Breeding Mastiffs

Space does not allow a comprehensive guide to breeding as the subject would require a complete web site. Anybody contemplating breeding is advised to read “Dogs and How to Breed Them” by Hilary Harmer before going into breeding seriously. Then examine your motives for becoming a breeder.

Never breed for any of the following reasons:
  • Because you have been told it would be good for the bitch.
  • Because you think it would be instructive for your children.

To make money. A number of multi-breed kennels over the years, started breeding mastiffs thinking they were a money spinner. Almost without exception they soon gave up.

You must have a clean, warm, dry, quiet and draught proof place in which to put a whelping box. The box needs to be strong, at least 5’ x 4’ with rails or better still shelves around the inside about 5” up from the base.

To stand the best chance of conception the bitch should be in a fit, hard and lean condition. Overweight bitches tend not to conceive. Never breed from a bitch or use a stud dog with any obvious hereditary defects.

Give a lot of thought to your choice of sire. Does he compliment your bitch? Read the standard again. Is he available? Contact the owner of the propective sire at an early stage and again as soon as your bitch starts her season. Are you sure you didn’t choose him because he lives just around the corner? Be willing to travel to the most suitable dog.

Can you feed and accommodate the puppies as they grow up if you can’t find suitable homes for them?

For the first 6 weeks after your bitch has been served, treat her just as you would normally. She may well be more demanding of food and affection, don’t increase her rations. After 6 weeks improve the quality of her food but still not the quantity. Cut down on some of the tripe and replace with some red meat, egg and cheese or go on to a higher protein food. Between 7-9 weeks an in whelp bitch will have trouble coping with 2 meals per day. The answer is to feed 3 or 4 times in small quantities. Tinned food can be very useful at this time, it seems to be more easily digested. Also at this time she may appear to have forgotten her house training, do not scold her, her clean habits will soon return.

It is not an infrequent occurrence that a mastiff bitch that has been served will give every indication of pregnancy, but produce nothing, very often going down in size during the 8th week, and refusing several meals. But, sometimes not going down until the day she is due to whelp. Veterinarians do not seem to be very reliable about pregnancy diagnosis in mastiffs.

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