Breeding from your dog




Some questions you need to ask yourself before setting about breeding from your bitch.


  • Is she a Kennel Club registered bitch in your ownership?


  • Is she healthy and had normal seasons so far?


  • Is she between two and four years old?


  • Has she been tested for hereditary eye diseases, DNA tested for canine fucosidosis – or is she hereditarily clear, ie the progeny of DNA tested clear non-carrier parents? Has she been scored for hip dysplasia?


  • Do you have the time to devote to both the bitch during her pregnancy and to her puppies for a minimum of eight weeks after birth? Have you read a good ESS book about preparing for all that this means?


  • Are you prepared for a very large vet bill if things go amiss, ie caesarian section, sick dam or failing puppies?


  • Are you reasonably sure you will be able to find loving homes for the resulting litter?


If the answer to all these questions is YES then read on!


Finding a stud dog:


Start well before your planned mating. Study your bitch’s pedigree carefully and decide whether you would like a ‘working’ sire or a ‘show bred’ sire. If you are undecided as to which type you prefer, contact a breed club secretary who will be able to advise you further and give you contacts of stud dog owners within a reasonable geographical distance from your base.


Consider the merits of a liver & white, black & white or either of these with tan markings.


Check that the owner of the stud dog has tested his stock for the hereditary diseases outlined above.


Visit your short-listed dogs to assess for yourself temperament, size and suitability for your bitch. Let the stud owner know roughly when you plan to mate your bitch and check that the stud is available at this time. Also check the amount of stud fee and whether you are able to make a return visit if the first mating is unsuccessful.


The mating:


As soon as your bitch comes into season, let the stud dog owner know. Optimum days for mating are generally between day 11 and 14 but can vary. Consider the value of a pre-mate testing at your vets, particularly if a long journey is necessary.


Keep your bitch as stress-free as possible during the journey and when you arrive give her the opportunity to relieve herself before introducing her to the stud dog.


Hopefully, you will have a successful mating with a good ‘tie’, after which, place the bitch in a calm place and exchange the necessary paperwork with the stud dog owner. This should include his signature and dog’s details on the Kennel Club registration form (which he should provide) and a receipt for any monies paid in stud fee.


Remember that any arrangement between you and the stud dog owner such as puppy in lieu of stud fee should be made in writing with both retaining a copy.


Your vet will be able to feel puppies at around four weeks after mating and/or you can have your bitch scanned. Normal gestation is around 63 days.




Some questions you need to ask yourself before setting about using your dog at stud:


  • Is your dog Kennel Club registered and in your ownership?


  • Is your dog healthy and with two descended testicles?


  • Is he reasonably young?


  • Has he achieved success as a working gundog /field trial competitor or in the show ring? Remember that it is the bitch owner who will be searching for a dog to complement the bitch’s pedigree and will generally be looking to improve on her attributes.


  • Is he tested for hereditary eye diseases, DNA tested for canine fucosidosis or hereditarily clear from DNA tested parents? Has he been hip scored for dysplasia?


  • Have you had some experience of a mating? If not, do you have an experienced acquaintance you can call on for assistance?


If the answer to all these questions is YES then read on!


Keep your dog’s pedigree handy should you get an enquiry. The bitch owner will want to know how your dog is bred and whether he is an outcross or line bred to her bitch. You have the right to refuse your dog’s services if you feel that the bitch is not of the required standard so it would be advisable to see her before the planned mating.


Decide on your stud fee, whether you are prepared to offer more than one mating and whether you are prepared to offer a free return mating if this one is unsuccessful. If your dog is not proven, you may like to consider this fact when deciding on the level of fee involved.


Make sure you have the necessary Kennel Club form for registration of a litter where you will be obliged to provide your dog’s details and your signature in the box provided. You will also need to provide a copy of your dog’s pedigree and health certificates and a written receipt for any monies agreed.


The Mating:


It is up to the bitch owner to bring her to you when she is ready for mating – usually between 11-14 days into her season.  Read a good ESS book on the actual procedure but be aware that a successful tie is not always possible and that the bitch may have to return at a later date. Remember also that not all bitches are quiet and agreeable during mating and that your dog may not enjoy it either!


Assuming that you have a successful mating and a good tie, check your dog and hand over the necessary paperwork. Remember to put in writing any other agreement made between you and the owner of the bitch, ie a puppy in lieu of stud fee, and ensure you both have a copy.


In due course the bitch owner will advise you whether there is a successful pregnancy and of the eventual arrival of the puppies.