This article is aimed at owners of bitches mainly, as it is unlikely that many people would want to use a male on their bitch unless it was successful in the show ring, or from unusual bloodlines.
Breeding From Your Lancashire Heeler
Always go back to your original breeder to ask advice as they will know their lines, and which dogs would suit. Decide why you are breeding, as its not a money making game unless you cut corners. Most of us rarely make a profit by the time you have taken stud fees into account, travelling costs, health testing, rearing puppies to the best of your ability with good food for mum and pups, worming, microchipping, litter screening of pups and a whole host of other costs you won't even have thought about.
Kennel Club Registration
The first thing to ensure is that both mum and dad are KC registered with no endorsements.
Health Tests & Planning For The Mating
Ensure that health tests are up to date for your dam and obtain documentary evidence of all health tests for the sire. Importantly, make sure you have an idea when your bitch is due to come in season. Bitches should have had at least two seasons before being bred from to ensure they are mature in their bodies and be fit and in good physical condition.
Decide on a stud dog and ask the owner if they will agree to you using their dog – this may be difficult to arrange due to distance etc but unless you have your own dog then you are going to have to sort out the logistics in advance. If using your own dog you need to ensure someone experienced in breeding guides you through the pedigrees, to ensure they are compatible.
Lancashire Heeler Knowledge - Mentor
In fact having a 'mentor' is invaluable, either the breeder of your bitch or someone experienced who is willing to guide you. As a breed, Lancashire Heelers are vulnerable with very few puppies being bred each year, but this does not mean that every dog and bitch must be bred from and there are often reasons why breeders would not breed from some dogs or from certain combinations. One big consideration is the number of puppies available, as homes can be difficult to find particularly if a well known breeder has had a litter just before you and people are tending to go to them because of their reputation for producing good puppies. You may find, as often happens, that there are several dog puppies about, but very few bitches as they tend to be booked before even being born, and in some litters there may be half a dozen or more boys when everyone wants girls! A good breeder or stud owner will help you find suitable owners too, and recommend your puppies to people making enquiries but they need to know that they can rely on you to have done your best by breeding and rearing the litter as well as you can.
It is helpful to have an experienced person available when the bitch is due to give birth as, although generally Lancashire Heelers are easy whelpers, things can go wrong and it is as well to know when you need to call the vet. The first 24 hours are crucial and pups need to be kept warm and safe making sure mum is feeding them and they are eating well. Then during the next couple of weeks you need to keep a close eye on mum to ensure she is not suffering from any conditions that might make the pups lose weight or not thrive. There are plenty of books and videos available to guide you through whelping and rearing but as said above a good breeder will be with you all the way.
Once the pups are up and about then mum will start to reduce the amount of milk they get from her and you will need to think about weaning them with good quality food. You will need to ensure they are wormed regularly and their nails are kept short so they don't scratch mum and its usually a good idea to do both at once and keep accurate records. Once they are eating solid foods then mum will stop cleaning up after them and you will be forever cleaning up little poos! By this time you may find people enquiring about them, so you need to decide if you are keeping one or more. See Also How to Raise And Train A Lancashire Heeler Puppy
Health Testing Your Lancashire Heeler Puppies
Make arrangements to have the puppies DNA tested if necessary. You will need to get them microchipped before this is done so they can be identified. Then they will need to be eye tested at around seven or eight weeks and the KC registration sent for so it is available to give to the new owners.
There are lots of people in the breed keen to help new people to join the ranks of Heeler owners and breeders, so never be afraid to ask for help. We all want the best for our Lancashire Heeler breed and if we can help get another successful litter into their new homes we have done our job.
Sometime people want to get a Lancashire Heeler but for whatever reason don't want a baby puppy – a lot of the guidelines above are the same, especially regarding health testing. Often a breeder will 'run on' a puppy or two before they decide whether they are good enough for showing or suitable breeding from in the future – these dogs make excellent pets with most of the basic work done for you. If they have come from a breeder with several dogs it can take a while longer for them to settle than an only dog and, if from a kennel environment, you may have some work to do to ensure house training and socialising is carried out.
Taking on a rescue dog can be very rewarding but beware there are often issues that need to be worked through – a good rescue will work with you so help you develop a good relationship with a dog that might not have been brought up in the way that suits your lifestyle. We are lucky in the Lancashire Heeler breed to have very few dogs coming through our Breed Welfare & Rescue and of those very few are real 'rescue' cases – mostly we have dogs whose owners have passed away or can no longer keep their dogs when having to move. Dogs are matched up with new owners as best we can so we need people to be honest about their expectations and how much work they are prepared to put in.
This is only a quick guide and different breeders will have their own ways of doing things and advice to give, but please don't hesitate to ask if you want any more information.