Breeding Female Dogs Consecutively

By Jennifer Stoeckl, MAT - Dire Wolf Project CEO, May 26, 2020
American Alsatian DireWolf Dog, Cotton Candy, looking happy in the snow.
Cotton Candy (Triton/Shennara)

In the last few months, several American Alsatian enthusiasts have asked me privately, out of a feeling of concern, why certain dogs within the breed are being bred consecutively four or five times. Among those asking this question, there is a general hesitancy to accept this practice for fear that we are somehow harming our dogs. They can't seem to reconcile their feeling of love and acceptance for the breed with this particular breeding practice of breeding back-to-back for two to three years.

Those who feel this way, ask yourself where this fear comes from? Did you, personally, experience a failed pregnancy in a dog when you bred it on consecutive seasons? Did you hear of someone who experienced this? Did you simply hear that it was harmful and so you assume it to be so since you heard it from someone you trust?

Of course, your experiences are legitimate and any time a female has birthing complications it is traumatic not only for the dog and her little ones, but also for the breeder who sits dispairingly by her side.

No one wants birthing complications, to be sure. But does back-to-back breeding increase the risk that there will be birthing complications?

The short answer is no. In fact, if a female is otherwise healthy, it has been shown that regular pregnancy/birthing at consecutive intervals is better for the overall reproductive health of the dog. Skipping heats does not stop the female from continuing to produce the same hormones that she would otherwise produce and could lead to false pregnancies and uterine infection. The general concensus is that a female should be bred back-to-back until she has completed her contribution to the breed and then retired.

It is also important to note that a female is more than just her uterus. Her overall health is always taken into account. If she is unhealthy for whatever reason, not only will she not be bred, but she will also retire from future breeding. However, if she is generally healthy and she hasn't had birthing complications previously, then there is every reason to breed her consecutively in order to make sure no abnormal pregnancies result causing an increase in a host of other health issues that could then result.

I am aware that there are many in other dog forums that speak out in disgust for a breeder who chooses to breed a female back-to-back, but these people know little to nothing about breeding and most likely have an agenda to end (or seriously restrict) dog breeding around the world. Do the research for yourself. Here is a good article leaving the emotionally charge rhetoric behind and just focusing on the reproductive health of the female, which is the most important part of the breeding process.

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Jennifer Stoeckl is the co-founder of the Dire Wolf Project, founder of the DireWolf Guardians American Dirus Dog Training Program, and owner/operator of DireWolf Dogs of Vallecito. She lives in the beautiful inland northwest among the Ponderosa pine forests with her pack of American Dirus dogs.