Playing Cupid To Canines

In love and in pet breeding, it pays to make the right choice.

Matching couples is not the monopoly of Cupid. Pet owners and breeders play the role of the Prince of Love when they match and mate pets. For Cupid, all it takes is shooting an arrow soaked in love potion to kindle the flame between prospective couples; for pet breeders, they need more than an arrow to strike the perfect match. Breeders have a lot of homework to do even after finding the perfect stud for the female.

Valentine's Day may be a perfect date to breed pets if you are one of those hopeless romantics. But the straight-from-the-heart truth is that any date is just as good if breeders keep in mind the main goal of pet breeding - to improve the breed.

Compatibility should be the foremost consideration when planning to breed dogs. It is also necessary that the purpose for which the dogs will be used is known. Factors such as genetic information, temperament, health and physical characteristics must be assessed beforehand. A stud should undergo a similar background testing as the female in order to determine compatibility. Likewise, it should be ascertained that one of the dogs belongs to a non-related pedigree. Breeding two closely related dogs could result to inbreeding depression. First-generation inbred animals are prone to health problems and physical defects. Reduction in genetic diversity is most likely to occur when breeding closely related dogs.

Breeding purebred dogs is more complicated. The ill-effects of inbreeding is most likely to occur among purebreds because most of them come from a single lineage. Precaution must be taken to avoid genetic problems. Breeders should be very particular about the type of genetic testing they use. Genetic problems could still occur even with the best DNA testing facilities currently available.

On the other hand, hybrid dogs are less likely to incur genetic problems compared to purebreds. This is so because hybrid dogs have a mixed gene pool. As a matter of fact, hybrids are known to manifest hybrid vigor otherwise known as the heterosis effect. Hybrid dogs are said to have this effect because they are usually stronger and more intelligent. Some breeders have noticed that hybrids are healthier and more vivacious compared to a purebred. However, the issue whether hybrid dogs are the answer to the genetic problems common in purebreds is still being debated by scientists and by breeders themselves. Critics of hybrids contend that undesirable behavioral traits and genetic disorders from one or both of the parents could still be inherited by the dogs.

Once the ideal match for the female dog is found and the mating perfectly carried out, pet owners and breeders should be prepared for emergencies during pregnancy such as a c-section surgical procedure. It is advisable to allocate funds for whatever cost that might be incurred especially after the puppies are delivered.

In love and in pet breeding, it pays to make the right choice.