The ABC's of Dog Breeding

Recently at an AKC Dog Breeding Symposium held at Michigan State University with key note speaker Dr. Claudia Orlandi Ph.D. (AKC's breeder of the year and author of The ABC's of Dog Breeding) shocked many breeders when it was disclosed that there have been scientific studies to show that it is detrimental for bitches to skip heat cycles. It was shared that once you have begun to mate a bitch that you should NOT skip any heat cycles until she is completely finished breeding. A bitch is said to be "finished" breeding when her litter size is drastically decreased. The study involved following females that were bred every heat cycle and females that were bred every other heat cycle. After they were "finished" breeding, the bitches were spayed and their uterus dissected. Those showing most stress, and damage of the uterus were the females that were bred "every other" heat cycle. Part of the rational that skipping heat cycles is harmful stems from the fact that with consecutive heat cycles
there is no "flushing action" of the uterus, that normally occurs by having a litter of puppies.
The female will go through Estrus no matter if she is bred or not and by breeding a healthy bitch back to back, can lesson the chances of the female experiencing pyometra, infections and false pregnancys. The choice to breed or not, should be contingent upon the goals the breeder has and for sure the mental and physical health of the female, above all else. The important information to take away from this study, is that a breeder with healthy females, does have "choices"

Some people will say that "you should not breed a female before 2 years of age". However many experienced Breeders, will bred healthy females at 1 year of age or a female's second heat. Many "experienced" Breeders believe that breeding when the female is mature will avoid Pyometra and fertility problems that can happen when the female goes through too many heat cycles and is not spayed, or not bred. AKC registers litters from: Females 8 months of age until 12 years of age AKC registers litters from: Males 7 months of age until 12 years of age
AKC considers these ages "acceptable practice".

"Physically" a female should not be bred before she is physically mature. Determining when physical maturity depends on when a female comes into heat or estrus. The magic age of "2" years of age came about when Xraying and grading hips through OFA began in an attempt to eliminate or reduce the chances of Hip Dysplasia being passed on to puppies from affected parents. In order to have a dog's hips evaluated and certified a dog must be 2 years of age on the day the Xray is taken.This is the ONLY reason that 2 years of age became common practice and no other reason. Some females are mentally and physically ready to have pups at 1 year of age and some others not until they are 3 years or more. Every female is different and it is up to all breeders to know their dogs and do what is best for them.

 

 
 

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