Making the decision to breed dogs is one which should be made out of love for the animals as opposed to an opportunity to make money. Responsible breeders should make an effort to produce high quality dogs of their chosen breed and should place them in suitable homes.
The following tips will help you learn more about the process:
- If you plan to breed your bitch, you should first make certain she is healthy. This will help to ensure she has an uncomplicated pregnancy and delivery. Complications can also be minimized by waiting until she is fully grown, providing proper dog health care and supplying her with a high quality diet rich in supplements.
- Document when your bitch first goes into heat. Bitches typically go into heat at approximately one year of age and every six months thereafter. Failed breeding attempts are largely a result of poor timing. Keep adequate records and use hormone tests to predict when breeding should occur to increase the odds.
- It is also important to choose a mate wisely. Ideally, the bitch you have chosen will be free of any flaws you do not wish to pass on to the next generation of puppies. It is important to research the breed carefully and have your bitch evaluated for common hip, eye or ear problems. You should only breed those that have satisfactory ratings and should select a mate who also has a similar health history. Both the bitch and the dog should be free of genetic flaws, well constructed and of a sound temperament. Additionally, you may wish to evaluate certain skills if you are breeding for a specific purpose such as herding or hunting.
- Next, consider what type of breeding you will do. Whether you plan on inbreeding, line breeding or outcrossing, they are all used for various reasons. Inbreeding is the process of breeding dogs that are closely related, such as full brother and sister, half brother and half sister or parent and offspring. Line breeding involves two animals that share one common ancestor but are not otherwise closely related. Outcrossing occurs when the dogs do not share a common ancestor. Inbreeding and line breeding are often practiced to maintain the characteristics of the line, while outcrossing is often used to correct flaws in the line.
- Once you select a bitch and dog to mate, carefully determine when to put them together. Most bitches are most likely to become pregnant 10-12 days after they go into heat. You may wish to visit your veterinarian regularly for hormonal tests to indicate when she is ready, or you can choose to put the bitch and the stud together early and several additional times while she is still in heat.
- If the breeding is effective, you should be able to determine whether or not the bitch is pregnant approximately 22 days afterward. Your veterinarian can perform this examination.
- Once your bitch is pregnant, monitor her carefully to ensure she remains safe and healthy. The gestational period for a dog is approximately 60-64 days. During the first three weeks she will not have nutritional needs that are significantly different from her regular needs. However, in the last several weeks, she should be fed puppy food, which is typically higher in fat. She should also be fed more and her meals should be divided into smaller frequent meals to help maintain optimal health during the pregnancy. She should be fed puppy food until the puppies are born and weaned. Weaning typically occurs at six weeks old.
- Once the puppies are born, a responsible breeder should ensure the puppies are placed in excellent homes. The new owners should be loving, safe and knowledgeable about the breed. Additionally, you should always be willing to take back a dog you have bred for any reason.