is absolutely hereditary. If you breed a bitch with an undesirable
temperament, you're going to end up with puppies who act just
like her. There are a number of pretty serious issues to think
about along those lines.
First is the male. Unfortunately, a bitch with an undesirable
temperament might very well hurt the male, and badly. Girls who
act badly are not usually happy about being bred, and not only
the male, but also any humans who happen to be close by might
be bitten. Even if the bitch is small, this could be a dangerous
situation. If she hurts the male, you'll probably be asked to
pay his vet bills. The last dog fight bill we paid, several years
ago, was upwards of $400! If he is a dog who is often used for
stud, his "career" could very well be ended by an experience like
this. People have been sued for less!
Second, temperament is definitely hereditary. She's going to have
puppies who act just like her, and a dog or bitch with a bad temperament
is not a dog many people would want to live with.
One thing we always advise people looking for a puppy is to meet
the mother. If she isn't friendly, happy, and the kind of dog
you want, don't even consider buying one of her puppies. This
is a basic rule of puppy buying and one of the main reasons people
should never buy from a pet shop. If you can't meet the mother,
you don't know what kind of temperament you'll be getting.
A temperamental bitch is likely to be either a negligent mother
or an overprotective one. If she's negligent, you'll have to raise
the puppies by hand. That's a very difficult job and often heartbreaking.
(I remember the litter of eight I had to hand-raise. We lost all
but one over a period of a week. Most depressing week I ever went
through!) If she's overprotective, she's not going to let you
near the puppies. You*need* to be able to handle those pups safely,
and if you have to fight her every time, it will be very difficult,
not to mention dangerous.
Fourth, the puppies learn behavior from the mother while they're
still in the whelping box. If there are any who don't inherit
her temperament genetically, they're going to learn it from her.
Fifth, and maybe most convincing, are the legal issues. Due to
pet laws around the country, by selling puppies you know come
from a mother who is a known biter, you might very well open yourself
up to a lawsuit when one of them hurts someone. I don't think
a case like that has come up yet, but it will.
Lawyers advertise regularly for "dog bite victims" and it won't
be long before they go after not only the owner of the dog, but
the breeder (the owner of the mother). Many states have "puppy
lemon laws" which mean the breeder has to refund the purchase
price of a puppy who turns out to be unhealthy. Most of these
laws include "congenital or hereditary defects," and a puppy who
bites and whose mother has a vicious temperament is definitely
a puppy who has an inherited condition.
Breeding dogs is serious business. You're bringing little lives
into the world and you're responsible for them. A dog cannot control
where he lives or who he lives with, so you need to be sure your
puppies go to homes where they have a good prospects for happy
lives. A puppy starting out with serious health or temperament
problems doesn't have a chance these days.
There is also a lot of joy and satisfaction in breeding, if you
start out with a healthy, well-adjusted, happy dog. Ideally, she
should also be a good representative of the breed (look like what
a dog of that kind is supposed to look like). But even the most
beautiful showdog, if she snaps, bites, or growls, should be spayed.
And I've known of valuable showdogs who *were* spayed for that
very reason. A good temperament is absolutely the number one requirement
So it comes down to this: Breeding an ill-tempered bitch would
be a very, very bad idea. Have her spayed, and if you want to
breed, do some studying about genetics, join some breeders' email
lists, get a healthy female with a very steady temperament, and
start from there. You'll save yourself a whole lot of heartache
Here are some email lists about breeding, along with their descriptions.
These are not primarily show breeder lists, though you might want
to join some of those later.
The first two are lists that focus on the basics and include all
types of breeders. You'll learn a great deal about the joys and
heartaches of breeding simply reading these lists for a month
or two. Most of the people on them are pet owners who don't show
their dogs but do occasionally breed a litter. You don't have
to worry about rude responses on these lists; they are not allowed.
Many of the people have bred one or more litters and will give
you honest answers based on their own experience.
Pups and Pregnancy -- This list is a place to learn about dog
pregnancy and raising puppies, no matter what kind of dogs or
pups: AKC, cross breed, rare breeds or unregistered pure-breds,
Chihuahua or Great Dane or any
dog or puppy in between!
To subscribe, send a blank email to Pregnancy_and_Pupsemail@example.com
A Wee One -- Care of the newborn puppy from birth to 12 weeks.
Discuss the pros and cons of heat lamps and heating pads. Tube
feeding, paper training, worming, tail bobing, bathing. How to
know if is time to go to vet. Signs of genetic faults. When to
give puppy's first shot. All breeds of dogs. Referals to other
dog lists when needed.
Subscribe by sending a blank email to: A-Wee-Onefirstname.lastname@example.org
The following are lists more geared to hobby or show breeding.
The discussions are more technical, but you'll learn a lot about
the finer points of selecting a dog to breed. For the most part,
if you introduce yourself as a novice and ask questions, you'll
be treated kindly.
Breeders Only -- A group to discuss breeding of purebred dogs,
all breeds. Discussions include health, care of stud dog or bitches,
whelping tips, and other useful information for the novice or
To subscribe, send a blank email to email@example.com
JoyBreeding - The Joy Of Breeding Email List -- Purpose: this
list was initiated for breeders to discuss issues related to dog
breeding. Breeders of all dog breeds are invited and encouraged
To subscribe, send a blank email to: JoyBreedingfirstname.lastname@example.org
Note from ReJoyce: Temperament can be passed to offspring by dam or by sire. Renner's temperament is a carbon copy of the mellow, laid-back, easy-to-love-and-live-with disposition of his father, Nick.
"Temperament and Breeding" Copyright
© 2005 Sharyn Hutchens.
All Rights Reserved. Reprinted by permission.
Unless otherwise noted, remainder of ReJoyce web site Copyright © 2000-2012 Guy and Melody Joyce. All Rights Reserved.