What could be nicer than having a litter from your bitch?

If you have a Cesky Terrier bitch you might be tempted to breed a litter from her. Breeding is a very serious business, and should only be undertaken after serious thought. Please consider the following points before making this decision.
Is my bitch good enough? Before planning a litter from your bitch you should make sure that she is a quality example of the breed. We all think our own dogs are perfect, but there are some faults that are difficult to eradicate, and whilst your bitch may be a wonderful pet, that does not necessarily make her an ideal brood bitch. Obviously she should be in perfect health and will have ideally attended several shows so that her quality can be evaluated by breed specialists. She will have a current clear KC/BVA eye certificate. She must have a good temperament. Bitches that are nervous or aggressive will teach their puppies to behave in a similar manner.

Does my bitch have breeding restrictions? Many breeders will endorse all their puppies "progeny not eligible for registration". They do this not because they want to stop the new owner breeding - but because they are concerned that all litters are produced responsibly and with consideration for health and welfare. Such endorsements should have been pointed out to you at the time of purchasing your puppy, and you should discuss their lifting before planning your mating.

Can I afford the costs involved and do I have the time to rear a litter successfully? Breeding a litter and caring for the bitch and her puppies is expensive and very time consuming. You must have funds available for the stud fee, eye testing fee, vet fees (these can be costly particularly if a caesarean section is needed), quality food for Mum and pups once weaned, set up equipment (whelping box, bedding, heating, puppy pen, etc), Kennel Club registration fees. Bear in mind, if you have a small litter or incur high veterinary expenses, you may make a loss on your litter - breeding puppies is not an easy way to make money unless you cut corners or mass produce pups on a commercial scale as puppy farmers do. Often, it may be necessary to keep puppies for longer than 8 weeks if the right homes are not forthcoming, so you need to be prepared for this and for the extra costs involved in feeding and vaccinating older pups.

If you can bear the financial costs, do you have the time available? Looking after a bitch with a newborn litter requires round the clock attention initially - it is not something you can do if you work long hours. Once the puppies are weaned, the hard work really begins. It is very rewarding to rear a litter properly, but it is a never-ending round of feeding, cleaning up followed by more feeding and more cleaning up! The breeder must also make the effort to socialise puppies by introducing them to common household noises and letting them meet all sorts of different people, including children, all under careful supervision of course. Time also needs to be spent on vetting potential owners, making sure that your precious puppies only go the most suitable homes - this can be one of the most difficult aspects of breeding a litter as enquirers are not always what they seem when they first make contact with a breeder. Sadly not all enquirers can offer a good home environment for a puppy.

Could I cope if things go wrong? Whilst it is true that most Cesky Terrier bitches make good mothers and have trouble free pregnancies, there are also occasions when things do go disastrously wrong. Sometimes a caesarean section is required to deliver puppies safely and very occasionally a breeder can lose both the bitch and all her puppies. Other problems that could arise include a failure by the bitch to produce milk, meaning her puppies have to be hand-reared (requiring bottle feeding every 2 hours round the clock). Occasionally puppies die – can you and your family cope with this emotionally?

Can I provide after sales help and advice to my puppy buyers? A responsible breeder will always be happy to answer questions and provide advice to new puppy owners should they need it. This means having good knowledge on subjects like puppy training and common health issues. A responsible breeder also has a lifetime responsibility to the puppies they produce. This means being prepared to take back one of their puppies (however old he/she might be) for rehoming should the need arise (unfortunately people's circumstances do change), even if the timing is not convenient for the breeder. Responsible breeders do not ‘pass the buck’ to Cesky Welfare or to general Rescue Societies. A breeder must also bear the moral responsibility if any of their puppies develops a hereditary defect. It needs to be noted that sometimes the courts will make breeders legally responsible for such defects - buyers are now much more aware of their consumer rights & puppies are treated like any other ‘goods’ under current consumer legislation.

Code of Ethics You should acquaint yourself with the Kennel Club's Code of Ethics.

If after considering the above, you decide that you are ready for the responsibility of breeding a litter, then you should consult your bitch's breeder for advice as to suitable stud dogs. The best stud dog for your bitch does not automatically live just down the road from you so you must be prepared to travel if necessary. You must also have your bitch eye-tested by a specialist opthalmologist. The Cesky Terrier Club recommends that all breeding stock should hold a current eye certificate.

You will also need to read as much as possible about breeding, with your first essential purchase being The Book Of The Bitch. Regarded by many as 'The Breeder's Bible' it covers every aspect of breeding and rearing a litter. If you are interested in further study of all aspects of breeding dogs, a distance learning course is available from the Animal Care College.