Breeding Your Dog

Things to Think About Before Breeding Your Dog

Puppies are adorable, but we’d like to recommend here that no one
allow their dog to breed, unless you actually make a exclusive career
of it. The pet population, as we’ve all heard, has swelled to such
numbers that dogs are put to sleep in shelters every day by the
thousands. Spaying or neutering your dog also imparts health benefits
such as a decreased risk of uterine, mammary, or prostate cancer.

The most common age at which to spay or neuter is six months. There
are many claims that neutering a male dog can make him less likely to
roam or fight, but they are hard to prove. Neutering does, however,
lower the testosterone level in male dogs, which may influence those
behaviors. There’s little evidence that your dog will get fat or lazy
after being spayed or neutered, as is also claimed. A spay or neuter
may slightly decrease body metabolism. However, proper diet and
regular exercise have greater influence over your pet’s weight and
health than does sterilization surgery.

All dogs should be genetically tested before they are bred — this
means both the sire and dam. Genetic problems that are commonly
passed down include Progressive Retinal Atrophy, juvenile cataracts,
Entropion and Ectropion (in which the eyelids turn in or out), Hip
dysplasia, Osteochondrosis Dessicans (an elbow joint problem),
Patellar Luxation (a kneecap problem), deafness, heart conditions,
Hemophilia, Epilepsy, and allergies.

A bitch should not be bred before two years of age, and only every
other year at most. This is important for the dog’s physical health,
and a bitch under two years old is less likely to be mentally
prepared for having puppies. Certainly, no dog that is not in top
physical condition should be bred, as pregnancy takes a very real
toll on a dog’s body.

The average gestation period for dogs is 60 to 63 days, and most dogs
produce an average of six to ten puppies per litter.

Some amazing statistics, and excellent reasons to have your dog
spayed or neutered:

Average number of litters a female dog can produce in one year: 2
Average number of puppies a female dog can produce in one year: 12-20
The number of puppies one female dog and her offspring can produce in
6 years: 67,000

Get those dogs spayed and neutered!

Copyright 2001, Steph Bairey — All Rights Reserved

Steph Bairey is a web developer and pet owner, with 25 years of pet
care experience and 30-40 pets at any one time. Get immediate,
reliable answers to your pet care questions at Steph’s website,
Practical Pet Care, located at

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