Dog Breeding – How to Do it Safely and Legally

Dog Breeding

If you have the cutest, most fun loving dog in the world and have decided that you might want to breed him or her, then this article is for you. Dog breeding may seem simple enough, but there is a lot more to it than what meets the eye. If you are considering breeding your dog, then you need to learn more about how to do it safely and legally for that matter. Many states have regulations regarding dog breeding, and it is important to be aware of these regulations. Here you will find a lot of great information on dog breeding, and how to do it the RIGHT way!

Getting Prepared


One of the first things that you will need to do before breeding your pup is preparing yourself.

Before you start breeding, you need to get a great deal of knowledge about it. Responsible breeders will take the time to learn as much as they can about the breed that they are working with, and will also focus on learning more about the health and safety involved with breeding. Breeding is not always about increasing the number of the breed, but more about improving the breed. Start out by studying about your breed. Read as much as you can and try to increase your knowledge and understanding of the breed.

You can never know too much about the breed as a breeder.

Understanding the Commitment

When you take on breeding, you are essentially taking on a full time job. Taking care of puppies can take its toll on you. For the first few weeks, the mother dog will typically take care of the puppies herself. The problem is that you never know when complications may arise. If milk production is low, or if the mother abandons the litter, then you will be responsible for caring for them day in and day out.

You need to be prepared for this. Having a litter of puppies is also a financial commitment. For instance, you will need to make sure that you are getting proper health tests, immunizations, and care for your pups. This can be costly.

Important Health Checks

We already talked a bit about the important health checks that you need to have done prior to breeding, but let’s learn more about the purpose of these tests. In order for you to produce the best possible litter of puppies, your dog needs to be in tip-top health. That means that you need to see to it that he or she has proper veterinary care, genetic screening, good nutrition, adequate activity levels, and also do a few pre-breeding tests.

There are also certain diseases that need to be ruled out before you breed, specifically brucellosis, which is a disease that affects the reproductive system in dogs. There is a simple test that can be done to rule this out.

Mating Your Dog

When it comes to mating, you always want to make sure that you wait for the second heat. Responsible breeders will never breed during the first heat because it is typically when they are still growing and maturing. It is also important to let them rest after a pregnancy, so you don’t want to breed them during consecutive heats.

There are several different ways to breed your pup. Some people prefer to go with the natural breeding method. When your dog is in heat and ready to breed, you need to make the stud available to her every other day until they reach two or three mating sessions. This will typically result in pregnancy. Some breeds may require assistance, while others will just do it on their own.

During the breeding, the male will mount the female from the back and clasp onto her midsection with his front two legs. Then, they will ‘do the do’ and once the thrusting stops, the dogs will be joined together for around 20 or 30 minutes. This is what they call the ‘tie’. The end of the penis has what is called the bulbus glandis, and it swells up to keep the penis inside of the dog.

Typically, the male will flip around and they will be joined at the rear. If it is something you have never seen before, it can be alarming. Whatever you do, don’t try to get them apart. This can be dangerous, and can result in injury to one or both of them. After 20 or 30 minutes, they will separate on their own naturally and safely.

If you don’t have any luck with natural breeding, then you may consider artificial insemination. This is typically the more expensive option. It is a simple procedure, but you have to follow certain regulations if you want your pup to be accepted into one of the major kennel associations like the CKC or AKC.

Mating Your Dog

Tips for a Healthy Pregnancy

To ensure a healthy pregnancy, you will need to make sure that you give her adequate nutrients. She needs to start out her pregnancy with her typical caloric intake. As she gains weight, you will then increase her food intake. By the time she has the puppies, she may even be eating around 30-50% more food than she did pre-pregnancy.

To really ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery, you may want to schedule a veterinary visit. They will be able to do tests to ensure that everything is going smoothly, and they can also do an ultrasound to let you know how many puppies you can expect from the litter! Don’t bank on this number though, because the ultrasounds are not always the most accurate. Sometimes a puppy may be hiding and might get missed.

Preparing for Whelping

When a pregnant dog goes into ‘labor’ as we would call it, it is known as whelping.

There are a few things that you can do to prepare for this. First, you will need to prepare a whelping box. This is where you will want your dog to have the puppies, but let’s just be honest, it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes, your dog will just have them where she is comfortable. If you want your dog to use the whelping box, you need to get her used to it well in advance.

It is best to use a comfortable box that will be able to be a warm, dry area that is secluded. This will offer her the most privacy and comfort, and she may be more likely to use the box rather than your furniture.

Signs of Labor

You will also need to be aware of the signs of labor. The average pregnancy is about 63 days, and here are a few things that you will want to look for:

  • decreased appetite
  • restlessness
  • nesting
  • decreased rectal temperature
  • labored breathing
  • panting

If you notice these signs with no sign of puppies, there may be complications. You don’t want to let the dog continue to whelp without producing puppies, because it can be harmful or even fatal.

Caring for the Puppies

Next comes caring for the puppies. As we stated earlier, your dog will likely take care of them for the most part. If she abandons them or stops feeding them for some other reason, then you will need to take up the responsibility. Make sure that they stay warm, fed and cleaned. If you don’t know how much of what to feed them, talk to your veterinarian. It will depend greatly based upon their breed.

Caring for the puppies

When Should You Wean?

Responsible breeders will always wait until about 5-6 weeks of age before introducing solid foods. Weaning is a process. First, you will slowly introduce foods while they are still nursing. By eight weeks of age, they should be completely off of the mother’s milk and eating a well balanced puppy food that is designed for growth and development.

You Can Be Selective

Not only can you be selective as to who buys your puppies, but you should be. Many breeders will actually do background checks to make sure that their pups are not going to someone that has a history of violence. Dog fighting is becoming more and more prominent these days, and you can never be too careful. You should take the time to screen and evaluate everyone that is interested in getting a puppy from your litter. You don’t need to just take their word for it that they will provide a ‘good home’.

Breeding a dog is not the easiest thing in the world. The more you know about breeding, the safer the experience will be for everyone. Don’t just jump straight in without first taking the time to make sure that you understand the ins and outs of it.



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I've been a dog lover since the day I was born but it's the current four legged love of my life, Phoebe who inspired me to create the Munch.Zone.

We moved together from Israel to New York in 2013, love hiking together, and never pass up a trip to the dog park. Watching her over the years sparked so many questions about dog behavior and health needs, and it wasn't always easy to find answers. Thus, the Munch.Zone was born.

On any given day you'll find me watching Netflix originals, eating popcorn, and thinking about how to get into house flipping.

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