Should I breed from my bitch?
The first big decision is whether breeding from your pet bitch is the right thing to do or not, despite your wishes. In this blog, we’ll look at some of the questions to ask yourself when considering breeding from a pet bitch…
Is she fit and healthy and a good candidate for breeding?
- The first thing to consider is age – most bitches start their seasons anywhere from 6 months to 18 months (giant breeds take much longer to reach sexual maturity than smaller breeds). As a general rule, we do not recommend breedinga bitch for the first time under 1 year of age and over 7 years. We recommend 2 years of agebeing the safe minimum. If you’re considering breeding a young or older bitch, give us a call and we will be able to advise you.
- Does she have any medical conditions that would make it difficult, or impossible, to bear a litter successfully? Pre-mating veterinary health checks are vital to ensure there are no underlying conditions that might put your bitch at risk if she were to become pregnant or cause complications during pregnancy and birth.
Can you take care of her during pregnancy and whelping?
Pregnancy itself is relatively uneventful for most bitches however, whelping can be problematic especially if it is their first time. You need to know what danger signs to look out, what constitutesan emergency and know the time to seek veterinary attention. You will need to budget forpregnancy scans and any other healthcare costs that might arise from pregnancy and whelping. Mostimportantly, ensure you have a contingency fund to cover a caesarean operation if whelping is complicated. Be aware that most insurance companies will not cover pregnancy and whelping.
Will you need a licence?
There is a specific law covering breeding bitches. The Animal Welfare regulation 2018 came into force in October 2018 and states that anyone breeding more than 3 litters of puppies per year will need a licence. Not only this but the new Regulations set out that a licence will be required if there is any commercial selling of puppies for profit. This is not restricted to registered businesses – individuals can also be classed as a business depending on the extent of their activities.
Are her genes good enough?
Just because a dog is a great pet, with a lovely character and temperament, it doesn’t necessarily mean that she’s good breeding material.
If your bitch has or has had any potentially heritable diseases (like an undershot jaw, entropion – turned in eyelids, umbilical hernia, orthopaedic disease such a Hip/Elbow dysplasia or Cruciate ligament injury), then you don’t want to breed from her. You should also never breed a dog without a good hip – and elbow score; and you might also consider getting DNA tests done for other genetic conditions known in the breed. Unfortunately, there are too many dogs from substandard bloodlines being produced, especially when the breed is in fashion, resulting in serious health and welfare problems in future generations.
Can you care for the puppies?
A bitch may produce up to 12 (or even more!) puppies in a single litter. You need to be able to care for them, get them vaccinated and microchipped, and then find good loving homes for them all. Can you do that?
Will the benefits outweigh the potential costs?
Successfully breeding and rearing a litter of puppies is incredibly satisfying; however, it is also expensive and occasionally heart-breaking. You need to be ready for that – and don’t assume you’ll necessarily make the money back when you sell the puppies!
If you want to breed your bitch, giveus a call on 01249 588805 and we can talk you through all the details!