There must be given plenty of thought given to the breeding of dogs but if one plans ahead and uses a little imagination, many of the difficulties will vanish.
For instance, the food problem can be greatly simplified by becoming friendly with a butcher who does his own killing. Heads and lungs, which ordinarily go into fertilizer, can be a big item in the daily diet of your dogs. Cooking them is work, and if undertaken in a small kitchen may give rise to the exchange of pungent remarks between the members of a marital partnership, but your dogs will appreciate it even if the little lady does not.
When mixed with damaged loaves of bread, which may be bought very cheaply from any bakery, this meat and broth more than cut my feed bill in half, and the dogs thrived on the diet. However, do not attempt to feed this alone to your dogs.
In conjunction with prepared dog foods it is excellent, but when fed alone it does not supply the necessary vitamins, minerals, and roughage which are contained in the commercial foods. The fact that this meat and bread may be obtained is no news to those who have bred dogs before, but to the utter novice it may be a useful tip.
Another thing to keep in mind is that dogs are like human beings in this respect: the better their surroundings and the healthier the dogs, the better their offspring will be. Children born in the slums, or puppies whelped under adverse conditions, seldom reach the top in physical development. Therefore, before the subject of breeding is touched upon, the beginner would do well to study what goes to make a healthy and contented dog.
What is the most important thing in a dog’s life? At the risk of being laughed to scorn, I am going to answer that with one word: love. I do not mean maudlin sentimentality, but honest love. As in man, I believe that this is the first requisite to real happiness, and that food comes a poor second.
If the prospective breeder does not love dogs, he should keep away from them. The man or woman who breeds purely for monetary reward never yet produced a puppy which went to the top, or even well up, in his breed. Given the opportunity, a dog can supply most of his bodily needs himself, but not love, that mystic relation between dog and master.
That, to my mind, is the first and greatest commandment in the breeding of dogs. Love them and understand them, but do not shower them with maudlin affection. No dog wants to have baby talk burbled at him all day.
Remember, the only words he understands are those which have been taught to him by constant drilling. Treat him with dignity, except during his romping periods, and he will respect you for it. It is possible that I attribute more intelligence to my dogs than they actually possess, but I would rather err in that direction than by underestimating them.
No two puppies are ever exactly alike, either in physical qualities or in temperament; yet the laws of heredity are demonstrated in each one.. Some day it is my ambition to line breed a dog and bitch, and then at every opportunity to breed this same pair, keeping records from start to finish. In this way, I shall have a chance to observe the laws of heredity actually at work.
But that is for the future. For the present, like most other breeders, I must rely on the invaluable work which has been done by investigators such as Mendel and Morgan.
It has been said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. That is as true in dog breeding as in anything else. A little knowledge may be dangerous, but if that little is balanced with common sense, a great deal may be accomplished. It will create a desire to know more, and the person who is willing to study this fascinating science will always be rewarded by finding something new.