Breeding dogs can bring happiness and satisfaction, but the process comes with risk and responsibility. While it may look cute and fun to have a bunch of dogs running around, breeding them requires a lot of dedication. If you plan to breed your dog, you need to be well prepared.
Decide to breed your dog
1. Do your homework. You need to do your homework to determine if you have the right conditions and are well prepared to breed your dog. This will help you understand the process and what you need to do during the process. You can read books written by experienced dog owners or authoritative veterinarians, have in-depth conversations about the pros and cons of breeding your dog or analyze the feasibility of the process with other professional breeders.
2. Have the right starting point. Breeding a dog must be based on experience and adequate preparation. A suitable dog owner must spend at least two years with the dog, nurturing and caring for them. You can only breed a healthy, quality dog by putting in the effort and doing your homework.
Dogs should never be bred to sell them. Producing them and then selling them is an irresponsible act. This has given rise to the “dog farms” in various regions. Dog owners need to take responsibility and not be complicit in the proliferation of pets.
Breeding your dog correctly and responsibly can be a time-consuming and costly process.
3. Make sure you are realistic. The first thing is to ensure that the dog is good enough, which you can test with the help of an expert. To be eugenic, you must prove that the dog’s genetic quality is in the top 10% of the breed. It is in this case that the dog born will make a positive contribution to the gene pool.
Dogs that undergo breeding need to be healthy and have excellent talent. They need to be of reproductive standard in appearance and also be sufficiently exceptional in temperament.
At least 8 weeks must pass after the dog is born before it can be found a new owner. So you have to anticipate the dog’s pregnancy and analyze the possible impact of this event on your life.
Be prepared to adopt all dogs mentally. You must be responsible for all your dogs and ensure they are healthy and happy. For some reason, you may not be able to find suitable owners for all dogs, and you will have to adopt them then.
4. Know which dogs are suitable for breeding and procreation. Some dogs are particularly suitable for breeding because they have some great traits that can be directed to the dog. You can breed utility breeds, which have excellent herding or tracking abilities. You can also breed ornamental species with great looks and good temperaments.
Utility breeds can be inherited for their ability to perform in specific areas. The male and female dogs to be bred will need records to prove their ability in that area. Many appropriate competitions provide a platform for them to showcase this.
Ornamental breeds need to meet morphological standards before they can be bred. Some authorities in the United States set a uniform fertility requirement for this breed. This standard is usually established through competition, with the most suitable dog being the representative to set the threshold.
Each country has its standards regarding dog fertility. Therefore, if you are participating in this type of judging in another country, you will need to gather the local confirmation standards and requirements.
Selecting the right dog for fertility
1. Choose the right dog. Pick out the one you want to use for breeding. You will need a female dog capable of conceiving and a male dog you want to breed with. Of course, before you do that, you must ensure they both meet the criteria mentioned above.
You can borrow a male dog from another owner. In the absence of a male dog, renting a male dog or buying a male dog’s semen will cost money. In some cases, the provider of the female dog can pick the dog that is born. In cases where multiple parties are involved, all details and arrangements for the dog must be written in a contract that is confirmed and signed by all parties.
2. Genetic testing of the dog. Before the official breeding, the genetic background of the dogs needs to be investigated to confirm whether their pedigree is good enough. Purebred dogs can be certified by an authority. In addition, it is necessary to ensure that the male and female dogs are not close relatives to prevent genetic defects.
In addition, the dog needs to be tested for genetic disease genes. The OFA, a U.S. authority, has an extensive database of canine disease tests that contain results for many genetic disorders, including hip and elbow dysplasia, eye disease, patellar dislocation, and heart problems. After all, no one wants these diseases passed on to the next generation of dogs.
3. Observe the dog’s temperament. Focus on how male and female dogs behave with other dogs. Dogs with mild temperaments will generally produce dogs with similar personality traits. It is not recommended to have a dog that is too aggressive or timid; they are more dangerous.
4. Check the age of the dog. The selected dog needs to meet the birth age criteria. Most dogs turn about two years old before they can give birth, as it is at 24 months that many genetic problems become apparent. Specific tests can also screen you. Let’s say the OFA agency in the United States can take X-rays after the dog reaches 24 months of age to test for hip dysplasia. For a baby dog to be born, dogs that undergo breeding and birth must be permanently identified by a microchip or tattoo. This is to facilitate the provision of data to OFA or other agencies for evaluation and to ensure that others cannot falsify data.
At 6 to 9 months of age, females go into estrus. After that, they come back into heat every 5 to 11 months. Most dog owners do not let their female dogs give birth until they are 2 years old and have gone into heat 3-4 times because that is when she is fully developed and their body can withstand the stress of pregnancy and childbirth.
Give your dog a physical examination
1. Take your dog to the vet for a checkup before she gives birth. Make sure she is up to date on her vaccinations. The antibodies in its body can be passed on to the dog through breast milk and these antibodies can keep the dog safe from specific diseases.
2. Know your dog’s disease history. If there is an unknown disease in your dog, this may disrupt your plans. Before a small dog gives birth, you need to know if they have a genetic problem, as pups tend to develop the same condition and, in severe cases, even have upper and lower jaws that do not close properly. This bite misalignment can lead to dental disease. Other problems in this category include spinal issues such as easy dislocation of the kneecap, hip or elbow dysplasia, ruptured discs, skin and ear infections due to allergies, heart disease, eye disease and mobility problems.
Worm your dog regularly, as roundworms, hookworms, and heartworms can be transmitted to pups through the mother.
3. Have your dog’s reproductive performance checked to ensure that it can reproduce adequately. For example, male dogs will need semen testing, and this type of testing can detect genetic diseases and infectious diseases like brucellosis. It is recommended that both dogs be tested for brucellosis before breeding to ensure that neither is a carrier to prevent transmission to each other.
Beginning the breeding process
1. First, you must wait for the female dog to enter estrus, after which she can conceive. However, the estrus period is not constant and you will need to observe it to detect any changes at first. A female in heat will appear as follows: the genital area will begin to swell and bulge, and blood may flow. If the male is nearby, he will become extremely excited and interested in the female.
The female will not accept the male’s invitation until she is ready to conceive and may even growl sternly at him to prevent him from approaching. You need to be extra careful when they come to avoid them getting hurt.
Typically, female dogs will accept mating around 9-11 days into estrus.
If a female dog has difficulty conceiving, you can have her vet perform a progesterone test on her. This will help you find the best time to conceive, precisely when she is in estrus. Progesterone levels will rise significantly 1-2 days before ovulation, and for some dogs with less pronounced estrus characteristics, a progesterone test can be used to determine when she is ovulating.
There are some cases where you can consider artificial insemination, such as when you can’t find a suitable male dog. Frozen male dog semen can be stored in liquid nitrogen for shipment worldwide and can be thawed, and the female dog can be fertilized through specific steps. Consider artificial insemination if you select a male and female dog that cannot conceive naturally.
But artificial insemination can be risky, as the next generation’s health remains doubtful.
In rare instances, a veterinarian can surgically implant sperm into a female dog’s uterus while she is under anesthesia. Of course, all of these additional operations increase the cost of conceiving the bitch and the cost per litter.
3. Ensure the health of the bitch. After conception is confirmed, the bitch needs to be separated from the male dog. Prepare three balanced meals for the impregnated bitch and provide her with adequate vitamins, such as calcium. You will need to follow your veterinarian’s instructions in this regard.
Dogs have a gestation period of 58-68 days. During this period, they all need adequate nutrition.
Keep the bitch’s place clean and tidy to avoid pests like fleas. Clean it regularly and provide plenty of fresh water and a clean resting environment.
4. Always pay attention to the changes of the mother dog. During pregnancy, the nipples and mammary glands of the mother dog will gradually change. In the second trimester, their breasts start to produce milk; in the last three weeks of pregnancy, she needs to increase her nutritional intake. At this time, you will need to check with your veterinarian for an appropriate dietary supplementation program.
Generally, a female dog can be fed the food her puppies eat during the last three weeks of pregnancy. The puppy food will provide adequate calories and nutrients for the growing fetus and prepare the bitch for the lactation period.
What to do when a mother dog gives birth
1. Prepare a litter for your dog in advance. After the dogs are born, transfer them to this litter. The size of the new garbage needs to be about 15cm long and 30cm wider than the length of the mother dog lying prone. Also, the latest debris must have a fence to prevent the mother dog from crushing the newborn dog.
Putting several layers of plastic wrap and newspaper on the bottom of the kennel will effectively keep the bottom tidy, as you only need to replace it with a few new sheets of newspaper or plastic wrap to make it look new. Of course, similar clean towels or other bedding can also be padded in the dog’s den.
2. Be extra vigilant as you approach the time of delivery. Familiarize yourself with the various stages of labor in advance and pay attention to the status of her contractions once she starts labor. If the dog does not give birth successfully for more than 30-45 minutes, there may be complications.
At 45 days of gestation, you can have your veterinarian take x-rays to check how many dogs are present. Also, this will detect dogs that are on the larger side to avoid problems during delivery. Knowing this information will not only let you know how many dogs you will welcome but will also make it easier for your veterinarian to prepare for a cesarean section emergency.
3. After the dogs are born, you need to keep them in a warm environment while checking that they are all nursing properly. Check that they have no congenital defects like cleft palate, etc. The dog’s upper jaw should be intact and show no signs of splitting. The mother will clean the dogs after birth and nurse them.
Breast milk will flow from her mouth into her nasal cavity if the dog has a cleft palate. If the condition is very severe, the dog should be euthanized because it will not survive.
4. Record the birth of the dog, including the date of birth, the total number of dogs, and the number of different sexes. In the United States, you can register your dog in an agency similar to the AKC and support online registration. When you fill out the application form, you will need to fill in the registration numbers for both male and female dogs.
Caring for a newborn dog
During the first few weeks of life, you will need to pay extra attention to your dog to ensure they are in a warm, clean environment and getting enough breast milk. Weigh your dog daily to make sure they are growing. A healthy dog should be clean, active, and well-fed daily. In the first two weeks of life, your dog should gain weight every day, by about 10% of its total body weight.
At about four weeks of age, the dog will become very active. The kennel prepared at the beginning will become crowded and it is time to find a broader and safer area for them to play. The mother will also give the dogs more independence, and at the same time, you can start weaning them on wet puppy food.
When the dogs are 7 to 8 weeks old, take them to the veterinarian, who will vaccinate them for distemper, hepatitis, macro viruses, influenza-like illnesses, and DHPP. In addition, parasitic diseases such as fleas and heartworm control need to be considered.
Have your veterinarian check your dog for other health problems and genetic disorders. As a responsible dog owner, you need to give feedback on all these conditions when you deliver your dog to a new owner so that the new owner can vaccinate the dog within the required time frame.
3. When choosing a new owner for your dog, you need to be extra careful. Make sure the dog has a good home. The new owner should be responsible and willing to spend time, energy, and material resources on it.
Do a good home inspection and if the adopter’s home is not suitable for the dog to grow, clearly reject them.
4. After finding a new owner suitable for the dog, draw up a contract first. The agreement needs to include all the health guarantees you provide and the limitations of these guarantees. It should also state that the dog must be returned to you once the adopter can no longer care for it.
In addition, the contract needs to mention issues such as whether the dog has been sold as a pet or used as a reproductive tool and whether the dog will be spayed or neutered when it reaches a certain age.