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Myths

The Brood Bitch

The Stud Dog

Pregnancy

Whelping


Important:

12 months is the minimum permissable age for breeding under English Kennel Club rules ; However, I personally believe that a boxer bitch is not mature enough to be mated until at least 18months - 2 years of age. Make sure your bitch and the stud dog of your choosing have had all necessary health checks PRIOR to mating. In the UK we specifically heart test boxers, this can only be done by a Cardiologist, vet testing is not sufficient.

Are you prepared to take time off work should any complications arise? Are you aware that the possibility exists that you may lose your bitch? If homes can't be found as soon as would be liked are you prepared to keep the puppies? Are you prepared to take back a puppy or help to re-home it should the need arise in the future?

If you cannot answer yes to the above questions then rethink your decision, there are all ready too many animals in our shelters.


 

Myths

The first being that white pups are the result of poor breeding. If you ever hear it said that certain dogs never throw back whites in litters sired by them, don't believe it!! This is not true!! Any dog no matter how good his pedigree, can, and most likely will at some time, sire white pups. If a flashy male is mated to a flashy female then the statistics for whites per litter are actually quite high, sometimes as high as 25% of the litter. This has nothing to do with poor breeding, and everything to do with genetics. Whilst not desirable in the show ring, the white boxer is no less a boxer than a brindle or a red, although the chances of deafness are a lot higher it does not affect all whites. However even if not affected by hearing problems a white boxer should never be bred from as the risk is greatly increased of deafness being passed on to their offspring. Never buy from anybody advertising their pups as 'rare whites'. They are obviously out to make money and have little regard for the quality of the dogs they produce. Quality and temperament should be the things a breeder aims for.

Another misconception is that certain males have 'dominant' genes, implying that they will pass on all of their good traits to their offspring regardless of the possible bad points of the bitch. Again this isn't true. No matter how great the male is, if he is only mated to a mediocre bitch he will only produce mediocre pups. Both dog and bitch give 50/50 towards the make-up of a pup. However if a male carries good qualities, that are proven in the lines he was bred from then the chances are high that he will also pass on these qualities to his offspring as would the bitch.


The Brood Bitch

NOTE:Your bitch should have had at least one season and be at least 12 months of age before you even CONSIDER breeding from her.

Should you breed from your bitch? This is the time when you have to look at your bitch not as the family pet that you love, but as the possible Mother, Grandmother, Great Grandmother etc. of a line of Boxers that may continue long after her lifespan.
Is she a good example of her breed? By now, if you have gotten to the stage of considering to breed, you should already be able to distinguish a good example from a bad example. If you can't do this, then stop now and reconsider!
A bitch does not necessarily have to be a show winner to be a good example of her breed, she should however be free from any obvious faults, and be excellent in temperament. It is impossible to say that your bitch is the 'perfect' example of her breed, as the 'perfect' boxer has never been bred, it is always something the ambitious breeder aims for.
If you are satisfied that your bitch meets these criteria, then you will want to ensure that she is at optimum weight (not to heavy, not to light) in good general condition, has been wormed at least 4 weeks prior to time of mating, and is up to date with all her innoculations. Please note, if your bitch is likely to be due for her booster injection during or within 6 weeks of pregnancy then she must have it BEFORE mating.


The Stud Dog

Now that you are happy that your Bitch is of sound quality and temperament, the next stage to concern yourself with is the choosing of the right stud dog.
Do not wait until your bitch comes into season to do this, plan well in advance, and it will just be a matter of excuting your plan of events as soon as you notice your bitch coming into season.
The best stud dog for your bitch is not necessarily the top winning dog at the time. You will want to find a dog that compliments your bitch, and improves in areas were your bitch is lacking (there will always be some). If for example your bitch is a little narrow in the muzzle, then you will want to choose a stud dog who is correct in the muzzle, and so on.
Different stud dog owners charge different rates for their dogs, in general the fee increases as the stature of the dog increases, for example: You would expect to pay a lower fee for a dog that has not gained his champion title than a dog who has, the fees can also vary depending on the success of previous offspring of your chosen sire. This is one of the area's you will discuss with the stud dog owner at the time of arrangement, it should already be clear before you mate your bitch.
The stud dog owner will arrange the necessary paperwork at the time of mating (pedigree of sire,stud receipt etc.), and will make any further arrangements at this time. Your bitch will usually be most 'ready' to be mated approx 10-12 days after the first signs of bleeding, you will have by now contacted the stud dog owner to arrange a day and time to take your bitch to the dog. After mating, your bitch should be given a drink and kept quiet for at least an hour. Do not allow her to urinate at this time!!! Now it is a matter of waiting, your vet should be able to confirm pregnancy at approx 4 weeks after mating. If for whatever reason your bitch 'misses' then it is customary for the stud dog owner to offer a free second mating next time she is in season. This is only customary and is by no means a right, so please check with the owner of the dog prior to mating.


Pregnancy

During the first four weeks of pregnancy you will notice little change in your bitch. She may seem quieter, and some people say they see morning sickness (If your bitch is continually vomiting however, take her STRAIGHT to the vet). But physical changes don't occur at this early stage.
At 4 weeks your vet can diagnose pregnancy by palpitating the uterus, if your bitch is pregnant this will be enlarged and he may possibly be able to feel the embryo's.
At around 5 weeks, you should begin to see mammary development and she will start to look a little 'thicker' around the abdomen. You should stop any rough play at this stage. Continue to exercise and feed as normal.
At 6 weeks your bitch will continue to thicken, and her nipples will darken and enlarge. You should now change your bitch onto a puppy formula complete food and increase the amount given by 50%. You might want to start walking your bitch on a lead at this stage to ensure she doesn't play to roughly.
At 7 weeks she will start to 'look' pregnant. Make sure you stop any jumping at this stage, and take your bitch for shorter, but more frequent walks, preferably on lead. You will now want to construct a whelping box, this should be large enough to allow ample room for your bitch to stretch out fully, but should not be to large, in case the pups are able to wander to far away from mum, and risk hypothermia. You should enourage your bitch at this stage to sleep in the whelping box, so that it is not strange to her at the time of whelping.
At 8 weeks your bitch will be very large, and will begin lactating. You will be able to see the pups moving at this stage when mum is at rest. Prepare your whelping kit and make sure you have all emergency contact numbers to hand.
From around day 58 you might want to start taking your bitches temperature 3 times daily, a drop in temperature to around 98 degrees farenheit, is an indication that labour is imminent and pups should usually be born within the next 24hrs. The timeline for a canine pregnancy is 63 days, however your bitch may go 2-3 days before or after this date. If you have reached day 65 with no signs of whelping (temperature drop, nesting behaiour, restlessness, possible rejection of food) then arrange for your vet to look at your bitch to check all is well.


Whelping

Whelping Kit

Okay so the day has finally come! Your bitch will want you with her during this time for reassurance. She should be kept quiet, with no disturbance and as few people as possible around her. If she shows signs of labour without producing any pups within an hour or so then let her outside to walk around, this can help labour progress. If labour continues for more than 3 hours with no results , or your bitch seems to be straining without being able to produce a pup, then call your vet for advice.
If all goes well, after a while her contractions will become stronger, and she will start to push. The water sac will appear first with the pup following shortly after. The placenta will not necessarily follow straight after. It is very important that you can count one placenta for each puppy born by the end of whelping, as this ensures there is nothing left inside your bitch that may cause infection. The choice as to whether you a allow your bitch to eat the placenta's is entirely yours.
After each pup is born mum will break off the cord and clean the puppy. If for any reason she fails to do this, then it is up to you! Break the cord at approx 1 1/2 to 2 inches away from the pup (never pull on the pup's end as this could cause an umbilical hernia), squeeze the end tightly between your thumb and forefinger to stop any bleeding, if bleeding doesn't stop then tie off with a piece of cotton. Hold the pup firmly in both hands, taking care to support the head and neck, and swing them quickly down in an arc from above your head to between your legs, the centrifugal force clears the nose and throat of fluids. Rub vigorously with a clean towel until they start to breathe and move about. When each puppy is clean and breathing (even if mum does it) you should check the pup for any abnormalities and weigh it, if mum is having a break between pups then let the pup nurse, as this stimulates contractions.
You will know whelping is over when her contractions stop, her breathing will slow down and she will settle. Once whelping is over (pups can arrive anything from 15mins to an hour appart), then encourage mum to go outside to have a drink and urinate. She will probably not be very enthusiastic about her leaving her new family, but she should be encouraged, as it also gives you time to clean up the whelping box for her return. Make sure that every pup has some of mum's first milk within 24 hrs as this is colostrum. It carries imunities that protect the pups from infection. Even if all goes well it is strongly advised that you have a vet look at mum and the new pups within 24hrs, this is just to be on the safe side. The vet will check that mum isn't retaining a pup or any placenta's and he will check the pups are in good health.

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