Should I Breed?Breeding Considerations

To breed or not to breed?  Perhaps we can help you decide...

Financial considerations

  • Can you afford to breed?
    Have you realistically worked out your expenses (and then add more for unforeseen expenses, e.g. emergency Caesarian, illnesses). You will need to outlay a huge amount of money for hip x-rays, stud fee, care for the pregnant bitch, vaccinating, worming and feeding puppies, hire of a whelping box, advertising, vet bills, registrations, etc.
  • Breeding is often not a profitable venture - a great deal of expense is incurred weeks before any money comes in from the sale of puppies. If you are lucky you might make a small profit, but more often responsible breeders break even or make a loss from breeding.
  • Will you be able to sell your pups?
    Are Malamute pups currently in demand, or has the market already been flooded with pups?
  • Are you aware what prices Malamute pups are being sold for? It is a good idea to look in newspapers (the Trading Post has the most dog advertisements) to get a feel for the market.  
  • Are you willing to refund a certain amount of money on proof of desexing by a certain age?
    Do you have sufficient room to raise a litter up to 8 weeks of age? Litters can be as large as 12 pups, or sometimes even larger.

Time considerations

  • Can someone be with the bitch during whelping? It is irresponsible to leave the bitch to whelp on her own as problems could arise and you may risk losing both the bitch and all the pups.
    Are you able to be with the bitch and pups after the pups are born?
  • Can you be there to feed the pups every few hours after they are weaned?
    If problems arise and the bitch cannot feed the pups herself, will you be able to hand-rear the pups (this requires feeding every few hours for the first couple of weeks)?
  • Screening prospective owners and having them come over look at the pups is a very time consuming exercise. You may spend hours talking to people, only to find that they buy their pup from someone else. Have you the time and patience for this?
  • Are you prepared to provide new puppy owners with information about the breed and the pups' requirements? Are you prepared to talk at length to your puppy owners after they have purchased the pup and answer any queries they may have? If this is their first puppy there will be plenty!
  • Are you prepared to keep in touch with the owners of your pups on an ongoing basis?
    If the owners can no longer keep the pup for some reason at a later date, are you prepared to take the dog back?

Reasons for breeding

  • Why do you want to breed? You will probably not make money, so this is not a good reason.
    If you are breeding because you would like another pup to keep, have you considered that it is easier (and may be cheaper) to purchase a pup from a reputable breeder.
  • Do you know and understand the Alaskan Malamute Breed Standard? Breeders should always be aiming to improve the breed - without knowing the breed standard you won't know what points are desirable in your dog/bitch, and which points are not (e.g. many new Malamute owners think "bigger is better" - it isn't)
  • It is not true that every bitch should have a litter before being spayed. It is also not true that having a litter will settle a bitch down. These are not reasons for breeding.
  • Remember that a vast majority of Malamutes are beautiful to look at; have excellent markings; have friendly temperaments and are seen by their owners as being the perfect specimen. These in themselves are not reasons to breed.
  • Do not breed just because your friends say you should, or that they would like a puppy. When the time comes, often promises made in the past are forgotten, and the people you were assured would take a pup have changed their minds.

Suitability for breeding

  • Are both sire and dam purebred, registered Alaskan Malamutes? If you don't have papers, you could be breeding very close relatives, or to dogs with hereditary problems in their background. Without papers you cannot be 100% sure that the dog is a purebred Malamute. It is harder to sell dogs without papers, and people will not be prepared to pay nearly as much for unregistered pups.
  • Do the sire and dam conform closely with the Breed Standard? Never breed with a dog that has a major fault, hoping to breed that fault out - you are only perpetuating the problem.
  • Are the dog and bitch of suitable age to breed and are they in excellent health?
  • Do you know what hereditary problems Malamutes are prone to, and are you prepared to screen your breeding stock for hereditary problems?
  • Have both sire and dam been hip x-rayed (cost $150 - S200)? Good hips cannot be determined by looking at the dog, a hip x-ray is the only way of telling if hips are dysplastic. Breeding from dogs of unknown hip status is irresponsible and may result in a litter of pups with bad hips.
  • Do you know if there are any hereditary problems in the lines of your dog or the stud dog? Breeding without knowing the medical background of both dogs is irresponsible and could result in puppies with costly medical problems.

Finding a suitable match

  • Are you able to locate a suitable stud dog at a price you can afford?
  • Do you understand pedigrees and the difference between line-breeding, inbreeding and an outcross? You should be seeking a stud dog which would make a good match according to the pedigree as well as conformation (physical attributes) of both dogs. If you are not sure if you have found a good match, ask someone who would know.
  • Do both sire and dam have excellent temperament? Never breed from dogs with bad temperament, regardless of how wonderful you think other attributes of your dog are. A fantastic specimen of the breed is useless if no one can go near the dog. Breeding with a Malamute of bad temperament is perpetuating a serious problem.

Finding suitable homes for your pups

  • How and where are you going to advertise your pups?
  • Are you a member of the breed club? Many responsible prospective owners will approach the breed club for advice and recommendations. If you are a member of the AMCV and both parents of the litter are passed for Hip Dysplasia, you may be able to advertise and receive referrals through the club.
  • Are you prepared to keep puppies until suitable homes are found, even though good homes sometimes cannot be found until the pups are 6 months of age or even older?
  • Can you find good homes for your pups? Are you prepared to screen prospective owners to determine their suitability as Malamute owners? Are you prepared to turn away people who you don't think are suitable?
  • Are you prepared to keep any puppies that you cannot find good homes for?
    A breeder is responsible for dogs that they breed for the life of the dog. Would you be prepared to take back the pups that you bred at a later date should a problem arise? The club will refer unwanted Malamutes back to their breeders.
  • Are you prepared to take back any pup that you breed if it develops a serious health problem or inherited disease, and refund monies or replace the pup?
  • Are you prepared to cull any puppy born with a congenital defect, e.g. cleft palate, serious heart defect, missing digits, etc?

If you have answered NO to any of these questions then DO NOT BREED, desex your Malamute and have a nice pet.
If you have answered YES to all these questions and have taken into account all the above considerations, be prepared to continually outlay money. A word of advice - YOU DO NOT make money out of breeding dogs.

Prepared for the Alaskan Malamute Club, Victoria inc.

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