Is Your Female Dog Fit to Mate?

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You don't have to be a professional dog breeder, but you might consider mating your female dog once or twice, particularly if she has a good temperament, is healthy, free from severe hereditary faults, and is from a good bloodline. Whelping and raising a litter of pups is quite an experience that would teach you a great deal about the ways and wonders of nature.

First, make sure that your female is normal, average-sized for her breed, not too fat or too thin, and in excellent physical condition. You could have her examined by a vet one to two months prior to her heat period is expected. Ask him whether he regards her fit for mating. The odds are that she is, but it's wise to get an expert's ruling. If the vet gives her a clean bill of health, then go for it.

The female's capacity to reproduce is decided by a heat cycle which holds up about twenty-one days and may begin sometime after the age of six months. However, a lot of bitches— particularly the giant breeds—attain the age of twelve months or more before they get their first heat cycle.

The age at the first mating is crucial. With age, the bones turn out to be more set and rigid, hence a female bred for the first time at 4 or 5 years of age could have trouble in delivering the pups. Hence, if you plan to breed your female, do it when she is young. Not too young, though. It's unwise to breed a female that's between 6 and 12 months old when she has her 1st season. Most females are not mature enough to manage a litter at this age, and it gets to be a strain on them both physically and mentally. It's better to wait for the next or third season. If you're confused, seek your vet's advice about the right age to breed, especially with large and giant breeds, where it may be wise to wait till the third season (around two years of age) or later, when the female would be fully grown and sexually mature.

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