kennel Club recognised breed will have a written description of perfection. This covers his look, how he moves and how he acts. A serious breeder compares his own dog to the standard and that helps him to decide whether to breed or not. It takes a long time and plenty of exposure to truly understand the standards and the characteristics that make a dog special. You’ll learn if your dog has such characteristics and if breeding would improve the quality of the breed overall. That’s the only goal and reason to breed any dog – to produce an animal that has exceptional appearance, temperament, health and trainability. This may take years and you might discover that, although your dog is a great pet, he may not be ideal breeding stock. Many breeders have faced this same realisation. Before considering whether to breed or not, visit local shelters to see just what happens to dogs that started out as possible breeding dogs and pets with owners who thought it would be “great fun” to have a litter. Euthanasia is as educational as the miracle of giving birth. You need to fully appreciate the harsh reality and consequences of not successfully breeding. Is it worth it? The decision to breed? Generally, it’s not. The kindest thing you can do for a dog is not to breed him but to care for him as a much loved pet instead. For complete and detailed Pomeranian information, how to choose the right Pomeranian puppy for your family, Feeding your new Pomeranian puppy, toilet and crate training your Pomeranian, Socializing your Pomeranian Puppy, Common Health Issues Affecting Poms, Choosing Your Pomeranian’s Veterinarian, Pomeranian Colors and Patterns. Breeding & Exhibiting Pomeranians Download the Pomeranian Book by Pomeranian Breed Authority Denise Leo. Article is not to be reproduced in any form with out written consent of the author. © Denise Leo 1997-2016.