An idyllic vision can be conjured up by the thought of breeding dogs; a beautiful fluffy litter of puppies with bright happy faces and waggy tails, all going off with excited new owners to their forever homes.
Achieving that goal takes knowledge, appreciation, experience and understanding by the breeder.
The CCGB accept all the different and varied crosses under the Cockapoo banner but whatever the type of Cockapoo being bred the health, welfare and ethics of breeding remain the same.
Note: No dog breeder in the UK may breed 3 litters or more a year unless they have a current Council Breeding License permitting them to do so. However even if a single litter has all of its puppies advertised and sold then the breeder is deemed to be in the ‘business of breeding’ and should legally obtain a license from their local council.
There are many reasons why an owner may want to breed a litter of puppies:
- To have one litter from a pet and/or to keep one or more of the offspring.
- A well known wives tale is that it is reputedly good for a bitch’s health to have one litter, so owners may use this as a reason to have a litter before having the bitch spayed.
- An accidental mating.
- A hobby breeder who breeds their pets for the enjoyment of the experience and may devote much of their spare time to doing so.
- A licensed breeder whose intention is to breed quality puppies under license – it largely forms their whole lifestyle.
- A puppy farm/mill where a breeder wishes to make the maximum amount of money from breeding dogs in the shortest amount of time, with little or no care for the dogs welfare.
If we consider puppy farm/mills as the exception, all of the other reasons to breed a litter can be undertaken with any of the following intentions:
- With real care, attention and understanding.
- Without any real awareness of the welfare and husbandry required.
- With deliberate neglect for the sake of greed.
Each breeder must be evaluated individually as the above differing intentions exist across the board.
The CCGB has put in place an approval scheme for anybody breeding Cockapoos who wishes to register their puppies and receive Registration Papers. The CCGB has been set up by a Board of owners, enthusiasts and breeders with a view to applying a quantifiable ethical breeding standard to Cockapoos in this country.
In order to be eligable to apply for Papers, breeders must complete the Breeder Membership Form. In application the breeder must agree to abide by the CCGB Code of Ethics and mandatory health testing: ONE PARENT MUST BE DNA tested CLEAR for prcd-PRA eye disease. They also must agree to an initial and then periodical CCGB Inspections that will check the animal welfare of all their dogs housed along with the cleanliness and suitability of the breeding premises.
EXTRA DNA HEALTH TESTING MAY BE NEEDED FOR THE LATER F2, F3 etc GENERATIONS, CLICK HERE FOR MORE DETAILS
Even though Cockapoos have been bred in this country for more than a decade it is in recent years that the popularity of Cockapoos has seen an explosion of numbers being bred. The CCGB, with the integrity and longevity of the Cockapoos in mind, seek to promote ethical breeding practices where the recording of ancestry and health tests are mandatory.
Extract from: Social Development of Puppies Early Social Investment Pays Major Dividends
by Wayne Hunthausen, DVM. http://www.westwoodanimalhospital.com/BhvArticles/pup_socialization.htm
The influence of the environment may actually come into play prior to birth. In fact, studies have shown that when pregnant rats are subjected to stimuli that maintain a constant state of fear, the offspring show a higher incidence of fearful behaviors, decreased learning and poor reproductive behavior of the offspring when they become adults. It is suspected that maternal stress during late pregnancy may change hormonal secretion in fetal males, effecting behavioral development. It’s not unlikely that excessive stress on the bitch can also have harmful effects on her pups and should be avoided, especially during the third trimester of the pregnancy. On the other hand, providing her with a friendly environment that encourages positive social contact is likely to promote desirable emotional development of her offspring.
If you choose to breed, here are some open questions that you might like to consider:
- Do you have suitable breeding dogs – are they in good health and free from deformity and/or hereditary disease?
- Do you intend to Health Test the dogs that you intend to breed with?
- What type of Cockapoo do you want to produce?
- Do you have the space and facilities to breed and raise a litter of pups?
- Do you have available free time?
- Do you have the facility to isolate a dog, if necessary?
- Are you registered with a vet experienced with the breeding of dogs?
- Do you know what happens when a bitch comes into season?
- Would you be able to assist during the mating of your bitch?
- Would you have your bitch ultrasound pregnancy scanned at 30 days or let nature take it’s course?
- Do you know how long the pregnancy lasts?
- Would you be concerned if your bitch became Anorexic late in her pregnancy?
- Do you understand the nutritional needs of a pregnant bitch?
- Do you have proper whelping box?
- Could you recognise the symptoms of uterine inertia, calcium deficiency, or pre-eclampsia in pregnancy?
- Do you have the experience to recognise the onset of labour?
- Would you recognise when and know why a bitch was nesting?
- Could you manipulate pups during labour to ease delivery?
- Could you do a vaginal sweep to induce contractions during labour?
- Do you know how long labour can/should last?
- Do you know what is an acceptable time delay of delivery between pups?
- Would you know when to call vet if labour was not progressing normally?
- Would you know when the births have finished?
- Would you be able to tell that the uterus was clear both of pups and afterbirth?
- Could you check your bitches temperature?
- Do you have clear knowledge of husbandry and contamination?
- Could you keep the whelping box warm enough, particularly for the 1st week?
- Would you have dew claws present on any of the pups, removed?
- For the care of newborn pups, would you be available 24/7?
- Would you be able to recognise the symptoms of dehydration and be able to treat it quickly?
- Would you know what to support feed the pups, if any were looking weak?
- Would you be able to stomach tube your newborn puppies?
- Would you be able to assist your puppies to suckle?
- What would you feed a nursing bitch?
- How and when would you exercise her – how much time out from her pups should she have?
- When would you worm the pups?
- When would you wean the pups and what would you feed them?
- Could you recognise fleas, walking dandruff (microscopic mites) and ear mites and know how to treat them quickly?
- How would you socialise the pups?
- Where would you advertise them for sale?
- Do you have the facilities to welcome prospective buyers?
- Do you have the people skills do deal with prospective buyers?
- How might you deal with someone viewing that you felt is not suitable to own a dog?
- Are you aware of ever present diseases and how to control them?
- Would you arrange a vet check, 1st vaccination and microchipping of the litter before they are sold?
- Do you know the minimum accepted age that puppies can leave for their forever homes?
- Would you prepare puppy packs?
- Would you arrange 4 weeks free puppy insurance?
- Would you provide back-up advice to the new puppy owners?
- Would you offer lifelong support and advice?
- Would you take a puppy back?
- Would you help to re-home a dog that you have bred, at any age?
With so much to consider when breeding dogs it is advisable to find someone with considerable experience of breeding dogs to be a mentor, who could be just a phone call away at those moments when advice is needed. The CCGB automatically offers breeder mentoring to all approved breeders who request it.
The idyllic vision of raising a happy healthy litter of puppies is indeed possible but is more to do with careful planning than luck.