As you may know, many dog breeders are reputable and act responsibly. Unfortunately, there are also many irresponsible and unethical dog owners, like backyard breeders and puppy mills. They are known for overbreeding dogs for profit without any concern about the consequences, risks, and health issues for the mother or her litter.
The effects of overbreeding are the same, whether done in backyard breeding with one or two dogs or in puppy mills where many dogs are being bred on a larger scale for profit.
What Is Overbreeding?
According to the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) guide to responsible breeding, it is “customary to avoid breeding a bitch on consecutive heats to allow sufficient time for recuperation between pregnancies.” The guide also states, “The AKC rules do not allow, except with special documentation, the registration of a litter out of a dam less than 8 months of age or more than 12 years of age at the time of mating, or by a sire less than 7 months of age or more than 12 years of age at the time of mating.
Overbreeding dogs embrace the act of breeding dogs more than what the dog’s body can manage. The breeder is mating the dog more often than it should without any concerns for the mother’s health or the litter of pups. Overbreeding not only leads to health risks for both the mother and pups but also to overpopulation and euthanasia of sickly and unwanted pups every year.
Overbreeding can happen in two ways:
What Are the Consequences of Overbreeding?
While the health and welfare of dogs is the number one concern from overbreeding, it is also one of the main contributors to unwanted dogs and lending itself to the problem of overcrowded shelters and rescues groups everywhere. Sadly, there are millions of these dogs being euthanized every year.
When breeders flood the market with these animals, they reduce the likelihood of animals from rescue groups, shelters, and reputable breeders being placed in loving homes.
Health Concerns of Overbreeding in Dogs
Some risks associated with overbreeding include spreading parasites and deadly viruses like hookworm and parvovirus, along with hygiene concerns when dealing with multiple litters. The mother pup is also susceptible to life-threatening calcium deficiencies (hypocalcemia), malnutrition, mastitis, uterine infections, and dystocia.
While some may argue that continuously breeding a particular bloodline can also positively affect the breed, overbreeding not only puts the dog’s body at risk, but some health problems are common with overbreeding.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are some red flags you should be aware of?
What should you look for in a breeder?
What are some steps I can take to help stop overbreeding?
Overbreeding can be two-fold. Overbreeding a particular dog or breeding many dogs to the point of losing the ability to care for all of them. It can put the mother at risk for life-threatening illnesses, subject the dogs to unhealthy conditions, and subject the animals to future health problems. You can do your part to prevent overbreeding by adopting from your local shelter, donating to needy pets, and supporting laws protecting animals from these abusive practices.
Featured Image Credit: Peter Maerky, Shutterstock