Guidelines For Ethical Breeding
The purpose of GUIDELINES is to make available to breeders of Norwegian Elkhounds some principles and practices recommended by the Norwegian Elkhound Association of America, Inc. based on the composite experience of some of its active breeders.
A. SELECTION OF BREEDING STOCK
Only Elkhounds of good conformation, as defined by the breed standard, and in excellent health should be considered for breeding. All dogs intended for breeding should have health examination by a veterinarian to include bloodwork (chemistry and blood count), urinalysis, and fecal examination. Reproduction is the most physically stressful thing most dogs will ever do. Frequent health monitoring is important both for the welfare of the individual dog and as early screening for potentially heritable problems.
The selection of animals for breeding has as its aim the perpetuation of the desirable traits of the Norwegian Elkhound, and the elimination of serious faults. These breeder recommendations are directed to achieve the following goals. We encourage all breeders to embrace these goals.
1. To make mating choices that are most likely to produce only sound, healthy offspring in a contemplated litter.
2. To maintain a high level of genetic diversity in the breed.
3. To use available testing as part of a long-term strategy within a breeding program to decrease the frequency of unfavorable genes while preserving desirable characteristics.
The Norwegian Elkhound is a relatively healthy, robust breed. We do have some inherited problems – some well described and some not – and new issues may come to light at any time.
There are 3 kinds of genetic tests which breeders may use to select dogs for breeding:
1. Direct genetic tests: this is molecular testing for specific mutations in DNA that have been shown to cause specific defects or disease. Tests for chondrodysplasia/dwarfism and prcd-PRA are examples.
2. Phenotypic tests: this is testing of the parents for expression of traits which are clearly inherited, but for which direct genetic tests are not available or practical. Hip evaluations and CERF exams are the most widely used of these tests.
3. Progeny/familial testing: this is pedigree analysis, where the phenotypic status of relatives and offspring is considered. This is appropriate where a problem is highly likely to be inherited, and is likely to be a recessive or incompletely penetrant trait, but the data are insufficient to define the genetics further. In this case, phenotypic evaluation of the parents alone does not correlate with the likelihood of the defect appearing in the offspring. Very many inherited problems fall into this category.
In researching a potential mating, breeders should use all three types of analysis as appropriate for the contemplated match. Breeders have long used such a broad approach to evaluate structure, coat quality, ear and tail set etc. Health concerns must be approached with equal diligence.
It is vitally important for the future of the breed that owners and breeders openly disclose health information, both positive and negative. We strongly encourage owners to enter their dogs in the CHIC program, which is an open database. Negative health information should not, in most cases, mean that a dog cannot be bred if it is otherwise worthy, only that the selection of a mate must be made with utmost care, and the offspring appropriately evaluated.
B. THE STUD
Any dog offered at stud should be a better than average specimen, in good health and of excellent temperament.
1. A stud owner is privileged to refuse a bitch for any reason whatsoever. He should refuse a bitch if he feels the breeding will be detrimental to the Elkhound breed.
2. It is customary for the bitch to be taken to the dog. It may be wise to take her on the 8th or 9th day of her season and leave her until after she has been bred. No charge for board should be made by the stud owner unless the bitch is left for more that a week or unless some other agreement has been made prior to leaving her.
3. Stud fees in cash are usually about equal to the selling price of a good pet puppy. They should be paid at the time of service and a signed certificate of breeding date should be given to the owner of the bitch. If other arrangements are made, they should be in writing signed by both parties. Generally it is unwise for the owner of the stud to sign the litter registration papers until full payment has been made, and litter is whelped.
4. Stud fees in puppies instead of in cash may be agreed upon, the agreement to be in writing. Unless otherwise agreed, the stud owner customarily has first choice of one puppy and makes his selection when the litter is between 7 and 9 weeks of age. He may depend upon the owner of the litter to make the selection for him. One puppy is considered a litter. The selected puppy, even if taken as "choice of litter", should have the same guarantee of health as a puppy sold, but there should be no obligation to replace or refund one that develops hereditary faults.
5. If no puppies are whelped as a result of the service, the stud owner should be so informed within four days after the due date. It is customary but not obligatory, for him either to return the stud fee or to offer a return service to the same bitch or to another approved bitch owned by the same person within a year. If a second service of a proven stud produces no puppies, the stud owner is under no further obligation.
C. THE DAM
Bitches not conforming to the Norwegian Elkhound Standard or those of questionable temperament, or those which are excessively thin or excessively fat, should not be used for breeding.
1. In general, a bitch should not be bred before 1 year of age, nor past her seventh nor should she be allowed to conceive in more than two consecutive heat cycles.
2. A veterinarian should be consulted concerning worming and proper immunization prior to breeding or whelping or both.
3. A veterinarian should be consulted concerning supplementary feeding of the bitch both before and after whelping.
D. THE PUPPIES
1. Close cooperation with a veterinarian is recommended. In large litters (more than seven), it may be advisable to give the new born puppies some supplementary feeding.
2. Weaning usually starts at four weeks and is completed by seven weeks.
3. Most puppies may need worming as early as one or two weeks of age with follow-up treatments.
4. Some form of immunization should be established for weaning puppies, according to a program set up by a veterinarian. In heartworm endemic areas, a preventative program may need to be started by six weeks or two months of age depending upon the preventative used and the mosquito season.
5. From birth, puppies should be handled gradually. After weaning, puppies should receive as much individual attention away from litter mates as possible.
The purpose of selling puppies and dogs is to make room for further litters, to help pay expenses and to provide each animal with a suitable home where he will be a credit to his breed and to his breeder.
A. ARTICLES TO ACCOMPANY EACH SALE
1. AKC litter registration, or individual registration, or an agreement signed by both buyer and seller stating the reason that no registration papers are given.
2. A five generation pedigree.
3. A schedule of dates and type of vaccine, or other means, used to establish proper immunity. This should include recommendations as to the minimum time at which a veterinarian should be consulted for further immunization.
4. A schedule of the dates on which the puppy was wormed and type of medicine used, and/or the date his stool was checked and found free of infestation.
5. A feeding schedule and enough of the dog's usual food to last several days.
6. A booklet concerning ordinary puppy care and a recommendation of a training manual, book or course of instructions.
7. NEAA Booklet containing the history and standard of the Norwegian Elkhound.
8. Special Consideration:
a. If an animal has been altered or had other surgery, serious infection or special diagnosis, a veterinarian's certificate should be included.
b. A rabies inoculation certificate should be included, if the state in which the animal resides or the state to which he is to be shipped requires it.
c. A veterinarian's health certificate should be included, if the animal is to be shipped or if the buyer so requires it.
B. PAYMENTS AND AGREEMENTS
1. Payments may be made in cash (or by check), preferably in full at the time of sale.
2. If installment payments are to be made, the terms of the agreement should be in writing and signed by both parties. Usually it is unwise to schedule payments in cash, puppies or service covering a period of more that eighteen months.
3. If the animal is to be shipped, payment should be made and/or all agreements should be signed prior to shipping. Registration papers should be sent with the animal or prior to shipment, provided payment has been made and/or all contracts have been signed.
4. Puppies under six months of age seldom should be termed "show-quality", but may be referred to as "promising" or "better than average". Such puppies usually are sold for slightly higher prices.
5. Puppies sold for breeding stock should also be of better than average quality with no apparent hereditary defects. Parents of breeding stock should have been x-rayed and found normal in hip formation, prior to breeding.
C. INADVISABLE SALES
1. Wholesale: Puppies should not be sold in litter lots nor specifically for resale whether to pet shops, mail order houses, puppy mills, or to any agent whereby the breeder has no direct communication with the permanent purchasers.
2. Culls: Any animal with a painful crippling defect or with a very poor disposition which makes him unsuitable for a pet should be humanely destroyed. An animal with a questionable temperament should not be sold or given away until such time as age or training have proved him reliable. The average home cannot cope with a dog with a difficult temperament, and nothing is so detrimental to the breed as shy, vicious, highly nervous pets or breeding stock.
3. Weanlings: Puppies should not be released to buyers until at least eight weeks of age nor until they have had some form of protection from canine diseases as recommended by a veterinarian.
4. Pairs: It is seldom advisable to sell a male and a female puppy as a pair for breed (never if they are litter mates) as it is difficult to tell at an early age whether or not they will be suitable for each other in type and temperament.
5. Gifts: In general, animals should not be given away (NEVER AS RAFFLES) as too often they are not really wanted, nor valued, nor properly cared for. There may be exceptions when the home is deemed eminently suitable and the recipient is well known to the breeder.
D. RETURNS, REPLACEMENTS, REFUNDS
1. Returns Without Refund: If possible, the breeder should be willing to accept the return of any healthy animal which he has sold, without giving a refund and pursuant to his clearly defined right (preferably in writing) that he may resell the animal or have it destroyed, at his option.
2. Refunds Or Replacements: At the breeder's option, he should give either a full or partial refund or a replacement, depending on the following circumstances:
a. General dissatisfaction on the part of the purchaser with an animal, provided it is returned in good health not later than one month after sale.
b. If a puppy sold as show stock develops a serious defect or disqualification, a full or partial refund or replacement, at the breeder's option, should be offered. Replacement already implies this, but one knows that family who has kept a dog as a pet even though for breeding purposes and especially if it might be put down: it would probably be best for the dog to remain with the original owners if they so desire and be spayed or neutered.
1. Advertising, whether written or oral, should be accurate, with no misleading statements or exaggerations or insinuations.
2. Advertising should be in good taste, restrained and without derogatory remarks made or hinted concerning the methods, animals, or reputations of other breeders.
3. Well-mannered, attractive, agreeable Elkhounds in suitable homes, or seen at shows or other public places, are one of the best possible advertisements, as also are appealing pictures.
There are various efficient methods of keeping adequate records and special books on the subject are obtainable from AKC. The following records should be kept in order, readily available and up to date:
1. Day to day kennel record of such matters as accidents, illnesses, shots, show wins, seasons, visitors, sales, etc.
2. A file containing official papers and other pertinent data about each animal and/or litter.
3. A financial record.
4. A special banking account.
IV. LEGAL EFFECT OF THESE GUIDELINES
The foregoing guidelines are intended as suggestions only. They have not legal effect unless based upon Local, State or Federal laws; and the NEAA expressed no opinion thereon. Any questions as to the legal effect of any of these suggestions should be referred to an attorney for a legal opinion.
V. RECOMMENDED STUDY AND READING
Besides your veterinarian, other available aids are breeders in your area, especially Elkhound breeders and your own study. Study the Norwegian Elkhound standard. Familiarity with the whelping process and of the needs of the litter will enable you to assist the bitch during whelping and to be prepared with equipment to accommodate the litter on and after arrival and as puppies grow.
Study the homes each puppy will be joining. Be available and willing to advise the new owner.