When taking part in dog breeding, it is important to fully understand how many times you can breed a male dog, and how often. We already did it with female readiness to breed, so this time we are exploring common questions pertaining to males and dog breeding, health, litter size and of course the right age for breeding a stud dog.
A good male stud will quickly gain a reputation for quality when its owners keep him fit and healthy, and carry out the necessary health checks regularly. When this occurs, the breed’s gene pool benefits from the best possible offsprings being born.
How Many Times Can a Male Dog Breed
There is no magic number when it comes to how many times you can breed a male dog, neither is there an age limit. Unlike a female dog which may only have a few litters in her lifetime, a male dog can have an unlimited amount of litters. One precision though, female dogs do not experience menopause.
What is more important is the overall health and fitness of the male dog you want to breed. Generally speaking, a male dog which is in good health can produce high quality and active sperm for many years and even up to an old age, and you will find many professional breeders who mate their dogs from only a handful times per year, to almost once every week depending on when bitches are in season.
Although male dogs become fertile when they reach six months of age, many consider it unethical to start male dog breeding this early on as studs don’t tend to be considered adults until around 15 months old. Many responsible stud owners are reluctant to breed their male dogs before the age of 18-24 months as this allows time for the male dog to fully develop and for any health-related issues to become apparent prior to the breeding process. It’s at this point the male dog’s health and semen quality are checked to ensure they are strong breeding dog before matching with a female dog.
How Often Can You Breed a Stud Dog
On the other hand, frequency of male dog breeding is very important and perhaps the one area which needs to be planned correctly to ensure optimum results and high fertility rates. As a responsible dog breeder, you don’t want to breed your dog too often in order to avoid the popular sire syndrome.
To ensure consistency with good quality sperm, the male sperm should be collected no more than every other day on a regular basis. This allows the male dogs sperm stores to replenish between ejaculations without affecting the overall sperm quality and volume. This practice is a tried and tested method which should produce the best results when breeding without affecting quality.
When there is a need for high volume breeding in a short space of time (but not puppy farming), it is also possible to collect sperm from the male for a period of up to 5 days in a row without affecting the quality/quantity of the active sperm. The amount of days this would be recommended is generally based on the size of the male dog and the width of his scrotum. Smaller dogs with smaller scrotums will carry less reserves of sperm than larger dogs, and as such may only be able to produce the same quality sperm for up to 3 days in a row, whereas a larger breed dog may be able to deliver high quality sperm for 5 consecutive days. Quality is key here, and we would recommend sticking to a regular cycle of collecting sperm every other day to keep the sperm quality as high as possible, otherwise the production of sperm will not be able to keep up with the demand.
If the male is not rested in between regular ejaculates, it is inevitable that the quality of the sperm will sharply decrease, and this can have a negative impact on fertility rates during the breeding process. Sometimes daily sperm collection cannot be helped, as on less common breeds there may be no bitches currently in season ready to mate, and all of a sudden several female dogs come into season and only a small number of studs are available to breed with – when this occurs it is important to not deplete the sperm stores on the male dog.
Trying to breed your male dog once his sperm stores are depleted will have an immediate impact on successful pregnancies, and for this reason alone it is considered that daily breeding should be avoided as much as possible.
Stud Dog Breeding, Sperm Quality and Litter Size
If you are looking to actively breed your stud dog then it is recommended to have your dog’s semen samples sent for testing every 6-8 weeks. This will then ensure there are no changes in the quality of the sperm, which in turn will ensure high fertility rates.
Where your male dog has not been recently active, it is also best to collect from them several days before breeding. This will ensure any dead sperm are removed and only active sperm will remain. Good quality sperm will not only increase fertility rates, but should also yield larger litter sizes, which is the main goal when breeding (next to health of course!)
Litter sizes can vary and this is dependent on the breed, health and the fertility of both dogs, but anywhere between 1 and 10 puppies can be born from a single bitch once she has been bred with a male dog. It is common for several semen samples to be used during the breeding process from the male dog to achieve a higher number of pups. And unlike a female dog, a male dog’s age will not affect the size of the litter as this is primarily dependent on the number of eggs released by the female dog when in season. A healthy sire with good quality sperm should reliably be able to produce large litters throughout their life cycle.
What Else To Consider When Breeding a Male Dog
When breeding a male dog, you should be looking for the best possible match with a counterpart to ensure the litters are born strong, healthy and are an improvement on the parents (i.e. not born with any potential ailments or deficiencies.)
To ensure a healthy litter is added to your male dog’s gene pool, the following checks are recommended to be carried out (even if they engender vet bills):
- Physical exam including a screening of the thyroid, blood count and serum chemistry every 12 months
- Semen evaluation every 6-8 weeks (or 2 weeks before breeding if not regular)
- Brucellosis test every six months
- Prostate examination every six months to screen for prostatitis
- Vaccinations following discussion with an experienced veterinarian
Although such regular health checks and tests can be costly, they will save you more time in the long run, as they will ensure that your dog’s breeding capabilities are kept at the highest standard. You can read why male puppies can be more expensive.
About the Author — Michelle Hopkins is the owner of BertiesBoutique.co.uk and a proud parent to a Miniature Schnauzer.