So the reason to breed your pet or not is well presented in a sticky by Dani, I think. The question of how young or how old has surfaced and been discussed many times. I am not trying to open that discussion again, but have come up with another reason for early as in before first heat.
When out at the dogpark today, Hershey Kisses was just being cuter than normal, better behaved and responsive. Just a great young dog that I already loved. Then as I posted in the 'Do you let your dogs out alone' thread, even though she was being bad and mischievous, she was so cute playing with the roofing crew and me. Tonight at dinner she was an angel, we playedinside after dinner and she cuddled up to the wife and had her in heaven. Me too. So this transitent thought that we really had a great family pet in HK. Even with her being at the minimum to the standard and withher dental problems, wouldn't it be great to bring more of her into the world for other families. I doubt that I would actually do that, but am glad that we decided to spay her before first heat and it is not even an option. am considering getting some counseling just because I even let the thought emerge from my brain. I suppose it is not bad to be so happy with your dog that one wold think this way, as long as we don't act on it.
Hershey Kisses, In charge of getting Ed out to the dog park so that he gets some exercise.
I understand the temptation and congratulate you for your decision and reasoning.
I also did the same with Puff, with never a regret, having received a good education largely by participating on this JL forum.
But in 1967-71 with Bess, the internet wasn't invented, Labs were far from being the most popular dogs, and I was undertaking a psychoanalysis trying to be all I could be. And I wanted the same thing for my Lab, Bess.
Bess came from a breeder who competed in conformation (Barbara Beers-Hogan's "Could Be" kennel) and Bess was slightly small (the runt) and Barbara B-H judged her not to be show quality probably because her hind end was a bit higher than her shoulders and her weight was at the low end of the standard.
Bess had qualities that seemed remarkable and worth preserving. Most of those (I know now) were typical Lab qualities -- affectionate, sensitive, trainability -- and so I wrongly thought those were so unique they should be preserved and that Bess should fulfill her biological capabilities and have a litter.
So I found another Lab owner with an AKC male who wanted a Lab pup and Bess was bred when she was 4 years old. She had 5 pups. The owner of the male got first pick and we found owners for the others and partially recovered the cost of vet/shots/food.
Having earlier succumbed to the adoration of a Lab, I can appreciate how easy it is to view this dog as being such a remarkable dog and worthy of perpetuating its genes and/or that desire to extend the "be all you can be" to one's Lab.
When we lack perspective on the overall field -- on the practices (BYBs, puppy mills, etc) that dilute the qualities we most admire in this breed, on Labs' increasing susceptibility to genetic problems and the means of decreasing them, of the hallmarks that the best of the Lab breed can attain in competitions, and on what other knowledgable Lab owners think -- then we're very limited in our perspective.
Thank heavens for the JL forum.
Puff [YF, AKC field line (from competing HT/FT breeder) 62 lbs, dob: 8-'01]
Bess [BF, AKC bench line (from competing show breeder) 55 lbs., 1967-1981] "Poor Bess, the Wonder Dog":
I don't doubt that that's the reasoning behind a lot of pet breeding, "My dog is so perfect, I want carbon copies of him/her." I often tell Mitzi, "I would have ten Mitzi's if I could" but there are no carbon copies.