AKC eNewsletter



Pick-of-the-litter Question

Last issue's question: What would you recommend as your most valuable book on dog breeding? Why?

Thank you, AKC Breeder readers, for sharing your favorite books on breeding. Since seven titles appeared again and again, we list them for you here, along with a few selected answers.

  • The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog by Ann Seranne, Howell Book House, 2004
  • The Art of Raising a Puppy by The Monks of New Skete published by Little, Brown and company, 1991
  • Successful Dog Breeding, The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery by Chris Walkowicz and Bonnie Wilcox, DVM, 1994
  • Canine Reproduction, The Breeder's Guide by Phyllis A. Holst, MS, DVM, Alpine Press, 2000
  • The New Art of Breeding Better Dogs by Kyle Onstott, revised by Philip Onstott, Howell Book House, 1962
  • The Book of The Bitch, A Complete Guide to Understanding and Caring for Bitches by J.M. Evans and Kay White, Henston Press, 1988
  • Born to Win, Breed to Succeed by Patricia Craige, Doral Publishing Inc., 1997

Book of the Bitch is a most valuable book to me, as it details many situations — and when whelping a litter, you need to know “your Bitch!” However, the best book is not written. The MOST valuable information comes from a knowledgeable, very experienced breeder of “your breed!” One who can be concise, critical and sympathetic when needed. Because every breed is different, each breed can encounter their own special set of problems. There is no written book that can replace experience! — K. Boyle

I have two favorite books. The first one is The Dog in Action by MacDowell Lyon. This book is about the construction of the dog. It also tells you the reason for this construction. The second one is The New Art of Breeding Better Dogs by Kyle Onstott and revised by Philip Onstott. This is a book on genetics, and I quote, ‘The reader of this book who plans to execute in a selective breeding program the principles herein set forth will be spared the many disappointments, many anxieties, and many uncertainties if he but remembers that genetics is a statistical science. To win, he must calculate the odds and learn how they can be reduced to work in his favor. There is no quick way, there is no easy way, there is no better way for the breeder who wishes to produce fine dogs consistently.’ I think you need both to have an effective breeding program. I breed Poodles, both toys and miniatures. — M. Cooper

My favorite, most used, and most valuable book in my library would have to be Successful Dog Breeding by Walkowicz and Wilcox. I purchased this book on the advice of a friend prior to my first litter. I read the book from front to back in preparation for the big day. When my bitch went into labor, I had the book on my left, the telephone on my right, and my bitch in front of me. As my bitch passed from one phase of whelping to the next, I would hurriedly check the book to make sure everything was progressing as it should. When the last puppy was delivered, cleaned and nursing, I came to the conclusion that my bitch had obviously read the book as well. Even without my personal experience of actually “using” the book, I found it wonderful and would have enjoyed it regardless of any impending litter. It was well laid out in a logical fashion that took the reader from an adorable puppy to sending her own 8-week-old puppies home, happy and healthy. I found that it was easy to read and of sufficient scientific content. Most of all, I enjoyed the humor. I felt as if I was sitting down with the author, and she was personally mentoring me the entire time. I highly recommend this book even to veteran breeders. I re-read this book with each new litter. And I enjoy it every time. — S. Gilmore

There is one book … that is excellent from the practical standpoint. I suppose I refer to it more than any non-breed-specific book: Ann Seranne’s The Joy of Breeding Your Own Show Dog. This book is absolutely super! She takes the hand of the reader and leads him/her through all the steps in the breeding process, before, during, and after the whelping. Some of it does involve genetics. Even now, after 25 years of dog breeding, I find myself looking for this book to calm my nerves in preparation for a forthcoming litter. — A. Pertuit


  Ronald N. Rella, director, Breeder Services
Theresa Shea, editor | Email: AKCbreeder@akc.org
Customer Service | Phone: 919-233-9767 | Email: info@akc.org

© The American Kennel Club 2006