Index of Stud Dogs
Stud Dog Management
Stud Service Certificate
Sample Contract
Whelping Calendar
Stud Dog Management

Owning a stud dog used for breeding is not always the simple operation many people assume it to be. If the circumstances are favorable, a dog and bitch can be left together in a suitable pen, and the mating will take place in due course. If a litter of puppies results, it seems a simple way to earn a stud fee. But there are a variety of problems that often confront one who wishes to mate even experienced dogs and bitches.

The proper management of a stud dog is imperative to its long-term fertility. Management techniques can vary tremendously, but all must maintain and support the maximum health of the stud dog. Housing must always provide adequate shelter in hot or cold, wet or dry weather, to allow it to stay healthy; severe heat or cold in excess will decrease sperm production and/or libido. Stud dogs should be kept in top physical condition with regular exercise, routine health check-ups, and a sound diet. A thin or fat stud dog is much more likely to have reproductive problems than a fit dog.

Before your dog is used at stud for the first time, your veterinarian should examine him for any problems that could interfere with successful mating. This examination may include physical evaluation of the scrotum, testicles, penis, and prepuce (skin covering the penis). Semen analysis prior to using your stud dog is an objective method to evaluate your stud dog's fertility. Collection of semen may be achieved by a number of methods, but should always be evaluated immediately after it is obtained. A Brucellosis test should be drawn every six months to establish that he is free of the disease; all bitches accepted should have proof of a current (six-month minimum) negative Brucella test. Brucellosis, once introduced into a kennel, can cause sterility, abortion, and the ruin of an outstanding breeding program; eliminating this disease often requires eliminating all infected dogs, and long-term quarantine and multiple re-testings of all remaining dogs.

Puberty in a terrier may range from 5-6 months, up to 12-14 months; puberty being defined as that time in which a dog can get an erection, and successfully breed and fertilize a bitch. The JRTCA policy on breeding mandates that the dogs have reached physical maturity at this time, but may not be psychologically mature. It is imperative that a young dog be allowed to breed his first few bitches in a quiet, reassuring setting. Cooperative bitches are far preferable at this time in a young stud dog's career.

Generally, a bitch is brought to the residence of the stud dog to be bred. Since individual bitches vary in the length and intensity of their cycles, it is wise to request that the bitch be taken to the stud dog kennel six to nine days after her discharge begins. Nine or ten days after the flow starts, the discharge pales to straw color or is colorless, and the swelling of the vulva diminishes. Although during the few proceeding days the bitch may have evidenced considerable interest in male dogs, playing with them and cavorting against them, up to this time she has not usually held her tail to one side (known as "flagging") or shown interest in having them mount her; sometimes she may have even snapped at them when they have tried it.

Ordinary mating can be accomplished sometime after the 10th day, and it usually must be accomplished before the 17th day. After this, most bitches will refuse matings, and neither she nor the male will show interest in each other. How often a stud dog can be used seems to be a question with no single answer; depending on the individual dog's age, behavior, and breeding protocols, it is safe to say most stud dogs can be used every other day for long time periods. Most breeders prefer not to over breed the dog and bitch, especially if the stud dog is being used to breed other bitches. A typical breeding schedule might be to breed the pair on the 10th, 12th, and 14th day of the bitch's cycle; breeding the stud to the bitch every 48 hours should allow for excellent fertilization rates. The average conception rate over time is 70-85%; note though that each dog is an individual and may require a variation to the "every other day" management technique.

The bitch shows her readiness by holding her tail to one side and seeming eager to have the male mount her. An enclosed area with secure footing should be provided, and sloping ground or platforms may be used in adjusting for differences in height. It is a good idea to hold any bitch you are not familiar with to prevent her from snapping at the dog, pulling away suddenly, sitting down, or jumping. Every effort should be made to assist the male by holding the bitch steady and muzzling if necessary; it takes only one well-placed bite to end a potentially successful stud dog career.

If the mating is successful and the pair becomes "tied," the front legs of the dog, and then a hind leg, should be gently assisted over onto the floor where he can stand as long as necessary; it may be a half-hour or even longer until the swelling goes down and he can withdraw. It is important to make sure the bitch does not become frightened during the tie and struggle to pull away from the dog, as he could be seriously injured. Although not common, pregnancy can occur without a tie.

Some common reproductive disorders of the stud dog include abnormal penis size, abnormal penis/urethral opening, deviated penis, or abnormally small preputial opening, which may be congenital or acquired secondary to infection, inflammation, cancer, or scar tissue. The inability to retract the engorged penis into the sheath after breeding (known as Paraphimosis) can occur when hairs become entangled around the base of the penis, or from penile fractures or trauma. If the stud dog manager cannot return the penis to its proper place (note: applying a concentrated solution of water and table sugar may shrink the penis in an emergency), or trauma is severe, then the stud dog should be seen immediately, as an acute medical emergency, by a veterinarian. Abnormal hormone secretion, which may be seen with thyroid or adrenal gland disorders, may also play a role in reproductive failures.

There are times when the full period for breeding may pass without a successful mating. If the 15th day comes with no success and the bitch seems to have lost or be losing interest, an examination should be made by a veterinarian to discover if an obstruction, immaturity, or other physiological reason is responsible. If either or both the dog and the bitch are young and have not been bred before, difficulties increase. It is advisable to breed a young dog to an old bitch the first time, and vice versa with a young bitch, as experience is helpful. There are also shy breeders among both old and young dogs, who will breed only when their masters are present and will not mate when strangers are around. Though bitches are commonly polygamous, they sometimes express a tendency to mate with one dog and not another, so that if one dog is unsuccessful it is well to try another stud. Some well-known studs, too, have always seemed to require assistance (note: older studs may be affected by arthritis or disc disease), while others are far better able to accomplish connection and successful mating unassisted.