MATERNITY


IN SEASON - CHOICE OF A PARENT - GENEALOGY AND CONSANGUINITY - MATING
GESTATION - WELPING - GROWTH - PUBERTY

IN SEASON

The oestrous cycle proceeds over six months and is divided into four phases which are the pro-oestrus (before ovulation), the oestrus (who lasts nine days) the metoestrus (after the ovular laying, two months) and the anoestrus (period of hormonal rest).
The first heats in the female generally occur between 8 and 12 months but some can be earlier. Then, they will occur every six months on average (the male can procreate at any time of the year as soon as it became adult).
The symptoms are the following: swelling of the vulva, blood losses and chemical messages attracting the males. With the approach of ovulation, the female becomes more receptive with the male, which can increase the risks of running away.

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CHOICE OF A PARENT

Your choice will be made on a standard according to proper characteristics' of your female and of a male. The standard of breed will be there extremely useful.
Thanks to the laws of the transmission of the characters, it is far time from the empirical selection practised by the breeders from formerly. At least, it is to be wished that a many breeders of today, anxious to preserve and improve qualities of the breeds and to eliminate the defects, have the basic rudiments necessary to a good selection including the type, conformation and the temperament.
If you are neophyte, made confidence with the breeder that you will have chosen (that can be that which will have sold the female to you) which will be able to propose to you the standard which will be appropriate best.

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GENEALOGY AND CONSANGUINITY

phenotype
Visible characters (it is those which are judged in show) of a subject as well with the morphological plan as behavioral.
genotype
Hereditary potential of a parent whom one evaluates by the examination of the greatest number of descendants.
genes
Elements of the chromosome which condition the transmission of heredity.
locus
Basic gene determining a form of character.
alleles
Various forms which a gene in a given locus can take.
dominating genes
They remove the characters of their partners of the same pair; the character due to a gene dominating appears automatically even if it is inherited only one relative.
recessive genes
They appear if they are inherited the two parents, if not they are masked by dominating genes.
homozygote
Individual who carries a couple of two dissimilar factors.
inbreeding
Narrow consanguinity with one or more ascending present several times on the pedigree.
outcross
Coupling of two parents not having any ascending commun run in their genealogy.
”retemper”
In the breedings always working with the same parents, the breeder can decide to use a subject resulting from a completely foreign line to that of his reproducers to suppress the misdeeds of narrow consanguinity.

In breeding, one speaks about stock, line and family. Let us see the stock first of all.
The majority of the breeds go down from a common stock with brothers and sisters of range or a couple. During the first generations of selection, one obtains a homogeneity of morphological characteristics. All thus rests on the basic stock (the starting string). But the dispersion of the subjects resulting from the same stock will create new families and other lines.
The current of blood, also called line, often makes go up with a particularly remarkable male reproductor by its phenotype and its genotype. This method of selection is used but has its limits because it is unaware the value of the parents and their complementarity.
With the origin of a family (dogs with the same name of breeding but resulting different parents), there is always a recognized stock. After selection on several generations, of the common characteristics were fixed and one can recognize at the majority of the subjects resulting from the same breeding the trace of the breeder. The retransmission of an identical type is the confirmation of the quality of this basic stock but can sometimes lead the breeder to have recourse to retempering to avoid a too narrow consanguinity.
Consanguinity very often makes fear, but is necessary to fix a type. But is it about narrow or distant consanguinity? The first is the fastest method but involves an obvious danger to fix qualities as well as tares, by not forgetting that in the short run, it brings to a dead end. The second opportunity is of course slower but leaves more possibilities. One will thus avoid coupling a father and his daughter for example, but two subjects having an commun run ascending and of very good quality, for example father of the one and grandfather of the other. Which are the advantages of the consanguineous unions? To emphasize the hereditary potential. The subjects obtained are homozygotes, i.e. pure for several precise characters. One finds at the descendants the same hereditary factor present in their parents (for example the edge of the eyelids hemmed of black). Consanguinity supports a greater adequacy between phenotype and genotype while partly making it possible to find qualities of the parent at the majority of his descendants, for its phenotype becomes the expression of its genotype.
But consanguinity also makes it possible to cleanse a line by also discovering its hereditary weaknesses, by detecting and eliminating with the wire from the generations the operational carriers (prone not presenting the accused defect of the parent but which have it in their genotype). The disadvantages are also important. The systematic coupling parents having a close degree of relationship implies in a final way the loss of a number of alleles within the considered family while supporting the appearance of one or more defects found in the genotype but that the former couplings had not made it possible yet to exteriorize. The principal negative effects of a consanguineous selection on several generations are thus the appearance in a certain part of the descent of characteristics being able to be invalidating although unapparent at the parents, a reduction in the weight and size of the pups compared to the usual standards, the fixing of defects, problems of behavioral balance and strings regularly empty.

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MATING

Before making the decision of mating for your female, it is not useless to make it auscultate by your veterinary surgeon who will be able to say if there are risks or not for the welping.
I disadvise to mate a female as of its first heats (better is to wait the second period) but also, for the first time, when it has more than five years.
In addition, to preserve the good health of the female, it is not good to make it twice per annum reproduce during many years.
For the mating, it is necessary to clean the genitals of the animals with a soft disinfectant. It is difficult to determine the most favorable date of the first mating and to make a standard of it for all the bitches although the majority of the specialized works affirm that it’s the thirteenth day. It is not so simple, each bitch is a particular case. A hormonal proportioning carried out by the veterinary surgeon will indicate the most favourable date.
I prefer to count from 8 to 10 days after the beginning of the blood flows. But it is completely arbitrary; by well knowing his bitch, one will notice that it is sometimes necessary to intervene earlier or later. In any case, the most favourable moment will be announced by a vulvar flow much more clearly than with the beginning. In addition, the attitude of the bitch changes, arousing the male who will not be mistaken!
It is more advisable to envisage three matings at 48 hours of interval so that there is at least a fertilizing mating (several matings can be it, the foetuses of the same range will then have different ages from one to two days).
The copulation will last between ten and forty minutes. That will be able to appear long to you, the more so as the operation is free from any feeling!
In fact, the ejaculation of the male includes three phases:
- just before the act, some drops appear at the end of the penis in order to facilitate the penetration,
- erection is complete and now, there is a greatest number of spermatozo´des,
- a new ejaculation propels a great quantity of sperm towards the uterus.
During the act, the “erectil bulbs” of the male are inflated at the base of the penis that the two partners are firmly retained. Also, that prevents sperm from outside being expelled at the time of the contractions of the female which allow the progression of the liquid towards the uterus. One should not especially try to separate them. At the contrary, if the female reacts badly, one should maintained it, firstly so that the mating is succeeded, but also because a brutal separation before the bulbs of the male are not deflated could tear the vulva of the bitch and to break the bone of the penis of the male.
For various reasons, it may be that you plan to make practise on your bitch an artificial insemination. The veterinary surgeons will answer you that the rate of success is important... but there is no guarantee.

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GESTATION

Only at the fourth week, one can make sure that the mating is a success by an abdominal palpation (not always easy to interpret for a neophyte). Then the chain formed by the embryonic blisters disappears quickly to give a uniformly thickened uterus. Palpation becomes again feasible after the sixth week. It will be more advisable to present the bitch in the course of gestation to the veterinary surgeon. By carrying out a radiography as of the sixth week (but more surely with the seventh), when the skeletons of the pups are mineralized, or better, by proceeding to an echography, the most reliable and earliest method , it will be able to count the number of foetuses, to detect possible obstacles with the welping or to diagnose anomalies of position, to envisage the welping date and, with your request, he will remain available at the proper time in the event of complication. If you choose a caesarean of suitability, it will fix you an appointment because it is necessary to act before the contractions.
During the second month of gestation, avoid with your bitch a too intense activity. You will do attention to quality of its food to prevent any proteinic, mineral and vitamin deficiency. Best is to nourish it with a pups food from the fifth week of gestation. But it is necessary to control rationing because the weight of the bitch at the end of the gestation should not exceed 125% of its weight to the mating. It will be thus judicious to increase its ration only gradually from the fifth week and only of 10% per week, with two meals.
Gestation can last from 55 to 65 days but the average is 62 days. Beyond, it will be necessary to worry and suspect a retention which will be able to possibly justify the artificial welping.
And finally, now it is known that the psychic state of the bitch is important during of the gestation and for the future of its small. So, be particularly attentive, surround it, avoid to it useless stresses.

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WELPING

For a female, the normal rectal temperature is 38░5. When a fall of a degree is noted, the welping will be announced in the 24 hours. There, if that is not already done, the bitch must be isolated. It is installed in a rather large case with walls which will prevent the babies from coming out of there. The body floor consists of a regularly changed towel. To facilitate the installation of the legs of the pups, one can install below the fabric nodes or the small objects.
The beginning of work is between two at thirty six hours, period during which the uterine contractions start and the collar is slackened. At the stage of expulsion, the contractions are stronger and closer, associated with a participation of the abdominal muscles. An amniotic bag appears at the vulva, containing a pup; two or three strong contractions later ensure its expulsion. The whole of the passage is one very variable duration , one minute at one hour. As for the placenta, it will be eliminated in a few minutes at several hours, after pups.
Often, you will not have to intervene; your presence will be enough to reassure the bitch. Of course, you will must to better remain vigilant, especially if the bitch is primiparous.
Sometimes it is necessary to help to expel the pups by seizing them while drawing gently, at the same time as the contractions, in direction of the bulges of the mother. The binding of the umbilical cord is done with one centimetre of the abdomen. It is then necessary to cut the cord with scissors and to clean it with a disinfectant which you will apply with compress. The mother must rub its pups, if not you will have to replace it. That is vital because the frictions of the rib cage take part in the release of the respiratory movements. In the event of problem, the respiratory stimulants that the veterinary surgeon will have sold to you will be necessary to the survival of the pups.
But any welping do not easily occur. There are signs which do not mislead: normal or strong contractions four hours after the beginning of work, suspension of the contractions for a bitch appearing tired and still having pups to be born, losses of abnormal aspect.
In the event of uterine lifelessness, it is possible, after antisepsy of the genital surface and the two hands, to introduce into the vagina a lubricated finger in order to exert a pressure on the ceiling of the basin, by hoping that the uterine contractions begin again. But there, a neophyte must to call upon a veterinary surgeon who will avoid many dramas...
He will make certainly use of oxytocin, hormonal substance whose property is to reinforce the contractions. The use of oxytocin must be made with understanding.
It is strongly disadvised to a not-professional using oxytocin because, used whereas exists an obstacle at the welping (insufficiently open collar, dystocie by irreducible obstruction, and so on), it induces an early placental separation which will kill the foetuses and possibly a rupture of the uterus which will be able to appear fatal for the female. After all these attempts, it will be necessary to have recourse to the Caesarean.

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GROWTH
The day of the birth, the udders of the bitch produce colostrum (passive protection against the diseases). Later, milk production will come. Sometimes, the young mother forsake its pups. The pups all shout unceasingly and at the same time. It is that they will be hungry. This, they will have to be artificially fed during a certain time. The best sign of the stop of the meal is the distension of the abdomen. The pup not having grease of reserve, it is impossible to change the meals rhythm: when the meal is digested, the pup must to be nourished again if not it can enter in hypoglycemia and die quickly.
Other worrying facts: a bitch which is never with its pups or which does not deal with their toilet (it must lick the anus of the pups and absorb their dejections); pups with the large belly painful whereas they have not just eaten. There are several reasons for the disinterest of the mother: its temperature can be higher than 38░5; she can suffer from a mammite (hotter udder with a red or purplished color); or simply it is a young mom who does yet not have experience, in which case it will have to be assisted.
The bitch must at least be with its pups six times per day and leave them to drink. If it is not the case, it should be wedged in position lying so that the pups can reach the udders.
The surest means to known if the pups have a normal growth is to weigh them every day at the same hour. The first two days, their weight will stagnate and sometimes will be able to decrease but never the third days. The weight increases approximately 5 to 10% per day: with the twelfth day, the pup must have doubled weight.
It seems that the pups take practices quickly and adopt an udder rather than another. An assumption is advanced according to which the pups would be defined as of the youth into dominant and dominated. The first would thus choose the posterior udders, more productive and which increases their physical advantage. It is not necessary to worry if the weighing day does not reveal possible delays of growth. Why intervene in these spontaneous placements? One will be able to have recourse, if it were the case, to a complement with the feeding-bottle or to insulate gloutons one moment while weakest benefits " from the good udder "!
Between 12th and the 14th day, the pups start to open the eyes. The rhythm of meals is every three hours, then every four hours. They share their time between meals and the sleep.
At the third week, the transition phase begins during which weaning can gradually start. They start to play between them to express, one or two weeks later, a behavior of group. One can already start to guess their future personality.
The play activity is essential for their good development. After the sensory discoveries, adult behavior aspects appear in the plays: the mounting, the race, guard, the fictitious prey shaken between the jaws, domination of the ones on the others, and so on. The contacts with the man will develop towards the six weeks age. The pups growing in an " industrial " breeding will be frustrated of that, what is detrimental because this period of socialization is crucial for the future.

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PUBERTY


Puberty is the passage between the pup and the adult.
With the female, it is concretized by the first heats, often spectacular (large development of the udders, important losses, swelling of the vulva which will never return to its volume of before). Its behavior change: nervousness, concern, frequent micturition.
With the males, the most manifest consequence is that it starts to raising the leg to urinate whereas before, it was satisfied to be squatted. And it benefits from it to mark its territory... It starts to be interested in the odors of its congeneric and adopts a " male " attitude...

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