It is a belief that the first domesticated dogs were bred to aid humans in hunting for food. Men and hunting dogs share a long history together. Although hunting is not prevalent anymore, these dogs still provide companionship to humans.
Hunting dog is not an official breed term but rather referring to dogs that hunt for or with humans. They are chosen for their characteristics and attitude ideal in hunting; for instance, a good sense of smell for tracking and retrieving, and stamina and energy for long trips. This may include various dog breeds such as those from water dogs group, hound dogs group, and sporting dogs group.
Evaluating hunting dogs for breeding
A selection process is necessary before breeding hunting dogs. It serves as an evaluation, delving into a closer inspection of the trainability and the natural ability of the canine. The gathered information will be kept for public purposes for future breeding. Like any breeding programme, breeding aims to make improvements on the breed’s physical and performance traits.
Genetics should be studiously evaluated in all pedigree canines. Any signs of congenital defects will be disqualified. Further, proof of documentation from the sire and dam will also be checked. Certifications and documentation will be required as proofs of claim.
This will test the dog’s inherited abilities from a set of parents. The dog will be evaluated for the aptitudes of the nose, pointing, water, tracking, search, retrieving, and others. It is more than a regular puppy test; it is an assessment of the canine’s natural talent and trainability as a carrier for the future of the breed.
After the examination of the inherited aptitudes, the overall performance will soon be evaluated. It seeks to test the dog’s ability and the handler’s training skills on a higher level. The subjects will be tested as well with their desire, obedience, and cooperation during the entire event.
Breeding, in general, is committed not only to increase the numbers but to improve the natural traits of the specific breed as well. Here is a list of the general outlook on the stages of breeding a litter of hunting dogs.
Similar to regular breeding, breeding hunting dogs can be time-consuming and expensive. Breeders should be experts about the breed’s characteristics, health, and training as well as the rules and regulations under The Kennel Club.
Beginners should do in-depth research on the breed standard. Participation in dog events and local clubs will expose you on live actions of the pedigree breeds that you have in mind.
Prepare yourself as a breeder for the commitment it entails. The dam usually takes full responsibility for her litter of puppies in the first few weeks after delivery. However, expect complications that may occur, including problems with the dam’s milk and a litter of orphaned puppies.
2. Make room for improvements.
The primary goal of breeding is to produce an offspring with better and refined qualities of the breed as a quality pet. It is important to examine your candidate canines for breeding to recognise their flaws. Compare your canine against the other best canines of the breed. The pair should balance or eliminate their own flaws.
3. Get the most suitable mate.
As previously stated, always breed to improve. Choosing a suitable mate ensures the best quality of puppies by birth. Two essential key points in breeding are the canine’s health and temperament.
- Health Some canines are predisposed to health issues due to parental genetics. Choose a pair with fewer chances of producing dogs that are less likely to be affected by hereditary diseases commonly observed on the breed.
- Temperament Dog traits can be influenced by many external factors such as the environmental factor, puppy socialisation, and others, during growth.
4. Work with the stud contract.
After finalising the necessary examinations, you need to secure the details of the mating process. Get in touch with the owner of the prospective stud dog before initiating the process. An official contract should be settled, which involves the following:
- Stud fee
- Mode of payment
- Obligations on both sides
- Proof of transaction, with both ends receiving their own copy with signatures
5. Set pre-breeding health checks.
‘Conditioning’ in breeding refers to the regular veterinary care and attention, and thorough examinations before the actual breeding. This is to ensure that the dogs will produce the best offspring.
6. The mating process.
The actual breeding is performed with absolute caution and expertise on the breeds and the process. It is important to never breed a bitch during her first heat as it can lead to stress in pregnancy.
During the natural breeding, the male mounts the female from the rear with his front legs positioned on her midsection. Give the male time to penetrate and ejaculate on the female. As the thrusts cease, the male will dismount but both dogs will remain ‘locked,’ which breeders call as tie phenomenon. Both dogs will not be able to separate for about ten to thirty minutes as the bulbus glandis in the male’s penis is still swelling. They should not be separated as it can cause injuries on both dogs. Wait for them to naturally part.
Another process of breeding is called artificial insemination (AI). This is usually the course of action when natural breeding is not possible. The process of producing litters through artificial insemination involves DNA certification. Click here for a detailed standard on AI from The Kennel Club.
7. Dog pregnancy.
Dog gestation usually lasts for at least sixty-three days. A dog is pregnant when there are changes in:
- Nipple size
It is important to recognise the signs of labour to prepare for it. A bitch close to delivery may have less appetite and will show enthusiasm in creating her own ‘nest.’ Help her by introducing a whelping box designed to accommodate her and her pups. It is best to note the veterinarian’s phone number and any near local emergency clinic just in case.
8. Welcoming puppies.
In the usual setting, bitches take full responsibility for the entire process in a normal delivery. Each puppy will be wrapped with a placental membrane or sac. The mother will then tear it off to allow the puppies to breathe.
However, if the bitch neglects this basic responsibility, you should be prepared and knowledgeable enough to intervene. It is important that you gently peel off the sac membrane from the puppy. Next, remove fluids or mucous from the puppy’s nose and mouth. Then, to stimulate blood circulation, gently rub the puppy using a towel. The umbilical cord should be cut two inches from the abdomen. Finally, welcome to the first stage of puppy growth.
You may like to read:
Do you have a hunting dog? Share your photos and tell us more about them in the comments section below.