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How to choose the best stud dog for your bitch

The novice breeders challenge is a daunting one. Not only do you have to live in hope that you obtain a trouble free whelping, take out a second mortgage to be able to afford the rearing of six or more hungry puppies, vet prospective buyers to ensure they are the right sort of person and offer the correct environment to take on your beloved pup, but you have to choose the RIGHT stud dog.

Initially I shall try to explain the difference between "Line Breeding" and "In Breeding" First you must understand what a good "Line" is. It is not a prefix nor a kennel. A good line is a series of closely related animals or family, who are likely to reproduce themselves over the generations. If you use a stud dog who is the product of an established line, the chances are that you will reproduce puppies that resemble their father, mother, grandfather, grandmother etc. The secret of Line Breeding is to capitalise on the inherent values of a pedigree by doubling up on them and emphasising them.

To begin with, take a look at your bitches pedigree. If it is just a jumble of names to you, then you should seek the advice of someone who has been in the breed long enough to remember some of her ancestors. Is her background related, do relations appear on both her sire and dams side, were they of good quality? These are all points you need to know before embarking on finding the right stud. If a common background in her pedigree was of a good Line, then by all means attempt to double up on it. If the common background was of dubious quality then you should consider a stud dog with a different background all together. Line breeding with good stock should produce good stock, line breeding to rubbish and you will produce rubbish.

"In Breeding" is an intensified form of Line Breeding. Where grand daughter to grand father, niece to uncle, half brother to half sister is line breeding, "In Breeding" would include mother to son, father to daughter, full brother to sister. "In Breeding" is best left to the experts and even then, my own personal feelings are that this is extremely dangerous. If there are any skeletons in the cupboard, incestuous matings are sure to bring them out as hereditary faults are doubled up!

As important as checking the pedigrees is checking the attributes of the bitch and prospective stud dog themselves. Both should be suitable as individuals and represent a good type of their breed. Never breed from shy or nervous animals no matter how good they are physically. Never choose a stud dog just because he is local to you. Find out from other local breeders who they would recommend and get them to point out both the good and bad features of your bitch. It is only knowledge that will help you make the right choice and no amount of reading can substitute experience.

Pay for the service as and when it is carried out, try and avoid the owner having first choice of puppies. Obtain the Kennel Club registration form from the owner of the stud and ensure it is completed and signed correctly to avoid problems later. Ensure your bitch is taken to the stud on the correct day (normally about the tenth and twelfth day of her season). Ensure you have a written agreement that should she not get in whelp and have puppies, the owner of the stud dog will give you a free mating, next time she comes into season. Don't forget to leave with a copy of the stud dogs pedigree, you will require this to complete the pedigrees of the pups your bitch will hopefully produce.

Make sure that your bitch has up to date inoculations before you take her to be mated and under no circumstances visit a stud dog if she is at all unwell. The reason that the bitch always goes to the stud dog and not the other way round, is so that the stud dog knows what he has to do and where. This is instinctive to most good stud dogs, but some do need a little bit of encouragement and the privacy of his own territory helps matters along.