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Previous Next Up Topic Dog Boards / Breeding / breeding my 7 year old bitch
By pengoodwin [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:06 GMT Edited 20.03.12 22:22 GMT
have done a health check today for my 7yr old (medium large gundog breed). all is fine. we hope to breed her for first time. saw two vets at same practice and both differ opinions. one says she is healthy and all will be fine and the other says she maybe too old for her first litter.  i am now totally confused.  obviously the welfare of my dog is priority, i just wanted to have some puppies from her so i can keep them.  any info would be great and maybe will put my mind at rest
By ChristineW (***) [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:07 GMT
She is too old.   Although I feel this has been 'added' in light of the Crufts post.
By PennyGC (***) [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:11 GMT
I feel 7 years is too old for a first litter :-( having spent the day (boxing day) at the vets with my friend and her exceptionally fit and active 7 year old border collie struggling to give birth to what are now two fantastic dogs, then having her have to have a c-section to remove the dead pups :-( I wouldn't want anyone to go through that - even our extremely good vet was surprised the first pup was alive... she should have had a c-section earlier I think, but it wouldn't have saved the other pups :-(  Sorry, but if it was me I'd not put her through the trauma.
Agility is fun
By Carrington (****) [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:36 GMT
Pengoodwin, when you say that your 7yr old is healthy and so a possibility for breeding, does that mean the vets have just looked her over and said she is in good condition or have you actually had her hips/elbows scored and her eyes tested annually prior to potentially breeding? Both a must.

Even if hips and eyes were good at 7yrs old I would not mate a bitch for the first time unless the breed numbers and choices for the reasonings behind breeding left no satisfactory bitches and were so very low you had no choice. The Lab next to the Staff is the most overbred breed there are thousands of dogs/bitches available for breeding purposes all younger, and from many line variations so why would anyone breed from a 7yr old? There is absolutely no reason for it.

Your only reason for breeding is i just wanted to have some puppies from her so i can keep them.  how many were you planning on keeping by the way?

There is a lot more to breeding than this, I would suggest that you go back to your original breeder or trace the lines of your 7yr old and get another puppy that way rather than risk your bitches life. :-)
By cracar (***) [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:38 GMT
Very wise post from Carrington! You should take heed.
By Jeangenie (*****) [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:45 GMT
At seven she's definitely too old to have a first litter, and of course she'll need to be hip-scored and eye-tested by a specialist ophthamologist, and get certificates to prove that she won't pass hereditary eye conditions to her puppies. These tests will cost you a couple of hundred pounds, but are essential.
A closed mouth gathers no feet
By LJS (****) [gb] Date 20.03.12 18:55 GMT
This site gives a very good view of the health tests recommended for labs and also gives a good in site to some of the labs that have been bred that we're not screened and have had to endure chronic conditions because of the health issues.

http://www.lab-health.co.uk/

Don't do it as the cost of the health yet and the cost of whelping and bring the puppies up will cost slot if money then are you prepared to take back any of the pups you sell as a good breeder will always consider this. Unfortunately alot don't and we deal with the consequences in rescue.

Go to a good reputable breeder who knows that have used fully tested parents that can verify that the dogs are good examples of the breed both from a confirmation view but just as important the dogs are both of sound temperament. See if they will accept you onto a waiting list for a pup.

It is not as simple task breeding, and should take a good few years of research making sure you are fully prepared and also knowledgable with hopefully a mentor to guide you.
By penfold (**) [gb] Date 20.03.12 19:10 GMT
She is too old.   Although I feel this has been 'added' in light of the Crufts post.

I'm also a little cynical that this may perhaps be a troll post.  Hey ho, either way, they have been given good advice.
By MsTemeraire (***) Date 20.03.12 20:34 GMT

> At seven she's definitely too old to have a first litter


We shouldn't forget the newspaper columnist who bred from her 7 year old Labrador last year. Also too old for a first litter, and in my view the owner was exceptionally lucky for her bitch and pups to survive (particularly as she wasn't being watched and whelped the first one or two alone, I think she also lost one?). Others may not be so fortunate, particularly if the owner is also breeding for the first time. Declining hormone levels in older maiden bitches could lead to various issues including uterine inertia, and would a novice know how to spot this?
Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.
By Chillington (*) [pt] Date 20.03.12 21:08 GMT
I think 7 years old is a bit late for a first litter, but it depends on the individual and the breed. My bitches are quite young at seven (I took an eight year old to a show this weekend, and someone from the public approached us to ask about the breed, and was convinced she was still a puppy because she was jumping, trying to steal bait from my coat pockets). But they are a small rustic breed, that live a long time. Seven years old is not really old for them.
In God we trust; all others must bring data.
By LJS (****) [gb] Date 20.03.12 22:02 GMT
Age is just one of many reasons why the OP should consider why not to breed :-)
By JeanSW (****) [gb] Date 20.03.12 22:22 GMT
I have to say that if a friend of mine told me they were expecting to breed from a maiden bitch at this age, I would absolutely wipe the floor with them, and give them a lecture on welfare.

And, although someone has said that their 7 year olds are "lively" that hardly excuses a first litter.  I can't believe a true dog lover would be so stupid.
The hurrier I go - the behinder I get!
By Goldmali (****) [gb] Date 20.03.12 22:27 GMT
And, although someone has said that their 7 year olds are "lively" that hardly excuses a first litter.

Indeed. My 12 year old is very lively, enjoys long walks and everyone thinks she is years younger -but ACTING and looking young has absolutely nothing to do with breeding, the ACTUAL age is what counts then!
Marianne. Dogs are not our whole lives, there are cats too!
By japmum (**) [gb] Date 20.03.12 22:27 GMT
Perhaps I just have a suspicious mind but I think this thread is a little dig at Elizabeth,but if not then the advice given alredy sums it all up nicely
life without a dog is incomplete
By MsTemeraire (***) Date 20.03.12 22:54 GMT

> Perhaps I just have a suspicious mind but I think this thread is a little dig at Elizabeth


Could well be.
Not that I agree with Elizabeth being bred from so late in life (do we know if she has already had a litter? that could make a difference!), but her owner is an experienced breeder and presumably is aware of all the risks.... again, I'm not condoning it. I wouldn't risk it.

Not that I agree with this either: but an elective c-section in a small breed carrying 4-5 pup max, is not the same as an emergency c-section in a 7-year old Labrador possibly carrying anything up to 12 puppies, with an owner who has had no previous experience of whelping, who may well be putting their girl's life on the line; not to mention the unborn lives.
Acquiring a dog may be the only opportunity a human ever has to choose a relative.
By japmum (**) [gb] Date 20.03.12 23:15 GMT
Well put Ms Temeraire!
life without a dog is incomplete
By JeanSW (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 00:06 GMT

>with an owner who has had no previous experience of whelping


EXACTLY!
The hurrier I go - the behinder I get!
By tadog (***) [gb] Date 21.03.12 06:58 GMT
on a facebook flatcoat post.....

Bitch (has had prev litter(s)) 11.5 produced a singleton pup without anyone knowing she was in whelp. quite amazing the supporting post this person has recieved.

me. dont think so.
By tooolz (***) [gb] Date 21.03.12 08:02 GMT

> Bitch (has had prev litter(s)) 11.5 produced a singleton pup without anyone knowing she was in whelp. quite amazing the supporting post this person has recieved


Perhaps stable door - horse bolted?
By ashsbt201288 (*) [gb] Date 21.03.12 09:52 GMT
if this is a genuine post (which i doubt) 7 is far to old and im shocked it would even cross someones mind to breed at such an age especially when they have no clue what there doing , my 7 yo bitch is already quite grey around her muzzle and eyes she is fit and active but is obv to old .
as said sounds like a troll but hey since they havnt gotten the reaction they wanted we wont hear of them again ..... on the other hand i have to say if this is genuine follow the advice given above by some very experienced breeders !!!

p.s personal question at what age is a bitch retired is it 5 ? x
By JeanSW (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 10:14 GMT

> p.s personal question at what age is a bitch retired is it 5 ? x


I personally have my very small breed spayed at 4 years, but I do believe that the decision is dependent on breed.  My breed is adult by 6 months.  Compare that to a Lab, who is still quite puppyish at 2 years in some lines.
The hurrier I go - the behinder I get!
By Jeangenie (*****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 10:16 GMT

>p.s personal question at what age is a bitch retired is it 5 ? x


In most breeds (other than toys) 5 would be the upper limit for a first litter. Most breeds shouldn't have their first litter before the age of 2, with the ideal age being 3 years.
A closed mouth gathers no feet
By Goldmali (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 12:40 GMT
p.s personal question at what age is a bitch retired is it 5 ? x

I wouldn't think twice about having a litter from a bitch aged 6 (and have done) -provided she'd had at least one litter before without problems, and not several years earlier, max of 2 years earlier. I would think twice before having one at 7, but if she'd had two litters before without problems, I'd see no reason not to. (Except normally by that age I'd surely have had the pups I wanted -but if say a new stud dog had been imported and made available that would be an outstanding opportunity, then that could be a reason for another litter.) But both my breeds don't age and go on forever, other breeds do.
Marianne. Dogs are not our whole lives, there are cats too!
By rabid (***) [gb] Date 21.03.12 13:13 GMT Edited 21.03.12 13:22 GMT
Deep breath anticipating not much agreement here, but I think that there are positives to breeding from an older bitch.

If a bitch has reached the age of 7yo and has not experienced cancer or any other inheritable health problem for her breed, then she has proven she has genes well worth passing on.  This does depend on the breed.  For example, in flat-coats, who tend to die from cancer around the age of 8, it would be especially advantageous.

I read some time ago of a flat-coated breeder in the US, who decided to try a novel breeding approach to drive down the incidence of cancer in the breed:  She decided to breed only from dogs which had reached the age of 6yo (first litter) for females and from males who were even older.  The incidences of cancer in her line has dropped massively and her dogs have an average life expectancy of 11 yo - much better than the average flat-coat owner.

She has only experienced a slight increase in difficult births/c-sections and so on, which she gladly accepts for the reduction in cancer.

Given the huge number of heritable diseases which many pedigree dogs are prone to - not just flat-coats - I would gladly choose a pup from an older mum.  And I would breed from a dog up to the max age the KC would register the pups at, whilst being aware that I might need more help and monitoring from the vet and to be well prepared.

Obviously all health tests etc need to have been carried out and the dog needs to be fit and healthy.  Dogs which are looking frail and elderly by age 7 obviously shouldn't be bred because they won't be able to stand up to the assault on their bodies which is raising a litter.  But this is very dependent on the individual dog and a one-size-fits-all answer isn't appropriate.  Some 7yos are incredibly healthy and energetic and young-looking.

Plenty of older women have healthy first babies.  Sure, the risk of things going wrong (for baby and mum) are higher - but we (society) don't tell them they are irresponsible for trying and shouldn't do it.  We just monitor them more closely, are aware of the risks, and are ready to intervene.
By Goldmali (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 13:30 GMT
If a bitch has reached the age of 7yo and has not experienced cancer or any other inheritable health problem for her breed, then she has proven she has genes well worth passing on.

I know of a bitch in my breed who recently had her first litter aged 6 . She had never been ill in her life, absolutely nothing. She now developed auto immune disease and the vet was of then opinion it was having the pups that brought it on.
Marianne. Dogs are not our whole lives, there are cats too!
By dogs a babe (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 13:33 GMT

> Deep breath anticipating not much agreement here, but I think that there are positives to breeding from an older bitch.


Rabid, as you also say, this statement does need to be qualified though: you wouldn't advocate it as a rule, it's not appropriate for all breeds, and definitely not to be recommended for all breeders either. 

It's all well and good for there to be exceptions (and your example might be one) but I do think we should all exercise caution when discussing them - particularly when the initial post appears to be trolling for a reaction.  I'd suggest that a one-size-fits-all answer is appropriate until we have more information - if indeed this is a genuine enquiry then it makes sense to have some of the questions answered before endorsing such a mating in this case.
Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see ~Mark Twain
By Goldmali (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 14:38 GMT
particularly when the initial post appears to be trolling for a reaction.

Indeed, because next thing we know the media will be saying that dog breeders considers it perfectly okay to breed from a bitch aged 7 for the first time, and aren't we all cruel.....
Marianne. Dogs are not our whole lives, there are cats too!
By Brainless (*****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 18:22 GMT
agree with others too old for a first litter.  My breed advise a first litter before five,and that is a medium size, natural long lived hardy breed.
Barbara and the Grey Curly Tails.
By Brainless (*****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 18:27 GMT

> xmlns="http://www.w3.org/1999/xhtml">I think 7 years old is a bit late for a first litter


I generally have a bitch have her last litter prior to 7 years old.
Barbara and the Grey Curly Tails.
By Nova (****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 18:34 GMT
Apart from any other consideration the joints stiffen up even in a healthy dog, the muscle tone is not as elastic and the body is unable to replace used elements fast enough and can finish up, having had a litter, a shadow of their past selves.
Jackie H
By Brainless (*****) [gb] Date 21.03.12 18:34 GMT
I would generally say in such cases (breeds with poor longevity)then I would mate a younger bitch to an older dog, where the bitches mother was still healthy at 6 years plus.  I would only use younger dogs on a bitches last litter at say 6 - 7.
Barbara and the Grey Curly Tails.
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