If a little dog gets pregnant by a big dog, this can often mean trouble. Hence, the importance of responsible dog ownership and doing the best in preventing such mismatings from happening in the first place. With dogs coming nowadays in many different shapes and sizes, it is therefore not unusual for a larger male dog to impregnate a female smaller dog. Veterinarian Dr. Ivana Crnec discusses whether it is possible to breed two different sized dogs and the potential complications to expect if a little dog gets pregnant by a big dog.
The Breeding of Dogs of Different Sizes
Breeding dogs from different sizes is more than challenging. It is worrying and quite risky. Although dogs belong to one species, their physical traits and appearances are quite variable and therefore some understandable questions are likely to arise.
For example, if the male is significantly smaller than the female, he will struggle or may even be unable to mount her. On the other hand, if the male is significantly larger than the female, the female will be in utter pain during the breeding.
Therefore, under normal circumstances, dogs from different sizes are not bred, at least, not on purpose. However, accidents can and do happen. In practice it is not uncommon to see a little dog getting pregnant by a big dog.
So the the next question that comes to mind is, how to breed dogs of different sizes? And is it possible to do so in a safer way? If purposely breeding two differently sized dogs, the first thing that needs to be considered is which dog is smaller.
If the female is the smaller dog, keep in mind that in most cases, a Caesarean section would be necessary. This is because the puppies will be too large for the mother’s birth canal. If the male is the smaller dog, things are easier because a simple artificial insemination will definitely do the trick.
The second thing that needs considering is the critical timings during the process. Simply put, there are two critical problems to worry about: 1) Potential pain/discomfort during the mating and 2) Potential complications associated with the delivery of the puppies.
What Happens if a Little Dog Gets Pregnant By a Big Dog?
This is a rather risky combination that requires proper planning. You do not have to be an expert on the subject to assume the obvious – an extreme size difference can easily lead to potentially lethal bleeding. However, if properly managed, the situation may turn out right and a small female can successfully give birth to puppies from a big male.
First of all, make sure the female is able to tolerate the weight of the male without sustaining injuries. Keep in mind that certain dog breeds such as the Dachshund have particularly delicate spines and can easily get injured if burdened. It goes without saying that the male does not burden the female with its entire weight but nonetheless in some cases even a small burdening may cause damage. Plus, before the mating occurs, dogs tend to bite and paw each other. This can be harmful, and if the male is too rough, the two dogs must be separated.
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What's a Snipey Muzzle in Dogs?
A snipey muzzle in dogs is something to be aware of, especially if you are planning to breed dogs or enter the show ring business. Even if you plan to use your dog as a hunting partner, you should be aware of snipey muzzles and how they may impact your dog's ability to perform the tasks he was bred for.
Do not forget the size of your male dog's member. It is possible that it would be too large to enter your female. If the male attempts to penetrate the female regardless of their incompatible physical traits, he could cause serious tears. To avoid potential mutilation, it is best advised to talk to your trusted vet. The vet will examine the two dogs and determine whether they have compatible physiognomy.
If the dogs are established to be compatible, it is important to keep the dogs still during the lock (tie). If the male is hyperactive and drags the female around with him, he may unintentionally hurt her. Even if he does not hurt her, the entire situation will be too distressing for her. It goes without saying that you should never try to separate the dogs during the tie.
Problems Delivering the Puppies
If everything goes smoothly, it is safe to assume that now the small female is pregnant. Well, no matter how big the male dog is, the female’s uterus can only expand to a certain limit. That limit will restrict the puppies’ ability to grow. Simply stated, the size of the puppies is mostly determined by the size of the mother. However, the father’s size also plays an important role.
In general, the outcome is better if the mother carries more puppies. The more puppies she has, the smaller they will be. This is because their growing environment is limited and it is impossible for them to become too big.
Problems occur though when there are only one or two puppies. In such cases they will have enough space to grow and eventually they will become too big for the mother’s birth canal. In such cases, it will be impossible to deliver the puppies without a Caesarean section.
All in all, if your small female is having puppies with a significantly larger male, she needs close monitoring during the entire process – from conception to birth. Allowing her to go into spontaneous labor with puppies that are too big for her birth canal may end up fatally for both the mother and the pups. Therefore, talk to your vet, let the vet examine the pregnant female and determine the ideal date for Caesarean section.
The Bottom Line
In general, puppies inherit the average of their parents for most traits. This also includes the size. A small female has a uterus designed to accommodate suitable puppies or puppies from her breed. If the female is bred with a larger male, imagine the strain of the pregnancy the female would have to endure. Plus, do not underestimate the strain of the delivery, too. More often than not, things go beyond just straining.
If you purposely bred your small female with a larger male, or if your female dog escaped and accidentally mated with a much larger dog, it is best advised to schedule a Caesarean section. Waiting to see whether the female would be able to give birth naturally can only complicate and aggravate the already serious situation.
Breeding dogs from different sizes is a risky process that lasts from the breeding itself right through the delivery of the pups. However, as previously mentioned, with proper precautions and a good managing strategy, the process can be finished safely and successfully.
About the Author
Dr. Ivana Crnec is a graduate of the University Sv. Kliment Ohridski’s Faculty of Veterinary Medicine in Bitola, Republic of Macedonia.