There is more to breeding then just a pretty dog. You must research the bloodlines. The most important issues are the health and strong genetics. If you love your breed, then it should be important for you to breed dogs with all health clearances.
Most people think the hips are the only thing to certify in a dog. Our breed must do more certifications than just the hips in our breeding stock. The dog walks on four legs so the elbows are very important also. Next are the eyes, heart, and shoulders. Some countries are even asking for more certifications, which I personally think is very smart for those countries’ clubs to consider.
The Rottweiler breed has just received a severe scare with a few stud dogs from Europe who have been frequently used throughout the world to be found with genetic eye diseases. This may have caused a very severe, long ongoing problem in our breed worldwide, which may take many more years to clear up. The Doberman breed in America has been facing a similar problem for many years now. Many breeders bred to a top AKC rated stud dog and then his son before finding out these dogs had a severe heart defect. Many years later, the Doberman world is still facing this very serious illness and they do not know what to do to get rid of it.
The next important thing is to make sure your breeding stock is clear of transmittal diseases. I remember my veterinarian showing me a thick book of all the transmittal diseases that dogs can get. When you are breeding this is important, because these diseases can cause death in the newborn puppies or sterility in the breeding stock. Many stud dog owners today will not breed their stud dogs naturally to outside bitches because of this. The Rottweiler breed has become popular worldwide and some third world countries are breeding and transmitting these diseases throughout the world. Many breeders are having problems with the females they use when they have puppies. The mother does not carry the puppies to the full gestation time or the puppies die after birth. If this happens, it is very important to take her to specialists, usually at a veterinary teaching university. Please note that your veterinarian might not be qualified nor know what tests are needed to look for these diseases.
After you have found the best breeding stock and tested the dogs that you plan to breed, what is the next step? The next thing is to make sure the female is healthy, in good shape, and not overweight. The gestation period for a female is about 62 days. It is important to test the female to see if she is pregnant. You can do an ultrasound at about 29 days after she is bred. A simple blood pregnancy test is even available now through reproductive veterinarians.
Now that you know your female is pregnant, you will need to make sure she is getting the proper food and the correct amount. You will want to gradually increase her food intake and make sure the food has the proper nutrition for a pregnant female. She also will need to be dewormed at around 40 days. You will also need to make sure she is in a comfortable temperature regulated facility. Some breeders will give the female vitamins. When she has had her puppies, breeders will start the mother on calcium. It is not as serious in our breed, but the Terrier breeds have many problems with calcium deficiency in the mother, which can cause death to the female. The puppies will deplete the mother with nutrition and mostly calcium. Do not give the mother calcium supplement until after she has delivered her puppies.
The puppies can be supplemented with a liquid puppy vitamin, but if the mother is very healthy and eating well, then the puppies should be getting enough nutrition. As they get older, you will want to start them on a good quality puppy food and still feed milk supplement of either goat’s milk or a milk replacer that is made specifically for the puppies. This is started at about three to four weeks of age. The puppies should still get their mother’s milk up to six to eight weeks of age.
Now you have a litter of strong healthy puppies. The decision is whether to keep puppies or to place them in loving homes. Make sure if you keep puppies, you have the time and patience to work and socialize them enough to tum out to be well-balanced dogs. You never know-the next great Rottweiler can come from the puppies you kept for yourself!
Download the PDF: Puppy Basics for New Owner – Issue 3 of 2014
Article written by Evie Lynn
Published in Total Rottweiler Magazine, Issue 3 of 2014