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Breeding dogs: Whelping

Views: 2368
Length: 13:28
Warning: this video contains graphic images of the birth of a litter of puppies

Breeding puppies may sound like a fantastic experience but it takes a lot of knowledge, time and financial input to give the mother and pups the best chance of success. Even with the best intentions and preparation, things can still go wrong.

Michael Hollingsby is an approved Kennel Club Assured Breeder who has been breeding dogs for over 40 years. He currently breeds Border Terriers and kindly agreed to share the experience with Naturally Happy Dogs when one of his bitches was due to have a litter.

When a dog gives birth it is known as 'whelping', the mother is known as the 'dam' and the father is the 'sire'. This video shows the birth of some of the 7 pups she had that night (and into the early hours of the next morning!). The first pup was born at around 9pm and the 7th just after 2am. Quite unusually, every one of the 7 pups was male.

Michael's years of experience helps him to know: what changes to look for to know that the bitch is pregnant, how best to care for her in pregnancy, what special equipment is needed for the birth, how to tell when her time to give birth is near and what special care she and the puppies need during and after the birth.

He guards against anyone taking on breeding a litter of puppies lightly. If anything goes wrong it can be a very distressing experience and financially disastrous.

This filming was carried out with a minimal amount of equipment, and the bitch had been given chance to get used to it a long time before the pups were due. Only one 'extra' person was present for the birth of the pups and the mother was observed carefully at all times by both the owner and a qualified animal behaviourist to ensure that she was put under no undue stress by the process. It is a credit to Michael's care and training that the dam was more than happy with the entire situation, regularly coming to investigate the small camera and ask for a fuss, even between puppies!

Since the filming of this video, mum and all pups are doing very well and their new owners are visiting regularly, keen to take them home when they reach 8 weeks old.

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