Pet Talk: Dog breeding " let nature take control |

Pet Talk: Dog breeding " let nature take control

Steve Sheldon
Vail, CO Colorado

Breeding in dogs, believe it or not, is similar to breeding in people ” nature usually takes control, and it’s not complicated.

Breeders know to place dogs together after the first week of the heat cycle and go sit in a chair and watch. Smart breeders also know to bring the female to the male and not upset his delicate libido.

As the hormones change in the female, she will stand for the stud and breed. It is a consistent law of nature amongst mammals: If she won’t stand there will be no breeding. Do this every other day for three sessions.

If things go awry, veterinarians need to get involved and I can assure you it is one of two things: him or her.

The female does not have a regular menstrual cycle because her ancestors were pack animals. Usually only the dominant female in a pack conceived a litter each season.

A normal female will have one cycle every four to 13 months with the average being seven. The cycle lasts around two weeks; first the vulva swells and then there is a discharge of blood and mucus.

If you have had problems you should bring your female to the doctor at the first noticeable sign of heat. Timing is the most crucial aspect in breeding dogs, period.

Now let’s check the male. Refusal to mate could indicate a physical problem and failure to ejaculate could be caused by pain from a prostate infection. Also, inexperienced males may not know what to do.

A male that mates normally but does not produce pups may have a low sperm count, and may require further tests.

But if all goes well, in about 60 days puppies will be born. Pregnancy can be confirmed as early as day 14 by palpating the uterus, day 21 by ultrasound, day 28 through blood tests, or 45 days with x-rays.

Radiographs or ultrasound should be done to determine the number of puppies to expect; it helps to know how many pups are in there when she starts to deliver. During one of your pre-natal visits you will be shown a film on birthing and given some handouts.

The last thought on breeding comes from a lecture by Beverly J. Purswell, DVM, Ph.D.; she wrote, ‘One must remain flexible in dealing with canine breeding management. The old adage still pertains … breed every other day from the first day of standing behavior until she no longer stands.’

In other words, nature usually takes care of things. But if it doesn’t’, you know where to turn for help.

Dr. Stephen Sheldon practices at Gypsum Animal Hospital. He welcomes your questions at 524-DOGS, or

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