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Ethical Breeding

Updated: Mar 21, 2022

Mills River Doodles and Breeding Research

Why we breed "back to back"

As many things are today, the right time to breed a female dog is a place of controversy. Many different humans have opinions on the matter and it is sometimes hard to find a good side on which to stand.

As breeders and animal lovers, we have researched this topic and have decided, for the time, to continue with “back to back” breeding of our Dam’s and then retire them out early from the program at which time they will be spayed.

“Back to Back” breeding is when you breed a female every heat. For large dogs this maybe one litter a year and for small or medium sizes this can be two litters a year. While this sounds extreme, when we think of it in humanistic terms, for our dog's ancestors this was always “how it was done”. Now there is also scientific evidence to support that this "back to back" breeding may be healthiest for the dog.

Dr.Robert Hutchinson is a leading reproduction vet and has a wonderful video on the Good Dog website that explains the hormones and their effects on the female dog’s uterus. An easy way to explain it, is that the female dog’s uterus and hormone levels still thinks she is pregnant despite not being bred. The inflammatory effects of progesterone is still the same on her, and can actually be more harmful. Youth is a strength in breeding healthy litters. After age 6 the female’s litter numbers starts to drop drastically. Nature is telling her it is time to be done. The more heat cycles she is put through also increases her risk for mammory cancer and uterine infections.

Pyometra is a uterine infection in older, intact females that can be dangerous. The more heat cycles with no pregnancy that a female dog goes through increases the chance of this infection. Dr. Ernest Ward (article was updates by Dr. Malcolm Weir) addressed this and we have posted the reference below.

"After many years of estrus cycles without pregnancy, the uterine wall undergoes the changes that promote this disease. Pyometra usually occurs two to eight weeks after the last estrus (heat cycle)."

We, like many breeders, have studied and decided it best to breed our young healthy females back to back until it is time to retire them from our program. This does not always happen as there are individual cases we take into consideration. We always skip her first heat and sometimes her second if health and hip testing have not been done. We may skip a heat if she had trauma that requires more healing time from her last litter, such a C-section.

We understand differing opinions on the matter and will continue to research and stay in tune with leading data. Other breeders and pet owners may shy away from this topic or may become quiet opinionated on the matter. We are not trying to create any harsh feelings or opinions. We only want to be completely upfront with our families and explain that our position has been thought out.

Our female dogs are loved family pets and we always want what is best for them. They are great moms and if they ever showed neglect to their puppies we would retire them early. They are regularly under the care of our local reproduction vet and are seen for hormone level testing prior to every breed.


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"And watever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him" Colossians 3:17

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