If you think you’d like to breed your dog, here are some dog breeding tips.
1. Start with the very best bitch you can get. If you are planning to breed dogs as a hobby, to improve the breed, or to develop any kind of breeding program, you should know that there are already people who are way ahead of you. You can save yourself a lot of time and work by starting out with someone else’s very good dog. Then you can build from her.
2. You can often get a great male for work but it’s hard to get good bitches for breeding. Most breeders want to keep their girls which means that they don’t have room to keep their boys. That means that they are always looking for homes for some really good male dogs. These boys may be excellent at any kind of sport or hobby you like to participate in, such as hunting, herding, water sports, agility, obedience, and so on. If you are looking for a great dog for a sport or hobby, a boy is a great choice. However, that won’t help you when it comes to breeding a litter in most cases.
3. Before getting any dog you should ask about the health clearances of the dog’s parents. Were their hips x-rayed for OFA? Have they been tested for other health problems? If you’re not sure what problems are common in the breed you should check with the breed parent club.
4. You may be able to arrange to co-own a bitch with a breeder. Some breeders will agree to sell you a bitch puppy on a co-ownership. This means that the breeder will have some rights even after he or she sells the dog. Depending on your agreement, the breeder may be able to breed your dog and keep one or more puppies.
5. Co-ownerships deserve to be mentioned twice on a list of dog breeding tips: Beware of co-ownerships. Some co-ownerships can be quite onerous. Some co-ownerships can allow a breeder to breed your bitch multiple times and keep all of the puppies from the litters. On the other hand, some co-ownerships are perfectly fine. Read the fine print and make sure that you are all right with what the breeder is requiring. Don’t agree to anything that you are uncomfortable with. This is your dog and you could be agreeing to something that would require her to be gone from your home for months.
6. When you have a nice bitch you should make every effort to have her prove herself in your chosen venue, whether it’s the show ring, the hunting field or whatever it is that you and your dog like to do. Prove that your dog has a good reason to be bred.
7. Before breeding your dog you should have her tested for health problems and genetic disease such as hip dysplasia and other common health problems in your breed. It’s usually inadvisable to breed dogs with health problems unless there are some extenuating circumstances.
8. When it comes to choosing a mate for your bitch you should take your time. Start looking long before your bitch is due to come in season. Attend events where you can see offspring from potential stud dogs. Visit the stud dogs in person. Talk to the owners. Ask questions. Talk to people who have bred to the dogs. Ask them how their litters turned out. Ask them if they were happy. Ask them if the dogs’ owners were pleasant to work with. A dog can be very nice but if the owners are jerks it makes it hard to get things done.
9. When you contact the stud dog owners you should be polite but you should get your questions answered. If they are unable or unwilling to answer your questions you should cross them off your list. You can’t afford to breed to a dog if the answers are not forthcoming, especially if the information pertains to health or genetic issues.
10. When you finally choose the stud dog that you like you should have everything worked out with the stud dog’s owners prior to your bitch coming into season. You should put everything into a simple contract. Things to cover include:
- The stud fee
- Any handling fee — stud dog owners sometimes charge a fee separate from the stud fee for keeping your bitch if she is going to visit them
- How many puppies will constitute a litter — if your bitch only has one puppy will that be a “litter" or will you be entitled to a repeat breeding or a reduction in the stud fee?
- What if there is no litter? Will there be a repeat breeding or a refund?
You should put anything else into the contract that you and the stud dog owner have discussed. In some cases the stud dog owner may want a puppy back instead of a stud fee. This should be spelled out in the contract, including which pick the stud dog owner is to have (first pick? second pick?).
The important thing is to put everything in the contract in advance so there won’t be any misunderstandings if something comes up later.
11. Once all of the details have been worked out everything is up to your bitch. You simply sit and wait on her to come in season. When she does come in season you should make sure that she is up-to-date on her vaccinations. If she is traveling to the stud dog you will need to get her ready. If she’s going by plane she’ll need a health certificate from your vet. And you’ll need to make a reservation for her with the airline. Toy dogs that can fit in a carry-on bag that can be stowed under a seat can fly in the airline cabin if you wish to travel with your bitch. However, all other dogs must fly as cargo whether you are on the plane or not. Your dog will be in a special pressurized part of the plane for animals.
If you’re driving your bitch to the stud dog then you just have to make her look her best and get ready to go. It’s a good idea to do progesterone testing at your vet’s office so you can pinpoint the time when your bitch ovulates. This will help you make the best use of your time and maximize your bitch’s chances of conceiving.
12. Finally, you will introduce the bitch to the stud dog. After all this time this introduction may seem like an arranged marriage, which it more or less is. If the progesterone testing has been accurate then your bitch should be at just the right point in her estrus cycle to be receptive to the male. And the male should find your girl irresistible. It’s usually a good idea for you and the stud dog owner to assist by holding and helping the two dogs while they get to know each other a little. In most cases the dogs have no problem. With a few breeds breeders prefer to do artificial inseminations to have the best chance of conceiving a litter.
Most breeders try for two ties during the course of two to three days.
If everything goes well you should have a healthy, happy litter in about 63 days. Wasn’t that easy?
If you follow at least some of these dog breeding tips things should go easier for you as you breed your dog.