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  • Writer's picturePriscilla Sleeman

The Truth about Back to Back Breeding

There is a lot of misinformation when it comes to breeding dogs back to back during heat cycles. As we searched for guidance on how often to breed our girl, we encountered conflicting answers at every turn. One common reason for skipping heats is so that breeders are able to show a dog that has had enough time to get her figure back to top notch shape and have a chance to win a ribbon.  In fact some breeding dogs never start a career until the age of 3 and by then have gone through enough heats without becoming pregnant to already start damaging the uterus.

I was shocked to discover studies indicating that it's actually harmful for female dogs to skip heat cycles. These studies suggest that once a bitch has begun breeding, it's best not to skip any heat cycles until she has finished breeding completely. A bitch is considered "finished" breeding when her litter size significantly decreases. Researchers followed females bred every heat cycle versus those bred every other heat cycle. Upon completion of their breeding cycles, the dogs were spayed and their uteruses examined. The ones that showed the most stress and damage were those bred every other heat cycle.

One reason skipping heat cycles can be harmful is because there's no "flushing action" of the uterus that typically occurs when a dog has a litter of puppies. Regardless of whether she's bred, the female will go through estrus, and breeding her back to back can reduce the chances of her experiencing pyometra, infections, and false pregnancies. The skip every other heat program was an myth, probably started by people trying to impose their human emotions on to their dogs.

Ultimately, the decision to breed or not should be based on the breeder's goals and, most importantly, health of the female. Many reproductive veterinarians now advise consecutive breeding for dogs, provided the mother has recovered well from her previous litter, and also recommend retiring the dog early.

We have decided to follow the advice of our vets and the studies and breed our girls once they reach breeding age every season, with a few exceptions. We only breed dogs in excellent health. Our goal is to retire them early into loving forever homes.

The decision to engage in back to back breeding wasn't made lightly. While it might seem contrary to human instincts, God designed dogs to reproduce this way and this is how dogs breed naturally.

For more information about our breeding program, please refer to our FAQ page.



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