Why should dogs be spayed or neutered?
Female Chinese Cresteds and Mi Kis generally get their first heat anytime between 7 months to a little over 1 year of age, an early age to become sexually mature. Male Cresteds and Mi Kis mature as early as 7 months. For girls, this avoids unnecessary mess involved with the heat cycle. Some bleed a lot causing staining on furniture and on beds. All this has to be cleaned up. Or a panty can be put on each day with a fresh liner inserted several times a day. Some dog breeders or non dog breeders who have not spayed their girls will keep them confined to contain the blood. They also go through hormonal cycles which should be avoided unless they are going to be future Mothers.
Non neutered boys can and will begin to mark territory (that means peeing everywhere) if they smell a girl in heat. They will have to be keep away from unspayed girls, in a different part of the house. The drive to reproduce is stronger than our careful watch over our loved pets. That means they will try to figure out or get out of the house in search of the bitch in heat. Like humans, some boys have a higher drive than others and some can be very tenacious.
When your young adult or adult dog has not been spayed or neutered, accidental pregnancies can and most likely will happen if you have a boy and a girl. That is simple biology. Unless you are a breeder, there is no reason to have an intact pet.
We love what we do. We are very passionate about what we do. Our puppy families say we are in puppy heaven and it is true. But there is A LOT involved in breeding, or at least breeding the right way. Anyone who knows a breeder well knows it is not a matter of getting a boy and a girl together to have puppies. Well that is it but to breed healthy and well socialized puppies is another matter. Being a great breeder requires knowledge of genetics. They should know where the Mom and Dad come from, their lines. This way they can know if they are a great genetic match. Once a pair is found, it takes time to supervise the mating. Not all Moms and Dads are good at it, especially the first time. Tim can tell you he has spent hours watching a pair, being on hand to assist. And no, this is not one of his favorite part of being a Doggy Dad. After the matings, we make sure the pregnant Mom is fed and cared for. She is put on a special diet before, during and after having puppies. If the Mom shows signs of pregnancy, at least one of us is home around the clock for the 2 weeks leading up to the due date.We stay up nights waiting for the signs of delivery. Any odd noise wakes us up from our sleep as we need to be on hand to comfort and assist the Mom and puppies. And the reality is, puppies are born most of the time in the middle of the night. I make coffee and a snack for Tim and he washes up and sits with our Mommy while she delivers. Tim does cut the umbilical cord, cleans out the nose and mouth, makes sure each puppy is breathing and then latched on to nurse. This is with each puppy. As we breed smaller, we do not have a lot of puppies in one litter but a litter of 3-4 puppies can be delivered in a day. It can be 10 minutes or 3 hours between each puppy. Few of our Moms can do everything and is faster while many need help. Our Crested Moms can cut the cord and clean the puppies themselves while many of our Mi Ki Moms do not do this. Sometimes it is a call to our vet and driving an hour to do an emergency c section which is very stressful. This is all during the delivery.
After puppies are born, we make sure the Mom is comfortable, warm and fed and has plenty of water. We put a heat pad for the Chinese Crested Moms and puppies, even though we keep our home very warm in the winter. Our furnace is running on high along with the wood burning inserts and 1 fireplace to keep our home at a comfortable level for the puppies. We check on our puppies and Mom every couple of hours to make sure everyone is nursing and thriving. If a puppy is not nursing as well as we like, we take that one and give them the best nipple. We watch and assist to make sure each one is nursing well. Thankfully, all our Moms are very loving so they do not mind us at all touching the puppies and them. Sometimes it’s hand feeding a weaker puppy. That means every 2-3 hours, day and night.
As breeders, we give the Moms clean bedding every day. We keep an eye on her to ensure she is getting enough food and water. We give her lots of love as she is still our pet and want the loving. After all, happy mothers make for better mothers.
When the puppies are older, we clean the puppy area several times a day to keep their bedding and potty areas clean. We play with them and check them out several times a day. Thankfully, our human kids help socialize them so they are handled by all of us all the time as little puppies. As they develop more, it’s more play time and learning all the noises of a home. They get washed a few times a week and some of them get groomings every other week. Some of them are given shirts, pajamas and sweaters to wear because they get cold.
All of this is while we are interviewing and screening our prospective puppy families. This part is a lot of fun for us as we really enjoy getting to know others. We are social family so speaking with a variety of people is easy and fun for us. It can be over several days or months to get to know each family. We have some families staying in contact with us over several years. We also go over adoption forms, answer phone calls which normally lasts for 1-2 hours each, emails and texts. We take lots of puppy pictures, every other week, of each of our puppies. Then it’s posting and update the website to let families know how each pup is developing. Then families come to visit us or fly in or drive in to pick up their puppies which takes about 2 hours each. We have had families visit us all day. Now we have a 2 hour visiting time slots which allows us time to care for our puppies, parents, human kids and each other.
The fun part is playing with puppies and socializing them. It’s also fun getting to know puppy families and interviewing them. Over the years, Tim and I have bonded with so many amazing families. Many of them are now friends, near and far. They are people with big hearts and open minds. When a puppy leaves our home and it’s bitter sweet for me, the families thankfulness and joy reminds me of why we do this. Their appreciation and the level of love they have because of our puppies drives me to go on. We really enjoy this but this is not for everyone. The down side is when a puppy is not thriving and one does not make it. It is heat breaking. We do whatever we can but it does happen. Life as a breeder takes tremendous amount of dedication and commitment. We have Chinese Crested colleagues who no longer breed as they can’t deal with the weirdos, the calls, the questions and the unpredictability of each litter. With Chinese Cresteds, there are all degrees of hairlessness and powderpuff puppies born in one litter. There are all different colors. When they have certain puppies, they have families call for another kind. They cannot hold a puppy for as long as we can and do so it is stressful finding homes. Most do not allow families to visit them and if they do, they certainly do not allow them to stay for 2 hours and visit multiple times. And there are the breeders who stop because life gets too hectic and they no longer have the time or space to breed. Most breeders are women who do it alone. Even if they have husbands or partners, it falls on them to get it all done. I am ever thankful Tim, our kids and friends are on this journey together. I know I could not do this alone. Yes, it does take a village to breed and raise great puppies.
Unless you know what to do as far as selecting suitable mates, caring for a pregnant Mom and knowing how to properly caring for and socialize puppies…, have your puppy spayed or neutered. It is like playing Russian roulette. Both Tim and I were raised with pets as kids. Tim also had a dog and a cat as an adult. Together, we have loved our first puppy since 1999 and are constantly learning and evolving as pet parents and as breeders. We had some great mentors who guided us and we also took the time to learn from few great breeders. It takes this level of passion to be great breeders.
We have over the years spoke with couple of families who think breeding is easy and anyone can do it. They think they can get a boy and a girl and start having puppies. The conversation starts off normal and then they start with, “My kids would love to see puppies being born. They would love to hold puppies just once before she has to be spayed.” This means – can I breed? They also follow up with “I heard it’s really bad to spay or neuter dogs. It is better to leave them as is and let nature take it’s course.” We even had a lady email us an article she found on the internet on the evils of spay and neutering with the hopes that we would be convinced too. We understand it’s a amazing to watch babies being born. But for pet owners to have a litter of puppies for their children to experience the “miracle of birth” and that there is no harm in letting their pets have “just” one litter is dangerous. They do not think of how to find great homes for all the puppies. Or are they planning on giving them out like cookies or keeping them all? Once the puppies are born and their kids are over it, then what happens to the puppies? It is a known fact that puppies and kittens are abandoned at shelters from pet owners who just wanted to have a litter, along with puppy mills and families who no longer want the dog. The shelters are already over crowed. They do not think about what happens after they have the puppies. Or they think if Mythic Kingdom can do it, so can we. Yes, they can with enough time and energy. It’s not magic but takes a lot of heart and effort.
As soon as it clicks that they are hinting at breeding rights, I tell them “We do not give out breeding rights. We require all our puppies, young adults and retiring adults to be spayed or neutered. All our families have to email us the report from their vet verifying the procedure. They have to email us a clear picture of the puppy or adult with the spay or neuter incision mark. There are no exceptions. If you want to have 1 litter or many, contact other breeders. They will sell you a puppy or adult for you to do whatever you want.” As soon as that is spoken and on the table, the conversation pitters out. They clearly get that we don’t budge on this.
It’s astonishing to me that families do call or email hinting at breeding when we make it clear we do not give breeding rights. We have had breeders call asking for advice or guidance on their breeding program. When they are open, I am more than willing to help them find other breeders who will sell them breeding dogs. I listen to their goals and guide them on breeding and interviewing. I want them to do their best for their parents, puppies and puppy families.
Tim and I have seen and heard a lot. We have been contacted asking for stud service. The first thing I ask is, “Do you have breeding rights?” “What’s that?” I tell them that it means they bought, paid for or adopted their dog with the rights to breed and it is written into the contract. Since they don’t know what this means, they adopted or bought their pet on a spay or neuter contract. I tell them they can do what they want but they should call the breeder asking for breeding rights if that is something the breeder gives out. I tell them the breeder may say yes. They may say yes but ask for more money or ask for puppies back. Or they may find out that the dog they bought should not be bred. Great breeders know their lines going back generations and know which dog should pass on their genetics. But it’s the right thing to do.
When I contact other breeders with the intention of getting a breeding girl or boy, I ask them right up front if they give breeding rights. If they say no, then I thank them and move on. I certainly do not call or email a breeder who makes it clear they do not want this for their puppies. It’s just saves us time and is respectful to the breeder.
Remember, the breeder placed your puppy on a pet contract for a reason. He/she may not have all the qualities that should be passed down to the next generation. He/she may be too small or big. Besides, if you brought home your puppy as a pet, then stick to the contact and spay or neuter. Unless a puppy is placed on a show/breeding contact (we place all puppies on strict spay/neuter), the most humane and ethical thing to do is to have the procedure done. Like everything else in life, it’s up to each of us to do the right thing. For us doing the right thing is to make sure each of our puppies live the rest of their life as spoiled pets, or spoiled pets that do service work.
All Mythic puppies must be spayed or neutered around 6 months of age. All young adults or retiring adults must be spayed or neutered within 2 months of being placed.
We required all our families to email us the proof of the spay or neuter from their vet. In 2016, we had a family who did not neuter and was intending on using our dog for breeding. At the suggestion of some of our families, we now also require along with the proof of the procedure from your veterinarian, a clear picture of the puppy or adult with the spay or neuter incision mark to be emailed or mailed to us. NO EXCEPTIONS! If we do not get this by the time the puppy is 8 months or after 2 months of adopting a young adult or retiring adult, Tim will email you. We would prefer each family keep to the contract and email it to us at the appropriate time. This way, you can spend your time loving your pet and we can focus on doing what we do for other families.