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
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
Is the pedigree of your bitch compatible with
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.
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
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
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
Do you have a suitable room/area for your bitch to
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.