|Things to consider before you breed!|
|Things to look for in a breeder:
*Animals should actually be the amount of wolf content they are presented as. Note that there is a niche for mid and lower content animals, so a breeder whose animals do not look like pure wolves is not automatically a "bad" breeder--as long as (s)he accurately represents the animals as low or mid content.
*The parent animals being bred should have a good quality of life(!) They should be well cared for, properly contained, fed ample nutritious food, have fresh water always available, have proper shelter, receive veterinary attention when needed, get plenty of human attention and have a canine companion year-round, not just during the breeding season. Prregnant females should receive extra nutrition and, if possible, be brought indoors to whelp.
*Breeder should be very knowledgeable about wolves and wolfdogs (BEFORE breeding!), and be sure to screen all potential buyers carefully to test their knowledge & ability to raise a pup. In addition, breeder should verify that buyer has the facilities and rescources to care for the pup properly.
*Breeder should also have enough of a grasp on genetics and wolf content to understand what he has in both parents, and what he is likely to get when crossing them together. I.e., how their contents complement each other, and what the resultant litter will likely be like, and what sort of people you will need to adopt animals of that content range.
*He should make himself available to the buyer to answer any questions, throughout the life of the animal. He should also inform the buyer that if the pup cannot be kept for any reason, the breeder will take the animal back &/or find permanent placement for it.
*Interest in a given litter should be determined before the tie; and if there are not ample qualified homes lined up, the tie should never take place. Animal should NOT be bred more than once a year (if it cycles like a dog) nor be bred when still a puppy itself!
*If breeding low or middle content animals, the breeding stock should be screened for any health problems those breeds are prone to.
*The breeding animals should have excellent temperament. They should not be overly aggressive, nor so shy that even the breeder cannot handle them with ease. If the animal did not make a good companion for the breeder, it should not be bred to create pups who may not make good companions either.
*The pups need to be of a type and quality that isn't readily available elsewhere. For example, I would never breed my black phase high content (who is fixed anyhow, but for sake of argument), because I could easily get another black-phase high from someone else! In many areas, "nothing readily available" is NOT a concern ;)
*Breeder should recommend (or require) that the buyer SPAY or NEUTER the new addition, unless:
-It is a breeding quality animal, by objective standards.
-Buyer fully understands that intact wolfdogs--especially the higher content ones--are more problematic than fixed ones and in general make worse companions.
-Breeder feels certain that the buyer will not breed the animal irresponsibly or overbreed it.
|First off--What for? What are you trying to accomplish with the breeding? Think long and hard on this one...there are valid reasons to breed, but they are few and far between. Please consider all the things below when making your decision.
The animal you're breeding would need to be an exceptional representative of the "breed", in all areas: looks, health, and temperament. We have plenty of puppies available from parents who were not all these things...and the shelters sure don't need any more to put down. They've got enough in their dumpsters already.
Do you know what a pure wolf looks like? How about a husky, and a malamute, and a german shepherd, and a samoyed? Look at lots of photos of them...Now, take a close, objective look at your animal; and see how he or she compares to all of the above.
If your animal contains some German shepherd, have you had it tested for hip displaysia? If it contains Siberian husky, have you had its eyes tested? You would feel really bad if you sold someone a puppy who came down with a life-changing health problem that could have been weeded out in advance...
You would need to know that there are enough good (and qualified!) homes interested in a litter to warrant your breeding. Not just "everybody says he's so cute" or "I want another one just like her"...remember that you won't get just ONE of "her children"...you will get a whole litter of them. And "everybody" tends to change their mind about how much they'd like one of Wolfy's puppies once they are on the ground. Sad but true.
Many, many wolfdogs are put down due to lack of homes...unscrupulous breeders pump them out too fast for the rescue system to keep up with.
Are you prepared to educate all those potential buyers on what living with wolfdogs is really like? Are you willing to answer their emails and phone calls when they need help and advice on their pup? What if--despite your careful screening to ensure that all pups went to dedicated and qualkified homes with proper containment--one or more of the buyers tells you they can no longer keep the pup? Are you prepared to take it back, for life...or will it end up dead in a shelter dumpster because your commitment to it wasn't any greater than that of the half-hearted buyer? MANY people buy wolfdogs because they think it will be a "cool", "tough", and ego-gratifying animal...then, when they discover what these shy, sensitive, and problematic animals are really like, the animal gets the boot. Be ready for these types, they are out there in abundance.
The pups would need to be something that isn't readily available elsewhere.Odds are, whatever you are looking to produce, there are already several good breeders of exactly that, already out there. And it's a whole lot cheaper to buy a pup from someone else, than to breed your own; a good breeder never makes money on their pups...they are lucky to break even, and most don't.
You'd also need to compare "what you want" with what you will most likely get. Do you know what you are likely to get? If your animals are like those of many other wolfdog folks, you don't. After the first generation, the genetics of these guys are quite random...and the chances of the puppies from multiple-generation and multiple-breed wolfdogs looking like either parent are, in most cases, pretty slim.
Then there are the potential medical & behavioural problems you risk with unaltered animals...and all the responsibilities, research, complications, risks, time & energy that must be put into even a "one-time" breeding program. Talk to a breeder some time, and ask them what all is involved, besides "putting the two dogs together". Make sure you have lots of free time, & are sitting down. LOL!) The best site I have ever seen on the details of dog breeding is this one: http://www.geocities.com/bluegracepwd/index2.html
Be sure to check out the section on "Virtual Dog Breeding"--http://www.geocities.com/bluegracepwd/virtualbreeding.html
And some information on the risks of inatct-ness vs spay/neuter here: http--www.naiaonline.org-pdfs-LongTermHealthEffectsOfSpayNeuterInDogs.pdf
I don't mean to come off as completely anti-breeding...after all, without breeding, it would be the end of the line for wolfdogs! They are very special animals, and I hope for them to be around for future generations to enjoy as well. I just believe that a lot of thought should be put into what animals are bred, why, and how they will spend their lives once they are born. Puppies are fun, but an excess of puppies means disposable animals and short, sad lives. I just want to remind folks to think first before taking the plunge...because it really is a very big decision!