How to Prepare Dogs for Breeding


Dog breeding is a huge proposition. Though it may sound simple, responsible breeders spend a large amount of time, energy and money in correctly preparing for a litter of puppies. The prospect is not a quick moneymaker and often involves an outlay of expense that eclipses any profit made from selling the pups. Those who wish to breed dogs must be motivated by the desire to improve the breed and produce healthy pets for good homes.

  • Research the background of the particular breed of dog you are considering. If you are planning to breed purebreds it is particularly important to review the rules of the American Kennel Club (AKC). You can find information on their official website (see Resources below).

  • Study the breed standard if you are interested in producing show quality puppies. For every breed there is a definition of a "perfect" dog, which addresses details like markings, head size, body structure and other features. Look to the AKC for the information on the breed you have chosen.

  • Choose a healthy pedigreed bitch and stud. Try to obtain dogs with at least a third generation pedigree. If you are just interested in owning the bitch, make sure you obtain a full background check of the stud you are considering prior to entering into a breeding contract.

  • Consult a veterinarian for screening the dogs for genetic defects and any pre-existing health conditions. Have the vet particularly look for any known common genetic faults of your specific breed. Always make sure that the dogs are current on their vaccinations, that the bitch is full grown and that the dogs have tested negative for intestinal parasites and heartworms.

  • Look for complimentary traits between the male and female you are planning to breed. These include physical traits such as color, as well as personality traits such as energy level and temperament. You may also want to consider getting a stud the same size or larger than the bitch because when a stud is smaller than the female there are sometimes problems with mating.

  • Line up potential buyers and draw up a contract before breeding the dogs. Prepare to provide buyers with the sales contract, litter registration, the puppy's health records, a schedule for his vaccinations and the pedigree for when the puppy has arrived. Some breeders require a deposit on a puppy before breeding has commenced, as well as a signed questionnaire by buyers that includes information regarding their experience with dogs and their plans for this particular animal.

  • Decide how you will handle potential difficulties with the breeding. For instance, determine if you are willing to go through the expense of artificial insemination if the mating is unsuccessful. You also need to consider what course of action to take if there are any health problems with any of the puppies, if you have fewer puppies born than you have buyers for or if you have more puppies than buyers.

  • Plan to have the female dog bred with the male dog in a location with which the male dog is familiar as he may decline to breed in a new environment. Arrange for the location prior to the bitch coming into season.

  • Determine when the female dog is in heat by looking for a vaginal discharge. This discharge will be bright red on the first day and will lighten by the day until it is straw colored (usually around the ninth day). Breeding should be attempted once the color has changed to straw.

  • Supervise the mating between the stud and bitch in order to prevent any injuries. The mating should be repeated 48 hours after the initial pairing. Prevent the bitch from coming into contact with any other intact males during her entire estrus.

  • Confirm your female is pregnant by consulting with a veterinarian a month following the mating. At this time, discuss with the vet any plans for assistance should something go wrong with the pregnancy or delivery.

  • Construct a whelping box for your female at least a couple of weeks before the pups are due. The box should be kept in a quiet and warm place. It should have a plastic bottom and shredded newspaper lining it for easy cleaning. Lead your dog to it frequently to acquaint her with it and encourage her to sleep in the box.

  • Prepare for the delivery in advance by having towels and blankets nearby, along with the telephone number of the vet and a notebook for recording time of births, weights and genders of the puppies.

Tips & Warnings

  • Join a club devoted to your particular breed of dog to gain information and support from other breeders.
  • Do not breed a female dog until she is in her second or third heat. A dog usually comes in season once or twice each year.
  • If the stud belongs to another party, prepare a written contract with the owner prior to breeding.
  • Have the stud dog tested for the disease Brucellosis, which can cause abortion in a pregnant female.
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