things to consider before breeding dogs

THINGS TO CONSIDER BEFORE BREEDING YOUR DOG

So, your dog is awesome and you want to spread some of that awesomeness around by breeding your beloved pooch. But WAIT! STOP! There are a number of things to consider and medical evaluations to have done before responsibly deciding that your pooch should be bred.

different dog breeds

Factors to Consider

  • Will your dog contribute excellent health, temperament, working ability or conformity to the breed standard? In other words, does your pet have any health issues – skin allergies, oral malformations, heart or epilepsy condition? If so, your animal is probably not a good candidate for breeding. Does your dog’s physical appearance (objectively) and temperament represent the very best of the breed?
  • Do you understand that spaying and neutering will prevent some health problems that you risk by keeping your dog intact?
     
  • Are you aware of any and all health and temperament problems in your dog’s pedigree, looking at both depth and breadth of pedigree?
  • Are you willing to search for the best dog to breed your dog to, even if you have to travel out of state or pay for frozen semen?
  • Do you have carefully screened buyers and deposits for all the puppies you may produce?
  • Do you have money set aside in case the dam or puppies need emergency care including an unplanned C-section?
  • Can you or another responsible adult be present 24 hours a day for the first 3 weeks in case hand feeding is needed? Not all female dogs are good mothers, especially for the first litter.
  • Have you read about what to prepare and expect for canine pregnancy, whelping and puppy rearing? (rec source: Canine Reproduction: A Breeder’s Guide 3rd Edition, Phyllis Holst)
  • Are you willing to keep and properly socialize all the puppies until good homes are found?
  • Are you willing to take back any or all puppies any time in their lives that they may no longer be wanted?
breeding big dogs

Medically Needed Pre-Breeding Procedures

  • Annual CERF eye certification.
  • Wait until 2 years of age before breeding, then have OFA hip and elbow certification performed to ensure good joint conformation.
  • Have all breed-specific health clearances performed – check with a veterinarian and national breed club (may include heart, thyroid, genetic testing, many others).
  • Have Brucella canis test performed 1 month in advance
    • Brucellosis

The organism requires three weeks on average to become evident in the bloodstream. After that, it localizes in the reproductive or urinary tract and either continuously or periodically seeds the bloodstream from there. 

Lymph nodes can enlarge and possibly the spleen or liver can become inflamed but generally, the infected adult dog does not seem sick in the short term. Chronic disease from long-term immune stimulation can result. Diseases produced by long-term inflammation can include:

    • Diskospondylitis (inflammation of a disk in the spine)
    • Uveitis (deep eye inflammation)
    • Multiple joint arthritis
    • Glomerulonephritis (kidney inflammation and protein loss)

Most of the time, the only sign is aborted pregnancy between the 45th and 59th day of pregnancy (relatively late in the pregnancy). Classically, the aborted pups appear to have died at least several days prior to abortion as they do not look freshly dead.

Abortion does not always appear in this most common form, though. Sometimes, the pregnancy is lost so early in its course that the problem is mistaken for infertility. Sometimes puppies are stillborn. Sometimes they are born live and infected.

  • Have a complete physical examination performed on your dog prior to breeding. This should include a digital vaginal exam to check for vaginal band/stricture.

About the author: Hilary Granson

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