Cocker Spaniel Stud Dogs

Before mating your bitch there are a few things to consider to make sure you are well prepared for the 63 day gestation period and for rearing and finding homes for you new puppies. On this page we have a list of things to do and check before taking the next step.

Cocker Spaniel Breeding Advice

Breeding and rearing your own litter is very rewarding on many levels but its good advice to take advice before taking the first step of having your bitch mated. We have put together a list below as a guide to help you make an informed decision highlighting key points to help you prepare for breeding. Click on each item for further information or click here to expand the entire page. We also are now a member of a new dog breeding forum which we look at every day so please feel free to join yourself and ask any questions. Dog breeding forum

Will your bitch be 2 Years old and under 8 at the time of whelping?

The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 states a bitch must be 1 year old at the time of mating. In our opinion and that of many, a year old Cocker Spaniel is still not fully grown and breeding at this age is best not wilfully practised. For this reason to encourage responsible breeding we advise that your bitch will be close to two years old at the time of whelping.
It is not against the law to intentionally breed form a bitch over 8 years old but the Kennel Club will not register a litter that is produced by a bitch over 8 years old at the time of whelping unless the bitch has had at least one previous registered litter. Other conditions in this case include applying for written consent by the kennel club with veterinary approval of the bitch to be bred from.
Note: From Jan 2012 The kennel club will only register 4 litters from one bitch and The Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999 states a bitch must only have 1 litter in a 12 month period.

Is your bitch in good health and free of any genetically inherited conditions?

Cocker Spaniels are a pretty healthy breed in comparison however there are some genetically inherited conditions that do affect the breed. Hip Dysplasia has been seen in Cocker Spaniels but is not common as it is in other breeds such as Golden Retrievers. In cases where it has been seen it is likely that environmental factors such as nutrition (specially at an early age) growth rate and exercise have played a large part in the development of the disease.
The eye condition Progressive Retinal Atrophy (PRA) and Familial Nethropathy (FN) also know as Shrunken Kidney can effect Cockers. These are both recessive conditions needing both stud and dam to be carrying the faulty gene to produce an effected pup.

Is the pedigree of your bitch compatible with Oscar's pedigree?

Key points to consider are no similarities between the pedigree line of dog and bitch for the first 2 generations. Information on checking pedigree compatibility.

Does your bitch have a good temperament?

Although for the most part a dog's temperament is created by environmental factors however occasionally breeding can be responsible and in this case its not best practise to continue the line. If your bitch is snappy and you are certain that training, discipline and exposure to mistreatment is not responsible then breeding from her would be best avoided.

Have you considered vet fees should there be any complications?

Is is a certainty that you will need to take your bitch to the vet during the gestation period for several checks to be sure all is well. If it is the first litter for your dog and your first time breeding you may need to call a vet during labour if complications arise such as a lodged pup or a retained placenta which will need an injection to induce contractions. Worse case scenario your bitch may need a caesarean section. The bitch and pups will also need worming several times.

Tending to your bitch in the final week of gestation?

Dogs are usually to the day with their due date but of course exceptions do occur (Bella was 5 days early with her last litter.) The norm is for a bitch to give birth during the evening and labour can last for 10 hrs or more. With this in mind its important for the welfare of your bitch and the pending litter for round the clock observation of your bitch so any help needed will be there for her.

Can your vet be called out at any time if need be?

When the time nears for whelping its a good idea to inform your vet of the due date and confirm his availability for call out at any time if need be. In our experience cockers whelp pretty well without the need for veterinary assistance but preparation is always a good thing. All good vets will provide this service although do except a premium charge for out of hours call outs.

Do you have a suitable room/area for your bitch to whelp?

Having a comfortable area for your bitch will greatly reduce the stress of giving birth and a new litter. Choose a place that can be kept reasonably quiet (or is familiar to the bitch) for whelping and the first week or so of the pup's life. Bitches prefer where possible to be left alone and its best to try and avoid the temptation to show your friends your new bundles of pride and joy for the first week to keep stress on the bitch to a minimum. If you have other pets such as dogs or cats, they need to be kept away from her. A new mum will protect instinctively protect her litter even if under normal circumstances they are best of friends with your other pets.
Its also a good idea to use a whelping box which will greatly reduce the chances of pups being laid on and trapped by the bitch. If you can manage some simple DIY we have a page with detailed plans for how to make a whelping box.

Will you have the available time to look after the litter?

Breeding puppies is very rewarding but looking after a litter does require some input from you. A freshly weaned litter will need feeding four times a day and cleaning of their enclosure.

Have you considered how you will find new homes for your pups?

As you may have read by now we provide a free puppy advertising service to help you find suitable homes for your pups. We have a tremendous success in finding homes for puppies through this site so even if you don't use Oscar we advise you to use our advertising service. Other considerations are Shooting and gun dog websites and country periodicals.

Dealing with potential owners

Its important for your own peace of mind that your wonderfully cared for and excellent breed examples go to homes you are happy and confident will continue to receive the same love and care you have given them. Most people who are prepared to pay for a pedigree cocker will love and care for the dog and as a dog lover yourself you will always get a good feel for this from the potential owners. If however you do have doubts don't worry about offending people by saying you are not happy with them having one. Better to have a few temporary uncomfortable moments than to be worried for weeks about your pup's wellbeing.

Taking back a pup or adult dog should the need arise?

Although this has never happened to us the Kennel Club guidelines say it is the responsibility of the breeder to take back any pup sold by them at any age and look after that dog until a new home can be found should such circumstances present themselves to the owners to whom the breeder supplied the dog. As mentioned we have not experienced this with any of our litters but we have always told new owners that should their circumstances change and they are unable to take proper care of their dog then we would happily take the dog back and find a suitable home.

Offering advise to new owners

Some of your new owners may be first time dogs owners or first time owners of Cocker Spaniels and will welcome help, advice and guidance after the purchase of their puppy. It's good practise to be available and provide them with a means of contacting you for advice and any assistance they may need. This is never an arduous task even from the most inquisitive new owner and is often a pleasure to share your knowledge with like minded dog lovers.

Being well informed of the road ahead with good preparation is always key when undertaking any new responsibility, we are always available and willing help or advise with your bitch or litter by phone or by email using our contact form. whether you have used our stud dog or another.

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