Do you want your Labrador to be a stud dog? There are some important things to consider before choosing whether to let your Labrador become a Dad.
This article looks at what a stud dog actually is, how and when you can stud your dog, but perhaps more importantly, why and under what circumstances it is right to do so.
What Is A Stud Dog
A stud dog is a male dog that is mated to bitches belonging to other people.
This is carried out in exchange for money (or something of equivalent value such as a puppy).
There are no legal requirements governing the use of a stud dog in the UK at the time of writing, above and beyond those enshrined in our animal welfare laws.
The Kennel Club issues some brief guidelines in their online introduction to dog breeding, though they mostly apply to the owners of bitches.
Why Make Your Lab A Stud Dog?
Motivations can differ widly from one person to the next, or be a combination of a few similar factors.
Sometimes they do it because they want to earn some pocket money.
Quite often, they do it because they very much want a ‘chip off the old block’.
A puppy just like their boy.
How Do You Become A Stud Dog?
There is more than just the practicalities of mating to be considered here (surely you just let them ‘get on with it’?) and what age the stud dog should be.
There is also the question of how to go about ‘getting established’ so that the owners of bitches can find you.
Do you place an advert, and if so where? Should you join a breed club?
For a moment let’s look at this situation from the bitch owner’s point of view.
How To Choose A Stud Dog
The owners of bitches are fussy about the dog they mate their precious girl to.
Breeding from a bitch is a huge responsibililty and a costly investment. A bitch may only have two or three litters in a lifetime, and once health checks have been secured and the costs of caring for half a dozen puppies factored in, there is very little profit. (and that is if all goes smoothly.)
So bitch owners are fussy, and they want to sell their puppies for a reasonable price. And guess who else is fussy? (Or they should be)
That’s right: puppy buyers.
Nowadays puppy buyers are increasingly well informed. They want quality puppies with a good chance of a long and healthy life.
What Stud Dog Qualities Does Your Labrador Have?
So there are a whole lot of people out there, that are really picky about the dog that fathers these little pups-to-be.
And this is what they are looking for
- Health tests
- Superb temperament
- Success, success and more success
Health Testing Stud Dogs
Labradors are subject to a range of inherited diseases. A stud dog can father a great many puppies and it is absolutely vital that he is checked for inherited conditions long before he ever goes near a bitch.
One of these tests, hip scoring, cannot be carried out until he is a year old, so that starts us off in answering the ‘when’ question.
Stud Dog Temperament
It goes without saying that a stud dog must have a perfect temperament. If your Labrador is more ‘guard dog’ than ‘guide dog’ he is not up to the job.
He needs to love the whole world, not just the bitch in front of him.
He also needs to be fully mature, which means at least 18 months to two years old, so this is another part of the ‘when question’
Stud Dog Achievements
We all like a winner. Bitch owners, remember, want to sell great puppies, and puppy buyers are looking for something a bit special.
For this and other reasons, many bitch owners will not mate their girl to a stud dog that has not at least won a few shows, or been placed in a few field trials of working tests. At least.
This provides another answer to the ‘when’ question – when he is successful, and has some achievements under his belt.
There is one more thing that many bitch owners are looking for, from the owner of their stud dog, and that is support.
Your Breeding Experience
As the owner of the stud dog, your role is to supervise the mating. And no, it isn’t just a case of letting them ‘get on with it’.
Because dogs ‘tie’ after mating, and because a dog has a ‘bone’ in his penis, there is scope for serious injury to the dog if mating is not properly supervised.
There are times when you need to intervene, both to ensure your dog does not get hurt and to ensure that the mating takes place at all.
- Do you know how the bitch should be handled to ensure your dog is not injured?
- Do you know how to turn the dog during the tie?
- Do you know what to do if the bitch panics during the ‘tie’ and your dog is in pain?
- Do you know how to lubricate the bitch before mating, and how to check for strictures?
- Have you assisted at several matings, including difficult ones?
This is not something that you can easily learn from a book or the internet… Which is why you won’t find the ‘how’ to mate your dog dealt with here. Every mating is different.
Stud Dog Responsibilities
Your role as a stud dog owner goes further than ensuring an effective mating and the safety of your dog.
Have you bred several litters yourself? Or assisted someone else in doing so?
You need to consider if this kind of support is something you would be capable of supplying
When To Stud Your Dog
- When he has been fully health tested with excellent results and
- When he is fully mature and
- When he has achieved success in the show ring or field and
- When you have sufficient experience and last but not least:
- When you have considered the implications and ethics of breeding from your dog
The Implications of Breeding
Apart from the ethical considerations of adding to the general dog population, there is the responsibility you share with the bitch owner for the welfare of these puppies.
You are responsible for making sure that the two dogs are compatible, and supremely health. Checking out the credentials of each bitch that your dog is mated to, is a part of this responsibility. Making sure your dog is in great condition and that each mating goes smoothly and without injury, is another part.
You can find a lot more information about the pros and cons of breeding in this article: Labrador breeding
Don’t forget, if you simply want a puppy just like your boy, your best bet is to try and get a brother or sister, or a puppy from very similar lines. It could be a whole lot less trouble.
More information on Labradors
If you’d like all of our best Labrador information together in one place, then get your copy of The Labrador Handbook today.
The Labrador Handbook looks at all aspects owning a Labrador, through daily care, to health and training at each stage of their life.
The Labrador Handbook is available worldwide.