Is eight years too old?

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by Laura Workman, Jun 19, 2006.

  1. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    I have a standard poodle that is eight years old. My husband would like to breed her and keep a puppy. (Please let's not get into the morality of breeding puppies thing!) She has never had puppies before. I know that if she had had puppies, eight years old would be fine to have a litter, but I'm wondering if anyone has any experience, good or bad, with a female dog whelping for the first time at 8 years of age. I'm wondering whether we'd be asking for trouble, or whether she'd most likely be just fine. What do you guys think?
     
  2. cricket

    cricket Well-Known Member

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    Really depends on the health of the dog and what you are willing to commit to in order to keep her healthy. She could probably have 1 litter but after that she would need her resources for her own health. 8 is a little old to me even though they regularly live until 15 or so. Prime breeding years are between 2-6. If this is something you are serious about, get a full panel done by the vet, have her hips x-rayed, check her eyes, and choose a REALLY good stud that will compliment her and who is also certified and health checked. Remembering all the while that it is entirely possible that you won't have a pup that is going to be her replicate. Also remember that you may not have any pups at all and you've gone through this expense for nothing. Personally, I would talk with a couple of breeders and have them look her over and recommend a stud and talk to them seriously about this decision. She's approximately 45 in human years now...give or take a few depending on her health. So it's possible.
     

  3. Ross

    Ross Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Hard not to consider the ethical side of breeding when its so very important; however, it sounds as if you've been reading here for a while! Cricket summed up most of the points I'd have thought of, a lot will have to do with the physical condition of the female. The only thing I'd add is older females are more prone to calcium deficiencies and its worth bringing up with your vet. There may be a benefit to increased calcium in her diet, and regardless you'd want to be ready to supplement (both with time and replacer) the pups if things went badly. A youthful 8 will handle a breeding fine and the Standard Poodles I've seen haven't been "old" at 8. Also ask the vet what sort of follow up, post puppy recommendations he/she'd have for the mum. I could almost guarantee a spay is part of that and for good reason, as a second accidental breeding would almost certainly be problematic and a spay eliminates a lot of cancer concerns.
     
  4. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    The first thing I'd want to do is have a complete veternary examination and assessment about her health and ability to breed and raise a litter. Her prenatal health prior to any breeding would be paramount regarding any moral or ethical applications. You want the best care for your pooch regarding that, wouldn't you?
     
  5. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Thanks for all the input so far! :) I just put up the thing about the morality of breeding to save time and breath. I'm pretty familiar with it, which is why this female dog, who was born at my home and has outstanding structure, has made it to 8 years without ever being bred. Also, rest assured, she will be thoroughly tested for congenital defects, health status, etc., beforehand. :nerd: Further advice regarding age considerations, any experiences anyone has had with first-time mothers around this age, and ways to forestall any problems if we do decide to breed her will be greatly appreciated! (Man, it is so hard sometimes not to sound snooty in written communication! I really do appreciate all the input so far, really, really, really!) :dance:
     
  6. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    My recently parted Lab lived to age 14 and was in good health all her years. We considered breeding her at age 6 and wondered if we were pushing the envelope at that age. We didn't breed her for a number of reasons but if we'd had asked the same question at 8, well, since we thought 6 was pushing the envelope, I don't think we'd have ever gotten to asking the question at 8. Your vet will be the best judge but personally I'd say it is old for a Standard Poodle. If you do breed, excercise will help her be in shape when she does deliver. The calcium issue is definitely something to think about. Our first male Lab's mom had a calcium deficiency when the pups hit a few weeks old. They almost lost the female and ended up feeding a pile of pups by hand for a while until they got big enough to eat on their own. Breeding is not for the faint of heart.
     
  7. comehomesoon

    comehomesoon comehomesoon

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    I last breed my shepherd at age 6 and I thought that was pushing it I though and she had 2 litters previously. I would say it would be if she was never bred before now. I would seriously talk it over with your vet that is experienced in doing a lot of canine breeding.
     
  8. NCGirl

    NCGirl Well-Known Member

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    We normally retire our females at 7. It takes a toll on an older dog to whelp a litter.

    Get the hips/eyes and anything else done that standards are known for. As the others said please get a full workup done with a reproductive Vet. Hopefully you have one within a few hours drive. The will be your best resource and be able to give you lots of advice. Be sure to have at least a couple of thousand put aside in case you need to do a C-section (we just had one this weekend and it was $1800 but we did save 2 of the pups).

    Since she is this old you want to get it right the first time. Find the best stud for her no matter where in the country he is. Start progesterone testing on day 5 and do it every other day until she is ready. If you are going to do a fresh or frozen AI instead of live cover this is really really important. But I would do progesterone even with a live cover on a dog this age. We have a female that is ready on day 7-8 and one that is ready on day 16-17. If we bred on days 10 and 12 we would miss both these girls.

    Good Luck!
     
  9. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

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    Most people I've talked to say that the risks of breeding a maiden female dog at that age are just too high. 8 isn't necessarily too late to have a litter if she's already had one (This depends largely on breed, of course, with different lifespans in different breeds.), but if she hasn't? Lots of horror stories about uterine inertia and litters which just take huge tolls on the female dog. It might help to some degree if you could talk to her breeder and find out a bit about what her lines are prone to- 8 isn't old at all for some Spoo lines, but others, it's getting quite up there. And if her mom tended towards small litters and had an easy time, would be a lower risk than a female dog who had multiple c-sections.

    I'd say the risks aren't worth it, personally- but you're the only one who can decide it. In some ways, it's a lot easier when you know you want to breed WHEN YOU buy a dog, because you can time things better, and you can select the puppy based on her mother's characteristics and stuff. (Of course, there are GOOD characteristics and bad. My corgi Summer is very, very much like her mother- down to litter numbers, which I knew about- and a nasty, sneaky trick that she has of coming into season EARLY after every litter with a silent heat- which I didn't (Photos of oops puppies in a few days.))
     
  10. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Eight seems awfully old to have a first litter. Could you go back to the original breeders? Since your this female dog's breeder, that would be the grandparents. If they are no longer breeding, I'm sure they would know who is that has your dog's line.
     
  11. havenberryfarm

    havenberryfarm Well-Known Member

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    I am not a dog breeder, but I wanted to interject that you could supplement the puppies milk with goat milk should your dog have trouble with the calcium. I know you have several dairy goats. That is a plus.
     
  12. Willowynd

    Willowynd Well-Known Member

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    I am debating breeding my soon to be 8 yr old myself, but she has had 1 litter previously to the stud of her choice- not mine (silent season, running dogs up to house on lead in sudden snow storm- leads tightened behind me...turn around and they are tied- 1 breeding 8 pups). I had her vet checked last year when I planned to breed her on the next season, but skipped it as I already had a litter on the ground. IMO 8 is pushing it, I had always retired bitches by thier 7th b-day. That said, this female dog is the very last of my old stuff and has many qualities that I need in my line that I will lose should she not get bred as her daughter I kept took mostly after her sire. Her daughter from a sire I would not have chosen is pointed and able to finish her CH, and I know a better match with my older girl would produce even better. Therefore, I called my vet and had a heart to heart with him. His first question was has she whelped a litter previously...followed by if she has not then the risk is too high. When I told him she has had 1 litter at 3 yrs old, he said to bring her in and get a full panel on her to make sure of her health at this point in time. I also told him I wanted her hips re-xrayed as it has been a few years and a full thyroid panel run. I will make my decision based on the test results and his feelings about it after the tests are run. Currently she is living with my son and on a diet to trim off the extra pounds (yes she is slightly spoiled) and my son is open to bringing her home to be bred, whelp and raise the puppies. Just need to verify that my girl will come out of it in excellent health or I am not doing it.
    I once bred a female dog at 7 who had been bred before and she went into labor early and labor was not progressing as it should so we opted for a c-section as I knew she only had one pup. She was none the worse for wear and I had her spayed while on the table. Inertia is a real concern in an older female dog, so if you do go forward with it, you will want to budget for a c-section and have a vet who is willing to do a c-section in the middle of the night or on a weekend if need be. I have that available, but if I didn't, I would not breed an older female dog. Also, you can expect smaller litter size in an older female dog, so will want to x-ray to count pups. Anymore, I xray all my bitches so I have a close count on pups beforehand and can see how they are positioned and if any seem excessively large or if it is a very small litter. Its worth the extra expense to me to have that knowledge before she goes into labor so I can make more informed jugement calls. I once was against xrays (exposing babies to radiation) until I lost a litter of 2 very large pups. Had I known I would have left for the vet much sooner and been able to at least save 1 pup(first got stuck and I could not free him quickly enough).