A male breeding dog is called a stud dog. There are multiple factors that go into stud dog selection—selecting for fertility, ease of breeding, litter size and the ability to correct a weakness we see in our female dogs. We select new genetics because of conformation, size, and the ability to reproduce the traits in offspring. Much time goes into looking at parents and siblings as stud dogs are selected and purchased as puppies. We keep our own female dogs as we can raise better females with known maternal traits for whelping, litter size, and ease of handling than we can buy. Replacement females will be selected out of these stud dogs, so select well. Remember, management should not stop after the purchase.
Stud Dog Health Tests
Once selected, take your stud dog prospect to a veterinarian for a health exam. Your veterinarian should make sure he has both testicles in the scrotum, and that the prepuce and penis are normal. The veterinarian should also assess the knees, hips, heart, bite, hernias (umbilical and/or inguinal) and general health. There is rarely a perfect puppy, and we need to know where the weakness is to decide if we will keep him.
Once he passes his veterinary exam, he needs a Brucellosis test to prove he is negative for this disease. Repeat the Brucellosis test in 60 days to prove he stayed negative and was not incubating the disease at purchase. We don’t want to introduce a disease we don’t have! Screening for Brucellosis must be run at a lab on serum (blood). There is no longer an FDA approved Brucella test kit available for home use or use at the veterinary clinic.
Raising a Stud Dog
We recommend giving Doc Roy’s® Daily Care vitamins to replacements we are growing for breeding, male or female dogs. Daily Care helps support optimum growth. The goal is to raise replacements that mature physically by one and one half years of age. Their diet should be the one you raise your puppies on as you are feeding the best food you can get.
Can Breeding Dogs Live Together
Once home, isolate for four weeks, treat for internal and external parasites, give a booster vaccination, and make sure he is staying healthy. After the four week isolation, we can raise with appropriate sized and temperament puppies. Do not select a roommate that is dominant as we want this guy to be dominant and an aggressive breeder. Never grow a stud dog prospect with a retired female. Grandma will box his ears every time he acts like a teenage boy and suppress breeding behavior. Breeding is a learned trait, and we want to set this guy up for success.
By five months of age, it is good to house a stud dog by himself or with another male his age, but definitely not with another female. They can breed but we do not want a female pregnant before she is mature. Allowing him to see breeding behavior is good, but be cautious with housing next to an older male who will intimidate him through the fence. They still have “pack mentality,” and only the most dominant male breeds. An intimidated male will not mount or breed in the other male’s presence, and we do not want to see that behavior in a young stud dog.
What Age Can Male Dogs Breed
If you’re wondering when can a male dog start breeding, new stud dogs can see limited use when one year of age. Large breed pups mature later than small breed males. By one and one half years of age, we can use as we do our adult males, if they have grown well. Mature males can be bred once a day without lowering sperm count significantly. Four females to one male is easily managed; breeders manage six females to one male if breeding is controlled. This allows the best genetics in our puppies. Breeding female dogs every other day will allow us to settle females in standing heat and keep male sperm count high. Timing females with progesterone testing can help assure he is maximizing his breeding capacity.
Dog Low Sperm Count
Occasionally a young male’s sperm count is low for no good reason, and you’ll want to raise the sperm count effectively. Breeder’s Edge® Oxy Stud™ vitamins for males supports a healthy sperm count. L-Carnitine, vitamin D and zinc, as well as many minor minerals and vitamins, are needed for sperm production. Oxy Stud™ packages these vitamins in either a meat treat or a meat flavored soft chew. Giving Oxy Stud™ once daily supports sperm count in sub-fertile males in 60 days. Additional supplements for stud dogs include Breeder’s Edge® Problem Male™, and Breeder’s Edge® Get Him Going™. Each are formulated for the unique needs of a breeding dog and enhances male dog reproductive performance.
We purchase replacement genetics in an effort to raise the perfect puppy. We never get to perfect but that is what keeps us trying! Stud dog selection is part of that effort, but you must raise your replacements effectively. You purchased him for his genetics; let’s raise him to become the stud we purchased!
If you have more questions on raising a stud dog, us at 800.786.4751.
Article originally written by Donald Bramlage, DVM, Revival’s Former Director of Veterinary Services.
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.