Perform Pre-Breeding Health Checks

Perform Pre-Breeding Health Checks

Breeding quality puppies starts long before the dam and sire meet. The term conditioning applies to dogs that have been well looked after. This must mean standard veterinary care, testing for genetic problems, pre breeding health checks and regular exercise and healthy nutritious diet.

Here is a list of things you must do:

  • A fit, well exercised dog with well defined muscle tone
  • No hereditary diseases as proved by a health check (link)
  • Good temperament (as opposed to snappy or insecure)
  • Veterinary examination one month before breeding
  • Vaccinations up to date
  • Tested and treated for parasites
  • Test sire for brucellosis which is a bacterial disease that leads makes a dog sterile and increased risk of miscarriage.

It’s worth noting the age at which any dog reaches sexual maturity – always wait for the dam and sire to be over two years of age before mating. Breeding a bitch before she is old enough will be detrimental to her health. Sires remain active at any time and stud dogs remain fertile to a ripe old age!

Kennel Club Rules do not allow, except with special documentation, the registration of a litter from a female less than 8 months or more than 12 years of age at the time of mating, or by a male less than 7 months or more than 12 years at the time of mating. (Check national Kennel Club guidelines for more information)

There are four periods to the bitches 12 month cycle:


Lasts approx 9 days

The bitch will not allow breeding during this period. She will attract males however and pass a bloody discharge.


Period lasts approx 9 days

is the fancy name for when a bitch is in heat, this starts after about six months of age, although it can be delayed until as late as 18 months. The estrus cycles occurs every six months until quite late in life. The bitch will accept the male at this time.


Cycle time approx 60 to 90 days

This occurs whether or not the bitch becomes pregnant and is the period when the reproductive tract is under the control of the hormone progesterone. False pregnancy is occasionally seen during diestrus.


Cycle lasts between three and four months.

No sexual activity takes place.


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