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Only the very best males should be used at stud. The only reason anyone should breed his animal is to try to improve the breed. A bitch owner can go to any of the top stud dogs in the country. So, what does your dog have to offer?

- Has your male been evaluated in the show ring by qualified judges against top competition?

- Has he been OFA certified clear of hip dysplasia?

- Have his eyes been checked by a veterinary ophthalmologist, who certified him clear of PRA and other hereditary eye defects?

- Has he been cleared of all other health problems associated with the breed?

- Has he been tested clear of brucellosis?

- Is he of the proper temperament?

If you can answer yes to the above questions and you are one of the lucky few to own an outstanding dog, are you ready and qualified to handle a stud dog?

Breeding doesn't always happen 1-2-3. Do you have the necessary facilities to board a bitch in season to keep her safely in and the neighbor's dogs out? Are you prepared to board a problem bitch that the owner just doesn't want around while she is in season because it is too much of a hassle?

Are you prepared to spend sleepless nights with your boarding bitch in season barking and your male pacing and howling?

Are you prepared to handle the problem bitch that doesn't want to be bred and tries to tear your dog to shreds?

Are you qualified to evaluate pedigrees and judge if your dog's five generation pedigree will complement the bitch's? After all, it's your dog's name and reputation you’re passing on to the litter.

Are you qualified to advise the bitch owner on whelping and puppy care? If your dog is bred to a bitch belonging to a novice owner, that owner is going to expect you to have all the answers.

Do you have a ready market for the offspring of your stud dog to help the bitch owner place the litter? (This is usually achieved by showing your dog and having him become well-known. A lot of time and money must be put into your dog if you want to get anything back.)

Have you seen many bitches in season at all, and can you tell when it is best to breed the bitch?

Have you ever assisted in a breeding, or even seen one so you will know if something isn't going right and what to do about it? Even experienced dog breeders run into problems on occasion and some individuals or breeds are more difficult to breed than others.

Do you realize it's more than just putting two dogs in an area together? Do you realize that leaving a dog and a bitch in season alone together can be disastrous and may physically harm both?

Are you prepared for the wear and tear on your stud dog....his not eating, pacing, and constant whining will not be easy to cope with, especially if you do show him and are trying to keep him in good show condition. Are you prepared for the fact he may begin to urinate on your furnishings to mark territory? Some males have been known to become more dominant or even aggressive when used at stud.

And, if you manage to get through all this, are you prepared to go through it all again in six months when you learn the bitch was not in whelp the first time?

Do you know what an appropriate stud fee is in your breed and what you will guarantee for that fee? Have you written up your stud service contract?

When (NOT if) an inheritable health problem does occur in his offspring, are you prepared to handle the bitch's owner and the puppy buyer who blame it on your stud dog and are extremely upset?

It has happened that an entire litter of young puppies was dumped on the stud dog owner when the bitch's owners could no longer cope with them because they didn't realize how much responsibility caring for a litter involved. Are you ready to take care of and place your dog's offspring if this should happen to you? Remember you are as responsible for the welfare of the puppies as is the owner of the bitch.

Standing your dog at stud is a great responsibility. Handling a strange bitch in season should not be taken lightly. Remember, she is as precious to her owners as your dogs are to you, and she must be handled with great care.

Before you even think about using your dog at stud, be sure you have a top quality dog.

A tip should be taken from the top horse breeders. Only 10% of the male foals born remain stallions. The rest are gelded to improve their temperament and increase their stability and reliability. The same should be done with dogs. An unaltered dog is more difficult to live with and can breed many bitches if allowed to roam.

Some 240,000 dogs and cats are born every day. Only one in ten are adopted. The rest are put to death. Don't contribute to this problem by careless or haphazard breeding of your dog.

(Adapted from literature of the Pennsylvania Federation of Dog Clubs/Lehigh Valley Kennel Club/Central Maryland Dalmatian Club)

Presented as a public service by Warrenton Kennel Club.