Jack Russell Terrier Club of America Preserve, Protect and Work the Jack Russell Terrier

The Case to Spay/Neuter

Most reputable breeders sell the pet quality puppies with the agreement that the animal will be spayed or neutered. These puppies are sold at a lower price than the show prospect puppies, even though they have the exact same excellent pedigree and have received the dame care and attention.

The basic disposition and temperament of your dog will not be changed by removing his or her reproductive capability. Neutering a male can make him more tolerant of other males, but neither neutering nor spaying will by itself turn your dog into an obese, lazy animal...that is the result of excess food and insufficient exercise.

Benefits of spaying include not having to worry about accidental breedings, the stress and inconvenience of confining the bitch in season, risky mismating shots, and unwanted puppies. The spayed bitch will not develop uterine infection or tumors of the reproductive system as do so many unspayed bitches. An added benefit, it has been proven that if spayed before the first heat, the incidence of breast tumors is almost eliminated. If spayed before the second head the incidence is still reduced, but not by as much.

Neutered males will not be stressed and upset by the scent of bitches in season, and are less tempted to escape or wander or be distracted from their family or work. The neutered male will not develop testicular cancer, and the risk of prostate cancer is lowered.

Consider the Current Dog Population

If, at this point, you are still considering breeding your dog, visit the dog pound in the big city nearest you. Ask how many dogs are put down monthly, and how many put down or placed through the rescue programs were Jack Russell Terriers. Suitable, permanent homes are difficult to find.

Breeding Your Jack Russell Terrier

Breeding is not for beginners. It is as hard to do well as it is easy to do poorly. before you breed do some serious soul searching as to your reasons for bringing puppies into this world. Are you willing to be responsible for the lives and futures of all the offspring?

Consider Your Motives

If you think that:

  1. Having puppies would be fun: It is also very time consuming and demanding. By four weeks of age a litter of three to five puppies is active, dirty, noisy and potentially destructive. Four more weeks of care are required before they are mature enough and socialized enough to go to their new homes. Illness or death of the dam or puppies can be expensive, emotional...and no fun at all.
  2. It would be educational for the children: So would a litter of hamsters. Bitches do not whelp at your convenience, and the children are often in school or in bed at the time of the delivery. Care of the pregnant bitch, and properly raising and socializing puppies is work for a responsible adult.
  3. It would help us get back our investment: You may find that the rate of return is very low. A stud fee, veterinary fees, advertising, and the daily care and feeding of a litter is very expensive. That is not even considering complications of whelping, which can be very expensive.
  4. It would help fulfill the dog's needs: You are anthropomorphizing. While the instinct for procreation is strong, the dog has no conscious knowledge of what it is missing, no regrets and no guilt feelings. Spaying and neutering will remove the instinct and the problems often associated with it, such as wandering and marking. Pregnancy not only contributes nothing to a bitch's health, but sometimes causes problems. A spayed bitch cannot be accidentally bred, and will not be subject to the uterine infections common in older, intact females.
  5. It will improve the bitch's temperament if she was bred: You are wrong. No animal whose temperament needs improving should be bred in the first place, since the temperament is most often the result of hereditary factors. And while raising a litter will not only NOT make an improvement in the damís temperament, it will also probably result in a litter of unsatisfactory puppies who have been imprinted by their unstable dam. There is also the possibility that the bitch will be an unsatisfactory mother, necessitating much more work on your part.

Consider Your Dog's Quality

Is your dog truly an outstanding representative of the breed? Pretty, friendly and smart is not nearly enough.

  1. Temperament: Your dog must be absolutely sound and stable, with a personality and disposition appropriate for the breed. Shyness, aggressiveness, noise sensitive, lack of tractability, and hyperactivity are all reasons not to breed, regardless of other qualities.
  2. Breed type and quality: Your dog must be structurally and functionally sound, with conformation characteristics appropriate for the breed. An experienced, knowledgeable exhibitor/breeder can assist in the evaluation of your dog's adherence to the Breed Standard. Jack Russell Terriers do have a breed standard and registry.
  3. Soundness: Your dog must be tested free of certain genetic defects, as should the proposed mate. Knowledge of the status of parents, grandparents, siblings, etc. with regard to genetic testing is also desirable.
  4. Any inheritable defects, including, but not limited to, retained testicles, overshot or undershot jaw, congenital heart defects, recurrent skin problems, thyroid deficiency, luxating patellas, Legg-Calve-Perthes, deafness in one or both ears, eye disorders, neurological disorders and immunological problems occurring in either parent are all reasons not to breed, regardless of other qualities.

  5. Pedigree: A four or five generation pedigree on the proposed litter should be read and interpreted by a person with extensive knowledge of the breed and of the dogs involved. Title and show records alone are no guarantee of genetic value.
  6. Health: A breeding animal must be fully mature, in the prime of health, and in lean muscular condition. All inoculations could be up to date, and the animal should be free of both internal and external parasites. Acquired problems such as a narrow birth canal from previous injury, transmissible venereal tumor, anemia, any disease or infection of the reproductive organs, such as brucellosis, concurrent disease of other organ systems, or any contagious diseases are all reasons not to breed. Health status should be confirmed by your veterinarian, with adequate documentation of tests available for inspection by the owner of the stud dog.
  7. JRTCA Registration: Has this dog been registered with the JRTCA? Has it passed the veterinary screening required for registration. If it is not registered, was it denied on any health, conformational or documentation discrepancies? If so, your puppies may not be registerable.

Consider Your Resources

Raising a litter is a demanding project. Do you:

  1. Have the facilities for whelping and raising a litter properly? You need a warm, quiet, secure area, easily cleaned, for properly confining and caring for a litter of fast-growing puppies while they are with their mother, and a similar, larger area for use after weaning.
  2. Have the time to devote to this project? Time to take or send a bitch for breeding, sit up for hours during whelping, and hand-raise the litter if the bitch is unavailable to? Time to buy and prepare food, feed and clean up four or five times daily? Time to go to the veterinarian for check-ups, inoculations and with a sick dam or puppy? Time to scrub floors and pens, clean up feces and urine, and five medication? Time to individually socialize each puppy daily? Time to answer telephone calls, talk with prospective buyers, and answer the same questions over and over again? Time for all the paperwork required, including typing accurate pedigrees, health records, car instructions, records of sales and so on?
  3. Have the money to put into the project? Can you afford to pay the stud fee, inoculations and veterinary car for the bitch and the puppies, as well as other expenses? What if the bitch has problems that necessitate a caesarean section? What if the puppies die? What if the bitch dies, or cannot raise the puppies? Can you afford to feed and provide veterinary care for two or three four-month-old puppies that didn't sell? Can you afford to refund the purchase price on a puppy that proves to be unsound or unsuitable?

Considerations of the Stud Dog Owner

If you are thinking of using your male at stud, you are no less responsible for the quality of the litter than the owner of the brood bitch. You have the obligation of thoroughly screening every owner that inquires about stud service, and the bitch to be bred; of traveling to and from the airport to pick up and return bitches sent in for breeding; of boarding and caring for the itches that are in your care; of effecting the breeding; of supplying pedigrees, photos, and examination reports; and of keeping meticulous records. This is all done as circumstances dictate, not at you convenience; the weekend away you had planned may be spent at home looking after a visiting bitch instead.

You also are responsible for your dog's health and genetic testing, and having proof available for owners of prospective bitch.