Guide to Breeding
- Are you ready to breed a litter?
Ask yourself: Am I ready? Time, Cost, Quality, Responsibilities are all the factors that come into play after breeding your dog. Do you have what it takes?
- Prepare yourself for Breeding a Litter
Breeding dogs has been a passion for people through many centuries. Part art, part science, and total devotion, breeding will show you all the best in the human-and-dog bond. It is exciting and challenging.
Read, read, read! Your library and bookstore are invaluable sources of information about canine health and breeding.
- Breed to improve
Breeding should only be done with the goal of improvement – an honest attempt to create puppies better than their parents. Ignorance shouldn’t be an excuse – once you have created a life, you can’t take it back – even if blind, crippled or canine psychopath.
- Understand the Commitment
Raising puppies is a full-time job. During the first couple of weeks the dam normally takes care of the puppies’ needs, but complications, such as a dam with no milk or an orphaned litter, may arise. It is the breeder’s responsibility to provide a safe, warm, dry place for the puppies and proper food and water for the female dog.
- Choose a Suitable Mate
When selecting a breeding partner there is a simple principle to bear in mind: mate animals that complement one another. Choose a dog whose bloodlines will strengthen your female dog’s weaknesses and emphasize her good qualities. For example, if her coat is not as good as it might be, then find a partner with a good coat, from a line of dogs with good coats.
- Perform Pre-Breeding Health Checks
Good puppies start long before breeding ever takes place. Both parents need long-term care to produce the best offspring. This means regular veterinary care, screening for genetic problems, pre-breeding tests, and regular exercise and good nutrition. Female dogs should not be overweight and should have good muscle tone before breeding.
Responsible breeders generally do not breed a female dog at the first heat to avoid imposing the stress of pregnancy and lactation on a young, growing animal. It is also customary to avoid breeding a bitch on consecutive heats to allow sufficient time for recovery between pregnancies. Most dogs are first bred between the 10th and 14th day after the onset of menstruation.
- Pregnancy & Preparation
Canine pregnancy lasts approximately 63 days. Signs of pregnancy include an increase in appetite, weight, and nipple size. However, a female dog with false pregnancy may also show these signs. A veterinarian can usually confirm a pregnancy through abdominal palpitation at 28 days or by using ultrasound or X-rays.
Once pregnancy is confirmed, you should talk to your vet about special feeding requirements and about what to expect during pregnancy, labor, and after birth. You should also be briefed on how to recognize and respond to an emergency. Providing proper rest and nutrition is always vital.
- Puppies are born
Most female dogs give birth easily without the need of human help. Each puppy emerges in its own placental membrane, or sac, which must be removed before the puppy can breathe. The mother usually takes care of this by tearing off (and sometimes eating) the membrane and then severs the umbilical cord. After delivery, she will lick each puppy to stimulate its breathing.
You should keep track of how many placentas are delivered and ensure that the number matches the number of puppies because a retained placenta may cause problems. To track nourishment of the puppies, it is advisable to identify and weigh puppies during the first 2 weeks. Always check with your vet if problems arise.
- Keep your puppies: warm, fed and clean
A newborn puppy cannot control its body temperature and must be kept in a warm environment. Chilling will stress the puppy and predispose it to infectious disease; overheating can kill it. The environmental temperature can be controlled with a well-insulated electric heating pad or a heat lamp. But make sure the puppies have a cooler place to crawl to if they become too warm.
- Choose the right buyer/owner
Responsible breeders make sure that their puppy goes to an owner who will provide it with the same love and devotion for life that the breeder has provided. This means careful screening and evaluation of each person or family interested in getting a puppy.
- Sending your pups to their new homes
By this time you have learned everything you can about your breed, and you know all the pros and cons of ownership. It’s important to share this information — including the negative aspects — with prospective puppy owners. You should be ready to explain why a dog requiring a lot of coat care or training may not be the best match for a workaholic, or why a tiny dog may not be appropriate for a family with small, active children.
A responsible breeder makes sure that their puppies go to good homes
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