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  Breeding age


What age can I stud out my dog? When can I breed my bitch?

If you are looking for the answer to these questions you must have some concerns about the welfare of the dogs. If you didn't then you'd just keep tossing two dogs together until it worked. So the answer is, at minimum the dogs should be two years old before breeding.

Why two? First, because sexual maturity comes earlier than full physical maturity. Just because they can, doesn't mean they should. You want to give the dogs a chance to "grow up." Also because you want to do at least something to make improve the chances that the puppies will be reasonably healthy. You can't complete the most basic of breeding related health screening until the dogs are physically mature - usually around 24 months, sometimes later, sometimes earlier, but 24 months is the "standard" for responsible breeders.

What is "breeding related health screening"? Breeding related health screening are steps a person takes to look for health problems that might not be affecting the particular dog, but might affect other dogs if a mating takes place. That would include sexually transmitted diseases, diseases that might be passed to the puppies congenitally, and problems that would be caused by genetics.

Some people think perhaps I'm lying when I say that an ordinary vet check is not enough to see if your dog is healthy enough for breeding. Well, I suppose it all depends on how much you care about the puppies you will be creating. Veterinarians go through a lot of intense schooling. They work hard and they learn a lot. But they don't learn everything that is important to every client. So unless that individual veterinarian took a special interest in canine breeding and reproduction they will not have spent much time learning about the art of producing healthy puppies. They will know a lot about whether the particular dog standing in front of them is currently experiencing a serious problem. But that doesn't mean they will automatically know what to look for and how to look for it when considering breeding two dogs.

So the goal is to first learn what you need to look for - which sexual transmitted diseases, and whether there are signs either in the dogs, or in their background, that show risks for congenital or genetic problems that will appear in the puppies. How much effort you need to put into it depends upon how important it is to you that you produce dogs that can live a long and full life. If you have never experienced a dog that died young, or a dog that was crippled by genetic problems, then it might not feel as important to you.

Here is my web page where you can explore the qualities of the responsible breeder. Loving a dog, and loving a breed, is reflected in what you do to benefit and protect the dog and the breed.


Additional Resources:
Articles on dog breeding issues and related topics.
Books and videos on breeding and genetics from Dogwise.

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Copyright © 2006 Diane Blackman     Created: May 15, 2006     Updated November 12, 2007

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