BACK TO BASICS
A stud dog is only as vigorous as his libido; a brood bitch can only produce healthy pups, easily whelped, if she inherits the genes to do so. Where did we get the idea that it is “ok” to rely on AI and C-sections to produce litters of puppies?
I realize that putting Donald to Daphne is not always a simple process. Cavalier bitches sometimes have strictures that prevent natural mating, or their vulvas are too small to accommodate the male. But what about the Donalds who could care less that they are being asked to perform, and run to sniff the marigolds instead of taking care of business? Why on earth would we put up with that nonsense? Assuming that the bitch is ‘ripe’ and ready, there is no excuse for a reluctant (mature) stud dog. When asked to perform, he should have only one thing on his mind thru rain, wind, and snowfall. Lacking libido, why bother to perpetuate those reluctant genes through the succeeding generations? The early days of dog shows, even unto today, were designed to evaluate breeding stock—emphasis on ‘breeding.’
Likewise, the bitch who cannot push a puppy out to save her little soul, whose uterine wall has no tone, or who will not accept any pain …why endure that torture for either her or the watchers at her whelping box? The ability to sire or produce superior offspring is another subject—I am just talking about getting the boys and girls together to accomplish what Nature has designed them to do.
I cannot help but think that we, the breeders, are often responsible for perpetuating these so-called “slow” whelpers and poor stud dogs. Why? Because we rely on medical pros to help our dogs do what should come naturally. Unfortunately, many Cavalier breeders do not keep stud dogs and have rarely witnessed a mating, let alone assisted at one. Instead, we are accustomed these days to the sanitation of chilled semen and veterinary inseminations. If we continually fill the veterinarian’s coffers with the money it costs to do C-sections and AIs, how are we ever going to stop producing generations of poor performers? Every time I hear the phrase “elective C-section,” I wince. What, exactly, IS an elective C-section? Mostly, it is an operation performed to accommodate the convenience of the vet, the breeder, or both. It is rarely done to enhance the health of the dam.
Of course, sometimes a C-section is necessary. I accept that Nature is not perfect and trouble can and does occur on occasion. But a C-section is a serious operation with real dangers to both mom and pups. While we acknowledge the terrific vets in our midst, unexpected complications can occur with the best of them. And how many horrors have been committed by the ones who do not know how to administer anesthesia safely, whose faulty techniques result in hemorrhage, shock, and/or infection? Personally, I would rather lose a puppy than risk the life of the dam to perform what may be unnecessary surgery.
The next time Donald treats Daphne like a potted plant, or Daphne herself has a primary uterine inertia or just ‘quits’ while in labor, we need to reassess how to manage our bloodlines. Breeding good dogs is difficult enough without struggling with the ‘basics.’
-- Stephanie Abraham*