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is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?



 
 
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  #1  
Old March 30th 11, 02:39 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc,uk.rec.pets.misc
Mary Crewkerne
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Posts: 6
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

My beautiful border collie bitch is coming up to her 7th birthday.
She's never had pups. She's in fine fettle, but is she too old to have
her first litter?

Mary
  #2  
Old March 30th 11, 10:19 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
Jo Wolf
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Posts: 479
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

This is one of those things that you need to discuss with your dog's
vet. You may see her as in fine fettle.... but that doesn't mean that
she really is. I'd rather compare her to a 40 or 45 year old woman
having a first baby. It can be done.... but the risks may be higher
than you want to take; canine obstetrics are much more dangerous to the
bitch than to a human mother. Puppy mortality is also Much higher than
for humans, regardless of the mother's health and age.

Here are some things to consider.... Is she a superior working herding
dog? Is she a show champion or has she earned at least placements in
show classes, and perhaps one or more Challenge Certificate? Has she
had her eyes evaluated by a vet ophthalmologist (eye doc), and did she
get a normal rating? Does she have titles in obedience, fly-ball,
and/or agility? If she doesn't get a "Yes" on a minimum of four of
these questions, she may be a lovely dog for YOU, but it doesn't mean
that she will produce superior, typical-for-breed and healthy puppies.
She might not even be a good mum. You may not be able to find good
homes for all.... or any.... of her puppies. Do you even have any
experience with placing puppies in appropriate homes? Don't plan on
"breaking even" financially...... you won't. How much can you afford to
lose?

Oh..... and have you found a male that is also a superior quality dog to
mate to her? Just another Border Collie is not enough....

And.... if you had to ask here, you have great gaping holes in your
knowledge about dogs, the breed, and about breeding, which places you at
a distinct disadvantage from the start. Breeding has it's wonderful
moments.... and some of the biggest heartbreaks you can imagine. But
now is the time, if you Really want to be a breeder, to start studying,
and to get to know people who work, train, trial, and show Border
Collies, for the purpose of learning as much as possible.... then get a
nice bitch of the Best quality you can find and go from there while she
is still a young adult, about 2 years of age..... not a "maiden bitch"
at 7 years.

Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia

  #3  
Old March 30th 11, 11:15 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc,uk.rec.pets.misc
Mary Crewkerne
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Posts: 6
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

On Mar 30, 10:19 pm, (Jo Wolf) wrote:
(...)
canine obstetrics are much more dangerous to the bitch than to a
human mother


Hi Jo and thanks for this reply. I'd be grateful for some details on
the above.

Maternal death rates for humans in the US are between 1 and 2 per
10,000 (down from 8 in 1950, but currently rising - the Californian
figure has trebled in a decade); 2.9 for women over 35, and 0.5 for
women under 20. The overall figure for our species is 43.

What are the figures for dogs? And how do they differ for a 7-year-old
as compared with, say, a 3-year-old?

Thanks again!

Mary
  #4  
Old March 31st 11, 10:03 AM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc,uk.rec.pets.misc
Mary Crewkerne
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Posts: 6
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

On Mar 30, 10:19*pm, (Jo Wolf) wrote:

I'd rather compare her to a 40 or 45 year old woman
having a first baby.


Except there is no canine menopause; bitches remain fertile
throughout their lives. But I'd be interested to learn details
of any increased health risks when a border collie has puppies
at 7. I am not concerned with show or any other competitive
considerations.

Mary
  #5  
Old March 31st 11, 06:35 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
Jo Wolf
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Posts: 479
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

Some of the risk to bitches in whelp and during and after whelping comes
from the fact that labor and delivery usually involve vets only when a
c-section is required. The serious hobby breeder today (in the US,
anyhow, producing show and working dogs) has access to seminars by
reproduction (OB-GYN) and neonatal specialty vets. Such seminars are
rarely announced to the general public; few, if any of whom would pay
the money to attend. These seminars add knowledge to the tough
practical experience of years, even decades, of attending to bitches
while whelping and the neonatal puppies. Other educational programs are
available from highly admired and experienced breeders with strong
records of raising healthy, mentally and physically outstanding pups
with neurological stimulation routines.... although these are also
available in magazine articles and books, and on the web. For the most
part, however, it is the bitch's owner, with minimal, if any, prior
experience, who attends delivery and tends to mom and pups. This is
where most problems begin.

We have NO idea of the maternal mortality rate. It's probably not too
high, or we wouldn't have the excess numbers of dogs being put to death
in shelters around the world. When it's your own beloved bitch who dies
because you handled something incorrectly, didn't read a sign for a
complication, couldn't get her to a vet soon enough for an assisted
delivery of a stuck pup or an emergency c-section..... it's a very high
death rate. Certainly the c-section rate is nothing like that for women
in the US.... and the rest of the world.... but by the time the
beginning owner recognizes the need and can get to the vet.... it can be
too late.

The death rate of puppies is unknown.... but in a litter of 7 puppies
from a well cared for purebred bitch in a show/working breeder's hands,
one survey showed an average of 2 pups lost before age of sale (at that
time about 7-8 weeks of age). This included stillborns, pups eaten by
the mother (usually a first time mother), pups fatally injured by the
bitch in the process of chewing through the umbilical cord, pups refused
by the mother, birth defects (visible or not), pups smothered under the
mother in the whelping box, and other causes.

It is common for a bitch, shown by early x-ray or ultrasound exam to be
carrying a given number of pups to deliver fewer than visible; some
fetuses died and were reabsorbed. Sometimes a mummified puppy is born.
In breeds with average litter sizes of multiple pups, a singleton pup or
just two will be extremely large and may not pass through the birth
canal. When this is known, c-section can be planned. Very large round
heads of pups of breeds such as Bulldogs prevent normal birth. X-ray or
sonagram late in pregnancy can give a more accurate picture of numbers
and of head/total size to allow for planned c-section.
And then there is Murphy's Law and the old adage about expecting the
unexpected. Uterine inertia, where the uterus just stops pushing the
pups out efficiently or effectively.... for instance.

As the mother is not being cloned, and the pups not raised entirely
identically to the mum, the puppies will not be "the same" as she is.
Not just physically, but in personality, temperament, behavior. What
the breeder doesn't know about the other dogs in the bitch's pedigree
(even mixes have pedigrees, by definition), and the sire's pedigree can
come back to haunt the puppies. And you can't trust earlier breeders in
that pedigree to be entirely honest..... or to know!..... about physical
and mental issues with other puppies in all of those litters. It's a
gamble.

Placing pupies is an art, rather than a science. Which homes available
are really suitable for the breed? The individual puppy? How does the
breeder identify the pup who wants to rule the world? Is that puppy
simply mellow or does it have the type of shyness that leads to a
terrified biter? Are the potential buyers honest about their home and
lifestyle? Will they keep the dog secured or let it run loose in the
neighborhood? Will they train it properly to live a well-behaved life
or not? Can they afford basic preventive health care, and will they do
it? What if, because of current economics, no one wants your puppies?
What if one or more pups ends up in the wrong home and you learn that
the owner wants to get rid of it; if you are responsible, you will take
it back at any time, for any reason. How often do dogs of the breed end
up in animal welfare/rescue organizations? This is a strong indicator
of how many suitable homes are out there.

True, bitches do not have a menopause. But those eggs get more and more
"stale" by age. There's a reason that commercial breeders
("puppymills", "puppy farms") euthanize or dump into animal welfare
bitches older than 4-5 years of age; the litters get smaller, they may
see normal litter size, but more defects or neonatal deaths. In their
case, the bitch is no longer a profit center. For the serious hobby
breeder, who only breeds a bitch annually or every two years, retirement
usually comes before the age of 7..... at 5-6 years. The retired bitch
stays in the breeder's home or is sold to a home that wants a settled,
mature dog. More and more, I am hearing that the reproductive
speciaists are suggesting no more than 2-3 litters per bitch, and as
many breeders do not breed a bitch before two years of age, alternating
years for breeding put the bitch at about 6 years for her last litter,
at 4 years for annual breeding of 3 litters.

This all is why I said to discuss this with your vet. Breeding a dog is
not to get a carbon copy of mom or dad. It's Only to produce the
healthiest, most typical dogs of a breed.

Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia

  #6  
Old March 31st 11, 06:53 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
Mary Crewkerne
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Posts: 6
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

On Mar 31, 6:35*pm, (Jo Wolf) wrote:

(snip)

Thanks for the lecture, Jo, but there's nothing in your 1000-word
post about any increased risks when a bitch gets pregnant at 7
rather than 3, so should I conclude that you don't know? Not sure
why you're posting to this thread!

Mary
  #7  
Old March 31st 11, 11:17 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
cshenk
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Posts: 1,060
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

"Mary Crewkerne" wrote
(Jo Wolf) wrote:

(snip)


Thanks for the lecture, Jo, but there's nothing in your 1000-word
post about any increased risks when a bitch gets pregnant at 7
rather than 3, so should I conclude that you don't know? Not sure
why you're posting to this thread!


Mary, there was a great deal relevant but she doesnt have your whole history
or what you are trying to do.

Lets bring it down to basics. It's not as safe for the dog to be bred at
age 7 as at age 3. Complication chances increase, just like with older
human women. Chances of pup death increase with older bitches as well.

It may work, but it's not a money maker normally. You do not indicate yours
has show dog levels so your aim must be other. Perhaps a particularily
effective working dog and a hope that at least some of the pups will prove
as good? Jo addresses that as well.

'Aunti Mabel' who is 14 came to us just a few months ago. She was spayed
while pregnant and vets checks showed she was used as a breeder most likely
all her life and a hunter when presumably not too heavy with pups. Her
health has suffered much from too many especially late in life.

So, 'can you breed a 7 year old', yes it's possible. Do you want to? Thats
the question.

  #8  
Old April 1st 11, 09:21 AM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
Mary Crewkerne
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Posts: 6
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

On Mar 31, 11:17*pm, "cshenk" wrote:
"Mary Crewkerne" wrote

(Jo Wolf) wrote:
(snip)
Thanks for the lecture, Jo, but there's nothing in your 1000-word
post about any increased risks when a bitch gets pregnant at 7
rather than 3, so should I conclude that you don't know? Not sure
why you're posting to this thread!


Lets bring it down to basics.


Yes - I refer to the thread title! :-)

*It's not as safe for the dog to be bred at age 7 as at age 3.
Complication chances increase,


Any details?

just like with older human women.


This analogy is false; different species - no menopause; might as well
say that a 7-year-old border collie is only around halfway through her
fertile period, cf a 30-year-old woman.

It may work, but it's not a money maker normally.


I'm not interested in money.

So, 'can you breed a 7 year old', yes it's possible.


Nothing like stating the obvious!

Do you want to? *That's the question.


It's not the question. I clearly want to. I was asking about any
increased risks to my dog's health. I suspect that if there was
a big increase in risk, someone would have posted some
details by now, and that responders are mainly thinking in
terms of their own concerns of breeding dogs for purposes of
competition and profit, which aren't my concerns at all.

Mary
  #9  
Old April 1st 11, 08:49 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
Jo Wolf
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Posts: 479
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

Mary, the fact that only two of us have replied to your question means
that no large number of people have even read it. Certainly no huge
number of experienced, serious breeders of quality dogs. Dog-people
have opinions which are frequently and strongly expressed.

I have told you at least TWICE to talk with your VET. That's where the
expertice in statistics is most likely to be. Although I believe the
vet care available in the UK to be every bit as good or bad as it is in
North America (specifically the US and Canada), totally on a par, I do
not know the exact level of support you can expect from your own vet.
That is critical when breeding the older bitch; the fact that such a
bitch may be fertile does not make breeding her "safe" or advisable.

I have been in the sport of dogs for over 30 years now, and I would NOT
breed a seven year old maiden bitch. Nor would I breed a seven year old
multiparous bitch. I am not a breeder, but I work with responsible
breeders on a daily basis as the rescue coordinator for the US for my
breed.... Border Terriers. I have assisted breeders of several breeds
with whelping, with puppy care, and with evaluation of litters for
placement choices. I have read articles and books about canine
obstetrics and puppy care/raising of neonatal puppies. I also work with
breeders of other breeds, primarily as students or instructors of canine
sports; I teach obedience professionally, and have since the mid-1980s.
So I didn't just walk in off the street. But I do not deal in
statistics. Consider what the two of us have said and TALK TO YOUR VET!
READ articles, READ books, listen to responsible breeders; there are
many in the UK.

Jo Wolf
Martinez, Georgia

  #10  
Old April 1st 11, 09:15 PM posted to rec.pets.dogs.misc
Mary Crewkerne
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Posts: 6
Default is 7 too old for a border collie to have her first litter?

On Apr 1, 8:49*pm, (Jo Wolf) wrote:

I have been in the sport of dogs for over 30 years now, and I would NOT
breed a seven year old maiden bitch.


Yes but presumably you are involved with dogs for financial or
competitive
reasons, whereas I have no interest in either money or competition.
You don't know the answer to my question. That's fine; there's nothing
wrong with that! I'm quite sure that you know lots of other things to
do with
dogs.

Mary
 




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