Perhaps the question which is most frequently asked anent toy dogs is whether the keeping them as a pleasure and hobby can be combined with profit by means of breeding them and selling the puppies. To such a query it is very hard to give a definite reply, for this reason - whether or not toy dog breeding can be made profitable depends, firstly, on the character of the enterpriser, and, secondly, on that inscrutable factor - Fate. Some of us devote ourselves to our dogs, take endless trouble for them, and spend money on them freely, with the poorest possible return; others, while not making nearly so much fuss about their pets, manage to turn out healthy litters at regular intervals, and sell them at remunerative prices. All that can be done is to put before the novice "how not to do it," and leave to each individually the chances called luck, for which their star is answerable. Taking one year with another, and presupposing patience, perseverance, affection for the dogs, and some business-like qualities in the aspirant, I am of opinion that toy dogs can be made to pay their expenses, and leave a margin of profit; this in the case of non-exhibitors. Where exhibiting is contemplated, the luck element is still more to the front, and a degree of experience, both local and general, is essential to success.

If success, however, in winning prizes is once attained, the sales of puppies become much more assured, and higher prices are naturally obtainable.

As a means of eking out a small income, dog breeding is occasionally successful, supposing the breeder to possess advantages in the way of proper quarters, and plenty of time to spare, natural aptitude not being wanted; but I should greatly hesitate to suggest to a poor lady, without experience in dogs, that she should embark capital in such a venture. Many people seem possessed with the idea that they have only to buy a female dog, or dogs (generally the latter, since the novice is always inclined to split upon the rock of overcrowding and overstocking at first), and get it mated with some well-known sire, to ensure a fine, healthy litter of pups, which can be immediately sold at high prices, having in the meantime been fed on dog biscuit and attended to, more or less, by any one who happens to be at home. No greater mistake ! If you want to succeed with toy dogs, you must, at any rate until you have considerable experience and, in addition, the ability to direct others and make them understand, which is never an easy task, look after the pets yourself, not spasmodically, but regularly; see that they have exercise and proper food in proper quantity and variety, and at fixed and regular hours; you must have an eye always open to notice the smallest beginnings of illness - a watchfulness servants, for example, never can comprehend, still less practise; and lastly, you must set an aim before you and keep to it with perseverance, even though you may, and probably will, often feel impatient and despairing.

Then, too, you must be prepared to nurse the dogs properly if, or when, they are ill. Nobody can expect to be exempt from illness, dog or man, and good nursing is as needful in the one case as in the other. A sick toy dog must be kept clean, petted, sat with, talked to, and tempted with nice things, like a sick baby, for the little spirit has much to do with the tender frame, and pain and weakness need sympathy, and respond to it eagerly. A little toy bitch, accustomed to fly to her owner at every impulse, cannot be left to have puppies all alone - though her fussy preparations, which may last all night, are rather wearisome.

Some one must stay with her and comfort her until her troubles are over; otherwise, she will fret and worry until, when the pups do appear, she has no milk for them.

All these little requirements and necessities may seem absurd to those who think a dog is a dog and nothing more; but we have bred generation after generation of toys to be in our constant company, and made them almost humanly intelligent, while, naturally, their small brains have no human balance; and that a nervous toy dog does need such consideration will be granted, I am sure, by all successful breeders. At the same time, I am by no means advocating the silly system of overpetting and overfeeding, whereby dogs can be made a nuisance to themselves and every one else. Because a child must be taken care of, it does not follow that it need be spoiled : we ought to put a hat on its head when it goes out in the sun, but we need not walk beside it, holding an umbrella over it; and so with our small dogs - they must be watched and cared for, but they need not, and should not, be coddled and made silly.

I have no opinion of a dog which will not go out because it is raining, preferring to make itself objectionable in the house; or of one which leaves the small proportion of biscuit in its dinner and comes round scratching your arm for more meat; or of one which rushes back to the fire when a walk is suggested on a chilly day. Dogs like this have not been properly cared for; it is not affection for them, seeking their well-being, but downright silliness, which is responsible for their self-indulgent ways. Thanks be that toy dogs of this kind are becoming much less common, and indeed, in the case of any person desiring to keep them with an idea of profit, such ways would be discouraged by self-interest, for pampered dogs are not those which breed freely and do their puppies justice.

Where it is necessary that the dogs shall pay their way, it is of the first necessity that the inevitable expenses of starting and gaining experience shall be carefully considered. It is not a bad plan to get a little cheap dog, and see it through a litter before embarking in a "paying" breed, as where these are concerned it is useless to expect return unless a really good price has been paid for valuable stock to begin with. One does occasionally see such toys as Japs and Poms advertised very cheaply; and I have known people who studied these advertisements with rosy visions of "picking up" a bitch from an excellent strain, at a guinea or two - with some slight fault, like a few white hairs, to cheapen her - of breeding show stock from her and making a little fortune. Chances like this seldom come in the way of the novice. The best start a would-be breeder who is without any experience can have, is by placing herself in the hands of some one who has been successful, buying a young bitch which comes of a winning strain, though it may possess some fault, at a fair price - which will not be a small one - and taking the breeder's advice as to mating, etc. Or it is by no means a bad plan to buy a brace of unrelated young puppies and rear them.

Of this, more in the chapter on breeding.

To buy imported or pedigreeless small toys for breeding is a complete lottery. Foreign breeders are extremely careless with regard to their strains, and purity of blood can never be depended on. Another point which must be insisted upon in relation to profitable toy breeding is the necessity for health in the kennel. I say kennel because it is a useful word, but am far from suggesting that toys of any kind should be kept in the way understood by "having a kennel" among larger dogs. The breeder who succeeds best is invariably the one who keeps one or two, or even four or five, pet bitches, running about the house enjoying full liberty and all the happiness of personal favourites, with, it may be, a dog also of the party. The breeder who is most troubled with skin complaints, distemper, lengthy vet's bills, and all the expenses, such as sick diet, which eat up profits, is the one who has built or fitted "kennels," no matter at what expense, and filled them with dogs.