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10 Common Male Dog Breeding Problems

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Familiarize yourself with your breed's standard size before breeding dogs of different sizes.
  • To decide whether to breed your male dog, consider their show quality, health tests, temperament, pedigree, and potential to improve the breed.
  • Supervise mating between two dogs at all times to prevent injuries or fights.
  • Breed with the intent to improve the breed and fully health test your stud before breeding.
Written by Jay
BsC (Hons) Animal Behaviour & Welfare graduate with a passion for advocating for misunderstood animals.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Thursday 12 August 2021
Last updated on
Friday 23 June 2023
common breeding problems with male dogs
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Breeding dogs is a big responsibility that requires breed-specific knowledge, an understanding of health issues, and awareness of common male breeding problems.

Can male dogs become infertile? What happens if they have no experience mating? What illnesses can affect fertility? Do stud dogs’ personalities change after mating? These are all questions that new breeders may have. Read on to learn more.

Do you have a female dog? Learn about the most common issues with female dog breeding.

In this revised version, the language is simplified, and the sentences are clearer. Technical terms have been replaced with layman terms to make it more accessible for everyone.

1. Inexperience

Inexperience is one of the most common male dog breeding problems! For some maiden studs, the process doesn’t seem to come naturally, and they may not understand how to mate with the bitch because of their inexperience.

Another reason for failure to mount is stress and anxiety. If the bitch moves around too much due to her own stress, the stud may struggle to mount her and become stressed himself. In both situations, it’s important to keep your dogs calm. Many breeders recommend pairing a maiden stud to an experienced female for his first time.

2. Infertility

Male dogs may experience infertility, which can result in smaller litters. The most common causes of infertility in male dogs are age, infection, injury, or a sudden hormonal change. As dogs age, they may develop an enlarged prostate gland, which can cause urinary problems, but not necessarily infertility. Your vet can examine your dog’s reproductive anatomy to determine the cause of infertility and treat it accordingly.

If you suspect your dog is infertile, your vet may also check your dog’s sperm count. If your dog has a low sperm count, this could be due to various reasons such as dead sperm blockage or a thyroid problem. Your vet can provide treatment, which may include hormone therapy, to improve the sperm count. After a few weeks, your vet will check your dog’s sperm count again to see if the treatment is working.

Overall, it’s important to remember that infertility in male dogs is not common, and most dogs are able to reproduce without issue.

healthy studs
Unlike female dogs, male dogs are able to mate multiple times up to old age.

3. Sickness

As a responsible breeder, it’s essential to ensure that your dog is healthy before considering breeding. A complete physical exam, vaccinations, and parasite-free status are necessary. Additionally, you should order breed-specific health tests to ensure your dog’s well-being. But, how does illness impact your stud’s ability to breed?

One example of a disease that affects canine breeding is Babesiosis, caused by a parasite that infects dogs’ red blood cells. A study found that dogs with Babesiosis experience poor semen motility and sperm head defects. Another disease, Mycoplasma canis, can cause infertility, testicular infections, scrotal swelling, and prostatitis, leading to poor sperm motility and autoimmune damage. Brucellosis can also cause reproductive issues for male and female dogs. Male dogs with brucellosis may develop testicular infections, affecting their fertility.

It’s crucial to keep in mind that a healthy dog is a happy dog, and ensuring your dog’s well-being is the first step towards responsible breeding. Avoiding the use of sick dogs for breeding can help prevent the spread of diseases and ensure that the resulting puppies are healthy and happy.

4. Prostatitis

Prostatitis is an inflammation of the prostate gland, which is responsible for producing fluids that help create semen in male dogs. This gland is located between the bladder and the penis. Prostatitis can be caused by various organisms, such as E. Coli, Staphylococcus, and Mycoplasma.

If your dog has acute prostatitis, it may show symptoms like pain, fever, and malaise. In this case, your veterinarian will take a sample of prostatic material and urine to examine. Usually, the same organisms will be present in both samples.

If your dog has chronic prostatitis, it may not show any obvious symptoms, except for recurring urinary tract infections. In this case, your veterinarian will take a sample of the third fraction of your dog’s ejaculate, as well as prostatic fluid and urine samples.

Your veterinarian will prescribe antibiotics to treat the infection in both cases. If an abscess forms in the prostate due to the infection, your veterinarian may need to drain it.

To summarize, prostatitis is a condition that affects the prostate gland in male dogs. It can be caused by different organisms and can result in various symptoms. Your veterinarian will take different samples to diagnose the type of prostatitis and prescribe antibiotics to treat it. If an abscess forms, it may need to be drained.

5. Brucellosis

Brucellosis is a very contagious disease that affects both male and female dogs equally. In male dogs, it causes inflammation of the testicles and prostate gland, which can be painful and make them unwilling to mate. Sometimes, the inflammation may spread to the neck and back, causing even more discomfort. Unfortunately, many dogs with brucellosis don’t show any symptoms, and it may take months before a diagnosis is made. During this time, they can spread the bacteria through their semen, urine, and nasal secretions, which can infect other dogs.

Treating brucellosis can be challenging, and it often involves using antibiotics for an extended period of time. Some veterinarians may also suggest neutering dogs with the disease, and it’s crucial to prevent them from breeding further. In certain states, it’s mandatory to report your dog’s brucellosis to the health department.

Because brucellosis spreads so quickly, it can become a significant problem in kennels that breed male dogs. To avoid the disease from spreading, it’s essential to take necessary measures to prevent its transmission.

6. Overbreeding

Some newer breeders may be unaware of or ignore their stud’s limits. While there is technically no limit on how many times your stud can mate over his lifetime, all responsible breeders will wait at least one day between breedings. Not only does daily breeding affect the stud’s sperm quality and quantity, but it can tire the stud quickly, too. Younger dogs will especially tire of intensive stud services and can become jaded with the process if overused. You know your dog best, so pay attention to his attitude and ability and be sure to give him breaks where necessary. Overbreeding can result in infections and exhaustion for both dogs. Plus, your dog needs time to be himself, too!

7. Male Cannot Penetrate

We’ve all seen some incredible breed mixes, like a Dachshund crossed with a German Shepherd or a Chihuahua mixed with a “Pit Bull.” However, creating these mixes can come at a significant risk to the health of the parents. If you have dogs of different breeds or significantly different sizes, it’s not a good idea to breed them together.

Breeding dogs of vastly different sizes can lead to injuries and distress for both the stud and the dam. Instead, if there are size differences within a breed, it’s best to breed a smaller male with a larger female. Always check your breed’s standards to learn about size differences between males and females. Remember, breeding your dogs solely to create a new mix isn’t worth the risk to their health.

finding a mate for male dog
Male dogs can mate even in old age unless they get neutered.

8. Mating Injuries

You must supervise every dog mating that happens to prevent mating injuries. Once your dogs are in a tie, they are at risk of injuring themselves and each other at any time. If your stud sees something that he wants to chase, he might rip his penis loose, causing your bitch to bleed. Your stud decides that he’s had enough and snaps at the bitch, injuring her enough to cause serious injuries. Additionally, the barking or whining that the bitch might begin whilst in the tie can traumatize the stud. All of these problems can be managed if you supervise the pair through the entire process. Be sure to keep both dogs calm at all times to prevent stress and injuries.

9. Low Libido

While low libido is usually the result of psychological trauma in male dogs, it can also develop due to a hormonal deficiency. Hypoandrogenism is the deficiency of masculinizing hormones like testosterone. There are two subtypes of this deficiency, namely primary and secondary. Primary cases are rare and often come with hair loss, a lack of libido, and low sperm production. Conversely, secondary cases are most common and are the result of hyperadrenocorticism and hypothyroidism. The symptoms of this disorder appear around puberty, where you may notice that your dog is smaller than others of their breed, has small testes, and does not raise their leg to urinate. Your vet may give your dog hormone replacement therapy to raise their testosterone levels.

10. Behavioral Changes

Every dog is unique, and their behavior after breeding may or may not change slightly. Some male dogs may become more attentive to female dogs after mating, while others may become more aggressive around other male dogs. You may also notice that your dog marks their territory more frequently. However, not all dogs will experience these changes. In fact, many dogs remain calm and don’t display any unusual behavior after mating.

Whether or not your dog’s behavior changes depends on their individual temperament. As a dog owner, you know your pet best, so if you notice any unusual behavior after breeding, it’s best to consult with your veterinarian. Other factors, such as psychological trauma or injuries resulting from unsuccessful mating, could also contribute to changes in behavior.

Common Male Dog Breeding Problems: FAQs

Have any more questions about common male dog breeding problems? Feel free to refer to our Frequently Asked Questions for more information! If in doubt about your stud’s health, always ask your vet for advice.

How old should a stud dog be to be able to breed?

Most responsible breeders will wait until their studs are at least 18 months old to breed. By 18 months, most breeds are emotionally and physically mature enough to undergo mating. This is also to ensure that the stud is fully health tested before going on to sire litters. By two years old, around 95% of dogs show evidence of hip dysplasia on X-rays, allowing for a definitive evaluation of their condition at this age. Similarly, Chihuahuas should receive health testing for patellar luxation, which cannot be done accurately until they are one year old. Overall, don’t rush to stud your dog too early! Check-in with your breed circle to find out when experienced breeders stud out your specific breed, and find out the specific health tests that your breed must have before considering breeding!

Should I breed my male dog?

To decide whether to stud your dog or not ultimately depends on several qualities. Is your dog show quality? Has a judge said that your dog is breed-worthy? Is your dog an outstanding example of their breed? Do they already have all of their health tests done, including hip scoring and any breed-specific hereditary illnesses? What is their temperament like – are they at all aggressive? Have you closely studied your dog’s pedigree? Are there any problems associated with the line that your dog comes from? If you cannot answer these questions, it’s best to reconsider using your dog for stud work. Breeding dogs is a massive responsibility, and as the owner of a prospective stud, your role is to improve your breed and to ensure the health of the dogs in your breeding program.

Should I supervise my stud dog during mating?

Matings between two dogs must be supervised at all times! Leaving two dogs unattended can easily lead to accidents. During a tie, the pair may startle and rip away from each other, causing injuries. The pair may attempt to fight if they become stressed. As a responsible stud dog owner, you must be prepared to supervise your dog the whole way and be prepared to keep him calm through the process.

Can I breed two dogs of different sizes?

In some dog breeds, there is a significant variation in size between males and females. Be sure to familiarize yourself with your breed’s breed standard before considering breeding your dogs. Get familiar with the size differences, and what specific heights and weights are acceptable for your breed. Be sure to breed a smaller male to a large female to reduce the risk of injuries to both parties.

Where two different breeds and sizes are to be bred, you must consider the ethical implications first and foremost. It is often extremely risky to breed a small female dog to a large stud. Not only does this not benefit a breed in any way, but it also puts the dam at risk of health problems, miscarriage, and unhealthy puppies.

Before breeding dogs, you must be aware of the most common male dog breeding problems. You must also consider the health, age, size, and pedigree of your stud. Always breed with the intent to improve a breed and with love for the breed, and not for your own enjoyment. And, lastly, be sure to fully health test your stud before using him – your dog should not go up for stud until he is 18 months old to ensure that his health tests are complete!

3 comments on “10 Common Male Dog Breeding Problems”

  1. Dawn

    Hello, My new import male German Shepherd came to us when he was 17 months old. He is a stamped hip and elbows. DM carrier. He has an excellent temperament. When he was checked by our vet and healthy. He bred once to my 1 female. Since then almost a year later, he has tried to breed , ( mounting) but not making the connection?

    1. Penny STEPHENS

      I’m having the same problem with my 18 month old new stud boy. He’s very keen but just not connecting. I’m hoping it’s down to immaturity and inexperience. He’s doing all the right things but just not getting there. Hope things improve with your boy too

  2. Terrie-anne Crean

    I’ve paid for a stud dog ,hasn’t worked 3 times was told if didn’t work last time I’d get a refund of $2000 what I paid.
    Now it hasn’t worked again iv been patient an have waited 15 months.
    Now he has blocked my msges an his wife hung up on me .
    Is there anything I can do.

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