Thinking about breeding your Rottweiler?

FAQ about Breeding Rottweilers 

Ever had any of these questions? Want to breed a litter? Please read this page before entering into the world of Dog Breeding. You may change your mind when you find out what is actually involved. 

If you love, and admire the Rottweiler breed...please RESPECT it! 

Be *critically* honest about your dogs,  PROVE and CLEAR your Rottweilers...the world does not need any more mediocre, or average Rottweilers...no matter how great you may think your dog's temperament is, and how you only want to breed for pets...there are tons of homeless Rotties in shelters.  The dogs being bred should be excellent representatives of the breed.

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Is your bitch/dog : 

  1. show/breeding quality (no disqualifying faults)?
  2. a Champion, V-Rated, or titled in AKC/CKC/UKC/FCI, etc.? 
  3. have both parents and grand parents that are champions /titled?
  4. free from hereditary disease (Hips, Elbows, Heart, Eyes)? 
  5. parents and grand parents tested and free from hip dysplasia? 
  6. mature enough to breed?  (Physically and mentally) 
  7. tested today as free from brucellosis? 
  8. can offer a quality to the breed?


And you need to meet ALL of the following criteria: 
  1. you are have homes already for all pups - before the mating 
  2. you have found a dog that meets all the points in the section above relating to the requirements of the bitch 
  3. you are prepared to offer a lifetime guarantee (or at least two years) for the health of the pups 
  4. if, during the lifetime of the pups, any need to be returned for whatever reason, you take that pup (now adult dog) back and find a home for him/her. 
  5. all non-show quality pups are sold with a spay/neuter agreement 
  6. all prospective buyers have been fully screened by you 
  7. you are going to offer support and advice to your puppy buyers for the life of the pup 
  8. you have the money to cover a stud fee, possible c-section and complications, vaccinations, and still get no income from the sale of any pups. 
  9. have you consented with the breeder of your bitch/dog and sought their advice? 

IN addition to this, also please remember : 
 

  1. When you breed your dog, you put her at risk 
  2. Breeding your dog is a costly event, and you will most probably have more expenses than you will have income from puppies 
  3. Regardless of how much experience you have, you can still have disasters 
  4. Expect to have a number of sleepless nights 
  5. Death of just one pup, even in a large litter, can be heartbreaking. Expect to take some time to get over that too. 

  6. It is almost impossible to get a fading puppy to survive, and you can lose a whole litter to fading puppy syndrome (canine herpes virus)

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How big of a litter can I expect from my Rottweiler? 

I would say that the average litter size for a Rottweiler bitch, is 6-puppies. I have litters larger and much smaller than this, with the smaller litters posing the most problems due to the large size of the puppies.  Usually they are stuck in the birth canal.  Many things can happen to a young puppy before being born and after birth. 
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How much does a whelping box cost? 

Though you can make your own whelping box, the best ones are for sale, ranging in price from $250.00 up to $500.00 depending on the size and quality. 
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What age is best to breed a female? 

Of course, health certifications such as hips and elbows cannot be certified until the bitch ifs 2-years, so that is the minimum age.  When your female is about 2.5 years old, I find that this is the age she can handle her first litter.   Don't rush breeding your female - take your time and breed only to improve the breed.

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What will stud fees cost? 

Stud fees range from CDN$800.00 up to $1800.00 for one of the top dogs in the country. Stud dog owners may *sometimes* also request Pick of Litter instead of a stud fee. When choosing a stud dog, don't forget to have a contract written out stating all of the terms. 
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If there is an orphan puppy, how do I hand raise them? 

Orphan puppies generally occur in large litters, but smaller or sickly puppies in an average size litter may also need hand fed to get all their nutrition needs. Taking care of an orphan puppies requires round-the-clock feeding about every 2 hours. Its very time consuming but if you want to be a breeder, you have to be up and able to handle such a feeding schedule. You'll also need a specially made puppy formula which are available at most petstores. Talk to your vet for instructions on how to properly hand feed a puppy, how to care for an orphan puppy, etc. 

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What should I give to the new puppyowners? 

Hopefully you'll be a responsible enough breeder to send: 

  • A copy of the Breed Standard
  • Diet sheet
  • The pedigree for the new puppy
  • An AKC Blue Slip or registration form/Proof of CKC registration
  • Some information on training and the 'first night with the puppy'
  • A contract and a guarantee for the puppy
  • A folder with notes that you should have kept on the puppies since birth
  • Your name and number so they can contact you.
  • Pictures of the sire & dam
  • Recomendations for local vets and training classes
  • A sample of the food the puppy has been on 
  • Some breeders send home books, vidoes, a favorite toy the puppy likes, etc. It all depends on your resources. 


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When is the best time to dock the tail? 

I dock the tails at 24-hours old by tying the tail.*  I find that puppies heal much quicker, than a 3-day old puppy.  I also have found that a 3-day old puppy tail is much larger than at birth, for obvious reason.   The puppy experiences the least ammount of pain at this stage and dew claws are removed as well, at 24-hours old. Be sure to talk to your vet about the options when docking the tail. 

*I tie my puppies'tails ONLY because I have the experience to do so, if this is your first litter...don't even try it!  Take your puppies'to the Vet.  
Just a word about why I tie vs. dock...my very first litter was docked at 3-days old, by an inexperienced Veterinarian, the puppies screamed so loudly, I left the clinic in tears.  I picked bone fragments off of the puppies'for days, the puppies'would cringe at the smell of human hands...when I initially returned home with the litter from our ill-fated Vet visit, the dam of the litter had nearly clawed her way out of her crate.  Can you imagine what she thought of us?  Returning her puppies to her, with the smell of strangers, blood and fear?
Nevertheless, I was determined to never go that route again...I sought out the help of a very experienced breeder who showed me how to properly tie the tail of a Rottweiler puppy.  I can now tie so quickly, that the puppy doesn't wake up, and is returned to its'mother within seconds.  I have also tied the tails on 2 other litters belonging to breeders'.

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What is the deposit for? 

Breeders generally request people place a deposit on a litter so if the breeder makes plans to send a certain puppy home with them and that family backs out, the breeder keeps the deposit. When the family comes through and buys the puppy, the breeder deducts the deposit amount, from the purchase price.  It's just assurance for the breeder that their puppies have a home waiting when their old enough. 

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Breeding: Are You Sure You Want To Do This?

 
CONSIDERATIONS BEFORE BREEDING YOUR ROTTWEILER

Why do I want to breed?

1.0 To make money

2.0 To let the kids witness the miracle of birth.

3.0 Because my Rottie is the BEST, and he/she will produce great puppies.

4.0 Any combination of the above.

Let's examine these reasons in order:

1.0 To make money.

Even professional breeders have a difficult time making a living at breeding Rottweilers. Besides, they aren't in it for the money - they are breeding because they love the breed and want to improve it throught careful and deliberate breeding of champion quality dogs that exhibit great working qualities, temperaments, and conformation (physical adherence to an established breed standard). Maybe you are just going to breed once to pick up some spare change. 

Here is what you figure you can make:

Average litter size : 8 puppies

Average sale price : $300.00

Keep in mind that breeders of AKC registered champion dogs sell their "pet" quality dogs for $200 to $500. These are dogs with very minor faults (rounded heads, wavy coats, small white spots, or lightly colored eyes) from proven dogs. Can you really expect to sell your puppies for more than they are?

Still, total profit is: $2,400.00 Not bad for you not having to do any work. WRONG! Did you notice that expenses haven't been figured in yet? OK, how 
much can it cost - it can't be that bad. Well, let's see:

1.1 Pre-Breeding tests, including OFA certification and a Brucellosis Test (canine VD that can be passed to humans!). OFA certification is critical to the health of the puppies and the long term health of the breed in general. Are you producing a litter of puppies that is destined to live in pain for their whole life? Are you producing a litter of puppies that will have to be destroyed before they are two years old because of genetic problems passed on from your bitch and stud? How happy will that make the puppy buyers (most likely family and friends)? How would it make you feel to see your puppy paralyzed in the rear legs due to extreme displaysia? OFA certification costs for each dog, not including the x-rays, is $100.00. GET IT DONE!

Pre-Breeding test costs: $200 

1.2 Stud Fee: $500.00 is the minimum you can expect to pay for a stud fee from a proven stud dog. You are planning to get the best stud possible, aren't you? After all, a few titles in the family tree will help sell the puppies. Oh - you have a friend who is willing to accept the pick of the litter since his/her dog is untitled. OK, you just lost $350.00 from one of the pups to sell. Also, don't forget the cost of shipping your bitch to the stud dog, or the associated costs with driving back and forth every day while trying to get a sucessful mating! Shipping costs can run into the $250 range, including a health certificate (required by Airlines).

1.3 Whelping Supplies: Heat lamps, whelping box (keep those puppies warm 
and close to mom!), miscellaneous supplies: $200.00

1.4 Prenatal care and vet visits for your pregnant bitch can cost from $200 to $400 dollars, more if there is a high risk pregnancy. You do love your bitch enough to insure that the pregnancy is not going to kill her, don't you? Supplemental vitamins and extra food will be required during the pregnancy and while nursing. Average cost: $300.

1.5 Delivery costs can also add up. Do you know how to help the bitch open the birthing sack and cut the umbilical cord? Do you know how to suction the lungs of a newborn puppy that is drowning in its own fluids? Do you know how to extricate a pup that is stuck in the birth canal? How about if the puppy is born breached and your bitch is literally screaming in pain? Hmmm - better have a vet on call for help. Since births invariably come at night, be prepared to wake your vet up. This is going to cost you at least $500.00.

1.6 Puppies are here! Wait a minute - they have tails! They also have an extra toenail up on their leg (called a dewclaw) that looks really easy to tear off accidentally. Well, call your vet again to dock the tails and remove the dewclaws. This will cost you again, at least $10 per puppy - let's say $80.00 total. Don't forget the two vacation days from work you will need to insure that the bitch doesn't accidentally smother her helpless puppies.

1.7 Puppies will need two set of shots for parvo and other boosters. This will cost you about $50.00 per puppy before you let them go. Without these shots, the puppies are very likely to contract a disease or infection and die very young. How happy will that make the puppy buyers (most likely family and friends)? Total cost: $400.00

1.8 AKC litter registration will also cost you. If your litter is not registered, forget about selling them for $300 - you will be lucky to get $150-$200. This is a cost of $18.00.

1.9 The puppies will need to start getting fed before they leave the dam. They will also need gruel consisting of rice cereal, baby meat, and supplemental milk powder (at $25 per can!). The cost of puppy food must be factored in for a few hungry mouths over a few weeks. Total cost about $100.00. Add in $$ to keep the whelping box at a constant 80 - 90 degrees with heat lamps and heater pads - say an additional $50 minimum. 

Total costs (items 1.1 -1.9): $2348.00 Hmm - profit margin is down to $52.00! Is it going to be worth the time, effort, and associated risks? What if someone sues you for selling them a dog with a genetic defect? Sounds like you may want to take out insurance on your "business" of breeding your dog!

Of course, a larger litter has the potential to generate more revenue. There are no guarantees regarding litter size. Indeed the litter may only consist of 1 or 2 dogs. If a large litter is produced, be ready to take vacation days from work to bottle feed puppies for several weeks. Additionally, larger litters mean increased costs, and more difficulty placing puppies with good homes.

Keep in mind that these are generally the minimum costs! What if your bitch contracts mastitus, uterine infections, or viral infections? More $$$! What if the puppies all get sick and require long term vet care? What if an emergency C-section is needed? These costs can be very significant. Many breeders will tell you that they LOSE $$ on litters where problems like these surface. What if the bitch or stud (or both!) attack the human handlers facilitating the mating. You are aware of the need to supervise a "tie" aren't you? I hope so - an improper mating can cause permanent damage to either of the unlucky Rotties!

Are you going to be able to sell all the puppies? To good homes I hope - you wouldn't want them getting beaten, abused, or used for dog fights would you? Rule of thumb - have good homes ready for all your potential puppies BEFORE you even make the initial mating. Do you? Have your researched the potential buyers? Written a contract stating what you expect of the buyers and what the buyers can expect from you (midnight calls because the puppy is sick!)?

 
2.0 To let the kids witness the miracle of birth.

This is one of the most common reasons given for wanting to breed a dog. Stop and think about this for a few minutes. Here are some considerations:

2.1 Will your bitch allow the children to witness the birth? Most dams are VERY nervous and upset at birthing time, particularly the first whelp. It is always recommended that only the one most trusted companion be present to avoid upsetting her further. 

2.2 Ever seen a breech birth? How will your kids react to her screaming and howling in pain during a difficult birth? Probably scared and crying for her - that's how I would be, and I can't imagine children being less upset!

2.3 How about the puppies? Any deformed or DOA? Here is a sampling of what might be seen:

2.3.1 There can be puppies that are born with parts of their internal organs on the outside of their bodies, 

2.3.2 Without any or missing some legs, 

2.3.3 With 2 eyes on one side of the head,

2.3.4 The body being so bloated that it looks like a it has a diving suit on,

2.3.5 A puppy that has no bones in the body,

2.3.6 A puppy that is green.

Sounds pretty disgusting to me - what will your 4 year old think? Are you sure that you are not setting your children up for what will be a traumatizing experience?

2.4 Will your children appreciate you shortening the life of their pet? Typically, spaying a female will extend her life 2-3 years due to fewer health problems, mostly related to cancers and infections. In fact, the family pet may DIE during the process, leaving you with large vet bills, no puppies, and heartbroken children.

2.5 Are the kids ready to pick up after 6-10 unhousebroken and very active puppies? Are you? Hmmm - maybe we should add paper towels to the list of expenses in section #1!

A final suggestion: take your children to the humane society or canine rescue organization in your area. What will they want to know? I'll tell you - they will want to know why all these dogs are alone with nobody to care for them and love them! Children are sometimes wiser than we would believe. Are you willing to accept one of your puppies back at any time for any reason? If not, you are probably going to add to the population at that humane society. Do you really want to???

 

3.0 Because my Rottie is the BEST, and he/she will produce great puppies.

Is he/she truly the best? What titles do you have to prove it? Is he/she a good physical representation of the breed (you have read and understood the breed standard, right?). What about temperament? Is he/she good with people (NOT just your family!)? Can children, strangers, and other animals approach him/her at a park without you worrying in the slightest? Or do you grab a tighter grip on the leash "just to be sure"? Have hips, eyes, elbows, thyroid & heart been checked by a certified vet to be free of genetically inherited defects?

Consider this: A well-bred, socialized, and trained Rottweiler will almost ALWAYS have a wonderful temperament. A gentle, loving nature is in and of itself not enough reason to breed your pet. What else can your dog or bitch offer to this magnificent breed? 

3.1 Conformation titles are a reflection that your dog/bitch is a good representative of the breed standard. ALL potential breeders (and even owners) should read and understand the breed standard. See elsewhere in this FAQ for information regarding the breed standards. Common faults in pet quality dogs include: White markings, overshot and undershot (overbite and underbite), lack of pigment on the nose and mouth (pink mouth), lightly colored eyes, and missing undercoat. Is your dog free of all possible disqualifying faults? Not all dogs are good representations of the breed, no matter how "cute" they may seem. Do we really need further dilution of the Rottweiler line from breedings between animals who do not measure up to the standard? Consider the case of overshot. How severe is this really? Well, one dog I know well has to have his 
lower canine teeth (the long ones in front) GROUND DOWN to avoid puncturing the inside of the roof of his mouth! (He has been neutered.) Doesn't sound like fun for the dog, owner, or the vet! 

A professional breeder will select only the best representatives of the breed standard to breed or provide stud service for, thus maintaining or improving the breed as we know and love it. Can you say the same?

3.2 Has your dog/bitch been awarded any titles in any recognized field (such as but not limited to: obedience, agility, herding, carting, Schutzhund, French Ring, therapy)? How do we measure the value of any dogs contribution to the breed? Remember, this is a working breed!

If you can't answer yes to either of the above (preferably both!) then ask yourself how you have measured your Rottie against others that may be bred. Does he/she really stack up? Great pets are not required to achieve any of these awards, but may not be the best choice for breeding. 

Look at it this way: If you are hiring someone to do some work for you, what are qualifications you look for? How about a high school diploma? Membership in a professional organization (e.g. Master Plumber)? College degree? Outstanding achievements in a related field? How should you evaluate the requirements of two dogs before you decide to bring more lives into this world?

Aside from these qualifications, have you evaluated your dog for potential genetic traits that can at the least cause disfiguration and at the worst death? How about the partner? Example: some lines of dogs when combined will invariably produce offspring with physical defects and abnormalities. Does your bitch have this risk when mated to your chosen stud?

 

4.0 Any combination of the above.

Take a few minutes to read all of the above material. Still convinced that you want to breed your Rottweiler? I hope not....

If you are still determined to breed your dog/bitch, please do the following two things AT A MINIMUM:

Make sure both partners in the breeding have had hip x-rays taken and been certified as "good" or "excellent" by the OFA. Ask your veterinarian to help you get the x-rays to the OFA. CHD, or Canine Hip Displaysia is a crippling degenerative disease that has been proven to be genetically inherited (passed on from Sire or Dam or both). Severe CHD will cripple even a young puppy at its worst and cause severe arthritic pains and discomfort to older dogs in the least. Nothing could be sadder than to watch your loved pet try to rise from its bed someday just to greet you and not be able to. Imagine watching the puppy struggle to get to its feet, scared and confused as to why it cannot move. CHD has caused paralysis of the hind legs. Short of getting a wheelchair for the back legs, this poor puppy will have to be euthanized. GET THE HIPS CHECKED!

Make sure to research all potential puppy owners to insure a good home. Due to its destructive potential, the Rottweiler is a favorite for drug dealers, dog fights, and other irresponsible owners. If you have any doubts, DO NOT sell, give, or barter a puppy away to such an individual. Use a legal contract for the sale and make sure the terms are understood by the purchasing party. 

CONCLUSION

This section of the FAQ has been an attempt to present arguments AGAINST breeding your Rottweiler (Stud or Bitch). Every year, thousands of Rottweilers are given up for adoption, euthanized, and abused. There is no need to add to this level of misery for a breed that we all know and love. Ask yourself honestly what your motivation is for desiring to breed your Rottie and read the following information. It will help you see the negative side of breeding - the side that often is not considered when a breeding is planned. Keep in mind that while much of 
the information is relevant to the bitch, the stud dog owner has just as much responsibility to the breed. It does take two to tango!
If use of this document or the information contained herein dissuades ONE person from breeding their rottweiler, then it has been well worth the efforts of all involved. PLEASE disseminate this document as widely as possible. Feel free to paraphrase as needed, or to use sections where applicable. By Doug Slanksy.

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The following links are extremely graphic, take it as a wake-up call...and please RECONSIDER breeding your Rottweiler.
Are you sure you know WHERE your Rottweilers end up???

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ANNOUNCING "THE MIRACLE OF BIRTH" VIDEOTAPE 

Intended for all those who want to breed little Fluffy in order to let their children experience the "miracle" of birth, this real-time video tape set can either substitute for home breeding or guide you in making the most of your breeding decision. 

* Experience the joys of seeing a live puppy pop effortlessly from its mother's body and see her consume the bloody afterbirth! (Most children will squeal with delight when seeing this for the first time - many will make a life-long commitment to celibacy then and there.) 

* Enjoy watching the frantic efforts of a breeder trying to resuscitate a still-born puppy. 

* See the hilarious actions of a bitch who searches for the puppy she thinks she just dropped but which was quickly tossed into the wastebasket because it was only a blackened, half-developed fetus. 

* Reserve a full 36 hours to see the entire set of tapes in one sitting to really share the drama, boredom, and exhaustion of the breeder as she labors to help her struggling bitch in extended labor. 

* Watch as a breeder tries to recruit several helpers to carry her dying bitch to the car for transport to the nearest animal hospital in a futile attempt at saving the beloved family pet. (Seeing the children crying and asking what is happening is half the fun!) 

* Follow the fun as a breeder and their spouse alternate duties during a full week of 4-hour bottle feedings with a fading puppy while also trying to keep 13 others dry and healthy! 

And, as an extra added attraction: 

* Laugh with us at the madcap antics of a typical shelter worker as she accepts new animals while keeping a straight face as mom and dad assure little Kevin that the nice lady will take VERY GOOD care of 8-year floppy. Enjoy the thrills as she later shoves unwanted puppies and adult dogs into a gas chamber as she chokes back tears and goes home to try and explain to her children just what she does at work! 

* And, for a limited time only, we will include free of charge the video tape of a recent arrest made by the local animal control officer who discovered that someone had falsely declared his male dogs neutered (to save on license fees) and when discovered was planning to do the job himself at home! 

The second half of the same bonus tape shows the chagrin of a backyard breeder who was tracked down from her telephone number which was all she ever gave out. This wonderful person would arrange to meet people at local shopping malls where she handed over her 4-5 week-old puppies for $120 each! We were all amazed to find that those 20 puppies she was selling each year all came from the same single bitch and dog. 

Yes, if you, or a friend, are considering breeding Fluffy to show children the "miracle" of birth, be sure to get this video and show them the miracle of death at the same time! 

We have high hopes for this video, following as it does on the tremendous success of our first effort: "Doit yourself home vasectomy, featuring George "squeaky" Baker," and its sequel, "Doit yourself home explosives mixing, by Bob "lefty" Anderson." 

Special to the first five purchasers, one frozen still-born puppy - just wait until you take it home and see how the kids' eyes light up as the pup thaws!! 

© 1996, John A. McCormick, President and CEO, Nocturnal Aviation Videos. 

Reproduction and distribution of this advertisement in its entirety strongly encouraged.

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Page Created January 29, 2002