Many people are becoming more interested in breeding with animals. However, it’s not as easy as it seems; much knowledge is needed. We offer many services to assist you on this journey, including things like hormone testing, ultrasound confirmation, casarean sections & advice. Animals, like humans, undergo hormonal changes allowing them to reproduce.

Puberty, in both males & females, is defined as the ability to accomplish reproduction successfully. Males reach puberty between 5-12 months & females between 6-24 months. The larger the breed, the later they reach puberty. A bitch’s first heat is often between 6-9 months. It is never ideal to mate on the first heat as the metabolic requirements of pregnancy & lactation are quite high; thus it makes sense to wait until around 2 years old. When picking two dogs to breed from, it is important to consider the breed of dog & any potential issues. Breeding two purebreds is great to continue a pure genetic line, however the medical issues are often more prominent & serious then those that occur with cross-breeding.

Breeding Management:

  • Both parents, the bitch more importantly, needs to be mature & in good condition.
  • Ensure vaccinations are up-to-date prior to mating. This allows protective antibodies to be passed onto the pups. Worm her every 3 weeks during prgnancy & lactation.
  • Diet: the bitch should be on puppy food, particularly in late gestation & during lactation.
  • It is usual practice to take the bitch to the male for social & territorial reasons
  • Gestation length averages 63 days but can vary from 56-70 days. Ultrasound can confirm pregnancy from day 30.
  • It is possible for mulitple fathers to a litter so make sure the bitch is only exposed the the sire you desire her to mate with.

The onset of labour can sometimes be predicted by a light green mucoid vulval discharge sometimes seen 24-48 hours prior.


  • Stage 1: This normally lasts 6-12 hours but can range for 1-36 hours. Behaviours such as nesting, restlessness, refusal of food & panting may be seen.
  • Stage 2: Abdominal contractions are seen & pups are produced. The first pup is usually born within 4 hours of the onset of labour. Pups are subsequently birthed 15 min to 2 hours apart. Straining for greater than 2 hours, with no pup produced requires veterinary attention.
  • Stage 3: The placenta is normally passed within 5-15 min of each pup. The bitch removes the placentas, severing the umbilical cord in the process & consumes the placenta. All should be expelled in 4-6 hours. (A dark red-brown discharge indicates all have passed.)

Pup Care:

Ensure all pups are kept warm & suckling within 2 hours of birth. If pups are not suckling,, you may need to supplement feed. We encourage human contact from 4 weeks of age, with critical socialisation occuring between 6-18 weeks of age. Puppy eyes open from 10-16 days of age & ears function from 15-17 days. For more puppy care visit our website (

Contraception & Termination:

Unfortunately there is no safe hormonal contraception for females. Males however can use an implant called Suprelorin. It can provide 6 or 12 months of fertility suppression. We can abort pregnancies up to day 45, however earlier is better as there are less side effects. Spaying (desexing) your bitch is another way to abort.


Please take all of this on board when considering if & when to breed with your pets. It isn’t always an easy path & often things happen unpredictably. We as vets are always available. We wish you the best of luck as you embark on this journey.