As much as I would love to have a 101 Poodles in my home it just isn’t possible. My home is full, and I love it that way. However, having GUARGIAN HOMES available for some of my girls gives my dogs and myself the best of both worlds. A GUARDIAN HOME is a home that raises and cares for a breeding dog. They make that dog a part of their family and take responsibility of all normal care as they would any dog. I take care of prenatal and whelping experiences and responsibilities. I arrange breeding and take the bitch back when she is ready to deliver and raise her babies. It affords me the opportunity to expand my love for breeding but gives my girls a family and more individual attention.
As you can already guess, disputes and other problems could easily arise having some else raise your dog and not cooperate with your intended program. However, most of my GUARDIAN HOMES are family. I have eight children who were raised with dogs and trained by me, so it does work pretty well. I do have a couple girls in friend’s homes, but I do not scout for homes and wouldn’t at all be opened to someone I haven’t known for quite a long time.
The average dog reaches sexual maturity around 6-12 months of age. Reaching sexual maturity, however, doesn't mean that she is mature enough to care for pups or that she is physically mature enough to ensure her and her babies health. There are several considerations and each dam matures at a different at a different rate. Assuming health test come back satisfactory and the Dam is out of most of the baby stage after her first heat, it should be okay to bred at that time – on second heat.
By the time a Standard Poodle is 12-18 months they have reached their adult size. During the second year they will put on some weight and their bone and cartilages will continue to mature. Studies show that breeding her before she totally matures at age two will help subsequent litters whelp be easier. As she ages, the cartilage that joins together the two sides of a dam’s pelvis become ossified into hard bone as she achieves full maturity. It is best to initiate the pelvic canal to the birthing process while it still has a little “give” in it. Therefore, subsequent births are then likely to be that much easier and trouble free. AKC Rules allow registration of a litter out of a dam at 8 months old, which we believe is a pretty young, but really every girl is different.
The latest studies also say that it is most healthy for a breeding dog to breed back to back as long as she is healthy and giving healthy babies. Though each dog has to be taken into consideration most bitches are more susceptible to pyrometra and false pregnancies by skipping heats. Studies show that Bitches showing most stress and damage to the uterus are this who were breed every other heat rather than back to back. Many studies have been done on it and Dr Hutchinson suggests a healthy uterus in a dog is a pregnant one. The pregnancy helps to keep the uterus from becoming spongy and infected from not being bred.
Our Dams will be finished breeding, not based solely on a chronological age but depending on how they perform. A substantially smaller litter than usual could be a sign that she needs to be finished. And of course, if there is a slightest of issues that compromises mom’s health at the least she should not be bred. When a momma is retired, she is spayed, and opened to a non-working home. I don’t advertise and am very guarded about relinquishing my girls but there have been occasions that a good match comes along, and I am opened to that.
There is a frequently stated philosophy that you should only breed to “improve the breed”. Conscientious breeders know this should be their goal.
But, I’ve been around long enought to see philosophy brought to test and have come to realize that the philosophy itself needs to be scrutinized. What does it even mean?
Does improving the breed mean improving the breed Standard as laid down is the closed Poodle Stud Book? Does it mean making the line you’re considering breeding better? Producing better pups than the parents? To me, it means that every time we pare a Dam and Sire we intend to produce a pup of equal or better health, conformation, and temperament.