Many dog breeders put a lot of thought, time and money into their breeding program. That is done in order to (hopefully) produce healthy, happy, well balanced pups. One of the basic means we have to begin sorting out this puzzle of how to produce great Shelties is medical clearances, another is to follow the breed standard.
There are several tests that can be done at various ages to see how healthy each Sheltie is.
Remember, however, that in addition to health issues, staying true to the breed standard is also important. One controversy I discuss on another page is the miniature sheltie.
You may ask: If humans don’t test to determine their own genetic worthiness before having children, why should you have to do it for dogs? Answer: Because we can and because if we do, there may be fewer families stuck with sickly dogs.
And for me, the goal is to improve the breed so it is worth it to get as much information on each dog as possible. No dog will ever be perfect. Not every dog will have every medical clearance normal. The tests are used to make as informed decisions about which dog to breed to which bitch.
For me temperament and health are the two biggest concerns.
Each breed has its own set of medical problems. Testing can tease out some so we can know what problems to try to avoid doubling up on. There are many diseases are still waiting for science to figure out how to develop a specific test.
Sheltie breeders have the following medical clearances that can be checked:
Some of these tests are genetic DNA tests. Do them once for each dog and you are done. That would be the MDR1 and vonWillebrand’s Disease and more recently, Collie Eye Anomaly. Research continues into finding DNA markers for additional diseases.
Others need to be done periodically during the Sheltie’s life as there is no specific gene to pinpoint as the culprit. So blood levels or physical exams are needed. That would be the eye exam (CERF) done yearly, and the thyroid, done at 2, 4 and 6 years of age. Some are usually done once in the dog’s life but optionally can be re-checked later. That would be hips.
Now, if your goal is to make lots of money, I’m not saying it’s impossible, but to put any two Shelties together just to get puppies, is not the way I personally want to do things. I want to create healthy, vibrant puppies from healthy stock first.
Breeders also need to put in extra time and effort during the pregnancy and whelping process. Your girl is going to depend on you.
And of course the eight weeks of raising puppies takes some organization and time. I'm constantly re-visiting the way I take care of them. My newest puppy play area can be seen here.
People who are thinking about becoming breeders (the lighter side)
You will have rooms that resemble a car wash interior.
2. You will be driving a van
3. You will be wearing grubby clothing through the week and dress suits on the weekends (with pockets only)
4. Your most expensive shoes, will be orthotic dress shoes cause you can run in them.
5. You spend more money on dog grooming products than your own hair.
6. You spend more time and money researching what your dog is eating than yourself.
7. Vacation ?? You can't because you can't find or trust a dog sitter.
8. You develop a heightened sense of hearing (why are the dogs quiet?).
9. You take more dog classes and lectures that you ever did in school and enjoy it.
10. You will never have carpet.
If at some point in the future, you can't keep your dog, a responsible breeder will take their dog back for any reason.
Unfortunately, recently we are finding more and more rescues REFUSING to return the dog to the breeder, all the while CRYING about how breeders are so irresponsible and contributing to the pet "overpopulation" which is a myth.
It must make them feel superior, shaking fingers at breeders. It may put some extra cash in their pockets to sell a healthy, well bred sheltie that really didn't need rescuing in the first place. Who knows.
Then there are the pet traders that find ways to confiscate well bred dogs for re-sale. Taking dogs from hobby breeders under the guise of law is becoming an everyday occurrence.
What I do know is that trying to navigate the various situations that make keeping your dog safe get more mind boggling every day.
My contract has always stipulated that the dog needs to be returned to me if unwanted so that I am never part of the shelter population problem.
In addition, for any owner surrenders or stray shelties in the Delaware area, I would be happy to help foster a dog, search for the owners and return their pup to them. If an owner REALLY can't be found, then I would re-home.
People have the right to have their property returned to them. Unfortunately, it takes a lot to prove ownership anymore. Here is more information on what an owner has to do in order to get her dog back. This particular case has dragged on for over a year.