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Abby is our eight month old Old English Sheepdog pup. She is our pride and our joy. She is my constant companion and my comic relief during the day as we anxiously await “Daddy” to get home from work.

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Abby Frances – 8 months old

We have another Old English Sheepdog. Her name is Zoey. She is 11 years old. She is my heart, my pal and my confidant. My husband some times jokes that we had to get Abby so he could have a dog too.

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Zoey Isabella – 11 years old

They are both attached to me like velco.

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Me with my girls – Sept 2014

They are from the same kennel. Abby is the child of Zoey’s sister’s daughter. You can figure out the relation if you’re in the mood for a brain teaser.

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Abby and Zoey on the beach Sept 2014

The point is, we use a reputable breeder who knows bloodlines and is very careful about managing them in her breeding practices. Our breeder also shows Old English Sheepdogs and has won many prizes for her dogs. She has a vested interest in the health and well being of the breed. She knows everything there is to know about the breed standard.

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She told us recently that the breed is dying out because of puppy mills and incompetent, greedy breeding practices that involve too much inbreeding. This breaks my heart. It would break my heart to hear this about any breed but I have a soft spot for the Old English Sheepdog.

Old English Sheepdogs are high maintenance. They require regular almost daily grooming. They need daily exercise and they love to play so they expect regular attention and they are not shy about letting you know this! Bathing them is a half a day’s chore.

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The extra work it takes to care for this breed is well worth it to us. They give us far more than we could ever give them. They are known in the dog world as the “Patron St. Of Clowns”. They are almost entirely full of fun and goofiness all of the time.

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We are thinking about breeding Abby when she becomes “of age” but then a lot of questions arise; What complications might we face? Would we be putting Abby’s health at risk? Are we being fair to Zoey at her old age if we breed Abby? What would we do if we could not sell all the puppies in the litter? And…should we really even be thinking about breeding our dog when there are already so many dogs sitting in shelters in need of a home?

Of course before we would even consider breeding Abby, we would have all proper testing done for this breed to ensure she is healthy and her bloodline is strong enough. We also understand the level of commitment it would require of us…of me mostly because my husband will be working. I’m home.

So another question is…am I healthy enough…do I have the stamina to support Abby through this? I have to consider this carefully for both her and I.

Our motivation is not financial. Our motivation would be to help the breed remain viable, alive and healthy. We would use the expertise and support of our breeder to help us pick Abby’s mate to ensure we have used a proper donor who is also healthy and meets breed standards.

We take our responsibilities as pet owners very seriously. Considering breeding is not something we take lightly. Right now we have more questions than answers but we have a little time to figure out what the best course of action is for our Abby and for the rest of our “family”.

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