BITCHES

Recommendation C:

Bitches should not be mated before the age of 18 months.  The total number of litters for each individual Finnish Lapphund bitch should not exceed 5. Sequential cycle ‘back to back’ litters should not occur more than once in a bitches breeding career.  

Rationale:  

There are good reasons to delay breeding until physical maturity for bitches. All Australian State Pedigree Dog organisations recommend a minimum breeding age in the interests of bitch welfare, either in their code of ethics, their rules or their regulations.  Unfortunately, the suggested advice differs between canine governing bodies.  For most State Pedigree dog organisations, including Dogs NSW, the lowest age limit for bitch mating is currently 12 months.  It is the intention of the FLCNSW committee to submit a proposal to dogs NSW to include the Finnish Lapphund on the list of breeds whose bitches should not be mated before 18 months of age.  Dogs Victoria have already taken this step and bitches registered in Victoria are not be mated before 18 months.  Breeders should be aware that the Finnish JTO recommendation is that neither dogs nor bitches should be bred before the age of 20 months, and that it is preferable to wait till the age of three years.

 

It should be a rare event for a bitch to have 5 litters.  In Australia, the ANKC and Dogs NSW recommend a maximum of 6 litters per bitch before veterinary certification is required. It is the opinion of the FLCNSW that this  6 litters maximum is not in the best interests of bitch welfare or breed diversity. The litter limit in QLD is 4 litters before veterinary certification is required and this is the lowest recommended number of any of the Australian canine governing bodies. The Finnish equivalent recommendation is 5 litters. Breeding for diversity should aim to use a greater number of bitches with each having fewer litters.

 

Breeding guidance  for ‘back to back’ or sequential estrus cycle litters is variable. This may reflect the underlying conflict between the health harms of ‘overusing’ a bitch for breeding, and the health harms of of multiple estrus cycles generally. The overarching intent is bitch welfare.  The Dogs NSW code of ethics states that a bitch should not be bred more than twice in 18 months.  The JTO document recommends that a one-time litter spacing of 10 months is acceptable but that the next litter spacing should be a year.  We have stopped short of making any specific time-based recommendation but generally sequential cycle ‘back to back’ litters should be an infrequent choice and should probably not occur more than once in a bitches breeding career.

(Supported by JTO and Dogs NSW)

© 2018 Finnish Lapphund Club of NSW Inc

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