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How Often Should Dogs Tie When Breeding?

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Dogs Tie When Breeding

How often should dogs tie when breeding is an important question considering that the main purpose of breeding dogs is successfully whelping a litter of healthy, happy puppies. All dog breeders want to do their best in increasing those chances of pregnancy and knowledge is ultimately power when it comes to the art of whelping and raising puppies. While there is no magical number as to how often dogs should tie when breeding, one thing is for sure: experts are aware of the advantages of letting dogs mate one alternate days.

How often should dogs tie?

Is a Tie Necessary for Successful Dog Breeding?

Is a tie really necessary for getting a female dog pregnant? Not necessarily. A tie isn't a guarantee of pregnancy. There are many cases of female dogs getting pregnant without a tie and females who do not get pregnant despite a tie.

A tie is therefore not necessary for pregnancy to occur and the duration of the tie doesn't appear to matter either.

However, a tie may be reassuring for breeders, because they know with certainty that intromission took place along with potential discharge of fluids, increasing the odds for pregnancy. "Most breeders feel more comfortable if a tie has occurred," points out veterinarian Victoria Aspinall in the book: "The Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing." 

In general, female dogs will only allow the male dog to tie when they are in the fertile part of their heat cycle. The fertile portion of the female dog's heat cycle (estrus) generally takes place around the 9th and 15th day counting from the first day of bleeding. In general, the bleeding should have stopped at the estrus stage being replaced with a straw colored fluid. Female dogs at this stage are said to be in "standing heat" as they allow male dogs to mount and may flag their tails.

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A tie occurs after intromission. At this point, right after intromission, the male dog starts vigorously thrusting, causing the bulbus glandis to enlarge inside the female. This enlargement, along with the female tightening down, keeps the dogs locked up into a tie. During this time, there is transfer of material to the female.

The average tie lasts typically lasts about 15 minutes, but there can be individual variations here ranging from just a few minutes to even up to 45 minutes or an hour in some cases.

What the purpose of the tie? A tie is an evolutionary adaptation most likely meant to improve conception rates in female dogs, but as mentioned, female dogs can become pregnant without the tie having occurred.

"It is also worth noting that some dogs of certain breeds e.g. West Highland white terriers are well known for not tying,' and yet are still able to produce normal litters."~Victoria Aspinall,"The Complete Textbook of Veterinary Nursing." 

Does the Duration of the Tie in Dogs Matter?

As mentioned, the average tie in dogs may last on average about 15 minutes, however, some dogs may tie for just a minute or two or even up to 45 minutes. There is some hearsay suggesting that a longer tie increases the chances of pregnancy. Is there any truth to this?

A briefer tie is not indicative of incomplete breeding or one of insufficient quality, nor does a longer tie ensure a greater conception rate, explains dog breeder Beth J. Harris, in the book "Breeding a litter, the complete book of prenatal and postnatal care."

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Another common "myth" often cited by breeders is that the duration of the tie has an impact on the number of puppies. This has caused many breeders hoping for longer lasting ties so to reap the bonus of larger litters. However, this has also proven to be untrue. The duration of the tie has no impact on the number of puppies produced, as proven by the below statement from a veterinarian, breeder and author.

"I have known many large healthy litters resulting from a single mating wherein the tie only lasted a minute or two. Other small litters have resulted from matings that were repeated 3 or 4 times with ties of 20 minutes each."~Dr. Dan Rice, veterinarian "The Complete Book of Dog Breeding."

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How Often Should Dogs Tie When Breeding?

Many dog breeders wonder how often dogs should tie when breeding. Should limits take place or should the dogs be allowed to mate as much as they want? First of all, one point is worth clarifying, it's an old wives' tale that female dogs will mate as much as they want and will then refuse the stud once pregnant. Female dogs have no idea when they are pregnant so to voluntarily stop mating. They just stop mating once they are out of the estrus stage.

It can only take one mating to potentially get a female dog pregnant. If the timing is right and all proceeds well, that may be all that it takes. Breeders who have testing done to determine when the female dog is ovulating (releasing eggs from the ovaries) can get away with just one tie during a cycle, which comes extra handy in cases where a stud is unavailable over a long period of time.

While it can make sense keeping both dog together and allowing them to breed as many times as the female allows, this might not be the best approach if you are hoping for conception. Allowing dogs to mate as much as they want during a heat cycle may prove to be exhausting to both dogs. Breeders like to give their females a rest and there are alo advantages in letting the dogs breed every other day, if this is a feasible option.

Advantages of Breeding Every Other Day 

If feasible, to up the chances of pregnancy, you want to have the dogs breed every other day. There is a big advantage in doing this. Dr. Margaret V. Root Kustritz, a veterinarian specializing in reproduction explains that it's for the sake of the male dog.

What happens is that if the dogs are allowed to breed every day, the male dog's semen quality goes down significantly. However, just one day of rest in between, it just enough to restore quality. While this applies to most cases, there are always some exceptions to the rule. Dr. Kustritz mentions that in some situations, male dogs with strong drives and excellent semen quality can be used daily.

For Further Reading:

How long do dogs stay in heat? 

Vet explains signs of pregnancy in dogs

The truth about human pregnancy tests used for dogs

Signs of phantom pregnancy in dogs

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