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Categories: Breeding

Q. My dog killed 2 of her puppies, is the instinct to kill newborns an inherited trait?

I love your info!

I have a five-year old female basset hound who killed two of her pups at birth. This is the second time she has killed pups. I retrieved two of the pups and am hand-raising them.

I will retire mama, but am considering keeping one of the pups for breeding. Is the instinct to kill the newborns an inherited trait? I certainly don't want to continue this if it is.

I got this basset as an adult, and she did just fine with two litters. I'm really stumped as to why she's doing this.

I'd appreciate any advice you might have.

Thanks in advance, and thanks so much for allowing people to have the opportunity to learn from you by your generous sharing of information.

God bless,

A. Yes, bitches that kill puppies are many times the offspring of mothers that also killed puppies. I would not breed this female again nor would I recommend using any of her pups for breeding.

Cindy Rhodes


Thanks so much for your response.

I'm curious about why dogs do this. I know in the case of my basset hound, she was an outdoor dog, with free range to come and go, when I got her. Is it the hunting instinct in the breed? I also wonder why this is a trait passed on to the offspring. Just seems crazy to me :)

I truly appreciate your input.

God bless

  Follow-Up Response:

This isn’t breed specific, I’ve heard of it in many different breeds. It’s a genetic flaw in temperament (in my experience) it has nothing to do with the way the dog was raised or the breed.

Dogs that kill puppies should be spayed and their offspring should not be bred. If I purchased a puppy from someone and found out later that the mother dog was a puppy killer and they had handraised the litter I would be FURIOUS if I wasn’t notified of this.

I don’t know the details behind your acquisition of the dog, but I’ll bet the previous owner got rid of her because of this problem. Just a hunch I have.

Cindy Rhodes
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