A Guide to Breeding Your Dog

AKC Breeder Resources

A Guide to Breeding Your Dog
Step Eight - Mating
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Natural Breeding. Responsible breeders generally do not breed a bitch at the first heat to avoid imposing the stress of pregnancy and lactation on a young, growing animal. It is also customary to avoid breeding a bitch on consecutive heats to allow sufficient time for recuperation between pregnancies.

Most dogs are first bred between the 10th and 14th day after the onset of proestrus. As long as the bitch will accept the male, mating every other day for a total of two or three matings is generally considered sufficient. However, signs of proestrus are not obvious in some bitches. To catch the peak fertile period, a veterinarian may need to perform hormone tests or examine vaginal smears under a microscope.

Bitches are usually less inhibited by new environments so they are usually taken to the stud. Breedings involving young males proceed more smoothly if they are paired with experienced bitches. Sometimes human handlers must step in with assistance or guidance during breedings. Some breeds are more apt to need assistance than others because of anatomical considerations. Discussing this process with your own breeder will help you be prepared .

During breeding, the male mounts the female from the rear and clasps her midsection with his front legs. Rapid pelvic thrusts follow until penetration and ejaculation take place. After the pelvic thrusts cease, the dog and bitch will not separate for 10 to 30 minutes. Known as a tie, this results from a swollen section of the penis called the bulbus glandis. During the tie, the male may move around until he and the bitch are positioned rear to rear. Do not try to separate the dogs during the tie because it can injure either or both animals. After some time, they will part naturally.

Artificial Insemination. Artificial insemination is a relatively simple procedure that can be used when natural breeding is impractical. The AKC accepts registration of a litter mated by artificial insemination using fresh semen, fresh extended semen, and frozen semen, provided the proper procedures are followed. Registration of these litters requires DNA certification. For more information, see the AKC's rules for registering a litter bred by artificial insemination.

Helpful link:
Breeding and Litter Records Form

Additional reading:
Ovulation: Timing is Everything
By Katherine Settle, DVM