"I saw my dogs mate at least eight times!"
That’s what the owner said to me after I confirmed her female Chihuahua was not pregnant.
She was disappointed, and these are typically the hardest people to tell their wish of puppies isn’t going to come true anytime soon.
I’m a firm believer in ‘Nothing worth having comes easy’, but I understand it’s hard not to get swept up in the excitement and anticipation of the little pitter-patter of puppy paws.
I launched into my typical investigative conversation to find out some more details about the mating pair.
How old is he? Is he proven? Did they tie?
I felt I might have pushed the owner a bit too far when I asked ‘how big are his testicles?’
This question was met with a look of bewilderment plus minor disgust and finally answered with ‘I’m not sure I’ve never looked!’
Though the testicles aren’t just outside to body to be purely ogled at, it does mean you have a pretty good indicator of fertility easily accessible. Well sized ‘plums’ relevant to the size of the breed are an indication of sexual maturity. You’ll need to look at the finer details such as sperm abnormalities, concentration and motility under the microscope, but it’s a good starter for ten.
She left a little deflated but with my verbal advice and a copy of my written support sheet.
Three days later, I received the following text:
So it seems Ted has retained testicles also known as cryptorchidism, which significantly impacts fertility.
Okay, this certainly wasn’t the expected ending to the situation, but it answers the question as to why eight ties didn’t result in pups and certainly at £800 vet bill wasn’t on the horizon either.
However there’s a strong correlation, over 50%, of cryptorchid testes developing into testicular tumours, so Ted’s long term welfare was under threat if not dealt with accordingly.
So what’s the lesson?
If you own male dogs, stud dogs or not check their plums. Keep an eye on them as they grow from a puppy to an adult that they are present and descended of a typical size. Any swelling, lumps, pain or discolouration you should see veterinary advice.
If you are planning to breed, you should have confidence in the dog fertility abilities. whether using your own, someone else or providing a stud service.
To gain a better understanding of the expectations, responsibilities and options available to you as an owner of males who are used at stud, then don't hesitate to sign up to my webinar.
This is where Sara Lamont the Canine Family Planner founder of HomeScan & Pet Mate Services will be sharing her observations in the world of canine breeding accrued from three decades in the field.