March 31, 2014 - Sascha's Saint Patrick's Day Litter Report

Sascha's final litter on March 17 yielded only three puppies - a male and two females.  The whelping was very difficult, which is atypical of Sascha who has previously had two large healthy German Shepherd litters with us, and a few breedings with Belgian Malinois prior to her coming here.  Four puppies were stillborn, and one puppy who survived the birth, faded after a week, despite our efforts to save her.  Not counting the latter, this litter had a 50% mortality rate which, in my opinion and experience, is rather high, considering we can reasonably expect a 10 to 20% whelping or post-natal mortality rate.  This is not uncommon; some dams lose entire litters and it is tragic.  My ultimate concern is for the dam, and I have spayed a few breeding females who have had significant difficulties whelping or post-natal issues that required a spay.  Sascha is officially retired from breeding.  Could she possibly have another litter?  Absolutely.  Do I want to stake her life or the lives of unborn puppies for the sake of having another litter with her?  Absolutely NOT.  This leaves us with one viable breeding female of age, who has passed all of her health clearances - Zoey - and we have started our search for another female to add to our breeding program.  

The search for a breeding female is, without exception, the most difficult task to accomplish.  We have to consider bloodlines, lineage, health certifications, temperament, workability, outstanding traits and flaws, appearance and construction; and then we have to figure out how well all of those variables mesh with our stud, Shelby, and what kind of outcome we can potentially expect from the offspring of the female and our stud.  Sascha and Shelby were very well matched, and produced outstanding puppies of which we are very proud.  One day we will find a female that meets and/or exceeds our expectations, like our Zoey did, and we can expand our breeding program.  The acquisition and perpetuation of living things is a monumental task and not to be undertaken lightly.     

Three is good enough for me, but it is the final litter for my girl Sascha.  Quality trumps quantity every single time; but when the quality of the quantity itself is problematic, it's time to give the lady a permanent vacation from breeding.