Thursday, January 17, 2008

New to Breeding?

(This blog originally posted on 6/26/2005).

"Raising Puppies for Pleasure and Profit" by Elizabeth Schuler, copyright 1970.

"Raising puppies can be one of the most rewarding of family projects. I like to think that boys and girls who grow up with dogs around the house somehow get to be the best men and women. Certainly having a mother dog is an easy way to teach some of the facts of life; she provides some fun money for Mom; and really it's not all that much trouble." - page 1, Chapter 1 "Puppies for Pleasures and Profits".

"Heresy! I tell you! Mad, mad heresy!" giggles Ms. X. Should she say, "Finally, a book that treats dog breeding in a realistic, sensible manner for the average person"? Except this particular gem was written in 1970.

Oh, then that means it's an outdated, antiquated manual based on folklore and old wives 'tails'. Books like that are the reason shelters are full and purebred dogs have health issues.


Nope. Wrong again. There is nothing antiquated about the advise in this book. Ms. Schuler gives ample warnings about health problems in breeds and genetic disorders to be watchful for and to test for. If she fails to list all of the ones known today, even the dullest reader can extrapolate her intentions to cover modern ailments.

What's more, Ms. Schuler gives great advise on caring for and housing the mother and the babies, what to do during the delivery and tips for socializing and training puppies. Careful selection of proper homes for the babies is not neglected either.

And she does this all with a friendly, helpful, easy-to-understand style, respectful of the new breeder and encouraging of their sure success.

In fact there are only two areas where Ms. X found Ms. Schuler to be behind the curve -
1) in nutrient recommendation. This is easily understood when you realize that the quality of kibbled and canned dog foods was not as good in 1970 as it is today.
2) Ms. Schuler recommends yearly vaccination schedules. Understanding of vaccines, and improvments in vaccines have also changed since 1970.

Just like with nutrition, today's new breeder will surely research beyond any single text to provide the very best for their pets.

But for every new breeder, and many old ones, this book would be a valuable addition to the dog library. Ms. Schuler wisely captures truths that have evaporated from most modern dog literature - that something is wrong if breeding dogs is just back to back problems.

And most appealing of all, Ms. Schuler respects her readers.

Ms. X recommends: "You won't regret tracking down a copy of this Out of Print gem. Great overview of breeding, just don't make it your only dog reference book."