Studding dogs is an immense responsibility that requires you to know your breed well, understand their health problems, and be aware of common male dog breeding problems.
Can male dogs become infertile? What happens if they lack experience? What sicknesses can cause problems with fertility? Does the personality of a stud dog change after they mate? These are all questions that beginner breeders might have! To find out more, read on with us.
Do you own a female dog? Check out the most common female dog breeding issues.
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.
Infertility in male dogs is uncommon but can result in smaller litters. If your dog’s breed is not known for producing small litters, infertility may be to blame! In most cases, the causes of male dog infertility are age, infection, injury, or a sudden hormonal change. Most elderly male dogs eventually develop benign prostatic hypertrophy. This condition causes the prostate gland to grow, resulting in infertility. If you suspect that your dog is infertile for another reason, your vet will examine your dog’s reproductive anatomy. They will want to test for prostate infections as well as look for tumors in the testicles, which are treated using antibiotics and hormone therapy.
Your dog’s sperm may need counting, too. This will help your vet to see if your dog actually produces enough sperm to mate successfully! Some dogs will have a dead sperm blockage, and in this case, a second test may be necessary. A low sperm count might suggest a thyroid problem. In this case, your vet may give your dog man-made thyroid hormones to replace their natural thyroid hormones. If this treatment does not solve the issue, your vet may recommend gonadotropin hormone therapy. After four to six weeks, your vet will check your dog’s sperm count again to look for improvements.
As a responsible breeder, you wouldn’t breed your dog if he was sick! Any dog that you consider using for breeding must have a full physical exam. They must be fit, fully vaccinated, and totally free of parasites before breeding. You must also order health tests that correspond with your dog’s breed. But how exactly does sickness affect your stud’s ability to breed?
A prime example of this is seen in canine babesiosis. Babesiosis is a disease caused by a parasite that infects the red blood cells of dogs. One study of the disease found that dogs show poor semen motility and sperm head defects after getting the disease. Similarly, infection with Mycoplasma canis can cause infertility in the stud dog, with a range of symptoms including testicular infection, scrotal swelling, and prostatitis. It also leads to poor sperm motility and autoimmune damage of the sperm. Brucellosis, too, can cause reproductive problems for male and female dogs. Male dogs who have brucellosis often develop an infection in part of their testicle.
Prostatitis is inflammation of the prostate gland that causes male dog breeding problems. This gland lies between the penis and the bladder, and its role is to produce fluid that helps to create semen. A variety of organisms can cause prostatitis, including E. Coli, Staphylococcus, and Mycoplasma. Where prostatitis is acute, your dog may show symptoms including pain, fever, and malaise.
If your vet suspects acute prostatitis, they will take some prostatic material to examine as well as urine. Often, the prostatic material and the urine show the same organisms. Where prostatitis is chronic, there may be no obvious symptoms other than a recurrent UTI. Your vet will take the third fraction of your dog’s ejaculate for testing, as well as prostatic fluid and urine samples. In both cases, your vet will prescribe antibiotics to your dog. Any prostatic abscesses that form because of the infection will also need draining by your vet.
Brucellosis is a highly infectious disease that infects both males and females equally. In male dogs, brucellosis causes inflammation of the testicles and prostate. It also causes a reluctance to mate due to the pain and inflammation, which may also spread to the neck and back. Sadly, however, many dogs with brucellosis do not show the typical signs, and your dog may go months before being diagnosed. Until this time, dogs will shed the bacteria in their semen, urine, and nasal secretions, potentially infecting other dogs.
Brucellosis infections are difficult to treat, and treatment plans often involve long-term antibiotic use. Some vets will recommend neutering dogs with brucellosis, and no dogs with the disease should breed again. Also, in some states, you must report your dog’s brucellosis to the health department. Because brucellosis is so contagious, it can quickly become one of the most common male dog breeding problems in a kennel.
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 impossible breed mixes – Dachshund to German Shepherd and Chihuahua to “Pit Bull” are just two of the many that exist today. Unfortunately, many of these seemingly impossible mixes are made at the risk of the stud and dam’s health. If your dogs are significantly different sizes of different breeds, it is not wise to breed them. Not only does this put your dogs at risk of harm, but it also leads to uncertainty about the puppies and their health, too.
As “cute” as these “impossible mixes” might be, do not be tempted to breed your dogs solely to create a new mix, especially when the size differences are vast. Where there are significant size differences in one breed, however, it’s always best to breed a smaller stud to a larger dam to prevent injuries and distress to both parties. Always check your breed’s breed standard to find out how much males and females vary in size!
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 different and their temperament after being bred may or may not slightly change. Some studs become more aware of female dogs after mating. In some cases, a stud may become more aggressive around other male dogs. You might notice more territorial behaviors like extra scent marking, too. However, not all dogs undergo these changes! In fact, many dogs remain calm and stay their usual selves after mating. It ultimately depends on your individual dog and their temperament. You know your dog best, so be sure to check in with your vet if your dog’s behavior is concerning. Other elements like psychological trauma or injury after an unsuccessful mating could be to blame for behavioral changes.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!