What is Involved in Owning a Stud Dog?
© 2008 Lee Boyd
Life with an intact male dog
First, you have to be willing to leave
your male Canaan Dog intact. I have owned both
intact dogs and intact bitches. The intact bitches
surprised me because their heats were less messy than I expected; Canaan
Dogs are by nature so clean. The intact males were
not too difficult to live with, as long as no bitches in season are present. If bitches in season are present, intact males are a
hassle. The male becomes so intent on mating the bitch that he may whine,
howl, fret, and eat poorly for more than a week if thwarted. Intact males are also more likely to urine-mark in the
house, and probably slightly more likely to fight or roam than a neutered
male. Crate-training an intact male or having a kennel run available helps
keep the male away from bitches to whom he is not to be bred. Boarding the male when one of your bitches is in season
is also an option. Unless you have a lot of intact
bitches, in which case you also probably have a kennel, this nuisance is
confined to a few weeks of the year, and therefore not too onerous.
Is he worthy?
There is little reason to leave a male
intact if he is not going to be used for breeding, so the first thing
you should do is have your male's
conformation evaluated to be sure that he is worthy of being bred. This can be accomplished by entering him in dog shows
to get the judges' opinions of his merits. However,
as Canaan Dogs are still a relatively uncommon breed, many judges will
not have an eye for the nuances of proper Canaan Dog structure and temperament. The opinions of a knowledgeable Canaan Dog breeder, or
preferably several breeders, are probably more valuable
in helping you decide whether your dog is suitable for breeding. These experts can advise you on your dog=s
particular merits and faults for consideration in planning compatible matings.
If your dog's conformation and temperament do not disqualify him, the next, almost more important consideration, is health. There are several evaluations that are essential in order that genetic health problems are not proliferated. These are, at a minimum:
1. Hip evaluation via radiographs read by OFA or PennHIP
2. Eye evaluation by CERF.
Screening can also be done to assess
elbows, patellas, heart function, and thyroid function.
Before the bitch comes
Yes, the bitch typically comes to the dog, under the somewhat antiquated notion that the male will perform better in familiar surroundings.
The owner of the bitch will contact
you to find out more about your male. You should have
a contract which both of you sign that stipulates such things as stud fee,
what happens if the bitch fails to conceive or only has one puppy, etc. You
can obtain sample contracts from other breeders and find out what they typically
charge for stud fees. You need to find out about the bitch to make sure
she is a good match for your dog; the quality of her puppies will reflect
on their sire as well as the dam. Make sure the bitch
has the proper health evaluations and is more than a year of age (preferably
18 months or older). Discuss whether she will be
driven to you or flown, and when her next heat is predicted. Think about
where the bitch will stay while visiting you. You
will want to safeguard this animal beloved by someone else.
Once the bitch comes into season and
will soon be on her way, both she and the dog should have a simple brucellosis
test done by their local veterinarian. Brucellosis
is a venereal disease that can result in abortion and sterility. In can also be passed from species to species. For instance humans can get brucellosis, most commonly
through drinking unpasteurized milk from infected cattle. So dogs should have a brucellosis check every time they
are about to be bred.
When the bitch arrives
It is helpful to have at least two people
on hand, one to manage each dog when they are introduced. Canaan Dogs are a very natural breed and should not
need much help with the mating process. However
if they are not interested in mating initially it can be worrying. If this is the dog=s
first breeding experience, are they just naive? Is the bitch just not
close to ovulation yet? Is something wrong? The bitch
can be taken to a veterinarian for vaginal smears and progesterone testing
to determine if she is close to ovulation. As a last
resort, semen can be collected by a veterinarian and artificial insemination
attempted. These procedures are more costly and
your contract should spell out who will pay for them. Keep
in mind that for a natural breed like a Canaan Dog, strong mating drive
is part of the dog=s worthiness. A dog that
has little desire to mate, is structurally unable to copulate, or can't
figure out how to accomplish it without help would not pass those traits
along in the wild, and that is all to the good for the breed! Each bitch's
cycle is a little bit different and often the problem is just that the
bitch is not yet physiologically ready. This was the
case when I sent my bitch, Keely, to Victor's
Gil to be bred. I like to tease Victor a bit with
this story. I knew that Keely had a long heat cycle
and was attractive to males relatively late in her heat. This was the first natural breeding for both dogs. I flew Keely to
What ultimately makes your male valuable?