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I was just curious... maybe this is a dumb question but.. how many litters can a female have before its unhealthy??
 

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A female should not be bred before age 2. They should be retired around age 8 (it depends on the female, some have a harder time so are retired by age 5-6 whereas others are only bred every 2-3 years and may have their last litter at age 8). 4-5 litters should be the limit. If the bitch has a c-section, much fewer would be appropriate.

If a bitch has a small litter and handles it very easily, they can be bred back-to-back (meaning the next heat cycle) and then are rested for a year or so. Otherwise a cycle should be skipped between litters. Many reproduction specialists recommend the back-to-back breedings and younger retirement age if the bitch can handle it.
 

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Originally posted by JMM@Jul 1 2005, 02:46 PM
A female should not be bred before age 2. They should be retired around age 8 (it depends on the female, some have a harder time so are retired by age 5-6 whereas others are only bred every 2-3 years and may have their last litter at age 8). 4-5 litters should be the limit. If the bitch has a c-section, much fewer would be appropriate.

If a bitch has a small litter and handles it very easily, they can be bred back-to-back (meaning the next heat cycle) and then are rested for a year or so. Otherwise a cycle should be skipped between litters. Many reproduction specialists recommend the back-to-back breedings and younger retirement age if the bitch can handle it.
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Our reproductive specialist recommends the back to back breeding with skipping a year after that. The breeder I got my Westie from said her reproductive specialist recommends the same for them.
My personal idea on age at retirement, as well as number of litters is retirement by age five and no ore than three or four litters. If a dog has a problem to require the second c-section, then she should be retired. I don't want to take any more chances with my dogs than is normal for a pregnancy.
 
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