#6: We only breed 'pet-quality', not 'show' quality
What do you mean 'show quality'?? There is no such thing... There is simply bred to the standard, for appearance, temperament and health... Some people 'show in conformation'; some people 'show' in obedience/agility/schutzhund; some people 'show' in 4-H..it makes no difference, ..but everyone must be committed to bettering the breed in all aspects.
Every litter that is bred must be from the best of the best... period ...your dogs must LOOK like boxers, ACT like boxers, and hopefully HEALTH-TESTED BETTER than most! For anyone to claim the are 'only breeding pets' is no different than saying 'we only breed mediocrity'... Setting the highest standard and striving for it is the goal. What do you hope to gain from this breeding? And WHY are you doing it? And if ANY of your answers are #1-#5 below, you are doing it for the WRONG reason..
#5 "The Vet says my 'boxer' is gorgeous and should be bred"
What is your vet's background? How many years has he/she owned and/or bred boxers? How many OTHER breeds is he/she an expert in? Can your vet recite the FCI boxer standard? Or even the one in your country (it MIGHT be slightly different). Most vets have no personal knowledge of any one breed and are hardly good 'referral' points for breeding standards. As nasty as it sounds, a pregnant female is money in the bank for them if you are a good owner. I'd hardly take the word of someone about to make several hundred dollars from the experience WITH no particular investment.
#4 "My friends and family ALL want a puppy from my boxer"
Do you have cash deposits from all of these 'friends' and 'family'? A puppy isn't taken until the money is produced or agreements signed. Have you assessed their worth as a puppy owner on an unbiased level? Do they have the appropriate lifestyle? Monetary resources? Patience?
What are you going to do if all of these people want a female? And you only have one in the litter of five? Or they are all white? Or fawn and everyone wants brindle? What are you going to do if no one wants the color/sex of puppy that you actually get? Sell it to strangers?
#3 "We want the children to experience the "Miracle of Birth"
You WANT your small child to witness a bloody, watery mess? Why? There are excellent videos you can rent if you need this to explain the facts of life.
Are you prepared to help your child deal with the mother EATING one of those precious bundles right in front of them? How about the puppy that is malformed or dead? This 'experience' can last for 2 days and try everyones patience. No matter how loving your female might be, she MAY take a dim view of being the center ring in a 'peep-show'; and if you stress her out, she'll reject every last one of those puppies... GREAT experience, eh?
And finally.. what a great experience if your female should DIE delivering those puppies. I'm sure your child will thank you forever for giving them that wonderful experience.
#2 "We want a puppy exactly like its 'mom/dad'
Alright, let's do the math here. Your boxer came from a female and a male. If you breed THAT boxer to ANOTHER boxer, AT BEST you will only get 1/2 the dog you have now? How is breeding YOUR dog to ANOTHER One going to produce a EXACT replicate? The best you can do is go back to the breeder you got your boxer from, but lets be realistic... Have you ever known 2 siblings to be identical? Even identical twins are very different...
The only way to re-produce your dog to a tee is to clone it... Catch a plane/boat to England, they can help you out...they are doing it with sheep even now.
And the Number 1 reason..though NEVER STATED:
"We can make a 'little money' by breeding her"
Yeah, not if you do it right. Each breed is different, but let's take a boxer....
First of all, if she does not have a solid, traceable pedigree and you can't see her immediate ancestors, you have NO idea of what she will produce (and if you can, it is still a crap-shot)... But, let's say her pedigree is solid and recognizable. To make money, you have to spend a little money... The most recent estimates are that 1 out of 5 boxers in the US have some form of heart problem (genetic)... Yours hasn't had a 'sick' day in her life, I'm sure, but most heart problems do not manifest themselves until the dog is past 5 years of age, and the only way to know if they are susceptible is to do the testing...and it won't even guarantee catching some of it.
Cardio testing - Plan on $500.00. Rental of machine and licensed cardio vet to read the result.
Aortic stenosis testing - Plan on $300.00 EKG, x-ray from qualified canine radiologist.
Hips/spine - Spondyolosis and displaysia, though not common are by NO means RARE. X-rays and OFA/PennHipp anaylsis is $300.00
Now, to keep this easy, we won't even include the standard shots, venereal disease testing and food that it takes to get a dog to breeding age (or the original cost of the dog)
We are up to $1,100.00 and you have to add a stud fee ($500) or if you own the stud, another $1,100.00 for his testing. Let's keep it simple and say we use an outside stud... $1,600.00. (We won't add time lost from work from the breeding & gas money; nor the specialized diets, vitamins etc you need to ensure a healthy female).
Whelping date arrives, and average litter size is 5. If she has to have a C-Section, add $500.00 (surgery, antibiotics, aftercare). Heaven forbid, if she doesn't have any milk (or had surgery), she might not be able to nurse, so you are off work for 4 weeks hand-feeding babies. Last cost estimate for milk replacer was $100 a week ($400)...
We have to have tails/dewclaws done. $25.00 a piece which should include mom's exam. Add $125.00 (total of a 'clean whelp' = $1,725.00)
You will have to supplement mom's diet with a quality food that promotes milk, and keeps her nursing plus the vitamins, plus at 3-4 weeks, switch the puppy's to a gruel...$75.00 (add at $1,800.00)
Every health board requires one set of shots, though if you want to be reputable, you should give two...so add $25.00 per puppy ($150.00=$1,950.00) and the cost of paperwork, litter registrations and health certifications, not to mention miscellaneous costs such as beginning house training supplies, carpet cleaner, bacterial cleanser...$50.00 should cover it..
So Grand total on a 'clean whelp' is $2,000.00. Divided by 5 puppies is $400 each, IF you have them sold at 8 weeks. WHAT.. that is the EXHORBANT PRICES charged by the 'show breeder' for a companion puppy from their dual-champion bred litter? IMAGINE THAT! I thought you were going to MAKE money on this deal..? You can't sell them for more than $300 a piece? I know that you wouldn't want to breed from potential sick dogs, so the testing has to stay.... you can't control the vet costs... you want healthy puppies so the after-care has to stay... MAYBE you ought to re-think your 'money-making' scheme...
So you have read the above six reason and still would like to breed? Perhaps with the puppy you have now or you want to buy a puppy to breed? Go and read our "How to choose a Boxer puppy" section and see if you can fill all the criteria for a good breeder. Okay, you have now read that as well and still wish to breed? You must be very keen to produce excellent Boxers who are free of conformation / health and temperament faults - good for you - you are the type of person the Boxer needs.
The first thing for you to do is contact the nearest Boxer Club in your area. But perhaps we can assume that you are already active in obedience / agility / tracking / schutzhund or conformation showing and are already a member? Okay, there is a very slight chance you do not have contacts but have owned Boxers in the past and now wish to compete in doggy sports with your new dog, and to breed. Contact the Boxer Club nearest you and tell them you wish to purchase a puppy for showing / working and breeding. Be sure you tell them all the reason why you wish to breed and you will be put in contact with someone who can help you. This person will become your 'mentor'. By the way, you should by now be very familiar with the Boxer Standard as well as being familiar with all the health problems Boxers can have.
If you have a dog now that you wish to breed, that dog will need to be evaluated to see if it of good enough quality conformation / temperament wise to breed. The dog will also need to undergo all the appropriate health testing (so start saving money!) Do not feel bad if you mentor feels you should not breed with your dog, as she is still a much loved family pet. It is only a low percentage of Boxers who have what it takes to be considered breeding quality. If you dog fails any type of health test DO NOT BREED. You should also, by now, be active in Boxer Rescue, Public Education.
An overview of how to start as a breeder is here:
1/ Join your nearest Boxer Club and become and active member.
2/ Seek out an experienced reputable breeder to become your mentor.
3/ Become active in conformation showing and / or working sports with your Boxer.
4/ Read the Boxer Standard thousands of times and ask as many questions as you wish to, so you fully understand what a Boxer should be.
5/ Start a savings account so you have plenty of money for health testing, stud fee's, whelping costs, vaccinations, worming etc etc..you will need a fair bit tucked away for all this.
6/ Test your Boxer for all known health problems i.e.: Heart/Hips/Thyroid, and understand that there are other health problems which mean a dog should not be bred with (Generalised Demodectic Mange / Allergies etc).
7/ Get to know Boxer 'bloodlines', your mentor will be invaluable here.
8/ Understand genetics - you mentor will help as well but read, read and do more reading on genetics. Your Boxer club / mentor will be able to recommend several good books.
9/ Realise that the future of the Boxer Breed lies in you hands, it is a huge responsibility.
10/ Become active in helping with Boxer Rescue / Educating the public about Boxers.
11/ If you are unable to do any of the above, please do not breed Boxers.