Michelle Ramson of the Redimorose dogs started breeding Pugs after being besotted with them as a child. Her husband bought her a black Pug as a Valentine's gift back in 2014. Michelle comes from a farming background and has many breeding practices instilled from watching her family rearing Suffolk Sheep.

First Pug Betty Boo, stole Michelle’s heart and she soon wished for a companion for Betty. A friend who bred Golden Retrievers suggested to Michelle that she should consider breeding Betty, rather than buying in another Pug and her dog breeding interest started.

Michelle’s breeder friend, Lisa Hayes mentored and supported Michelle guiding her to become a Kennel Club Assured Breeder which she has been since August 2015 (and Lisa since May 2007!).Michelle was taking proactive steps to breeding by fulfilling the required breed health tests, kennel club paperwork and found a suitable stud. Betty Boo’s litter was textbook and resulted in five lovely pups. Michelle kept a puppy from this litter, called Ellie and continue to breed her Pugs.

In the meantime, another dog walking friend of Michelle had rescued a Bulldog called Snuffy. Michelle admired his character and persona so much that she was starting to think she would love a Bulldog to join her family too. This time her husband took a little convincing. Once new Bulldog puppy Winnie was settled, it seemed he had a soft spot for her!

Michelle first used HomeScan’s canine pregnancy scanning services in April 2016. I asked Michelle why she thought scanning was so important.

“For me, scanning is a must. Obviously, with the Pugs, you don’t know if you’ve just got a singleton and they can be difficult whelpers regardless. The last thing you want to do is think that you’ve got five puppies in there and you’ve just got one, while you’re feeding more the puppy is getting bigger and bigger and there’s no way that she’s able self-whelp a large Puppy.So on that scheme of things, I think scanning is really valuable. It just helps you know what to give your pregnant bitch feeding wise and exercise wise.”

Michelle shared that her most challenging litter was her experience of water puppies where she lost three pups in a litter. She observed no signs of the condition but had changed a few of her breeding protocols. She wondered if not giving the Canine Herpes Vaccine or continuing to walking the dam during her pregnancy due to her high energy levels, both deviations from her usual practices, may have contributed to the condition. She was aware that Bulldogs are also predisposed to the condition.

Michelle also talked about her traumatic experience of unknowingly rearing a puppy with an undiagnosed cleft palate, that later was put to sleep at 10 days old.  This experience formed part of Michelle’s decision to no longer breed the Pugs and refocus on a breed she had previously owned, Golden Retrievers.

Michelle shared the importance of ensuring the female eats post birth and if needed, she will hand feed until they are back to their usual self. Michelle also feeds goats milk as an easy way to increase the female’s calorie intake after the birthing experience. She also ensures the puppies suckle every hour because of her farming upbringing and the importance of colostrum having been taught in her family’s farming rearing practices. Over time the space between feeds are increased, Michelle is comfortable to do this because of a daily and simple process of puppy weighing which confirms the pups are thriving and gaining but also to quickly to identify any poorly pups.

I asked Michelle what was her most essential piece of breeding equipment? The one thing she couldn’t do without.

“The whelping box, the Warrick plastic type. I love it. I can get the jet washout on it and really scrub it properly. I’m really not a fan of anything wooden, not at all. For a one off, I have also used a cardboard box.”

I asked Michelle what would be her best tip for another breeder?

 “My best tip would be only using a health tested sire. Put your investment into researching. When you first start out and you think to yourself ‘I’m going to mate my dog’, you need to make sure she’s health tested too.

Choose your sire carefully, think if you want more open nostril or more of a straight tail, that kind of thing. Initially just always use a health testing dog.”

This blog is just a bite-size portion of the smorgasbord of breeding knowledge and advice we discussed. Listen to the FREE audio of the interview below, where you’ll find out:

  • Why Michelle panics about weighing puppies but still does it
  • Michelle experiences with cleft and water pups
  • Why feeding puppies hourly for the first feed is important
  • Why the Dam’s diet post birth is important