SAVHDA Feature Articles - Part 2

Making a decision about buying a new puppy, or breeding a litter, is not a simple process. Read more below about breeding a litter!



  1. Introduction

You love your dog, and in your eyes the dog should be bred. However, just because you think your dog is wonderful, doesn’t necessarily mean it is of breeding caliber. There is a lot more to breeding than just putting two “nice” dogs together and hoping for the best!

A breeder, even an occasional or once off breeder, should understand at least a little about temperament and health issues. Even if the litter is just destined for “pet” homes, one needs to understand that some of the pups may end up in working homes. As a breeder, you are selling a product and you have a responsibility. What sort of guarantee can you give buyers that they will be getting a sound dog that will live a long and happy life?

This is the crux of the matter: Breeders have a responsibility to potential buyers and to the breed. Can you honestly say that you are up to the challenge of meeting that responsibility?

A responsible and informed approach is even more important if you are breeding a working litter. Many, many traits go into the makeup of a good, Versatile HPR gundog and these are almost all genetically programmed from the start. Ensuring that these traits are kept intact and transferred forward is no small task. Success requires knowledge, hard work and sweat, and usually the help of more experienced breeders to guide choices. But more about that later. Let’s look at some of the basic things you must consider when breeding.

  1. Basic Guidelines
  • Both sire and dam should be registered with the KUSA or certified by the NFTA. This ensures the integrity of the bloodlines and also ensures that new owners are able to participate fully in any activities they want to with their new puppy.
  • Both parents should be mature and of breeding age. They are also old enough to have had hip screening, and for any health or temperamental issues to have already surfaced. For most breeds, 2 years of age is the accepted minimum.
  • The breeder hunts or works his dogs in the field. He or she knows the working qualities of the parents, and their strengths and weaknesses.
  • The breeder has some years of experience with the breed(s), and has an understanding of the testing and trialing systems that are used to assess versatile/HPR dogs.
  • Both parents have been assessed in a versatile/working test and passed, and/or have field trial awards. See a short explanation of the tests just after this list.....
  • Both parents should have a stable temperament. Temperamental faults such as excessive belligerence and aggression are faults that should preclude a dog from breeding. So are extreme shyness, and/or gunshyness. Hyperactivity also makes dogs much harder to live with and train.
  • As a minimum, hip testing should have been done and neither dog has dysplastic hips (a grade of C or less). Acceptable, passing grades are in the A and B range. There are other breed appropriate tests that are recommended, so do your homework for your specific breed.
  • Neither parent has conformation faults that would preclude them from breeding. These are faults of the eyes and testicles, which may lead to health problems, or other major conformation faults that would lead to injury or impair the physical abilities of the dog in the field or in the water.

 More than just “good” dogs…

  • Beyond the above guidelines, breeding a good litter of puppies is more than just putting “Dog A that passed the tests to Dog B that passed the tests”.
  • Participation in one of the associations or clubs is a good way to gain knowledge (scroll down to bottom of page for a list of associations and clubs). There are also experienced breeders that can help you to understand breeding better, and what some of the strengths and weaknesses of certain bloodlines are. They can also help you to assess your own dog more objectively.
  • A mentor – someone who is experienced and respected in their own breed – is an invaluable resource. If you can find someone who is willing to devote time to help you learn and pass on their knowledge, then you will gain the benefit of years of hard work and experience.
  • Breed with the idea of improving on one or both parents, and adding to general breed advancement. If your dog is generally below the accepted standards, there is little point in breeding him or her. There are many other, better dogs that can be bred.
  • All breeding is usually something of a trade-off. There are no perfect dogs – bear this in mind when choosing a brood bitch or stud.
  • Breed for strengths. Sire and dam should be good examples of the breed, both in performance and conformation. However, if your dog has great strengths in one or more areas, then some minor faults can be accepted. A superior individual with a minor fault may be far better than a mediocre dog with no faults. Try to choose a mate that complements both the strong and weak areas of the other.
  • Avoid doubling up on the same fault(s) in both parents. This is a sure way to pass those faults on to the puppies. This may be obvious advice; however, you must look deeper than just what the parents exhibit. There may be faults inherent in the bloodline that are not visible or known to you. This is where the help of an experienced breeder comes in.

 The Registration Process

So, you have made the decision to breed. Please consider again whether you are prepared for the time and effort it is going to take to raise the pups. Bear in mind that you may have a litter of 8 – 12 puppies! Do you have buyers for those pups? How long are you prepared to keep the pups if you cannot sell them all at 8 weeks of age? Growing puppies eat like teenagers! Think through this very carefully before proceeding…..

  • You are responsible for registering the puppies with the body from which the parents’ registration papers come. Both parents should be registered, and if the parents are registered with the KUSA, the puppies will be registered with the KUSA.
  • There is a registration fee per puppy. This must be paid at the time of registration of the entire litter.
  • You must be a member of the KUSA in order to register the litter. The owner of the sire must also be a member of the KUSA. If necessary, this can be done at the time of registration.
  • Puppies will need to be microchipped before registration. This is a requirement of both the KUSA. Keep all paperwork pertaining to the microchipping, as this has to be submitted when you submit the registration application.
  • Be sure to keep track of which microchip number corresponds to which puppy. If there is any doubt, you can always take them back to the vet to confirm. This is far easier than having to correct a mistake later.
  • You may want to keep records of the puppies. A drawing of the markings of each pup will help you keep track (both sides). If yours is a solid coloured breed, you may need to put small different coloured collars on them to help keep track. This will also help with sorting out the microchip paperwork.
  • Once all registration paperwork is complete, it may be mailed to the KUSA. Alternatively, you may do this online to expedite the process.


Rene Warne (General Info and Registrations),



  1. Beyond Simply Registering the Litter

The rearing and care of a litter is beyond the scope of this discussion. However, there are some things to highlight that you, as a responsible breeder, should do:

  • A responsible breeder takes his/her job seriously. Get help or find resources that can help you in caring for the puppies, and rearing them in the best possible manner.
  • Proper feeding and socialization are critical to the health and long-term development of the pups.
  • The bitch should be properly looked after and will need a high-quality food for milk production. She will also eat more than you can imagine!
  • Prospective owners should be allowed to visit mother and pups if they wish (at an appropriate age) and see what she is like and what their environment is like.
  • Pups should stay in the litter until they are at least 7 weeks of age. Recent research has shown that 8 – 10 weeks is even better, provided the breeder understands the need to socialize and interact with each pup, and provide learning challenges and environments that stimulate the pups.
  • New owners should receive the pup’s Veterinary history/book with the vaccination schedule, deworming schedule and microchip details.
  • Breeders should provide the owner with a Veterinary statement that the puppy is in good health and that there are no problems apparent at the time of examination. If there are, this should be stated and made known to the buyer.
  • Breeders should also provide written information regarding the vaccination schedule, deworming, feeding, and exercise. Information about the socialization and training of the puppy should also be given, as well as the puppy’s current diet and general upbringing while in the litter.
  • You should also prepare a Purchase/Sale Agreement, to be signed by seller and buyer.

list of contacts for registries, associations, clubs and rescue



Rene Warne (General Info and Registrations),



The South African Versatile Hunting Dog Association - Versatile/HPR Breeds

Lize Venter,


TVL HPR Field Trial Club - HPR Breeds

Slang Viljoen,

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KZN HPR Field Trial Club - HPR Breeds

Beverley Barnard,

 Western Cape Field Trial Club – HPR and British Breeds

Trudi Winter,


 Central Field Trial Club – British and HPR Breeds

Jason Coleman-Miles,

 The Border Field Trial Club – British Breeds

Bobsey Hart,

The Natal Field Trial Club – British Breeds

Taffy Welsh,


The South African Field Trial Club – British and HPR Breeds

Frans Rosslee,



The Cape Field Trial Club – All Gundog Breeds

Amanda de Wet,



The Weimaraner Klub of Gauteng – Weimaraners



Rescue Organizations:

GSP Rescue – GSPs and occasionally other pointing breeds

Tine-Marie Mudde (Gauteng)

Kate Davies Benade (Cape Town)

sms: 072 888 5659

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The Weimaraner Klub of Gauteng