A Guide to Breeding Your Dog

AKC Breeder Resources

A Guide to Breeding Your Dog
Step Four - Choose A Suitable Mate
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The first thing to consider when choosing a mating pair is to ensure that both the sire (dog) and dam (bitch) are AKC registered. If both dam and sire are AKC registered, then the litter can be registered with the AKC.

When selecting a breeding partner (most likely a sire for your dam), there is a simple principle to bear in mind: mate animals that complement one another.  Choose a dog whose bloodlines will strengthen your bitch’s weaknesses and emphasize her good qualities. For example, if your bitch’s coat is not as good as it might be, then find a partner with a good coat, from a line of dogs with good coats. Of course, practicing this common sense maxim can be very complex because you must weigh all the factors that contribute to the dogs' traits and appearances. This is an area where research and the advice and experience of other breeders are invaluable.

Two vital factors to keep in mind as you make your selection are temperament and health.

Temperament is a hereditary trait in dogs, although it can be influenced by other external factors. Selection over many generations eventually produced breeds with the correct temperament to pull sleds, follow scent on trails, or retrieve game. The inheritance factors of temperament are complex. However, you should never consider breeding a dog with a questionable temperament.  

As far as health goes, you should be aware that dogs are subject to many hereditary defects, some of which are potentially crippling or fatal. If you breed, your goal should be to produce dogs that are not affected by the major known hereditary diseases occurring in your breed.

Helpful links:
Orthopedic Foundation for Animals – OFA

Additional reading:
Make Informed Breeding Choices with CHIC
By Theresa Shea, editor