Why breed back to back heat cycles

There is a lot of misinformation in the world about breeding back to back heats with a dog.  I am going to do my best to explain why it is in fact better for the females overall health to breed back to back heats.

A large reason skipping heats is done is so that breeders are able to show a dog that has had enough time to get her figure back to top notch shape and have a chance to win a ribbon.  In fact some breeding dogs never start a career until the age of 3 and by then have gone through enough heats without becoming pregnant to already start damaging the uterus.

Recently at an AKC Dog Breeding Symposium held at Michigan State University with key note speaker Dr. Claudia Orlandi Ph.D. (AKC's breeder of the year and author of The ABC's of Dog Breeding) shocked many breeders when it was disclosed that there have been scientific studies to show that it is detrimental for bitches to skip heat cycles. It was shared that once you have begun to mate a bitch that you should NOT skip any heat cycles until she is completely finished breeding. A bitch is said to be "finished" breeding when her litter size is drastically decreased. The study involved following females that were bred every heat cycle and females that were bred every other heat cycle. After they were "finished" breeding, the bitches were spayed and their uterus dissected. Those showing most stress, and damage of the uterus were the females that were bred "every other" heat cycle. Part of the rational that skipping heat cycles is harmful stems from the fact that with consecutive heat cyclesthere is no "flushing action" of the uterus, that normally occurs by having a litter of puppies.The female will go through Estrus no matter if she is bred or not and by breeding a healthy bitch back to back,can lessen the chances of the female experiencing pyometra, infections and false pregnancies. The choice to breed or not, should be contingent upon the goals the breeder has and for sure the mental and physical health of the female, above all else. The important information to take away from this study, is that a breeder with healthy females, does have "choices".

The common misconception is that an ethical breeder should make his bitch skip at least on heat cycle between two pregnancies.  That way, the dog breeder lets her body rest and recover from the first pregnancy.

Many canine reproduction specialists such as Dr.  Hutchison have long concluded the opposite is true.  To these experts, once a female is fertile ( usually from the second heat,  depending on the breed of the dog )  she should be bred at every heat until she is done.   As you read earlier,  a bitch is done when you see a sharp decrease in litter size or when you decide for any other reason that she will not be bred any longer.

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This is just a copy and paste from a breeder site that I took.>>>>>

My friend just went to the Dog Breeding Symposium that had been advertised on the AKC website for this weekend at MSU. One of the most shocking informational things she came back with, was that there have been scientific studies to show that it is WORSE for bitches to be skipped heat cycles, and once you have begun to mate a bitch that you should NOT skip any heat cycles until she is completely finished breeding. You know a bitch is 'done' breeding when their is a drastic decline in litter size.

I have heard that this is also common practice in European Countries.

The study followed 5 colonies of dogs (labs, min-pin, 2 other purebreds and 1 group of lab mixes) in the college research breeding program. 1/2 of each colony was bred every single heat cycle, 1/2 skipped every other one.

After they were finished breeding, the bitches were spayed and their uterus dissected. Those showing most stress, and damage were the ones that had been skipped, since it is NATURAL in the wild for dogs to be bred EVERY HEAT CYCLE it is what their bodies were meant to do.

The SCIENTISTS and DOG EXPERTS explained that the skip every other heat program was an myth, probably started by people trying to impose their human emotions on to their dogs. Women try to get back their girlish figure between pregnancies, and that is not a priority for dogs.

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Revisiting back to back breeding

Februarv 5- 2011 Bv Dr Kate Schoeffel 3 Comments

By Dr Kate Schoeffel

It is frequently claimed that breeding dogs on every heat or "back to back breeding" is bad for

a bitch's long term health and well being. However the research in canine reproduction shows

that not breeding a dog when it comes into heat can in fact be bad for its health.

Scientists have shown that pseudopregnancy ['phantom pregnancy'] increases the risk of

mammary cancers which are the second most common cancer in dogs after skin tumours and

are 3-5 times more common than breast cancers in womenl:

Pseudopregnancy often occurs when a bitch is not bred. She will show signs such as nesting,

weight gain, mammary enlargement and lactation - usually about 6 to 12 weeks after oestrus.

Pseudopregnancy represents the extreme of the changes which normally occur during the

oestrus cycle and it is suggested that it is a hang over from dogs evolution from wolves.

Subordinate non breeding pseudopregnant female wolves in a pack can help to raise pups by

nursing the litters of other females" '

ln 1994 Donnay and his associates showed that there is a relationship between the number of

pseudopregnancies a bitch goes through and the development of mammary cancer - see Table

1 belornf. Vbrstegen and Onclin (2006)1 have also studied canine marnmary cancer and found

that a large number of bitches presented for mammary tumours also show pseudopregnancy,

that a large percentage of these females had had frequent pseudopregnancies and that the

bitches with recurring pseudopregnancy at each cycle tended to develop mammary tumours

significantly earlier than other animals.

Both of these authors say that there is need for more research but clearly bitches which don't

breed are likely to become pseudopregnant and pseudopregnancy increases the risk of cancer.

skipping cycles in breeding has been linked to mammary cancer

pregnancy proteets against life threatening uterine diseases.

The most common uterine disease is cystic endometrial hyperplasia.  It is linked to several serious uterine disease including the potentially life threatening disease "pyometria".  ( Literally uterus full of puss )  which affects nearly 1/4 of dogs under 10 that have not been desexed. According to Dr. S Romagnoli ( canine reproduction specialist )  " BITCHES WHELPING REGULARLY THROUGHOUT THEIR REPRODUCTIVE LIFE ALMOST NEVER DEVELOP PYOMETRIA ) .  While those who whelp rarely or never whelp in their lives have a greater chance of developing this condition.

Furthermore a standard textbook of veterinary internal medicine notes that unterine diseases are less common in kennels where bitches are bred and conceive regularly.  Indicating that pregnancy has a proactive effect on the lining of the uterus or " endometrium ".

Given that artificially restricting a breeding dog, which hasn't been desexed, is bad for their health, it is not surprising that many breeding dogs bred have reproductive problems. Frequently older bitches need need veterinary intervention to reproduce and good bitches may end up breeding well beyond 6 years of age when their fertility is beginning to decline.

No responsible breeder who cares about their dogs would breed them into exhaustion.  Breeding dogs regularly while they are young, followed by desexing and rehoming when they are still young is in the best interest of the dog.  Both for her health and the quality of life she will have after her career.