Tuesday, February 12, 2008

So you want to breed Pugs?

I received a question from someone today who has an interest in breeding their Pug. They will remain anynomous of course. But I really appreciate getting questions like hers because it gives me a chance to share the realities that breeders face. I thought I would share my reponse with all of you as well.

Her Question:

We have a 14 month old male Pug. We are looking to breed and have questions and concerns about this. This is the first pug we have ever owned and would love to talk to an experienced Pug owner.

My Reply:

Breeding Pugs isn't easy and there is quite a bit involved that the adverage Pug owner wouldn't be aware of. For starters you would want to have an ideal Pug that conforms to the Pug standard set forth by the AKC and PDCA (Pug Dog Club of America). Also a healthy Pug. Otherwise, you wouldn't be bettering the breed.

You also have to ask yourself why you want to breed. If you have a passion for this breed and want to work towards the betterment of it as far as health, temperment and conformation then you are on the right track. If it's because you want to make extra money, then you'd be very dissapointed. As breeders we take losses when we breed most of the time. There is a lot of costs involved such as:

1. Show expenses
2. Travel expense (hotel, gas, food)
3. Handler fees
4. Health testing
5. Brucellosis
6. C-sections
7. Stud fees
8. Puppy check ups
9. Vaccinations

and the list goes on. A stud dog needs to have health testing done and should be a AKC champion. Unless a stud dog is a champion and/or a top winning show dog, stud service request are few and far between. A reputable breeder wouldn't breed to a non champion or one that doesn't conform to the standard. As far as the actual mating, unless you have experience in this it area, it can be dangerous for both the stud and bitch. The male can get injured if the bitch is not cooperative or if she tries to wrench free once they are tied in copulation. It's also important that both the stud and the bitch have a recent Brucellosis (Canine venereal disease) test done.

For breeding a bitch, there is even more involved as far as testing, showing and finishing her to her championship, finding the right champion stud that is the best match for her, paying a large stud fee to breed to him (upwards to $1,500 or more), preparing for time off from work for 2 weeks to watch her and the puppies so that she doesn't lay on them or one doesn't get off the heating pad and get cold, etc., Pug bitches often need C-sections and it's important to be there at least a week before their due date as they are known to have their babies early. If no one is home when this happens it could be a disaster and she could die without assistance. Pug puppies have large heads and often get stuck in the birth canal, thus the need for a C-section (which at a emergency vet at 2am can cost up to $2,000). Pug bitches have also died on the operating table during C-sections, so there is risk involved.

When you have puppies, the real work begins. Pug moms have been known to not want to feed their babies. So you have to learn how to tube feed them if she won't. You also can't leave her alone with them or you risk that she will accidently sit or lay on one and smoother it. This means also that you have to get up around the clock every 2 hours for the first 2 weeks and supervise their nursing off Mom. This can be exhausting and thus one of the reasons you'd want to take time off if you work. You also have to watch for eclampsia and mastitis in the dam. Eclampsia if not treated quickly is deadly. Mastitis complications can turn into severe infections. Also bitches who have heat cycles can be prone to a condition called Pyometrius which is where their uterus fills with pus and the infection quickly poisons them. This also can be a deadly situation.

If you are considering breeding in the future my best recommendation is to attend dog shows and talk to some of the exibitors that are showing their Pug. If the Pug you have now is the one you are considering using for breeding take him with you and ask several of the exhibitors to give you their opinion on his conformation. If you bought him from a non-show breeder, the chances are quite high that he won't come close to the standards as people that are breeding their pets, only produce pets and that means they aren't bettering the breed and most of the time they are doing it for monetary gains. Start with the best Pug possible. This can be done by studying the standard and buying the best possible bitch you can. Having a mentor is also very helpful and the breeder you choose to purchase your show puppy from should be willing to offer you sound advice.

I hope that helps. I probably sound quite blunt about most of it. But in all honesty that is the reality when breeding. It takes a lot of dedication, time and a lot of money to breed. It's definitely not for the faint of heart and I can tell you first hand that over the years I've had my share of heartache from losing puppies ): Which is emotionally difficult. But the love of the breed and my goals to continue to improve my breeding program keeps me striving forward.

1 comment:

Bronn. said...

Well written Kelle!