We have a Shih-Tzu with amazing blood lines and AKC registration that we planned to breed. However, she is almost a year old and has not come into heat yet. I know we can't breed her on her first cycle regardless, but is it possible that she will never come in heat?
I'm confused- why do I need to show my dog and get her to championships to prove she's a good pet? Her grandfather several generations back was the first Shih-Tzu to win the Westminster. But we are breeding for pets, not for future dog show winners…
I'm sorry- I guess I understand with the way I opened my question and misled what I meant about our breeding intentions.
Some dogs don't go in to season until after a year.
However, just because she has a great pedigree it does not mean she is a good example of the breed. She can be a litter sister to the top Shih Tzu of all time and still not have good breed type.
If she is that good of an example, take her out and show her. Get her CH, do the health testing and then look for an equally good stud dog after she is two.
Edited to add: The reason you finish (get a championship) on your dog before you breed it is because it shows you are dedicated to keeping the breed in conformation to the standard. You can take two Best in Show winners and breed them and get a whole litter of dogs who are not capable of finishing, and therefore not good examples of breed type.
Shih tzus should look and move and have the proper coat and temperament for the breed. Personality is only a tiny fraction of what can possibly be passed on to offspring and it should not be the sole factor in breeding any animal.
"Breeding pets" is breeding for money and is frowned upon (rightfully so). Read below.
5 things to consider or do before thinking about breeding your first litter!
#1) Do you have the emotional/financial/physical ability to care for every puppy for it's lifetime in the event you can't sell them or they come back? Before you even consider breeding a litter, you should have at least a few homes lined up. And friends and family who say they'd love a puppy from FiFi almost always find an excuse not to when the time comes. You should also be willing to put some effort into Rescue, and not only of your own progeny. Time, money, referalls, they all are just as important as actually physically rescuing and/or fostering dogs. If you are prepared to bring dogs into the world, you should be willing to help the needy dogs as well.
#2) Does your dog have something to contribute to the breed? Some outstanding attribute that is lacking in the breed overall? Liking the dog's personality isn't enough, as I have almost NEVER had a puppy with the same personality of it's mother. Do you understand the standard enough to know what ARE faults and attributes? This can only be gained by time, experience and exposure. Your initial opinion will usually be that your beloved dog is perfect. We all thought that. As time goes by, you learn that your dog is not perfect, and you gain a better understanding of the breed and what it should be.
#3) Do you have enough knowledge of genetics to understand modes of inheritance? Have you spent the time studying pedigrees and understanding which dogs are producing what? Are you cognizant of the attributes they produce as well as the faults? Is the winning record of the potential stud dog and/or it's puppies your deciding factor? (if so, that's the wrong answer!!) Are you aware of the health problems in the breed, and how to test for them, how to at least try to avoid them, how they are inherited? If not, do you have a mentor in the breed, someone who DOES have the knowledge required?
#4) Do you have a thick skin? If your puppies are continually very successful, people will take every opportunity to discredit you. You will hear rumors about the health, temperament of your dogs, and that you sleep with judges. If your ego is tied up in your dogs, DO NOT breed!!!
#5) Are you prepared emotionally and physically in the event that you have to drop an entire line and start all over again? Sometimes you find that your line is producing something nasty, or simply not going where you wanted it to go, and the only solution is to start all over. That can be devastating. Sometimes the dogs you discontinue using may have thousands invested into them. If you breed him/her to 'get your investment back' you are breeding for the wrong reasons.
I'd also add, is producing ONE puppy worth the loss of your beloved pet?
What about 5 puppies?
Your pet can die giving birth. She can die from pyometra.
Good luck and I hope you make the best decision for you and your girl.