Numbers that help and hinder your breeding success
Dog breeders may not be into math but we toss a lot of numbers around while breeding. Some of these numbers are important, while others are not. Being able to distinguish between those will reduce your frustration and increase your breeding success.
Let’s start with three of the less important numbers:
Day she is on: Breeders often start a conversation with “My bitch is on Day 9.” Heat cycles vary so much from bitch to bitch and even within the same bitch that the day she came in won’t help you accurately determine when to breed her this time. We’ve had successful breedings as early as Day 6 and as late as Day 21, as well as unsuccessful breedings on the “correct” days—Day 9, 11 and 13.
She bred on Day ___ for her last litter: Certainly having your bitch’s history can help you plan but just because your girl bred on Day 11 last litter doesn’t mean she’ll do it again this time. She may progress so quickly through her season that she’ll be out by Day 11 and it will be too late to ship in semen. Or she may move at a snail’s pace and not even ovulate by Day 11, making early shipments a waste of time, money and effort.
How long since her last season: Many breeders begin to worry when a bitch is “late.” Again, heat cycles vary so much that this information is only useful at the extremes. If she had her last cycle less than 5 months ago or more than 18 months ago, you might want to talk to your vet. Otherwise, accept her as normal, put a little weight on her, leave her with a friend whose bitch is in, and plan a big vacation. She’ll come in!
So what numbers are important? Those that dramatically improve the success of your breedings, both in numbers of pregnancies and puppies. If you are a seasoned breeder doing a natural breeding at home with your own experienced dogs, you may not need them but they sure are worth it if you are: