Wednesday, July 21, 2010


People that do not breed dogs are under the misconception that if you just let nature take its course and let two dogs breed that nine weeks later, you’ll be throwing a baby shower! The puppies have arrived and little Johnny and Jane have just witnessed the miracle of birth! If only life were simple like that. Oh sure this is the way that nature has planned it which is very evident by all the unwanted dogs and cats in shelters today.

But what about dog breeders that plan their animals litters? Isn’t it just as easy for their dogs to produce a litter of pups as the one’s that roam the streets? Sometimes yes and other times no.

There are a few reasons why a bitch may have infertility problems. Not knowing when to breed your bitch is one of the top reasons why a litter of puppies are not born. Some people assume all bitches should be bred around the same time as another one of their bitches are bred. The length of a bitch’s cycle varies from one bitch to another. There is not “one size fits all” when it comes to breeding. A good stud dog that has had much experience normally can tell when a bitch is ready for breeding although this is not always the case. If the bitch is willing to stand for the male, then breeding her every other day is a wise decision if you own both animals. Some bitches have been known to stand on the third day of her cycle or as late as the 21st. day of her cycle. Many breeders wisely use vaginal cytology and progesterone assays to help determine when the bitch is ready to be bred. This is especially important if one uses artificial insemination to impregnate the bitch.

It’s true, but some bitches will not always breed with certain males. Sometimes they can be very discriminating against certain males. Then you may have a submissive male that will not breed to a more dominate bitch. It is ALWAYS advisable to muzzle a bitch when you’re breeding her. You never know when she may get snappy with the male and turn around to bite him. Then you have the bitch that will fight you every step of the way to avoid being bred. I’ve had bitches throw themselves on the ground flipping over or refusing to stand up and you have to force her to stand. Always a pleasant experience when breeding one of these darlings!

The male isn’t free from breeding problems either. Ever breed to an inexperienced male that wants to play once he’s tied with the bitch? I have and let me tell you it was a horrific experience for him. My bitch was absolutely fine having been an experienced broad bitch. This young stud dog was in a lot of pain caused by him trying to play instead of getting the job done. His owner was an experienced breeder but I know she wasn’t expecting his shenanigans either. Or you might have a male dog just lie down in a corner when your bitch is ready to be bred. I’ve seen this happen sometimes with males that are bred too much. It’s almost like they become bored with it. I got my bitches finally bred and they both had litters so the girls were ready to make whoopee but the guys didn’t want any part of it! Guys can be funny like that sometimes!! (Ooops I mean dogs).

For the novice or pet person reading this you may not know, but a bitch can get pregnant from more than one male during her breeding cycle. So the litter can be sired by more than one dog. Maybe that’s why all those bitches that gets pregnant while roaming the streets has puppies in all shapes, colors and sizes!

Sometimes if a bitch it overweight or underweight she may have a problem conceiving and delivering a litter of puppies. If the bitch has health problems especially hormonal disorders such as hypothyroidism they can affect her fertility.

Males too may have infertility problems. These may include a decreased sperm count, poor sperm structure (morphology) or poor sperm motility. These problems may be caused by genetics or may be due to injury or an illness. A male’s semen sample can be collected and analyzed in helping to determine the problem. Also an infection such as canine brucellosis can cause sterility. That’s why most stud dog owners require your bitch to have a canine brucellosis test before he will breed her to his male.

A breeder can fix a poor timing of a breeding but other breeding problems can be more of a challenge and difficult to fix. Sometimes a reproduction specialist can be a breeder’s answer to a prayer when dealing with breeding difficulties. Careful consideration should be made when attempting to breed animals with infertility problems. These problems may be passed genetically to their offspring and carried down through their bloodlines for future generations. I know of many bitches that sit in people’s kennels that have beautiful bloodlines but have never been able to have a litter of puppies. This is heartbreaking for the breeder.

(To be continued…..)

From the book: THE COMPLETE BOOK OF DOG BREEDING...A veterinarian with many years of canine practice experience offers guidance to novice and professional dog breeders, emphasizing the responsibilities of reputable breeders to their dogs and to the buyers of the puppies they produce. Topics covered include: the choosing, health, quality, and conditioning of brood stock; practical DNA use, and Canine Health Information Center (CHIC) surveys and data storage to scientifically improve the selection of healthy brood stock and puppies; potential breeding problems; artificial insemination; pregnancy and its duration; embryonic and fetal activity; pregnancy nutrition; physical changes during pregnancy; stages of labor; normal and Cesarean-section births, and how to assist in both; nutrition of dams and puppies and how to recognize and prevent potential problems in both; neonatal puppy care; lactation and weaning the puppies; socializing the puppies; pedigrees, registration, and titles; and much more. Filled with color photos and line art.

My rating: Breeding only from strong, healthy bloodlines: (4)

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