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Firstly only healthy boxers that are suitable for breeding and that have been tested as suitable for breeding, should be bred from in accordance with the kennel club's breed standard and code of ethics. See our page The Boxer Breed for further information.
As an Irish kennel club member I abide by the code of ethics which stipulate that the stud dog should not be under 12months nor over 12years. That a female under 12 months or over 8 years should not be bred from and that a female should not have more than 6 litters.
I personally never breed from a female unless they are over 2years of age, the male will also be over 2 before first mating occurs and a female will have no more than 3-4 litters and are only bred once in a year with the next heat cycle skipped to ensure the female has adequate time to recover.
Boxers should be heart tested and scored by a qualified cardiologist to ensure they are suitable for breeding.
Female Estrous Cycle
The ESTROUS CYCLE can be divided into 4 stages: proestrus, estrus, diestrus and anestrus.
1) PROESTRUS is the time when her reproductive tract is preparing for the possibility of breeding with a male. It lasts an average of 9 to 11 days, but can last for as little as 3 or as long as 21 days.
Its onset is usually accompanied by a bloody discharge as well as swelling of the vulva. She may become attractive to a male during proestrus, but she’ll show little interest in him at this stage. The walls of the her reproductive tract thickens during proestrus preparing for fertilization.
Hormone levels also change during proestrus. Although estrogen levels rise, they remain relatively low during the early part of proestrus. As she enters the latter parts of proestrus, estrogen levels continue to rise, reaching their peak near the end of this stage. Estrogen begins to fall as another sex hormone, progesterone, begins to rise. Progesterone is high throughout the next two stages of the heat cycle, and is one of the hormones that indicates when she is about to ovulate and can be bred.
2) ESTRUS is the next stage of the estrous cycle. It also lasts an average of 9 to 11 days, but can vary from 3 to 21 days. It can be defined as the time when she accepts the male for breeding. During this stage, she sometimes exhibits a behavior called "flagging." This involves the female standing in one place, sometimes shuffling her feet, while at the same time, lifting her tail to allow the male to sniff her hind end. She will carry her tail, even a docked nub-tail, up and to the side. If you pet her, rub her back, touch her hind quarters, she will lift and sideways her tail instinctively.
(Once the tail is posturing and she walks with it posturing up and to the side, she is ready to accept a male at this stage.)
During estrus, the discharge decreases, becoming less bloody in many females. The progesterone level continues to rise. Near the onset of estrus, there is a very short rise in another sex hormone, luteinizing hormone (LH). Once this has peaked, ovulation usually occurs within 24 to 48 hours. The prime time to breed her is approximately 2 days after ovulation or 4 days after the LH surge.
3)DIETRUS — a Delicate Time. The next stage of the heat cycle, diestrus, is considered the period when progesterone dominates the hormone scene. Diestrus lasts from 60 to 90 days in a dog that doesn’t become pregnant or approximately 63 days in a dog that does become pregnant. (This is the gestation period in dogs: 58-65 days with 63 being average).
As a consequence of her long exposure to progesterone when she’s not pregnant, she’s prone to a condition called pyometra if not spayed. Pyometra occurs when the uterus fills with bacteria and white blood cells. If untreated, pyometra can lead to fatal illness due to toxins secreted into the blood stream or the uterus actually rupturing. Thus, it’s highly recommended to spay one that will not be used for breeding.
In diestrus, the discharge will cease and the epithelial cells of the reproductive tract quickly appear. White blood cells are very high numbers during the first few days of diestrus. This is normal since their function is to clean up the cellular debris left behind by estrus.
4) ANESTRUS — the Final Stage. The final stage of the heat cycle is called anestrus. Anestrus lasts an average of 4 to 5 months. (That is between 2 seasons. Seasons should come twice a year, averaging every 5-6 months: if not, have her thyroid checked as thyroid disorders inhibit her cycle and can reduce her to one a year and cause her to miscarry puppies as well.)
It’s usually considered a time when the sex hormones are at very low levels, although they do continue to have small rises and declines throughout this stage.
Keep a calendar of her cycle. Day she first began bleeding (her Proestrus stage. And when she begins "flagging" (posturing her tail up and sideways) as that is her time to introduce her to a male.
Once you have introduced her to a male, being her first time, they can have a more difficult time mating. He might or might not be experienced, but she is inexperienced and might not stand still for his mount. His thrusting can move and scoot her, as she doesn't know how to hold still and stay securely in one place for him. Note that dogs when mating usually end up in "a tied" position back to back. Shown below:
One mating does not guarantee success. They can mate 7-15 times in 24 hours if left together for nature to take it's natural course.
This can go on for days. Usually, only 10 days or so average. Experienced breeders usually mate them 2 to 3 times between days 11-13.
There ARE MANY things to prepare for: Feeding her a high protein diet during pregnancy; puppy food is best for her. Talk to your vet about vitamins, etc.
Ensure she's had all her vaccines prior to pregnancy and that the stud is vaccined up to date also.
Then it is time to prepare for the whelping of the puppies.
Get ALL the whelping supplies you might possibly need: build or buy a whelping box for her and put torn newspapers in it or sheets and blankets to throw away later. Settle her into the whelping box a few days before she is due. We usually settle a female in a week or two before her due date.
Have her checked at the vets to see how many pups she is expecting and have your vet's out of hours number on hand in case it is needed.
You will need: Sheets, blankets, towels, Heating pad or heat lamp, baby blankets, scissors, laundry basket or box for newly born pups as she's still delivering.
Puppies must remain extremely warm or they will die!
Canine replacement milk for the mom and in case you need to supplement feeding pups. We have devised a homemade formula for feeding pups that we have found to be better than milk replacers that you buy, the pups thrive on such a natural formula.
There is such a HUGE responsibility and preparation in this "breeding."
It is NOT simple nor cut and dried. She can DIE and the puppies can DIE. A puppy can get stuck in the canal, resulting in the rest of the litter dying, the dam needing a c-section and high risk of infection even death.
If you do decide to breed her- be prepared to be a "mom" to 5-10 newborn babies and get up every 2 hours to make sure she feeds them, clean up after them, change whelping box bedding, check on them, making sure she hasn't accidentedly suffocated one by lying on one in a confined area, etc.
Some females make not take to the puppies then you will have to be the "mom" if you need to go to work who will feed them every few hours?
Research breeding, whelping and newborn puppy care, before allowing dogs to mate. Have money set aside as it is costly and you never know when an emergency can arise and you need to get to a vet ASAP. Dont assume breeding your female is a quick way to make money because I can gurantee it is not.
Be responsible and be prepared regardless.