New arguments for breeding older dog moms
I have always been uncomfortable with the saying “Breed them young, breed them often” with regards to dog breeding. This is most often heard from reproductive veterinarians who are telling breeders how to most easily get puppies from their bitches. They typically follow this statement with “and then spay them.”
Breeding Young Results in More Puppies.
From one perspective, this makes sense. Like people, bitches are most fertile early in their lives. Furthermore, some specialists hypothesize that canine uteruses are made to be pregnant, claiming that every other heat cycle “damages” that important organ. And finally, they recommend spaying promptly to reduce the risk of pyometra, an infection that unspayed bitches can get as they age. So it’s no surprise that veterinary reproduction specialists tell us to breed during the most fertile years, and avoid disease by keeping bitches pregnant and neutering them as soon as we are done breeding them.
But Are They Better Puppies?
However, I’d like to offer another perspective for dog breeders. If you follow the “breed them young, breed them often” philosophy, you are evaluating the quality and genetic potential of your bitch very early in her life, before you know who she will be as an adult, which for most dog breeds including my goldens is after they turn 3. For those that do higher-level training that takes years for dogs to learn, you are not only breeding before you know that your dog can achieve the highest level of success but you are interrupting her training with motherhood.