So...You Want to Breed A Litter

There are many key factors to be considered when deciding to breed a Newfoundland – or any dog. It is not a decision that should be made lightly or without tremendous forethought. Shelters across the country are full of unwanted animals. While the lucky ones find loving forever homes, most never leave the shelter alive. Think it doesn’t happened with a purebred dog? Think again! In some areas, the rate of purebred dogs in shelters is quite high!

Here are a few questions to ask before breeding a litter: 

Have you joined the Newfoundland Club of America (NCA)? Local regional club?

Do you have a mentor or breeder you are working with?

Does the dog or bitch you want to breed conform to the AKC approved Newfoundland Breed Standard and do they have the recommended health clearances?

What do you know about the variety of health problems affecting our breed?

In some states, if you’re taken to court for breeding a “lemon law” puppy, you may be required to pay for veterinary care for the puppy/dog you have bred. Do you have the resources to meet this sort of obligation without undue financial hardship?

Are you prepared to devote the necessary time to breeding and whelping a litter? For the first two weeks, properly caring for the litter is a 24-hour job – seven days a week!

Where will these puppies live until they are old enough to place? Will your family complain about the work? The smell? Or, will your neighbors complain about the barking? The smell?

Do you have the resources to provide veterinary care for the mother and her puppies? A sick mother or litter can cost thousands of dollars in vet bills – with no guarantees any will survive.

Are you and your family emotionally prepared to handle complications with the breeding, the bitch, or the litter? Could you take a nine-week old fluffy puppy in to be euthanized due to inherited or acquired disease? Have you considered the possibility the mother may die from whelping complications?

Do you have the facilities to care for this litter until the puppies are old enough to be examined by a board certified cardiologist at nine to ten weeks? Have you considered the possibility a percentage of puppies in the litter may require repeated visits to the cardiologist to determine the state of their hearts, with some puppies never receiving a clean bill of health of the cardiologist? What will you do with those puppies?

Are you willing to be supportive of the new owners anytime they are in need of advice or assistance?

Are you able take a puppy or adult back, no matter the reason, if things don't work out in the home in which it was placed?

These are just some of the key questions that anyone should ask before taking on the responsibility of breeding a litter. Did your answers surprise you and cause you to rethink your course of action? If so, congratulations for your honesty! If you are still interested in breeding Newfoundlands, please refer to the listing of breeder mentors in your area.

Learn as much as you can before you breed a litter. This wonderful breed, and the people who love it, are counting on you! If you have any questions, please contact the NCA’s Breeder Education Committee.
Read more about Breeding Considerations in this article from Peggy Helming