Thoughts on Breeding

Identifying a Responsible Breeder


Date July 4, 2000
Things to consider before breeding your schnauzer
                                                 By Amy Gordon

It is scientifically proven that the earlier you spay or neuter your companion dog, the less chance of developing certain kinds of cancers.   You also do not have to put up with the twice yearly heat cycles and resultant possible mood swings in females and wandering and inappropropriate behavior such as leg lifting in males.  Spaying or neutering should be thought of as a way to improve your dog's life and yours.  It is simply an old wives tale that a dog should be bred at least once before it is fixed.  It is actually a case of 'what he doesn't know, he won't miss.'

Considering the amount of unwanted and stray dogs today, by not breeding your pet, you will be making a very real contribution to animal welfare as a whole and the breed we all love.  Most of the unwanted and stray purebreds come from "puppy mills" who breed heavily and without regard for quality or genetic testing or screening.  A second major source is pet owners who breed their animals without realizing the responsibilities of placing the puppies and taking into account hereditary health issues.   Breeding dogs has become a complex, expensive and demanding practice, which should be backed up by genetic information and screening and a thorough knowledge of the desired traits in the breed.

Breeding your pet because you want another just like it or because it has a wonderful personality is not necessarily the best idea either.  If you want one like your dog then I suggest you go back to the breeder you got your dog from.  If you breed to a dog from another line, you won't necessarily get one just like yours.  As far as your pet having a good temperament, there is more to breeding than that.  Health issues are important also.

For those that are saying to themselves, 'Well I don't want to breed show dogs, just nice pets.'.  Don't pets deserve to be healthy also?  All litters should be planned with health issues in mind and research to see if any relatives are affected or the dogs themselves are affected.

This said, I am sure that if you are going to breed, you want to produce healthy, quality  puppies.   The following are some of the things that serious breeders do to produce puppies that are of the highest quality in conformation, temperament and health:

Experienced breeders do extensive pedigree research and plan each litter very carefully.   They are well-read and experienced in health matters. They have a large circle of experienced breeder contacts who can offer advice  and assistance if needed.  Most belong to local and national breed clubs.   These clubs spearhead health research, offer educational programs, newsletters with pertinent articles, and most importantly offer breeders an opportunity to meet other experienced breeders.  They enter their dogs in competition to be sure they are  worthy of enhancing the breed.  That can only be determined  by competition with others and receiving an objective evaluation by a qualified expert.

There is a general misconception that AKC registration symbolizes quality. The American Kennel Club is simply a registry, not a guarantee of quality, good health, or correct temperament.  There are documented cases of individuals who have faked registration papers.

There are some health issues that affect the breed.   It is recommend that these be thoroughly researched and studied before breeding.  Some of the conditions commonly seen in the breed are allergies, bad skin, pancreatitis, diabetes, epilepsy, autoimmune diseases and bladder stones.  Serious breeders purge from the gene pool dogs that are affected by any of the above conditions.

 As there are a few hereditary eye diseases seen in the breed, The American Miniature Schnauzer Club recommends having breeding stock tested by a Certified Veterinary Opthamologist once a year.  They also recommend having the pups checked as some eye problems can be seen by a Veterinary Opthamologist at even 8 weeks of age.   Eye problems can not  be detected by your regular veterinarian until full fruition of the condition.  A VO can see the condition before it become apparent to the owner and thus maybe before it is bred.   The American Miniature Schnauzer Club has sponsored research into some of the more common hereditary eye diseases seen in the breed.   A test breeding program was developed to help eradicate congenital cataracts, a very common problem a few years ago.  This condition has been virtually wiped out and eye checks are recommended to make sure the progress made by dedicated breeders is not reversed. Recently, the AMSC has conducted the largest and most successful fundraising effort by a national breed club to date.  The club is using this money to fund research to find the gene
that causes Progressive Retinal Atrophy in Miniature Schnauzers.  If successful, we will then have a simple blood test to detect carriers of the condition.

A breeder needs to be experienced in the matters of taking care of the pregnant and afterwards, nursing mother.  How much and what  to feed her and when.  A breeder needs to be knowledgeable in the actual whelping procedure and caring for the newborn pups.  There are dewclaws to remove, tails to be docked.

Things might not necessarily run smoothly.   The new mother could require a cesarian section, which of course is quite costly, and there is always the chance that the mother does not survive.    There is always the chance that one or more of the pups could be born with a birth defect.   The breeder should have the pups examined by their vet, as a matter of fact, in some states it is the law to provide the new owner a health certificate.

The stud dog owner needs to be knowledgeable about the actual mating.  It is not just a matter of putting a male and in-season female in the same room and letting 'nature take it's course'.  The male, especially if inexperienced, might not know what to do and require assistance.  A female could be unresponsive and possibly be nasty to the male.

A reputable breeder shows a general interest in, love for and knowledge of the breed and dogs in general.  He or she cares about placing puppies in good homes and will often interview potential buyers and counsel them on the appropriateness of a Miniature Schnauzer for their situation.

A reputable breeder knows the lineage of his/her dogs going back many generations and will provide you with a multi-generation pedigree. Conscientious breeders strive for their puppies to match the breed standard; that is, be what a schnauzer is supposed to be like.

A reputable breeder will be there to answer questions and to help with any problems for the life of the dog.  The breeder should be willing to take the dog back or help you place it in another loving home if at any time in the future you are unable to keep the dog.

A reputable breeder follows up on the puppies.  He or she is interested in how the pups develop physically and mentally, difficulties in the owner/dog relationship and health problems.

A reputable breeder will not sell puppies before 8 weeks of age or crop ears before 6 weeks of age and will use a knowledgeable professional to do so with proper aftercare.

The best way to gain more knowledge on the subject is to contact breeders in your area.  They will be a wealth of experience.

Also, there are many good books on the subject that you should be able to find at your local bookstore.  Some recommended reading material:

The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog  - Anne Serrane
Successful Dog Breeding: The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery - Chris
The Book of The Bitch: A Complete Guide to Understanding and Caring for
Bitches - J M Evans
Breeding a Litter: The Complete Book of Prenatal and Postnatal Care - Beth Harris
Canine Reproduction: A Breeder's Guide  - Phyllis A Holst
Dog Breeding for Professionals  -  Herbert Richards
Genetics of the Dog - Malcolm B Willis
The Art of Raising a Puppy - The Monks of New Skete

Here are some web sites you might be interested in visiting:

Breeding Your Dog:
Breeding, Whelping and Rearing puppies:


Date: Monday, 15-May-00 04:30 PM

I have heard from several of you asking if I was going to send out the
promised follow-up on the actual cost of Gabby's litter.  SO I have added in the additional expenditures that I can recall below.  You can bet that I have "forgotten" quite a few.  <G>  These figures ought to make anyone think before they choose to breed a bitch.
What do YOU think?


Date: Wednesday, 19-Jan-00 10:16 PM  
  (ACTUAL COST OF A LITTER) Since during the past few weeks there have been discussions as to whether or not to breed "your" bitch, I thought that there would be some interest in exactly what the cost has been to get Gabby's six babies here safely.  [Please note that these expenditure do NOT include the initital cost of a  champion bitch  (Ch. Daree's Talkin' A Blue Streak) which is considerable!!!!]

$  75    Gabby - Examination, Rabies Shot, Brucellosis Test & Health Certificate - Required Before Breeding  
$ 550   Stud Service Fee for "Ch. Repitition's Cornerstone"  
$ 167   Gabby Only  -Flight Back to Missouri from Georgia (Cost of trip to Georgia  was not figured as we drove there to visit family at the same time,
but MOST breedings require two flights at TWICE the air fare.)  
$   40   Vitamins for Pregnancy & After Whelping  
$   20    Office Call/Exam - 2 Visits to Vet  (no charge for follow up)  
$   50    Radiology - Due to Gabby's Pregnancy Size  
$   55    Vet Test - General Health Profile  
$   18    Vet Test CBC - Follow Up  
$   25    Radiology - follow Up  
$   12    Vet Test - Electrolytes - Follow Up  
$   30    Radiology - Follow Up  
$   14    Oxytocin & Calcium Shots for Gabby (to have on hand for whelping but unused)  Dopram (to have on hand for pups, also unused due to c-section).   
$ 300    Whelp Wise Perinatel Monitoring Service  
$   30    Radiology - Day of Whelping  
$   15    Intravenious Cathetor  
$     5    Injection Cap  
$   38    Fluids IV  
$   25    Propofol Anesthetic  
$   73    Gas Anesthesia/Monitor  (Gas is my choice as it is much safer than older type anesthetics.)  
$   40    Surgical Supplies  
$ 180    Caesarian Section, Complications  
$     8    Pain Relief Injection  
$     5    IV Tubing  
$ 120    Blood Transfusion (oxyglobin)  
$   20    Torbutrol 5 mg tablets for Pain Relief  
$     6    Amoxitabs 200 mg


$  100    Lectro Kennel, Control and Heat Lamp for Whelping Box (Flora's Howard made the whelping box or that would be another expense.)  
$    40    Puppies - Tail Docking  
$    40   Gabby - Follow Up Office Visits to Vet (Urinary Tract Irritation)  
$      6   And More Amoxitabs  
$    15   Calcium Tablets for Gabby Due to Size of Litter  
$    30   Nemex Worming Liquid for Gabby & Pups (Done at 3, 5, 8, and 10 Weeks)  
$    72   Puppy Shots - Given 4 Times to 6 pups @ 3.00 each (These are 15 each at the vet's.)  
$    20   Corona Shots for 6 Pups & Gabby (Again, these are 15 each at vet's.)  
$   402   Ear Crops, Medications, Supplies

$2646 TOTAL CASH OUTLAY ON THE PUPS' 4 MONTH BIRTHDAY   (Does NOT include dogs' food nor out of town mileage for either the breeding or the ear crops.)   I want folks to know just how expensive breeding a bitch CAN be.  It is certainly nothing to be taken lightly, either financially or emotionally.  As I have said earlier,  every breeding carries with it some danger to your beloved "girls" - and one must be prepared to take every precaution  to bring them through the whelping safely.  We were very lucky that Gabby and all six puppies made it safely through!!!!

Cheers to All from the Home of Gabby's Wonderful Babies!!!

Kennalea Pratt
Starbound Miniature Schnauzers


Subject: Long but Worth the Read-From the Lab-L List. I have
permission to post this on other lists.  Louise H
SO YOU WANT TO BE A BREEDER?. - breeding the female.

So you want to breed your female. You know what to expect if everything goes right. Your little girl will present you with tiny bundles of joy. She will lovingly nurse them and care for them until they are old enough to be weaned

You and your family will find great joy in watching and playing with these little dolls, and then when the time is right they will all (or maybe you keep just one) go off to special homes to live out their lives as cherished companions. But have you given consideration to what if something goes wrong? I have listed here a few of the problems that I myself have personal knowledge of. Everything listed has happened either to me or someone I know.  These are not isolated incidents. I'm sure other breeders could add miles to my list. Learn by others mistakes!. Let the breeding up to those who know what they are doing, have the experience, know what to expect.

What if during the breeding............

1) The stud dog you have chosen is carrying a venereal disease and gives it to your female. She not only doesn't conceive but you have to pay the vet bills to get her infection cleared up and she is now sterile.

2) The stud dog you decided to breed your darling to is not experienced. Once the two dogs are joined tightly in a tie, he decides to chase the neighbors cat out of his yard. He bolts for the cat ripping his penis loose and causing your bitch to hemorrhage from within.

3) Your modest girl decides she doesn't want the attentions of this gigolo mutt chosen for her without her consent. She snaps at him catching her tooth on his loose cheek and rips it open sending blood flying everywhere. He retaliates by sinking his teeth into her left eye.

4) You leave your dog with the stud owner because the breeding is not going very swiftly. In fact, it's been three hours and nothing is happening. The stud owners leave the two dogs alone in the back yard. The dogs get out through a tiny hole in the fence and a truck hits your female.

5) You pay the $250-$1,000 stud fee up front figuring you will make that and more back when the pups sell. The breeder guarantees the stud service to work or you can come back again. After 2 months you discover it didn't work and now must wait another 4 months to try again. Of course it doesn't work again, so in another 4 months you take your dog to another male and risk loosing another stud fee.

6) You get her bred. Bring her home. She bothers you so you let her out and she is still in heat and still receptive to males). You here a commotion outside there is your girl tied up with the neighborhood mutt. when she whelps there will need to be DNA tests done on the pups.

7) You get her bred. bring her home . let her out. ( She is still in heat and receptive to other males) but you do not see the neighborhood mutt breed her. The pups are born but look odd. You call the stud owner he suggests DNA testing (At your expense). You have a litter of mutts!. What do you do about the ones you have already sold?.

8) Or knowing she tied with the neighborhood mutt you decide to
terminate the pregnancy and try again being more careful next time. But a few weeks later your female is very sick because you had her given a miss-mate shot creating a hormonal imbalance causing a uterine infection and now she has Pyometra and needs a complete hysterectomy. All plans of getting a litter is gone and your females life is now in danger if she does not have the operation.

What if during the birth..............

1) The puppies are too large for the female. She never goes into labor, the puppies die and she becomes infected by the decaying bodies.

2) The puppies are coming breech and they drown in their own sacks before they can be born.

3) The first puppy is large and breech. When it starts coming your female starts screaming, and before you can stop her she reaches around, grabs the puppy in her teeth and yanks it out killing it instantly.

4) A puppy gets stuck. Neither your female nor you can get it out. You have to race her to the vet. The vet can't get it out either. She has to have an emergency caesarian section of course it is 3:00 am Christmas day.

5) A puppy is coming out breech and dry (the water sack that protects them has burst). It gets stuck. Mom tries to help it out by clamping her teeth over one of the back legs. The head and shoulders are firmly caught. Mom pulls on the leg, hard, peeling the flesh from the leg and leaving a wiggling stump of bone.

6) A dead puppy gets stuck in the birth canal, but your female is well into
hard labor. She contracts so hard trying to give birth that her uterus
ruptures and she bleeds to death on the way to the vet.

If you like this; I have the Part 2 and will post it if you would like to
read the rest of it. Louise H


And after the birthing:

1) The mother has no idea what to do with a puppy and she drops them out and walks away, leaving them in the sack to drown.

2) The mother takes one look at the puppies, decides they are disgusting droppings and tries to smother them in anything she can find to bury them in.

3) The mother gets too enthusiastic in her removal of the placenta and umbilical cord, and rips the cord out leaving a gushing hole pulsing blood all over you as you try in vain to stop the bleeding.

4) Or, she pulls on the cords so hard she disembowels the puppies as they are born and you have a box full of tiny, kicking babies with a tangle of guts the size of a walnut hanging from their stomachs. Of course all the babies must be put to sleep.

5) What if because of some Hormone deficiency, she turns vicious allowing no one near her or the babies, who she refuses to nurse so you have to interfere with.

6) You notice something protruding from her vagina when you let her out to pee. You take her to the vet to discover a prolapsed uterus, which needs to be removed.

What if when you think you are in the clear..................

1) One or more of the puppies inhaled fluid during birth, pneumonia develops and death occurs within 36 hours.

2) what if the mothers milk goes bad. You lose three of your four
puppies before you discover what is wrong. You end up bottle feeding the remaining pup every two hours, day and night. After three days the puppy fades from infection and dies.

3) The puppies develop fading puppy syndrome you lose two. You bottle-feeding or tube feeding the last remaining baby. It begins to choke and despite your efforts to clear the airway, the pup stiffens and dies in your hands.

4) Your female develops mastitis and her breast ruptures.

5) Your female develops a uterine infection from a retained placenta. Her temperature soars to 105. You race her to the vet, he determines she must be spayed. He does the spay in an attempt to save her life, you pay the hundreds of dollars bill. The infection has gone into her blood stream. The infected milk kills all the puppies and the bitch succumbs a day later.

6) All the puppies are fine but following the birth the female develops a hormone imbalance. She becomes a fear biter and anytime anyone tries to touch her she viciously attacks them.

7) Mom and pups seem fine, the puppies are four weeks old and are at their cutest.  However, one day one of the puppies disappears. You search everywhere but you can't find it. A few days later another puppy is gone. And another. You can't figure how on earth the puppies are getting out of their safe 4' x 4' puppy pen. Finally there is only one puppy left. The next morning you find the mother chomping contentedly on what is left of the last murdered puppy.

What if the new homes are not so happy?.......................

1) You give a puppy to a friend. Their fence blows down so they tie the puppy outside while they go to work. A roving dog comes along and kills the puppy. Your friend calls you up to tell you about the poor little puppy and asks when you are having more puppies.

2) You sell a puppy to an acquaintance. The next time you see them you ask how the puppy is doing. They tell you that it soiled their new carpet so they took it to the pound

3) You sell a puppy to a friend (you give them a good price and payments). They make a couple of tiny payments. Six months later they move to an apartment. They ask you to take it back. You take it back and of course the payments stop. The dog they returned is so shy, and ill mannered from lack of socialization and training it takes you a year of work providing socializing and training to be able to give it away.

4) You sell a puppy to a wonderful home. They love her like one of the family. At a vet check done by their vet it is determined that the puppy has a heart murmur. (Your vet found nothing when he checked the puppy before it was sold.) They love their puppy and want the best for her. They have an expensive surgery done. The puppy is fine. They sue you for the medical costs. They win, because you did not have a contract stipulating conditions of guarantee and so as breeder you are responsible for the puppy's genetic health.

5) You give a puppy to your mother.  She is thrilled. Two years later the puppy starts developing problems. It begins to develop odd symptoms and is suffering. Hundreds and hundreds of dollars worth of tests later it is finally discovered that the dog is suffering from a terminal condition that was inherited. possibly from your female since you know nothing about her family lines.

6) One loving home decides your puppy is untrainable, destructive and wants to return the pup and get a full refund, which you have spent on your vet bills.

7) One loving couple calls you and is very upset because their pup has crippling hip dysplasia and want to know what you are going to do about it.  You have spayed your female so a replacement is out of the question, looks like another refund.

The Sale:...................

1) You put your ad in the local paper for your pups at the usual price and get only 2 responses and no sales. You cut the pup's price in half and broaden your advertising to 3 other newspapers in which the advertising totals $120.00 a week.

2) You get a few more puppy inquiries from people who ask all about health testing you did before breeding and if the pups are registered. You tell them your dogs are healthy and it was enough and that you could get the papers. The callers politely thank you and hang up.

3) The pups are now 4 months old and getting bigger , eating alot and their barking is really beginning to annoy the neighbors who call the police who inform you of the $150.00 noise by-law.

4) Your neighbors also call the humane society who comes out to inspect the care of your dogs. You pass inspection but end up feeling stressed and harassed.

5) You finally decide to give the rest of the litter away but still have to pay the $1200.00 advertising bill and the $600.00 vet bill.

Still want to be a breeder????

I want to share with you as a Europe correspondent for the list, the thoughts I have perceived here.  In Britain it is allowed to intermix colors, in Continental Europe it is not.

In Britain people who want to breed black or black and silver try not to produce from pepper and salt (as called here), except if there is a superb S/P specimen and you want to get some of the characteristics into your line, or if there is not enough stock in the related color (as happens with the B/S here).

As told by our list-mates B or B/S which come from S/P may not have the darkest possible color,  and may have s/p shading or some  few white hairs scattered on the coat, but now there is a constant worry over here, because it is said that some of the salt and pepper stock which comes from intense inter-color breeding (as happens in America) seems to loose the characteristic banding (I am talking about having in a single hair black, gray, white, shading/banding) and instead of this they're having gray, black, white and yellow individual hairs which all together seems to be S/P, but in the truth they are not!   Some breeders try not to get off-spring which comes from imports with intense inter-color breeding to avoid this potential problem,  also they're worried because some of the American imports have a "terrier look" especially in the head (remember that for the KC the MS is not a terrier, and for the FCI terrier look is a fault-even tho' some judges seems to judge following the American Standard which is wrong in the FCI countries, as it is to judge with FCI standard in the States), So there is a trend -which I perceive is very strong- to recover the true schnauzer type and to search better NOT DYED color coming from same-color-breeding if possible.

I feel like dogs from Continental Europe which have been same color breeding, with American ancestors are the most accepted here, and the grooming look is somewhere between the plenty of furnishing American style and the traditional Continental one.

About ear cropping and tail docking: In Scandinavian Countries both are banned, in Britain only docking is allowed if done by a licensed vet and on the very first days of live of the puppies, for the FCI if you have a cropped or docked German born dog -it doesn't matter the country-you will not be allowed to show that dog, since cropping and docking is banned there. British like the ears of the schnauzer, because " it improves the expression and accentuates the character of the dog", but it is quite rare to see a long tailed dog and I perceive that schnauzer people here think long-tailed dogs are "silly"

This is also a problem for the breeders, because dogs who come from always cropped lines tend not to have the best uncropped ears and sometimes it is necessary to glue the ears which isn't needed from uncropped lines, which search also for good setting on the ears, same for tails which may not "curve over the back".

This is only my perception, and may not be the feeling of any particular breeder, owner, or handler.  I am only trying to share with you my experience while talking with Schnauzer people in Europe.  I don't refer to any line in particular nor any specific dog and I hope this may enrich our dialogue.

* Rogelio's personal thoughts (It's just my opinion)
* I feel like the British grooming is balanced and nice. Excessive      furnishings don't allow you to appreciate the dog.
* I don't want cropping/docking banned, BUT Judges have to see more than ears and tails,  Have a look of the rest of the dog! "Complete dogs" should have the same chances in the ring.  In fact is harder to breed a good tail, good ear, good rest of the dog.
* What's the idea of dyeing dogs?  I think it's nonsense. Why not  try instead to improve the colors?
* I don't want to have inter-color breeding banned BUT I don't agree to  systematic inter-color breeding, especially in FCI countries (like Mexico) where colors are judged separately but intermixed while breeding.  I don't think color is the most important quality in a dog like the schnauzer,  BUT the dog as a WHOLE.
* I think this is a great way to share opinions and experiences.
Best regards,   Rogelio at Manchester, England.