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Up Topic Dog Boards / Breeding / Mating a bitch early can cause small litters?
- By moon [in] Date 09.05.08 11:37 GMT
I was told by another breeder the other day, that (they heard) mating a bitch too early can cause smaller litters than normal, even if she is mated again while in estrus.

Could there be any truth in this, would mating a bitch a bit early cause her to release less eggs?

I personally thought litter size was determined by the bitches reproductive health & if mated during estrus the varying amount of pups produced was to do with quality of fertilised embryo's and the ability of them to bed into the uterus. (assuming sperm count is also normal)

I would love to hear anyones veiws on this :)
- By Brainless [gb] Date 09.05.08 11:47 GMT
The only way I could see it affecting litter size is if it is just one mating nd the sperm have to hang around a long time to wait for ripe eggs.

Possibly with a  dog whose fertility is waning too early mating will mean that by the time he mates at the right time with repeated services he will be out of enough of the goods.

As you say the main influence on the number of pups is the number of eggs, then the implantation and maintenance of the pregnancy, all things which can go wrong, the balance of hormones, some infectious cause, stress trauma etc.
- By Chloe101 Date 09.05.08 12:09 GMT
That is weird as I have the same theory!  I have mated 3 of my dogs on day 11.  One a small breed resulted in two puppies.  When I spoke to her breeder who also used owned the same stud dog he said that he had the same problem with her mother.  He is the top breeder for his breed and has been for a longer time than I care to remember.

Then one of my champions was mated had a litter of 9 when her consequetive litter had 14 in it.

One of my other bitches we thought we were going to have trouble with did it on day 11 only had 7 pups, next litter 12 and final litter again on day 11 as the dog was inexperienced and we wanted to try it out she again only had 7 puppies.  Mind you they are gorgeous so what she lacked in quantity she made up for in quality. :)

Anyway in my opinion yes there is some truth in it as all of these bitches had 2nd matings and were all different stud dogs.
- By Brainless [gb] Date 09.05.08 12:32 GMT
I can't see your thinking at all. 

7 pups is not 'only' it's a good size litter.  the other that you spoke of had small litters as did her Dam, not unexpected at all, and could be for any manner of reasons passed down. 

Maybe their hormone levels are a little out etc.

Bitches seasons vary, the hormone levels can vary as can the presence of infectious or other agents affecting conception or pregnancy.

I have had bitches miss now 5 times, each bitch getting in whelp on the next attempt (though waiting to see if this happens this time to the girl who missed last time), mated at the same times, in each case I used a different stud than the previous attempt, but in most of the cases the studs produced pup to other bitches after.

I have had between four and 9 live births though have reared from 3 to 9, and most often have had litters of four or 7 pups, interestingly from the same bitches, in one case from the same pairing 4 first time and 7 the next almost two years later.
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 09.05.08 12:40 GMT
Remember that the original question was:

>Could there be any truth in this, would mating a bitch a bit early cause her to release less eggs?

Not that mating too early meant that there weren't enough sperm available to fertilise the eggs once they were released (very possible) and resulted in a smaller litter, but whether the early mating actually prevented the release of the eggs in the first place - the ones that would have been released if the bitch was mated later, or not at all.

In answer to that no, I don't think there's any evidence at all to suggest that early mating prevents ovulation.
- By calmstorm Date 09.05.08 12:50 GMT
I was told by another breeder the other day, that (they heard) mating a bitch too early can cause smaller litters than normal, even if she is mated again while in estrus.

If this were true, then it would be an excellent way to limit numbers of puppies born.
- By Nova Date 09.05.08 13:12 GMT
I would think that ripe eggs would be released no matter what, mating too early may mean the sperm is too weak to fertilise the eggs by the time they are present. It is also possible that mating too early could introduce mild infection that could also cause some of the ripe eggs or the sperm to be less effective than they may have been.

There are any number of reasons why a bitch produces litters of different sizes, almost anything that the bitch experiences in the 3 months before mating could and does affect the number of whelps carried to parturition. The same applies to the viability of the sperm a dog who have been un well or kept in an over warm place can have his fertility effected for up to 12 weeks.
- By Chloe101 Date 09.05.08 14:26 GMT
Sorry not sure how to do a quote but in reply to your theory barbara 7 is a small litter when 3 previous generations have had between 12 and 15 in a litter.  I suppose it depends on what your breed is however in mine 7 is what I would consider a nice size litter but small by comparision.

As for the comment out my mini's mother having small litters she didnt when she was mated at a later date and the experience of someone who breeds these and adviced me to leave her later next time is in my opinion very valuable advise.  As I have already stated he is a top breeder and someone who's opinion I value greatly.

I am sorry I disagree with your opinion however I have bred a number of litters and this is my findings not based on medical evidence obviously but by experience!
- By Nova Date 09.05.08 15:21 GMT
Well, of course, mating at the correct time is always best and if you believe that mating early causes small litters they you will not do it again.

Think we are always prepared to listen to those with experience but would be pleased to hear the theory behind your experienced breeding friend's conclusions please.
- By LucyDogs [gb] Date 09.05.08 17:40 GMT
I've heard the opposite, that mating later gives small litters. I've also heard mating earlier gives you more girls, certainly my girl was mated late and had 2 boys, so it's possible, though I can't see the scientific reasoning... :-)
- By Brainless [gb] Date 09.05.08 17:47 GMT
This article on timings may be of interest/shed some light
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 09.05.08 17:50 GMT

>my mini's mother having small litters she didnt when she was mated at a later date

But that's not was the OP's question was, is it? If you mate twice (early then a day or so later) you're ensuring that there are as many motile sperm in the tract for the entire period of ovulation. Bearing in mind that ovulation takes place over a couple of days, if you do a single mating early, and the bitch ovulates late, then the number of available sperm will be lessened, making the chance of each available egg fertilising successfully lower. That's accepted science.

What the OP has heard and is querying is whether an early mating prevents more eggs being shed, thus making the litter smaller. That's a very different scenario to the sperm which remain in the tract because the mating was too early to coincide with ovulation not being viable.
- By hayley123 Date 09.05.08 20:56 GMT
i dont get the too early part about this question, surely if it was too early then the bitch wouldnt catch?
- By hayley123 Date 09.05.08 21:00 GMT
ive heard some one say about this topic before and i dont believe it, also a friend of ours took her shi tzu? to be mated and was told that you get more pups if you do a second mating!!! id love to know where some people get their information from
- By Jeangenie [gb] Date 09.05.08 21:03 GMT Edited 09.05.08 21:06 GMT

>i dont get the too early part about this question

I think the OP means 'too early for maximum litter size'.

>was told that you get more pups if you do a second mating!

A single mating at the right time (which varies from bitch to bitch and from season to season in each bitch) is all that's needed. It's picking the right day that's the tricky part - so two matings, two days apart is the best way to ensure likely success.
- By Brainless [gb] Date 09.05.08 21:06 GMT Edited 09.05.08 21:11 GMT

> was told that you get more pups if you do a second mating!!! id love to know where some people get their information from

There is some truth to getting more pups with more matings, if the first was a bit too early and the quality of the sperm was reduced by the time eggs are ripe, a second mating will deposit fresh sperm to hopefully be capable of fertilising the ripe eggs ready later than the first matings sperm are viable, and also catch any late ripening ones.

For best chances of conception a bitch should be mated until she will no longer stand (within reason), though more than five days the rate of the dogs dogs sperm production may be affected.  I expect in the wild that woudl be as long as the dog would be productively able (he's ahve another year to recover) and the bitch be willing.

So every second day covers all bases, be that two matings or three.
- By Zajak [gb] Date 09.05.08 21:11 GMT
Hi All

I tried to mate my bitch for her first litter bang on when she seemed ready (according to her brother who howls for 5 days around the time she's ready), however we didnt manage to get a mating until 2 days later and the result was only 3 puppies which is really small for my breed.

On her next litter I blood tested her (taken by vet but results tested by specialist fertility lab) and she was mated the day before and day after ovulation.  Again, I went on her brother's signs as the results were not back until later in the day of the first mating (we had a 7 hour trip each direction).  I was hoping to have a bigger litter this time as she had some complications with her last litter with only a small number.  The result was 9 healthy puppies!

I felt that the first litter was slightly too late, bearing in mind my dog had said she was ready when we went for the first mating.  Because we didn't get a mating until 2 days later, I think the eggs had started to "go over".  I planned to take her slightly earlier for the 2nd litter to try to ensure more puppies.  I suppose if we had gone way to early then maybe it wouldn't have come off, who knows?  Also, I used a different dog 2nd time around.  Personally, I feel that mating a day before and a day after ovulation worked for me and my bitch because it meant that the sperm was waiting for the eggs when they became ready.  The opposite of what had happened on her first litter.
- By moon [in] Date 09.05.08 21:44 GMT
Thankyou for all your opinions, this forum is fab, wish I joined years ago! :)

Just to clarify the question I was asking, here's an example:

A bitch is sucessfully mated by an experienced stud dog (she is a bitch/breed which does not obviously 'flag') On smear testing the next morning (remember this is an example) the bitch is found to be in the proestrus stage.

She is then bred again 72 hours later, again sucessfully, the smear for that day showed she was in estrus.

How would this possibly affect her fertility/egg release... ie. the litter size?

I just wanted to ask as I'd never heard this theory before.

I have also been told many times about the late/early matings to produce boys or girls and have found no correlation as yet.
- By Brainless [gb] Date 09.05.08 23:19 GMT Edited 10.05.08 08:12 GMT
I have reared a total of 74 pups, of these 47 were bitches, and 27 dogs.  Statistically the sex ratio shoudl be 50/50.  Most of my girls have been mated late at around 15 days or later, so I don't think the early for girls works out.  Of course on the last two occasions I kept a puppy the litters had just two bitches.

A litter I really wanted a nice male to place for later breeding to was all female, best laid plans as they say.  This time I want another bitch to keep and bet I will get mostly or all boys.
- By minnie mouses [in] Date 10.05.08 07:52 GMT
I have only had 1matings on day 11 or 12 and had between 4to 8 pups each time. mated one girl first time she had 2 boys 6 girls second one had 2girls 6 boys mated on day 12 both times. I thought it was the male who gave the sex of the puppies not the female.
Up Topic Dog Boards / Breeding / Mating a bitch early can cause small litters?

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