When to Breed a Dog?

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The decision to breed your dog should not be entered into lightly. There are serious considerations and consequences involved in this decision. It is important to understand the truth behind many of the misconceptions people have regarding breeding. Remember, there are thousands of dogs euthanized every year in animal shelters because of thoughtless breeding.

Misconceptions

Many people believe that having a litter of puppies will make their dog a better pet and improve her personality. The truth is, a mother becomes highly protective of her litter and you might notice behavior changes when presented to strangers or children. In addition, spaying a young dog before she has puppies helps prevent mammary cancer and a uterine infection called pyometra.

Many people think that because their dog is a purebred, they will make a lot of money from the puppies. Unfortunately, this is not true. There are many expenses involved in breeding if you do it right. These include genetic screenings, the cost of a high-quality stud dog, prenatal veterinary exams and vitamins and possible complications during and shortly after delivery. You must also figure in the cost of puppy vaccines and wormers as well as puppy food.

Owners of registered dogs tend to think that they have a better reason for breeding because their dog is registered. “Registered” simply means that your dog’s parents are both registered with the American Kennel Club. This does not mean that they are automatically good breeding candidates. They might still have genetic problems and might not represent the best characteristics of their breed.

Prior to Breeding

Once you have made the decision to breed your dog, there are several steps you must take before the actual breeding. Ensure that your dog has the proper tests specific for her breed to rule out any possible genetic problems. Both the male and female should be tested for brucellosis, a sexually transmitted disease. Be selective in your use of a stud. Research pedigrees and choose a dog that complements your dog’s strengths.

Breeding

Successful breeding is really about successful timing. Your dog's heat cycle usually occurs the first time between 6 and 9 months of age; large breed dogs are usually 12 to 18 months old. Do not attempt to breed until your dog is fully mature. The heat cycle, or estrus, lasts about three weeks. It is sometimes difficult to determine the exact day the cycle begins, but you will usually notice her vulva beginning to swell and she may lick herself more than usual. Within a couple of days, you will begin to notice a bloody discharge; however, in small doses, this may not be noticeable. Sometime between the ninth and 12th day, this discharge will become slightly lighter in color. This is when she is fertile and will be willing to accept a male dog. When you introduce the male, he will be very excited and will mount the female. It is important for successful breeding that the dogs form a “tie.” A tie occurs when the glands in the penis expand and the vulva contracts joining the two together. This is when the sperm is delivered to the eggs and will last about 15 to 30 minutes. If this breeding was successful, you will have puppies in about 63 days.

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