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Discussion Starter #1
What does EVERYONE think is the accepted number of litters a bitch should have? I know what my rule was and I broke it once. But what do breeders and lay people think in terms of acceptable litter numbers?
 

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I don't think I know enough about breeding to really say, but just my gut reaction is that a bitch should not be bred after age five or six years old. I would be uncomfortable seeing a female bred every heat for four years though. So one litter a year from age 2 to 6. 4 litters max?
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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I don't believe it's a one size fits all kind of question. With some girls it's one and done. With others more is possible. You have to evaluate the females' overall condition and health prior to breeding. Some girls are through at an early age yet select others are still producing strong healthy litters at age ten.
 

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SunKissed Goldens
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I don't believe it's a one size fits all kind of question. With some girls it's one and done. With others more is possible. You have to evaluate the females' overall condition and health prior to breeding. Some girls are through at an early age yet select others are still producing strong healthy litters at age ten.
I agree with this. I have one girl who whelps easily, loves her babies, and recovers quickly. I have bred her back-to-back and she will be having her final litter this year. My other girl had one litter, had to have a c-section, did not like caring for her babies, and took many months to recover. She was spayed, which was a tough decision since she was my first homebred Champion and produced beautifully... but I could not ask her to go through that again.
 

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goldenfan
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We are limited to 4 litters in the UK and only 2 caesarians allowed. I think that is reasonable but inevitable some bitches will produce larger litters than others Annef
 

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I don't think it's fair to make hard and fast rules or judge, assuming we're talking about a reputable breeder. I've heard people poo-poo breeders for breeding back to back, poo poo breeders for having more than __ number of litters, etc. Like swampcollie said, I don't think it's a one size fits all.
 

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I agree-I don't think there is a one size fits all. I just did my first back to back breeding-her physical was great and when the repro vet looked at the inside of her uterus, she said it was perfect :) Will I do a 3rd? I don't know-it depends. There's really only one more breeding I want to do with her, and if that male does not clear, she may be done.

I typically do between 2-4 breedings for a bitch, depending on her health, how good a mother she is, how she produces and of course, what I am looking for to add to my breeding program. As SC said, some bitches are one and done, others can produce more litters and for a longer period of time while remaining perfectly healthy and happy.
 

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Kate
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Well... as a lay person, I would think that if you have a dog who is a good mom, who handles her pregnancies easily, who has good puppies... then I am comfortable with a breeder who plans on breeding once a year, and generally is always on the look out for prospective "dates" for her female for that planned breeding.

As far as "how long", I think 5 years is what I personally feel is a cut off. Only because I've heard the pregnancies might get more difficult or complicated.
 

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newbie
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From my breeder friend with Labs, I can see five litters as okay, with the caveat of easy births and mothers who care well for their puppies. While back-to-back breeding is supposed to be healthier, as well as younger breeding, sometimes a breeder may want to take a break for further titling. I don't view 5 as the cut-off in a healthy girl. JMHO
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Well one of MY rules was not breeding after the age of 5. I have broken that rule twice. And in fact both bitches were six when they conceived and 7 when the litter was whelped. One girl had the most puppies she ever had (9) at 7 years and it was her easiest, fastest whelping ever. The other was last summer, with, IMO the Tiki disaster. She had had her first and only litter 4 years prior and I think perhaps, there was too much time in between, who knows. Her first litter of eight was whelped easily. Anyway, she had a c-section and is now spayed. Another of MY rules that I have broken is that I felt two litters were plenty for my girls.. and the seven year old with nine pups broke that rule whelping her third litter. Me, personally, one c-section for my girl, and I am done. But I see breeders with bitches that have multiple c-sections (3 or more) and for some it is their standard. I had a client with a brittany still having pups at 9. I have to say that the pups looked less and less healthy, but that might've been management as well. She had planned on breeding the dog again at 10. For the most part if my girls have had at least 8 pups, it seems to take a lot out of them and longer to recover than a bitch with 3 or 5 pups.
 

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But I see breeders with bitches that have multiple c-sections (3 or more) and for some it is their standard.
Do breeders ever worry about selecting for poor whelpers by doing c-sections? It sounds like it is becoming norm for some to just op for a c-section in a healthy dog to prevent loss of pups.
 

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I know a few people who have had nightmare whelping situations resulting in the loss of a puppy, puppies, the whole litter or the whole litter and the bitch. If I went through that I would probably opt for c-sections too...
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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I think bull dogs can only be born now via c-sections due to head size of pups compared to pelvic sizes of moms. That must be so difficult to know you must c-section every time you breed. That would be too stressful for me.

I spayed Cozy because he said if she had another litter she may have to be sectioned.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
But Goldens are dogs that should naturally whelp, right?
 

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What are thoughts on singletons? We have had two so far, and we scheduled both c-sections with the recommendation of our vet. I agreed, both pups looked large on the x-ray and why risk running into problems, and then end up going to the E-vet (most likely loosing the pup) and paying 2.5 times what you would at your normal vet. I have heard of people opting for natural even with singletons and nothing bad happening, I am just too cautious for that.

I do agree that size of litter does impact the recovery time, the one and two puppy litters we have had, the bitches recover almost as quickly as they do after a heat cycle.

We generally were always against back to back breedings, even with litters of one or two. But the more I read, the more I wish we hadn't been. And now feel differently about it. I much rather spay a bitch at 3.5 or 4.5 years old(with two or three litters under her belt), than at 6 or even 7 with the same number of litters. All those heat cycles when not bred are unnecessary stress on the body. And the risk for pyometra are increased as the bitch ages. .
 

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Beware of Nestle Purina
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But Goldens are dogs that should naturally whelp, right?
Totally agree. I think most dogs needing a c-section = Spay and don't breed again. But this is 100% my opinion only.
 
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Discussion Starter #17
Singletons, I think are the exception. I think that many need c sections and it is not necessarily an indicator of things to come..... My Samantha aborted all her pups in her first litter. The last one to die, died in the last week of gestation. My husband did a c section to take out the last dead puppy.
She went on to have a litter of five, then a litter of seven then a litter of nine.
 

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Grumpy Old Man
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My general rule has to do with complications. If things don't go right throughout the pregnancy and delivery, it's over. (The only exception perhaps being a singleton.)
If a C-section is required, she's done, and we won't try again.
 

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Dr. Rainheart
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I am wondering why some breeders opt for c-sections. Beamer's dam had a c-section and she was around 7 or 8. It was a planned c-section and as far as I know she had no complications with her first litter. This was her second and last litter.

There is also a breeder on facebook that I am watching (a reputable one) who just had two litters both by c-section. Again as far as I know, there wasn't a medical reason for it (could not give birth naturally, I mean).
 

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SunKissed Goldens
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Do breeders ever worry about selecting for poor whelpers by doing c-sections? It sounds like it is becoming norm for some to just op for a c-section in a healthy dog to prevent loss of pups.
I do. One of my girls had 3 litters, which required 3 surgical inseminations (she had uterine cysts), and 3 csections. This was years ago, but her daughter also required a csection. She only had one litter, I will be breeding the daughter from that litter next year -- hoping for an easy whelper! I certainly take that into consideration when picking stud dogs...
 
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