I have encountered several terrible even gruesome situations caused by unethical breeding of the German Shepherd Dog. All breeders should abide by the following code of ethics and all buyers should question their breeder about their practice to make sure they are conforming to these ethics. A lot of trouble and heart ache comes from unethical breeding.
My proposed code of ethics for breeders of all dogs:
I. Encourage bitch owners to breed only if they have facilities, time and resources to adequately care for a litter and upon strong evidence of the possibility of finding suitable homes for the resultant litter.
II. Refuse stud service to any bitch I consider in poor health, physically or mentally unsound, or lacking the necessary breed characteristics as set forth in the Breed Standard (German Shepherd Dog).
Before or at the time of breeding, an exchange of pedigrees and hip and elbow X-ray information must be made.
III. Allow one repeat service where a bitch has failed to conceive after being bred to one of my studs, if the stud is still in good health and available, and at such time and place as mutually agreed upon by the owner of the bitch and myself.
IV. Breed my own bitches only when I have a definite goal for improvement of the breed in mind, never permitting them to produce three consecutive litters unless breeding consecutive litters is recommended by a veterinarian. I fully understand that I am responsible for keeping and/or finding suitable homes for the resultant puppies.
The facts are, it costs a lot of money to properly breed and care for a litter of puppies and their parents.
1. You need several acres of land – without this land you will end up with problems with neighbors, animal control, family member and have overweight and unhealthy dogs.
2. The bitch needs care at least 2 years before you can breed her, she needs health test so you minimize your chance of spreading hereditary diseases. All of this costs thousands of dollars and I didn’t even mention the purchase price of the bitch, or what do you do when she retires, you have to care for her through her old age. You most likely will not be able to rehome her in her old age –vet bills are highest at this stage in life. I won’t even mention the atrocities I have witnessed on how unethical breeders solve this problem.
3. With the sire you have three options, artificial insemination, hiring a stud or purchasing and raising him. All of these options are over a thousand dollars to do them ethically.
4. You need TIME. You need time for a relationship with your bitch and maybe the sire. The German Shepherd is a loyal and social being, it needs love and attention on a daily basis. Once the litter is on the ground, it is very important you learn how to imprint your puppies for success at their new homes. This takes 100’s of hours over a minimum of 8 weeks.
An ethical breeder is losing money on any German Shepherd puppy that costs less than $1000 – these costs vary by breed. You really need to be very careful to avoid a lot of heartache. This is a 12 year relationship (for the German Shepherd Dog) dog owners are committing to, it is more than a Christmas or Birthday present, it is a living relationship and needs careful consideration for many birthdays and Christmas’.
The fact is, breeding is not unlike any profession or trade, there are ethics that need to be followed to ensure equitable transactions. However, breeding dogs unlike most professions/trades lack a credible governance body that certifies a breeder is ethical.
Currently the AKC is the only body with enough authority in the United States to take on this task. My next post will be about why the AKC do not and will not. Just think of all of the of the legislation that could be set aside of breeders had ethics. Accountable breeder ethics would save lives, money and a whole lot of heartache.