The mating of the dog is a compulsory passage if you want your dog to breed. Here is a few points of information to know if you are planning to cover your dog.
Dog breeding: preparation, precautions
If you are reading this article, it is surely because you are wondering what is dog breeding. Know that when we talk about breeding in dogs, it simply means the mating of an unsterilized dog and bitch of reproductive age in order that a new litter of puppies sees the day.
Here are some points to take into account in order to prepare the dog as well as possible:
- First of all, both the dog and the bitch must be in good health, dewormed, that their vaccinations are up to date, and of course, that they are of childbearing age. You can find more information on this specific point below.
- If you are considering a litter of pedigree puppies, certain administrative procedures are necessary beforehand. Indeed, you must first contact the dog’s breed club. This will provide you with the necessary papers to register it in the LOF (French Book of Origins).
- In addition, the male must be confirmed as being of the same breed.
- On the day when the service takes place, the two owners, who must be present, must both sign a service certificate that must be sent to the Société Centrale Canine so that the puppies are recognized from birth.
- While a litter of purebred dogs is not important to you, mating can take place between a dog and a bitch of any breed.
- Before the meeting, it should be known what compensation is provided for the owner of the male, since, as a rule, it is the owner of the female who collects the litter.
- It is not uncommon for the male’s owner to receive a puppy or its value as compensation.
- All mating conditions must be included in the contract, which must be signed by both owners.
At what age to breed the dog?
Whether it is a male or a female, puberty must have taken place. In other words, your dog or bitch must have reached a stage of sexual maturity that allows them to procreate.
Depending on the breed, puberty takes place between 6 and 24 months in the female. In males, it occurs between 8 and 10 months depending on his breed.
Dog breeding: minimum age
|Minimum mating age|
|Small breeds||1 to 1.5 years||1 year|
|Large breeds||For 2 years||2 years|
However, even if your bitch has reached puberty, it is recommended that you wait at least 2-3 heats before breeding her. This corresponds to one to one and a half years for a small breed bitch, and two to two and a half years for larger breeds. As for males, it is advisable to wait until the dog is one year old for smaller breeds, or two years old for larger breeds.
There is also a maximum breeding age for females. Indeed, for small breed bitches, it is advisable to only breed them until the age of eight and for large breeds, up to six and a half years. Indeed, beyond this age, the gestation of your dog is subject to more complications.
When to breed a dog?
In order to put all the chances on your side for successful mating, you have to wait ten days after the onset of heat. Indeed, as long as the bitch loses blood, she will refuse to mate. A good indicator to spot the right time at which the bitch can be covered in the color of her vulvar discharge: if it becomes clear, this is a sign that the bitch is ovulating and that she is ready for service.
The optimal period for mating occurs between two and four days after ovulation, or between the 12th and 14th day of the cycle. This can vary, however, depending on the bitch and her breeding cycle.
The total mating period lasts up to three weeks, and you will be able to recognize in the bitch slight changes in behavior: when touched at the level of the perineum, she instinctively places her tail to the side.
However, to be sure that your bitch is in the fertile phase, it is advisable to consult a veterinarian, who using pap smears or hormone tests can determine the stage of the cycle your dog is at.
How does a dog service take place?
As a rule, it is the bitch that goes to the owner of the dog. Indeed, this will allow the male to perform the mating in an environment he knows, he will be more confident and you will thus put the most chances aside that the mating will be successful.
- At first, dogs get to know each other in a normal way: they sniff each other’s muzzle, hindquarters. Then they play together.
- Secondly, the female presents her hindquarters to the male and holds her tail aside. The male can then make advances, which the latter can push back at the beginning.
- Then, the male stands next to the female, waiting for the latter to show him his rump again.
- Once it does, he mounts her and mating takes place. It is very brief, and the male ejaculates for the first time. His penis is then very swollen and the muscles of the bitch’s vagina are contracted, which prevents him from coming out, and he can thus stay in this position for about twenty minutes.
- This is followed by a change in position, called knotting or locking. In common parlance, some will also speak of bonding: the dogs lie back to back and are immobilized. They can remain stuck in this way for between 5 and 30 minutes.
- Finally, during the knotting, a new ejaculation takes place which allows the sperm to be propelled into the uterus of the female.
How do you know if breeding has been successful in the dog?
Your dog was in the mating period and she has been covered several times during this time. However, how do you know if the breeding was successful? The answer is simple: there is no way of knowing immediately after mating. The dog’s gestation lasts 60 to 70 days, and the symptoms are difficult to recognize with the naked eye, at least during the first half of the gestation.
In order to know if your bitch is expecting a litter of puppies, you must take her to the veterinarian, who can perform an ultrasound from the 21st day after the supposed fertilization date.
Breeding failure: artificial insemination
It happens in some cases that the mating cannot take place, either because it is the first mating of the male or the female, or because the female refuses to mate, in particular for reasons of domination. , for example, in the malinois or the chow-chow. In addition, all breeds of dogs are not equal when it comes to reproduction, and some of them experience more difficulties than others (basset hounds, French bulldogs, etc.).
In this case, there is an alternative to breeding: artificial insemination. This is common and has a high success rate, hovering around 90% when insemination is done at the right time. The costs are in this case entirely the responsibility of the owner of the female. In addition, the veterinarian who collected the male’s semen must take steps and provide the Central Canine Society with a certificate from the dog donating the sperm.
Depending on the insemination method used, artificial insemination costs between 80 to 100 € per insemination. There are additional costs such as semen collection, preliminary examinations, and follow-up.
You now know the essentials about dog mating and we hope these will be of use to you when planning to breed your bitch and hear some happy news soon! If in doubt, do not hesitate to consult your veterinarian, who can help you identify your dog’s cycles and can detect any possible fertility problems.