In this article I am going to explore the process of ‘studding’, or breeding, a dog. Dog breeders find fulfilment in choosing the perfect mate, raising puppies, and improving the breed. But what is involved in studding a dog?
Some language to understand before we start: a ‘stud’ is any animal that can be used for breeding. ‘Stud service’ is keeping a dog that you use for breeding. A ‘sire’ is typically referring to the male dog involved in the breeding process. The female is generally known as the ‘dam’.
Knowing how to stud your dog for the first time in the UK can be overwhelming at first, so I’ve gathered some key things you’ll need to know before you start.
The first step is deciding whether your dog is suitable for breeding. This means checking their health history and comparing your dog’s traits to those typical of the breed.
Next, you need to register your dog with your local council, so it is legal for breeding.
Then, you need to find the perfect mate for your dog and bring up a breeding contract with their owner, before the mating process can begin.
So, if you think you have the perfect pooch and are wondering how to stud your dog for the first time in the UK, then this article is for you!
Should I Breed My Dog?
This is the most important question to answer if you are thinking about using your dog for breeding. The thing to consider is whether breeding your dog will improve the breed overall. So, before we explore how to sire a dog, let’s look at whether it is a good idea.
Firstly, consider the temperament of your dog, as this will likely influence the temperament of their puppies. If your dog has any red flags in this area, such as a tendency to be aggressive, you should not use the dog for breeding.
Secondly, you need to make sure that your dog is free of disease. Conditions such as syringomyelia or mitral valve disease could be passed onto puppies. A full health check at the vet is therefore essential.
It is also important to consider the medical history of the dog. If your dog has descended from a family with a history of medical conditions, this could be passed onto puppies, even if not presenting in your dog itself.
Finally, each breed has a standard list of ideal features and characteristics. The American Kennel Club recommends only breeding dogs that match this list.
The standard could apply to the facial features of your dog, the way its legs are positioned, the way it runs, or several other things, so it is important to do your research to understand how closely your dog matches the standard.
How to Register Your Dog
If you decide that your dog is a good choice for breeding, you will need to register and get a license for the dog in the UK. If you’re wondering how to become a dog breeder in the UK, then the license is crucial.
A breeding license is necessary if you plan to have three or more litters in a year, and if you plan to advertise and sell the puppies.
There are a number of license conditions that you need to meet, surrounding how well you look after your dog. The council will inspect your premises to check that you meet the criteria.
The council will also investigate your criminal history to make sure you haven’t committed any animal-related crimes, and that you haven’t been banned from animal-related activity.
If you and your dog meet the criteria, the council will grant you either a 1-, 2-, or 3-year license. You will need to renew it once it has expired if you plan to continue breeding.
Once you have your license, it must be displayed clearly on the premises. You also need to provide the license number in any advertising for the puppies.
The fine for breeding without a license is unlimited and can result in jail time, so it’s important to do if you’re going to take breeding seriously.
The Breeding Process
So, you have the perfect dog to offer in improving the breed, and you have your breeding license. Now you need to find a mate. The process is named ‘stud service’ and refers to keeping a sire which you match to the ideal dam to mate with.
Choosing a mate for your dog will take as much research as it did to decide if your own dog is suitable for breeding. Again, take into account the temperament, the features and the medical profile of the potential mate.
Many recommend drawing up a breeding contract with the owner of the mate, so that the conditions are agreed upon and on paper.
Breeding contracts usually cover health screenings that the dogs need to undergo prior to breeding, as well as who will be responsible for the puppies.
Contracts can be simple if you are breeding for pet quality puppies. Breeding for show quality, however, involves more complicated contracts that go into details about Kennel Club names and how the puppy will be trained.
Once you have found the perfect mate, it is time to let nature take its course. This brings up a lot of questions to first-time breeders, which I am going to address below.
What is the Best Age to Stud Out a Dog?
Once the dog is fully grown, the possibility of complications arising during breeding and pregnancy are hugely decreased, so it is important to wait for this. What age the dog is fully grown depends on the breed.
Very small dogs often reach full size in under a year, whereas large breeds take closer to two years to reach full maturity. Most breeders recommend 18 months as the average youngest age for stud service.
The fertility of most dogs usually starts to decline after they are 5 years old. Pregnancy also puts strain on the females, and their bodies will take longer to recover.
So, taking into account both the vitality and viability of the pair, between 2 and 5 years is the prime age to breed.
How Do I Get My Dogs to Mate for the First Time?
Just like any relationship, a sire and a dam should be given some time to get to know each other before they are expected to mate. Have a few meetings with the pair in a safe and comfortable environment, for them to build rapport and feel relaxed around each other.
If it your dog’s first time being used for breeding, the environment is important. Choose a place where the dog knows its way around and feels comfortable, so as not to put them on guard. You don’t want the dogs to be distracted by new smells or feeling any kind of anxiety when it’s time for mating.
Try to interfere as little as possible. Inexperienced sires may require some assistance in mounting the dam, but this should be as a last resort. Distracting the dogs can ‘ruin the mood’ and lead to a failed mating session.
How Long Does It Take Dogs to Mate?
Mating can last up to an hour. The ejaculation itself is fast, but the process is longer,
Dogs “tie” during the mating process. This means the sire has mounted and achieved intromission, but the two stand quietly and don’t try to move away.
First-time sires may have difficulty in achieving intromission, either because they are too excited, or because they feel anxious. Take the steps suggested above to reduce anxiety and offer support if it looks like they really need it.
How Many Times Should I Breed My Dog?
The most reputable breeders in the UK usually use a dam for between four and six litters of puppies. This is for the benefit of the puppies – to be born to a mother of peak vitality; and for the dam herself – to be able to enjoy the rest of her life in other ways, having mothered so many little ones.
Sires technically have no limit to how many times they can be used for breeding. Some breeders with a popular sire mate the dog every week, even into old age. It is essential, however, to constantly monitor their health and well-being.
Even without going through the pregnancy, mating puts a strain on the male dog too. Whilst they are capable of mating frequently and into older age, it doesn’t mean it is necessarily what is best for them. Look out for signs of fatigue in your dog through sudden changes in temperament, and let him take a break if he needs!
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