Some of those who style themselves “breeders” seem have few criteria determining the number of dogs they keep; no matter their declared motives or what they say, in my opinion their aim is usually to maximise their income and/or their status and they are often not overly concerned about their relationship with their individual  dogs. I am NOT referring to all people who breed a litter . . . just some of those that style themselves “breeders”! That is not to say that all other dog owners are responsible, far from it; both “breeders” and “ordinary dog owners” can be equally guilty of keeping too many (in my opinion) dogs!!

So, as I said, how many is too many? There is, of course no single answer to this question, there are many qualifying conditions. Here are a few to be considered -

  • Is the owner at home all day every day?              
  • What is the size of the owner’s house
  • Is there a good-sized garden?
  • How much time can be given each day to each individual dog (not the dogs as a group)?
  • What is the required exercise regime for the particular breed?
  • How much grooming is required by the breed in question?
  • Does the owner have other time-consuming responsibilities (albeit ones in and around the home)? e.g. does he/she have children? Is he/she a carer for another family member? Does she/he work from home?
  • Is the owner able to afford a large number of dogs under all circumstances (food bills and vet’s bills, for example can add up very quickly even for the basics) without having to “scrimp” on important things mentioned above such as prophylactics, other veterinary treatment, food quality etc.
  • Does the owner have sufficient training skills and general canine knowledge to obviate the development of the “pack mentality” or other bad behaviour in his/her dogs?

Incidentally these points also encompass the topics about which “breeders” should question prospective puppy buyers . . . they may say they do, but very often they don’t, or they do not check up on whether the answers from the would-be puppy owners are honest!

There are other considerations, but these are, perhaps, some of the most important factors to consider. I have known people, with five or more dogs, who work and have a family; how they can achieve, and maintain, a close relationship with each individual dog, train it, exercise it, groom it (depends on the breed of course . . . there’s a BIG difference between a GSP and a Barbet for example!) etc is beyond my comprehension. I know of one person (with a large breed) who kept 11 dogs in their house and another, with a giant breed who kept far more than that, also in the house. In my opinion that is irresponsible, for many reasons!!

SO . . . how many is too many? I offer no definitive answer; as I said, there is a wide variety of factors to be taken into consideration, the most important, and OBVIOUS, is the amount of time the owner has to give to each individual dog. It might look or sound good (to the uninformed) to declare that you have 6 or 7 (or more!) dogs, but think! . . are you acting responsibly and in the best interests of the dogs by so doing?

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