Responsible breeding requires you to focus on your goals to improve your chosen dog breed in multiple areas including performance, health and longevity, temperament, and conformation.
Should I Breed My Dog?
Owners may consider breeding their pets for many reasons. You may want to have another dog just like the one you have. You may wish to make money or show your children the wonders of life. But think carefully – these may not be the right reasons. It is unlikely your dog will have puppies exactly like him or her – remember half the genetics come from another dog. Breeding, and doing it right, can be an expensive undertaking. There are other ways to teach your children about reproduction. And the shelters are often overflowing with dogs needing a good home. Remember, there are also risks to your bitch inherent with pregnancy.
Planning For The Breeding:
Careful management of the breeding, pregnant bitch (prenatal period), birth of the pups (parturition) and the postpartum (neonatal) period is critical to assure the best possible outcome. In other words, YOU are in control of your bitch’s and puppies’ destiny.
Health Evaluation Prior To Breeding:
Several weeks to months prior to your bitch’s heat cycle during which you intend to breed her, your dog should be examined by your veterinarian. She should be in good general health, current on core vaccines, have good parasite control, and be free from orthopedic problems. All necessary upcoming (within the next 4 months) core vaccines should be given prior to the start of her estrous cycle. She should not be overweight and should be on a moderate exercise program She should also be on a high quality PUPPY diet prior to breeding. In addition, she should be Brucella negative and screened for genetic defects (see sections below). She should be examined to assure there have been no pelvic fractures or other structural abnormalities which could have narrowed the birth canal. Pregnancy should be as drug-free as possible. Medications and supplements should not be given prior to or after breeding without first consulting with your veterinarian as certain drugs are known to cause birth defects. Even seemingly innocuous nutritional supplements can be dangerous at this time. Specifically avoid calcium supplementation and raspberry tea leaf preparations.
The male dog should also be in good general health, well fed, exercised, current on immunizations, free of parasites, screened for genetic defects and Brucella negative (see sections below).
Brucellosis is a bacterial disease that is most frequently transmitted between dogs by sexual contact. It is easily screened for on a blood test. Both the male and female dog should be tested prior to breeding. Brucellosis not only can cause health problems for the adult dogs, but it can also cause sterility, abortion and early puppy death. Of highest concern is that this incurable disease is transmissible to humans.
For most AKC registered dog breedings, this is not currently required but this may become mandatory in the future.
We feel it is important to breed dogs who are happy, confident and obedient as new research indicates temperament is a highly inherited trait.
It is important to carefully consider each dog’s pedigree for compatibility. This may require considerable research to find a suitable candidate. Often the breeder of your dog or someone with experience with your breed can assist you.
We recommend that the stud and bitch owners have a written agreement defining the details of the breeding. For example, fees, number of pups guaranteed, and health checks to be completed prior to the breeding all are topics that need to defined prior to breeding to avoid any misunderstandings.
Thanks to Dr. Marty Greer for sharing this valuable content from her Breeder’s Library
Her book “Canine Reproduction & Neonatology” is invaluable to breeders and is available on Amazon.