Breeding Your Samoyed
IN FAVOR OF NEUTERING AND SPAYING
Even if your Samoyed is purebred and AKC registered with Champions in the pedigree, you do not have to breed him or her. You can increase your Samoyed’s value as a companion by neutering or spaying. These procedures usually extend both the lifespan and quality of life of your pet, prevent unplanned pregnancies and reduce medical risks and expenses.
Besides tempering “dominance” traits, which can create several types of behavioral problems in some male dogs, neutering by surgically removing the testicles can reduce several common health problems:
- Adult males that have not been neutered, more so than neutered males, often develop prostatic complications and tumors of the reproductive tract.
- The neutering operation for males is relatively simple and the dog is usually back home the same or following day with few ill effects. Behavioral changes can often be seen in as little as two (2) weeks.
For females, “spaying” (ovariohysterectomy) is the surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. This operation is a little more complicated, but it is still considered routine and in most cases, your pet is also home the next day, a little sore, but otherwise showing few signs of distress.
Besides eliminating unplanned pregnancies, the operation eliminates the heat cycle. The heat cycle causes “cleanliness” problems for housedogs and the attraction of unwelcome neighborhood males with the cycles’ accompanying behaviors, odors and discharges.
The major health risks eliminated by spaying are:
- Pyometra (pus in the womb): This condition commonly occurs in middle age, or older unspayed bitches. Often signs of pyometra are only noticed when the condition is well advanced. Untreated cases can be fatal. The usual treatment is surgical removal of the uterus and ovaries. This is an infection, which can sterilize and/or kill an unspayed bitch.
- Tumors: These can develop, as in humans, in the ovaries, the uterus and the mammary glands. Spaying eliminates the possibility of ovarian and uterine tumors because those organs are removed. If the female is spayed, the risk of mammary tumors is greatly reduced because the mammary glands are denied the hormones necessary to mature. However, because the urinary tract needs to mature properly, bitches should not be spayed before their first heat cycle, which usually occurs between six and ten months of age. Most mammary tumors, by the time they become noticeable, are malignant. The hormones produced during each succeeding heat cycle feed the tumors and cause them to enlarge and eventually spread to lymph nodes and other organs, putting your pet beyond help.
Whether you own mates or females, if you love your Samoyed and restrict it from free roaming, you are already helping to prevent your pet from reproducing. Likewise, deciding not to breed a“quality” purebred is not neglecting an “obligation” to perpetuate the breed. You are ultimately responsible for the dogs you produce and you need to breed with a purpose, if at all.
AKC Clarifies Position Statements Related to Spaying and Neutering
BREEDING AND ITS RESPONSIBILITIES
Any two canines, one male, one female, can mate — regardless of the breed, whether purebred or mongrel, healthy or sick, sound or lame.
“Breeding” is a combination of art, science, dedication and commitment and should never be undertaken lightly. Breeding dogs is not just a matter of acquiring a dog and bitch from anywhere and mating them and — hey presto — PUPPIES. You can do that, but that does not make you a breeder, just a puppy farmer, who is of no benefit to the breed, or the community. A truly caring, responsible breeder realizes that he or she alone has made the decision that those very babies should be conceived and born. This kind of breeder feels responsibility for each puppy’s health, temperament and rearing, provides an example for others to follow and remains committed to each puppy’s welfare, even after it leaves the breeder’s hand!
If you really love this breed, be an asset to it. Read and learn all that you can to become a caring and responsible breeder so that future generations of Samoyeds will benefit. The alternative is to reread the preceding section on spaying and neutering.
The future of any pure breed of animal (dog, cat, horse, etc.) depends solely upon human “guardians” who assess and promote only quality animals as breeding stock. Purebreds bred with no planning may be no better than breeding by random choice. Poor quality dogs, even though they are purebred dogs, reproduced over several generations, will allow the evolution of offspring with little or no resemblance to the original generations. If we want to always have beautiful, sound, silver-tipped, smiling, compatible Samoyeds around as pets for future generations, then we must assure that someone is breeding to protect and preserve those essential traits.
BOOKS FOR GUIDANCE
THE SAMOYED BOOK (Hoflin Publishing): Composed by Samoyed breeders. An encyclopedic reference of the breed, its care, breeding and training with detailed references to some of the major kennels. Over 300 pages and 450 photos. 1984.
THE BEST OF THE FIRST TEN YEARS OF THE SAMOYED QUARTERLY: 1977-1986 (Hoflin Publishing): Nearly 500 pages and hundreds of photographs. Articles on all aspects of breed care and activity written by numerous breeders 1993.
THE NEW SAMOYED, Robert H. & Dolly Ward & Mardee Ward-Fanning (Howell Book House, 1633., NY, NY 10019): Authored and compiled by the Wards who are Samoyed Breeders and Judges. Over 300 pages and 250 photos. Excellent review of the Breed.
HOW TO RAISE A PUPPY YOU CAN LIVE WITH, Clarice Rutherford and David H. Neil. (Alpine Publications, 214 Nineteenth St. SE, Loveland, CO): 1981.
CANINE REPRODUCTION: A BREEDER’S GUIDE. Phyllis A. Holst, MS, DVM. (Alpine Publications, Inc., 214 Nineteenth St. SE, Loveland, CO 80537): An informative guide for the breeder.
SHOULD YOU OFFER YOUR MALE AT STUD?
Because he’s beautiful and AKC registered, you may think your male Samoyed should be producing puppies. Maybe a friend or neighbor wants him to sire puppies by their female, who may not be purebred.
Perhaps you think using your dog as a stud dog will recover the cost and expense of acquiring and keeping your male. You might think it could provide you with easy income.
What qualifies your dog as a stud dog? Is he truly beautiful, sound and sweet tempered enough to assure that future generations from him will be quality Samoyeds, or is he beautiful only in your eyes, perhaps just the most beautiful of all the dogs you’ve ever owned? Have his hips been x-rayed for hip dysplasia and certified by OFA as sound? Are his eyes certified clear of all ophthalmic diseases? Has his thyroid baseline been checked? His heart? Has he been tested for canine brucellosis?
The people who purchase his pups and his grand pups will be depending upon his quality, temperament and soundness and will be dependent on your honesty about those matters. Competition at dog shows and asking the opinions of other breeders can help you assess his suitability.
If he does qualify as a dog to be used as a stud dog based on his quality, pedigree and health, you then face certain responsibilities and even potential threats to his health:
You have to make judgments about each bitch available to breed to your dog. Are you knowledgeable enough to answer all the owner’s questions about breeding, whelping, raising and selling puppies, or can you help the owner find that assistance? Most bitch owners have their own priorities. Assuming a bitch is a good specimen of a Samoyed, will you be able to insist that she be tested for brucellosis and that her hips, eyes and heart be checked and cleared for genetic, or personal health problems prior to breeding? Can you gently and tactfully turn down an unqualified or unsound bitch?
Do you know what is necessary to keep your stud dog in top physical condition so that he will be able to successfully reproduce?
What if no puppies are produced from the mating? Are you prepared to test your mate, to rebreed, or to return the stud fee to the owner of the bitch?
Can you provide housing and care for the bitch during the mating period, however long that may be?
Do you have competent professionals who can assist if you need them to determine breeding readiness or to assist with potentially expensive artificial inseminations?
Do you know how to handle dogs that are difficult to breed? What if your male refuses your assistance or the female wants no part of breeding and attempts to harm your dog, or you?
What if the bitch owner has made little provision for the sale of the puppies? Do you want your male’s offspring to end up in the pound, sold to pet stores, given away to just anybody, or perhaps killed because the growing puppies are too expensive to feed and inoculate?
Do you know how to help or who to ask if some of the puppies’ new owners are having serious problems with training, behavior, or genetic problems like hip dysplasia? They may call you because the owner of the bitch doesn’t know how to help them or just doesn’t want to be bothered.
Who pays the bills, if, despite all your careful planning and care your dog is injured, infested with parasites or infected with some disease caused by the bitch?
Can you adjust to a “macho” attitude in your dog? Many dogs exhibit drastic personality changes when a nearby bitch comes into season, including leg lifting in the house, frantic attempts to escape that result in demolished doors, crates, windows, and fences. These urges may also be directed to attempt to dominate you. Can you handle your dog challenging your authority?
Do you know how to register a litter?
SHOULD YOU BREED YOUR BITCH?
She does not need a litter to develop properly physically.
She does not need puppies to feel fulfilled. She has you.
What if she dies in whelping? Will the puppies have been worth sacrificing your own pet?
Is she truly gorgeous, as a breeder or a dog show judge would assess, or simply the most beautiful bitch you’ve ever owned? Is she a high-quality Samoyed, sound and free of genetic diseases? Is she truly sweet tempered or have you learned to tolerate or overlook her little quirks and temper tantrums?
Is the proposed stud dog a high-quality Samoyed, sound and free of genetic defects? The pups will carry some of his characteristics. If the bitch is outstanding, a lesser quality dog will compromise the quality of the pups.
Is the stud dog free of contagious diseases and parasites? Is he clear of brucellosis? If he infects your bitch, you will face expensive medical treatment and sterility.
What about the stud dog owner? Is the owner able to assist you with those things you don’t know or may be ill prepared for? Do you trust the owner of the stud dog to be honest? If you experience problems, do you feel the breeder will be helpful if a genetic problem manifests itself in your litter? Do you trust your female in the stud dog owner’s care while she’s being bred, if you have to leave her there?
Do you know how to register a litter?
If a breeder declines to breed their stud dog to your bitch, try to determine the reason why. It might benefit you to obtain several breeders’ opinions of your female. Studying males and their pedigrees and looking at the puppies produced from certain lines and certain types of females will help you understand whether a particular dog is complementary to your bitch. An ideal male is capable of providing strength in an area in which your bitch may need improvement.
If your bitch is truly not a good specimen of the breed and you are still intent on raising a litter, seek to obtain a better quality bitch. The reward could be good quality puppies.
As the eternal optimist, you think you could sell a dozen or more puppies. It seems everyone you know or meet wants a puppy from your bitch. Once the puppies are ready to leave home, guess what answers you might get:
- We’re expecting a baby and won’t have time;
- We already got one from the pet store;
- The carpeting is too new and we need you to keep it until it’s housebroken;
- The children aren’t old enough to care for it. BEWARE, children should never be the custodians of the dog;
- The kids are too old now and are too busy to have a dog;
- Our house is too small;
- We don’t have the fence up yet;
- When we move next fall, we can have a pup, but not now;
- My husband decided he wants a Doberman;
- Our old dog is still living and a new pup would hurt his feelings; and/or
- Our cat hates dogs.
Get the idea? Only count on the people who will give you a cash deposit. Even then, some of them change their minds, thinking its better to forfeit a deposit than to spend that much more money.
Raising a litter is expensive and requires a lot of time and work. The larger the litter, the greater the costs. Costs will be incurred to:
- Have your bitch’s inoculations updated;
- Have her hips x-rayed and certified by OFA, her thyroid checked, her heart evaluated by a veterinary cardiologist, her eyes tested by an ophthalmologist, her blood tested for canine brucellosis and perform the DNA screens for X-Linked PRA and Retinal Dysplasia/OSD;
- Pay the stud fee, usually equal to the price of a puppy. Beware of granting pick puppy as the stud fee; the stud owner may choose to take the puppy you become attached to and want to keep;
- Shipping fee, or fees for artificial insemination, if the stud dog is not nearby;
- Board, as it’s not always included in the stud fee;
- Special dietary needs including food and supplements;
- Construction of whelping facilities and a puppy pen for growing puppies;
- Lost wages if you need to stay home the day of whelping and the first few days of the new litter;
- Provide postpartum care and hope you don’t have to have the occasional Caesarean delivery, sick or weak pup;
- Remove dewclaws on each pup;
- Food — in the event it is a large or orphaned litter, expensive milk replacement formula to supplement them;
- Food — special weaning diet for the puppies;
- Food — dry and canned food especially formulated for the growing needs of puppies. The more puppies there are, the more food you need;
- Bedding, such as pine shavings, great to keep puppies clean, by the bale;
- First puppy shots at five weeks and second at eight or nine;
- Advertising the puppies, including telephone calls;
- More puppy food for unsold pups;
- More puppy shots for unsold pups at twelve weeks;
- More advertising and more telephone calls;
- Sixteen-week shots if some are still there.
- A take home packet for each pup as it goes to its new home, containing information about the care of growing pups, pedigrees, information about sire and dam, photos, samples of puppy food, puppy toys, etc.
A 1996 Dog World article indicated that to breed and raise a litter of five pups to ten weeks of age, when you do not own the stud dog, can cost as much as $1928 & $4,333, IF all the pups are sold by that age.
What if you have bred the bitch and paid the stud fee and all the associated costs up to that point, but a neighbor’s dog, black, brown, or spotted jumps the fence or burrows under, and ALSO breeds her? Stud fees are usually non-refundable, and mongrels cost just as much as purebreds to deliver, raise, feed and inoculate The puppies of a bitch bred by more than one dog cannot be registered; they are considered to be no more than mongrels.
Do you have the time and patience to raise a litter?
From the date of breeding, your female will whelp in about nine weeks, 57 to 65 days. The puppies will need to stay with you at least eight weeks. Not all puppies are sold as soon as they are ready to leave. Some could be with you for several months, whether you are trying to decide which one to keep or you cannot find a good home. This means neither vacations nor major absences during that period, unless a guardian angel lives in your neighborhood
If your bitch requires a cesarean section, to deliver the puppies, a new set of knowledge is necessary. You may be required to become a second mom during the period she is recovering and may not accept them. You will have to feed them and help them eliminate every two hours around the clock until she feels ready to take over. Some never do.
If the mother dies during or soon after whelping, this, every-two hour ritual will continue for two weeks, then every three to four hours, still around the clock, until they are four weeks old. Think about what interrupted sleep can do to your family. You will need everyone’s help and support.
If healthy, Mom will usually clean the puppies the first few weeks. About the time you feed the pups real food, Mom goes on strike and the cleaning is up to you. Pine shavings assist in the clean-up process but, whether shavings or newspapers, the clean up is necessary every few hours. If the weather is good, the pups can be trained to go outside at four weeks or so. The larger the litter, the bigger the mess. There is no way to describe the feeling that your work is never done; kind of like doing dishes in a 24-hour cafeteria.
Puppies, once weaned, must be fed on a routine, four times a day, each and every day. There is no way to take a long absence without help during this period.
At four weeks, the grooming, nail trimming and training begins in earnest. Each puppy needs this time and attention, no matter HOW large the litter!
If the pups are indoors, downstairs, or in some other area far from the outside door, you must carry them in and out of doors, out and in, and endlessly for exercise, sunshine and house breaking.
Do you have the time to spend at least ten minutes every day with each puppy, alone, to socialize each pup so it can successfully fit in with its new family and the world of noises, children and the hustle and bustle of the world outside your home?
You will spend countless hours on the phone answering lots of questions. Many responses to your ads are only curiosity seekers and merely take up your time: time spent away from the rest of your life.
What about the responsibility of trying to ensure the transition and success of each puppy into its new home?
Can you match the one or two “show prospects” with the families who want to show them? Can you assure them the puppy has no ma or faults like PRA or hip dysplasia, which are genetic predispositions of Samoyeds?
Can you match the right personalities to the right people, or has the overbearing male pup left with the soft guy, the timid puppy with three bully kids and the wild pup with the lady who can not say no? Can you be caring enough about your puppies to turn away buyers who are buying puppies for the wrong reasons or who will not be able to properly care for them?
Can you furnish and explain the correct AKC registration forms, pedigrees and breed information?
Can you refer the new owners to training classes, or are you experienced enough to help them yourself if no training classes are available?
Do you know and can you demonstrate the correct grooming procedures, including nail trimming and tooth brushing and scaling?
Can you help the new owners learn what is necessary to begin to enter matches and shows and begin to show their puppy?
Can you establish a fair policy for replacing or refunding a defective puppy and determine your standards for triggering the policy?
Can you have a puppy euthanized if that is necessary because of health problems? Can you handle it emotionally?
Can you take back an unwanted puppy and refund its purchase price? You are the reason for the puppy’s very existence and you owe it a fair shake at life.
Do not breed your dog or bitch just to give your children a lesson in nature, nor because you believe that breeding your dog or bitch makes them more fulfilled. Not only can you not control what happens, explaining it can be even more than you are able or willing to handle.
Most whelpings (the birth) take several hours and seem to occur most often through the night when children refuse to awaken for any reason.
Most children and many adults find the birthing process rather unpleasant and very stressful. Even the most experienced are never sure that everything will go well and that they know what to do next. The birthing is a rather messy process with mom and puppies covered with various fluids. Mom will be uncomfortable, sometimes crying out in pain and will be pacing and generally agitated which adds to the tension and stress for those in attendance. A puppy sometimes need assistance to get started and Mom often steps on them and pays little attention to each pup until all are born.
Can you explain if a puppy is born dead, or dies soon after birth? You will likely be too busy trying to resuscitate the puppy, to be of consolation to your own panic-stricken child.
What if the mother suddenly dies while whelping?
If complications arise, will you have the expertise to assist, or the time and patience to explain, while trying to get help?
It’s truly best to let the children sleep, with you helping deliver the puppies in solitude and hope that you can present a new, all cleaned up litter of healthy puppies come morning.
If you are prepared for all the time, work, expense and frustration, you will probably find breeding and raising a litter to be exciting and rewarding in many other ways – just like the Samoyed fanciers before you who have labored, with love, to make this information available to you.