If you want to mate your dog, you need to go through a careful process to ensure you make the right match for your pup. There are multiple things to consider, especially if this your dog’s first mate.
When’s the Right Time to Mate Your Dog?
You need to let your dog reach its sexual maturity before it can safely mate. These ages will be 18 to 24 months, depending on the breed. Ages of sexual maturity for large dogs is 18 to 24 months old, while small dogs’ sexual maturity is 12 to 18 months, and medium dog breeds is 15 to 18 months old. Experts recommend you wait until your dog is at least two years old before you begin mating him or her. Bitches shouldn’t breed during their first year of heat either, so be sure you watch your dog’s age carefully when making a breeding decision. You don’t want to be left with a dog that isn’t mature enough to properly care for her pups. Now, you also need to consider how late is too late to breed your dog. A bitch can be bred until she’s near 5 years old, while a stud can breed for up to 10 years – though you should be cautious about your pet’s health and consult with a vet before breeding if your pet is nearly 8, 9 or 10.
Finding a Breeding Match for Your Dog
You likely want to breed purebred puppies (though the same guidelines above still stand for mixed breeds), and so you’re need to find a suitable match. The AKC urges dog owners to practice responsible breeding and mating, so you’ll need to read up on the breed standard. Failure to not recognize the breed standard will result in your pups potentially not meeting the requirements. While non-AKC purebred pups are still cute and make good pets, if you want AKC-verification, do your homework.
The AKC recommends that you look over your dog carefully. If you notice any flaws, you may want to see if you can breed them out. You would then to choose a mate that could accomplish that goal. To breed your dog, be sure you choose an AKC-registered sire or stud, depending on whether you have a male or female dog. You want to make sure you choose a match with strong bloodlines, and that has a good temperment. The health and genetics of your breed are particularly important, as you want strong, healthy pups. Some breeds may have a tendency for certain health defects, and you want to choose good candidates who don’t have those defects in several generations of dogs. Look into what dominant and recessive genetic effects are present in your potential breeding matches. Before working with any potential match, have the dog’s verified by a qualified vet, and consider having a genetic screening; the match needs to be tested for parasites as well.
You can go about finding a good breeding match for your dog by contacting your local breed group or advertising for other breed owners in the area. Once you locate a suitable match, and all of the necessary health checks and requirements have been met, you can develop a contact. In the contract, you’ll lay out stud fees, obligations and circumstances of both parties. You will have to pay the stud fee as set out by the stud’s owner in the contract, and the stud fee may be in the form of a cash payment, or the pick of a puppy from the resulting litter. Having a contract will help you should any legal complications arise later down the road.
Dog breeding is a complex and time-consuming process, and isn’t for everyone, even if you just plan to have one litter of puppies. Don’t be afraid to seek the advice of other breeders or the local breed club in your area – everyone was once a beginner, and by showing an eagerness to educate yourself, you’re doing the breed a lot of service.