Though a demanding venture, dog breeding can be pretty rewarding if you have the appropriate dog breeding info necessary to help you make a success of it.
Dog breeders naturally fall into 2 categories: a novice dog breeder or an experienced dog breeder. And for the person who is yet to at least have her bitch give birth to a puppy, he does not qualify to be referred to as a dog breeder.
This article will take an exhaustive view on how to become a successful dog breeder from the starting point of a novice breeder. For a starter in dog breeding, you need to have a clear picture of the demands of the profession as this information will greatly enhance your chances of being a successful dog breeder.
Some basic question for every new dog breeder
- Why do you want to breed dogs? For fun, personal or commercial reasons?
- Do I want to breed dogs on a part time basis or full time?
- If you intend to breed dogs on a part time basis, would you be willing to invest the time and exercise the patience required to nurture your litters until they are ripe enough to go into their new homes? This can take as much as 2 months.
- Do you have capacity to meet the financial requirements of the recommended health checks for the bitch and her litter?
- Are you willing to invest both time and money in acquiring the necessary dog breeding information that will be helpful to you and that will also put you in a position to impact the right knowledge, in various aspects of care for the puppies, on the new owners of your puppies?
- Will you be able to handle it if your bitch gives birth to a large litter?
- How will you find good homes for my puppies?
- Do you have the capacity to take back the puppies from their owners if such a situation should arise?
If as a new entrant into the dog breeding business either for personal or commercial reasons and you are unable to provide convincing positive answers to the above questions then you will be better advised not to continue with your wish to breed dogs.
If however you have passed the foregoing test, then the next set of things to keep in mind are:
- As an intending dog breeder you should always strive to ensure that every litter is an improvement on the parents.
- Special considerations must be given to the health and temperament of your bitch and her litter.
- As a dog breeder that cares for your puppies, you must make sure that you are available to provide the new owner with the needed help and advice.
- Always make sure that your bitch is healthy enough to give birth to a litter.
- Check the health status of the stud as well.
- Keep in contact with your vet once your bitch is close to giving birth.
- Maintain a list of the places where your puppies can be sold or advertised for sale.
- Make sure you have a contract attached to every puppy sold.
Breeding to improve
One of major objectives of breeding dogs is to improve the quality of the breed. Therefore a worthwhile refrain for a dog breeder to keep in mind is “breed to improve”.
When you set out to breed you should take the time to properly evaluate the strong and weak points of your dog before going ahead with your decision to breed, if you truly want to achieve the noble goal of producing a better dog and a higher quality pet.
This will involve examining your dog in order to identify its flaws and then look for a stud that will help to balance or eliminate those flaws in the litter that will be given birth to.
A good way of objectively identifying these flaws is to put your dog up for test against other dogs and see how your dog measures up when juxtaposed with the finest specimens of its breed.
The female dog heat cycle
The female dog has a heat cycle or estrous cycle which is a period or season of heightened sexual arousal and activity. A mature bitch (female dog) will normally experience two heat cycles in a year or once on rare occasion. The heat cycle will usually kick in when the bitch is between 9-12 months old.
However it is not advisable to start mating a bitch until she is at least 2 years old for the simple reason that some of the most essential health checks such as hip and elbow dysplasia cannot be done until they grow to around this age.
But once they reach this age of maturity it is safe to start breeding your bitch but only after you have carried out the necessary health checks to confirm that it appropriate to put her through breeding.
It is important to know that the female dog heat cycle never ceases and will last for the life time of the bitch but that is not to mean that she must be breed for her entire life time. Ideally, you breed your bitch for a period and then you put her out of service, in manner speaking, and some breeder will simply spay (take out the ovaries) her to signify the end of breeding for her.
The heat cycle is in four stages: proestrus, estrus, diestrus (an interval of sexual inactivity between periods of estrus), and anestus. These four stages are controlled by three hormones:
- Estrogen – kick starts the heat cycle.
- Luteinizing hormone (LH) – kick starts ovulation.
- Progesterone – preserves pregnancy.
Proestrus is the first stage of the bitch heat cycle that can last between 3-17 days but on the average you can expect it to last for about 9 days. The level of estrogen would begin to rise some weeks before the proestrus and will peak and fall within this phase. During this heat cycle the bitch’s body is getting ready for possible pregnancy and her vulva become swollen to about three size her normal size and protruding out outwards.
Estrus is the second stage of the heat cycle can last between 2-12 days but on the average you can expect it to last for about 9 days. With the drop of estrogen in the first stage of the heat cycle, the level of progesterone starts to rise and reaches a plateau at labor or false pregnancy (at diestrus). The level of luteinizing hormone (LH) also rises sharply during this phase and kick starts ovulation within 3 days. This is the period that the bitch will accept a male dog to mount her. The female is become very flirtatious and start teasing the male dogs around and also lifting her tail sideways when with the male in readiness for mating. This habit of tail side wards lifting of the tail is called flagging.
Diestrus is the third stage of the heat cycle can last between 50-80 days but on the average you can expect it to last for about 60 days. This phase will kick in even if she is not pregnant though her body will behave as though she is pregnant (false pregnancy).
Anestrus is the last phase of the heat cycle and can last between 130-250 days. This is a resting phase when the bitch is sexually inactive and her body is preparing for the next heat cycle.
The different breeding methods
There are different types of dog breeding methods: inbreeding, cross breeding and line breeding. No dog breeding info will be complete without this knowledge.
The primary reason behind the man’s conscious involvement in dog breeding is to ensure that we can breed dogs to meet our wishes, otherwise dogs will naturally continue to mate and reproduce randomly with every breed mating with any available dog either of the same breed or not. This results in birth of mutts i.e dogs of unknown parent breeds.
Generally a dog will fall into one of the following three groups: purebred, mutts or designer dogs. A mutt is a result of accidental cross breeding which usually happens naturally when dogs meet other dogs and mate to produce a dog of unknown parent breeds. Such an offspring is called a mutt.
A designer dog is also the product of cross breeding like a mutt however designer dogs are a product of conscious cross breeding of known parent breeds which are usually purebred. Since designer dogs are of different parent breeds, it is difficult to tell what the traits of offspring will be and even offspring from the same litter may differ significantly since each offspring could end up with any combination of any of traits of the parent breeds.
Purebreds on the other hand are breeds that have been bred over many generations of that breed to the point where certain traits has been enforced within the breed. This means that the traits of purebred dogs like the temperament, looks, coat type etc are predicated and well documented so a person that purchases a purebred will know for certain what to expect and how to care for the breed.
Since the intention behind man’s conscious involvement in dog breeding is to breed dog that meet certain purpose e.g. working dogs such as German shepherd for protection. while at the same time improving the breed with successive generation. Therefore in order to understand how this is achieved we need to have some basic understanding of genetics, a very important dog breeding info.
In any complex life the genes is underlying material that determines the outcome of life. The traits of a pup are determined by parent genes. Genes exist as a pair and a pup will inherit one copy from both parents to form a pair i.e. the genotype. Genes not only occur in pair but dominant genes will always manifest in the offspring while recessive genes will only manifest if it occurs in pair.
This means that a parent dog breed can have either of these possibilities: dominant/dominant (DD), dominant/recessive (DR) and recessive/recessive (RR). Since the dominant gene will always show in the offspring for instance if one of the parent has a dominant gene (DD) for a health related problem then all the offspring will suffer from the same health problem even if the other parent has a double recessive gene (RR). This is because all the pups will have a D in their genes.
So when the offspring inherits the same pair from both parents e.g. a D or R from each parent resulting in a DD or RR then the pair is referred to as homozygous but if pair inherited from both parents are different i.e. a D and a R, this will result in a DR, this pair is referred to as heterozygous.
Inbreeding involves the breeding of closely related dogs that are within two generations, like mating father with daughter, mom with son, brother with sister etc. Inbreeding helps in strengthening certain traits within the breed by mating dogs that are closely related in order to make the gene pool more homozygous i.e. a DD or RR and eliminate a DR. Since a dominant gene (a D) will always manifest in the offspring but a recessive gene (R) will only manifest when it is a pair (RR).
Inbreeding is also employed in situation when breeders want to preserve breed from extinction or start out a new purebred. If the breed used in inbreeding are not carefully selected then you may end up with a terrible bloodline since inbreeding primarily enforces the traits either good or bad within that breed.
Line breeding is a variation of inbreeding which involves the mating of relatives that are not as close as inbreeding.
This dog breeding info is very essential for a successful dog breeding.
The commitment involve in dog breeding
Raising puppies requires full dedication.