Large & Small Breeds
Large breeds are much more difficult to hold and assist when breeding than are small ones. In some of the largest breeds it is sometimes impossible to hold the bitch by hand and she must be tied in three directions, on each side and in front. This is not a problem for a beginning breeder. I
f you are the owner of a large breed stud, you should learn how to breed and handle him from a breeder who already has had plenty of experience, rather than from reading books. This is a case where visual education is the only satisfactory method of learning.
Some breeders like to mate small dogs on a table. There are points both for and against this method. For one thing, it is easier for the handler, for it obviates the necessity of either kneeling or getting down on the floor. On the other hand, it also prevents the dog and bitch from approaching each other and leading up to the mating by a period of play. The mating automatically becomes an assisted one and all the spontaneity of a natural union is lost. From the standpoint of results, one method may produce as many pups as the other, but I believe in letting the dogs pursue their own methods until assistance is necessary.
After the dog and bitch have become separated, they should be shut up in separate kennels where they can neither see nor hear each other. Food should not be given them for two or three hours either before or after mating, and once they have been taken back to their kennels they should be kept quiet, without any interference from other dogs. There should also be plenty of fresh water for them to drink. "When a second service is deemed necessary, it should be carried out in a similar manner the next day. This is unnecessary except in the case of a very inexperienced stud, or one that has not been used for some months.
Frequently a bitch will fight against being bred, sometimes because the attempt is made either too early or too late in her heat. At other times it is caused by the bitch having a preference for a dog which she knows. Sometimes in a strange kennel, a bitch becomes frightened at the ordeal and will sit down to prevent service. Others will become quarrelsome with the stud and will exhaust him unnecessarily.
The best way to handle a timid bitch is through kindness, and her owner is the person most likely to succeed. If you have a bitch of this type brought to you for service, ask her owner to hold her head, stroke her and talk kindly to her. Warn him beforehand not to become excited or angry himself, and impress on him the necessity of being gentle and reassuring with his bitch. In order to prevent her sitting down, take a position on her left side and place your left hand well under her, being careful that it will not interfere with the stud. When she attempts to sit down, stiffen your wrist and bring her into a standing position again. If the bitch is of a long-tailed breed, hold the tail over to one side out of the way. A larger bitch may be held in a standing position by placing the leg under her and elevating your knee to the required height, though the stud is more apt to take exception to this, as it is likely to get in his way.
Breeding racks are sometimes necessary. These aredevices to render the stud of equal height with the bitch.] Even among specimens of the same breed, the heights, vary at times so greatly as to make breeding impossible without strain to the stud. In this case he should be built up sufficiently by the use of folded mats or sometimes short pieces of plank. There are many devices for raising the dog to the required height, but articles to which he is accustomed are less likely to be displeasing to him. The mats also give him something to grip with his feet. The fewer artificial trappings you have around at breeding time, the less trouble you will have with your dog or bitch.
Occasionally a stud will have an erection without accomplishing a tie, and the distended parts will not go back into their sheath. This is nothing to be worried over. Put the dog in a kennel by himself and leave him alone. In all probability he will have assumed natural proportions in about half an hour, but if not, all that is necessary is to put an ice bag on the protruding parts.
Both dog and bitch must be in good health at the time of breeding. Plenty of exercise is needed, though not to the point where fatigue is induced. Proper diet is most necessary, and with the stud dog this should include both raw beef and a weekly or twice-weekly feeding of glandular organs. Fresh beef is better for stud dogs than any other meat with the exception of liver, heart, and lungs. Eggs, fish, and milk also contain food elements which are necessary to him.
One thing to keep in mind is that the best stud is not always the best producer. It is not his eagerness to accept the bitch nor the ease with which he mates which makes him a prolific stud, but the activity of the sperm which he transmits to the bitch. It is unusual to find a sterile dog if he is healthy and fed on a diet which contains all the necessary elements.