Breeding St. Bernards can be fun, rewarding, and a learning experience for your family, but it can also be a lot of work. It takes dedication, commitment, and time in order to successfully breed St. Bernards. Breeding a single litter of puppies can take up to a year and the health of your dog and the puppies should always be first priority. Before deciding to breed St. Bernards, you should make sure you have the time, money, and space. There are organisations such as the AKC that can help you if you decide to breed your St. Bernard.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Challenging
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Obtain a female St. Bernard if you don't already have one. Make sure she is in good health for breeding and has positive characteristics.
Be sure your female St. Bernard is at a breeding age. Female St. Bernards are usually able to start breeding between six and nine months, however most veterinarians believe this is too early to breed. By a year and a half to two years old, your St. Bernard will be fully mature and able to endure the stress of carrying puppies.
Choose a stud. If you do not have a male St. Bernard, you can utilise a stud. You can look online or through organisations for a stud. Decide on what, if any, temperament and physical traits are important in a stud.
Have a veterinarian examine your St. Bernard to ensure she is in good health. The veterinarian should check for parasites and update your St. Bernard on her shots at least two weeks prior to breeding.
Let the stud meet your St. Bernard two or three days after she begins her oestrus cycle. The stud can be in the same pen as your St. Bernard for a day or two so that they can pair.
Visit your veterinarian shortly after your St. Bernard has been bred. Your veterinarian will let you know if your dog is pregnant and will suggest nutritional supplements if necessary.
Build a whelping box for your St. Bernard. Allow plenty of time for your dog to become accustomed to the box. The whelping box should be roomy, about a foot longer than your St. Bernard lying on her side, with low sides so that you can reach in easily. Line the box with paper until the puppies are born.
Prepare the whelping room. Have scissors, clean towels, paper towels, iodine, unwaxed dental floss, and a heating pad in the room for the delivery. The room should be quiet, warm, and away from other dogs.
Be alert for signs of labour. Your St. Bernard's nipples will become enlarged and pink when she is close. She may stop eating and look for a place to "nest" which will hopefully be the whelping box.
Tips and warnings
- Make sure you are breeding your St. Bernard for the right reason. Breeders often do not make much money and it can be difficult to find homes for large breed dogs.
- The gestation period for dogs is 63 days after fertilisation of the egg.
- Have your veterinarian or an emergency veterinarians number handy in case there are any problems during delivery.
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