Breeding Your Italian Greyhound
So You Want to Breed Your IG?
Many new owners are so enamored with their new pet that one of their first goals of ownership is to breed their IG. For the owner who purchased their dog from a reputable breeder, this is not an issue. A reputable breeder will ALWAYS assess the quality of their breeding stock and, if you purchased a dog solely as a pet, there will be stipulations that the dog is to be spayed or neutered by a given age or the breeder will have already had that procedure performed for you. If you purchased your IG from a less than ideal source (e.g., pet shop or backyard breeder), you will not have been given any guidelines on whether your animal is of high enough quality to positively contribute to the gene pool.
What responsible breeding is:
Breeding dogs is time consuming, very expensive, and at times extremely heartbreaking. A breeder in the true sense of the word is always a student of is/her chosen breed. Breeders constantly read the latest information about genetic problems and testing for those problems. They study many pedigrees and individual dogs as well as read countless books on anatomy, nutrition, and medical breakthroughs. A breeder spends exhausting hours on the road attending dog shows and seminars, driving to board certified specialists to have their breeding stock tested for various heritable conditions, and hours on the phone counseling owners (these calls usually occur during dinner or when you’re right in the middle of helping your child with homework). Having a litter can become expensive very quickly and, since mother nature usually plans emergencies to occur in the middle of the night or on holidays, you can expect an even heftier bill since you will need to go to an emergency clinic. This could also mean time missed from work, especially if you need to bottle or tube feed puppies. Let’s face it, most employers aren’t too sympathetic when you call in saying you need to stay home with a sick dog!
What responsible breeding is not:
Breeding is not a way to get rich or even give yourself some extra pocket change. Even top breeders rarely, if ever, break even, even if the litter is highly desirable. The mother must be in top condition and fed a high quality diet. There’s a stud fee to take into consideration and, if you want to breed your bitch to a top quality male, unless she is a champion of outstanding quality with compatible lines to the stud owner’s dogs, you are very unlikely to be able to give the back a puppy rather paying a stud fee. A responsible Italian Greyhound breeder breeds to continue on with their own line and NEVER wants to give up the pick puppy. It defeats the whole purpose of breeding in the first place. Italian Greyhounds are not the most marketable breed in the world, especially if you are virtually unknown in the fancy. You may find yourself with an aging litter and no takers. Even experienced breeders are all too familiar with those who were desperate for a puppy when they were born only to back out when the pups got old enough to place. The key point is: Puppies are MESSY! Oh yeah, for the first two weeks mom does most of the work, but after that she’ll expect you to do it and, even though Italian Greyhounds are small, you will be amazed at the amount of poop they produce and even more amazed at the places they can put it!
The sure sign of a novice in the dog world is the person who has a male and is looking for a female to breed to their male. There are so many outstanding champion dogs with the proper health clearances that it is an effort in futility to try to offer a pet quality dog at stud.
You will not reproduce your own darling dog by breeding her. Au contraire, if you don’t know the dogs in her background and what their health and temperaments were like, you have a crap shoot. Especially since you will not have enough knowledge to know how to select a stud dog that will offset or improve any problems that are lurking in her background. It’s easy to say that, “She’s healthy. I’ve never had a problem”, but you are lulling yourself into a false sense of security. Outward appearance is only part of the genetic formula (that part which is expressed). There are many other aspects that cannot be seen with the naked eye. A dog can be a carrier for a disorder and the disorder, although not showing up in your dog, will be expressed if your dog is bred to another carrier. With many states now having “puppy lemon laws” on the books, this is a very real concern to the casual breeder when they are faced with a lawsuit (ignorance is not a suitable defense).
A breeder IS responsible for every dog they breed until the dog dies. In dogs, a sale is NOT final and we would go a long way in lessening the rescue of purebred dogs from shelters and the horrific euthanasia numbers if people would be responsible for the animals they produce. Are you willing and are you knowledgeable enough to answer breed specific questions on behavior, health, etc. at all hours? Are you able to make the commitment to take back any dog you breed for the life of that dog?
The absolute WORST reason for breeding is to show children the miracle of life. From a child’s eye, the miracle of life is pretty gross (blood, afterbirth, etc.). Some bitches, especially new mothers, are not very cooperative during this birthing process and may even bite due to the pain. You might also find yourself not even discussing the miracle of life, but rather the process of death if complications arise and you wind up losing the bitch and/or pups; especially if you are not experienced enough to notice early signs of problems. There are plenty of excellent books and videos that explain the birth process without having to traumatize your child in the process.
In the long run, most responsible owners prefer the convenience of spaying or neutering their pets.