So You would like to stand your dog at stud…?

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At sometime in nearly every male, decently bred, labrador owners life, they think… “Do you know, we should breed from this dog”.

I handle outside dogs at stud and also my own stud dogs. Whilst the impression is that one throws two dogs into a garden and nature takes over sadly nothing could be further from the truth. There are legal and ethical responsibilities these days to handling a stud dog. I would add the fact that you do not ‘have a stud dog’ you ‘offer a stud SERVICE’. That service is not just putting dog A with bitch B and leaving them to mate. Many, many dogs and bitches won’t. They are domesticated and do not have the natural instincts of days gone by, and over the years, the ‘princess’ing’ and ‘fur-babying’ of domestic dogs has made trying to get a huge amount of them mated, harder and harder.

Your stud service is….. that you know lots about bitch reproduction and so can tell THEM when to bring her to your dog. How to advise about Progesterone premate testing (in its many forms these days), When, where, how to interpret the results. They will lean on YOU.

You will need to know what to look for and feel for (including sometimes internals on the bitches which come to you) to know she is ready for mating before allowing your dog to mate her. Many dogs cannot penetrate without hand manipulation into the right place on occasion. Bitches do not stand rock steady and infact some are VERY aggressive about being mated.
Would you know if that aggression was because she wasn’t ready for mating or if she was just being a difficult old bag?
Holding down a bitch, not ready for mating, can result in injury to her, and certainly to your stud dog.

99% of matings are ‘assisted’ matings. Just letting them rock and roll all over the place trying and trying is the stuff of the 1970’s. Times, temperaments and expections have changed a million miles since then.

Do you know what a slip mating is? Its when the dog mates the bitch, and ejaculates into her but hasn’t ‘tied’ her and therefore, ejaculates and steps off, with his bits extended and post seminal fluid raining down on everyone that should have been going into the bitch during the tie. Are you aware how to handle this? How long to wait before trying again to make the mating worth while as he has ‘come’ once? How dissappointed most bitch owners are with a slip mating? Do you know how to explian the facts of bitches concieving from slip matings (they can but bitch owners don’t believe you most of the time and can give you a hard time about it…)

What if those people had driven 100 miles to your dog and you stand there with him jumping on and off, on and off and nothing happening? Do you understand the mechanics of the way dogs mate and tie. How to turn your dog so they are back to back with a bitch thrashing, snarling and yelling as it is uncomfortable? Do you know about advising about care of the inseason bitch, about what to recommend they do after the mating with her? About feeding and care of the inwhelp bitch? They often won’t – YOU provide the service for a fee, or a puppy back, so YOU need to know for their sake. Do you know how to break a tie between two dogs in an emergency? (and it doesn’t involve throwing a bucket of water over them….)

What if you dog cannot put his penis back in its sheath? Do you know your legal position if the bitch develops or picks up and infection shortly after mating? What the Kennel Club expect of you as regards paperwork? The inland revenues standpoint on taking money on even a semi-regular basis and putting it in your bank account?

What if there are problems with the puppies? Cleft palletes, disabilities? Swimmers (do you know what a swimmer is?) etc etc etc…

I know I sound a HORRIBLE woman, but its not a friendly arrangement. People pay to use your dog and want pups. Healthy pups. An easy pregnancy, advice all the way down the line, the paperwork all present and correct and perfection in the offspring for the rest of their days. Bitch owners are and SHOULD BE demanding. They are paying money for something and should get what they pay for to the very best of your ability. Even if money doesn’t change hands no bitch wants a botched inexperienced dog leaping on and off her every day for 10 days whilst you chaps learn by hit and miss how to mate dogs. It will turn any bitch into a snapping snarling wreak.

A bitch needs to come bang on when she is ready, be mated swiftly with as little fuss as possible, with the dog manipulated into her FAST, she needs supporting, and the turn when they tie to be clean, no fuss and as painless as possible for her. Its not easy….

Sadly nature doesn’t kick in often these days. Mismatings between Jack Russel’s and Great Danes which people cite when saying ‘it must be easy mating dogs if THAT can happen’ are fairy tales or incrediably rare and when ‘dogs were dogs and treated their whole life…as dogs,….’. Almost certainly mismatings are distressing, painful, long winded and hellish for the bitch, and with his bits locked into a fighting snarling bitch, pretty damn awful for the dog. Hence the stud SERVICE needing to be offered and carried out.

There are so many stud dogs out there from perfectly good lines, that to get any bitches interested the dog needs to have proved itself in some way. And not just cos its got a kind nature and a handsome head.

Learning about stud work really comes from 1) Breeding litters yourself first. And/Or 2) Shadowing a stud mentor for a period of time to learn the art and how to deal with all the many many problems.

My advice is always forget breeding from your family dog. OR go all out to prove him good at something, showing, working, agility, obedience…. anything with a third party opinion on him. Then healthtest him to the nines (Hips, elbows, annual eyes, and the big 4 DNA tests) and then consider where to advertise. But most of the time you’ll be throwing several £1000 at no return, and really, going back to your breeder and buying another similarly bred puppy would have been far cheaper, far less effort and far more realistic.

Hope this helps.


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