I once pondered the same question. I tried a litter and it
scared me half to death! So for years I stayed away from breeding and just
bought an occasional pet. About 45 years ago, I decided to try it again.
I had raised two healthy boys and was now very confident about being a mom
(human or canine makes no difference!) I threw away my Dr Spock baby books
and replaced them with every chihuahua book I could find. I went to the dog
show and found a handler who familarized me with the breed standard.
I soon realized I was born to be a chihuahua breeder and now cannot imagine
my life any other way. I have devoted well over half my life to this tiny
little breed! God has been gracious enough to send me help along the way
and I cannot turn my back on others that are looking to learn. I now try
to do everything in my power to not only contribute to improving the
breed, but share what I have learned through the years about breeding.
One of the first lessons one must learn is not every breeder thinks alike,
and there are some that might try to discourage you. Don't become a robot
to people and their opinions. Visit a few dogs shows and once you've decided
the look you wish to strive for, stick with it. You don't have to have exactly
what you neighbor has. Look at the standard and decide what it means to you
and GO FOR IT! I have tried to provide a step by step outline of the highlights
of breeding and will update it from time to time.
The birth of Klaus and Rebekah Oct 23, 2014
Early Signs Of An Approaching Heat
When your darling little girl starts to mount pillows, other
animals or even your leg, you will know her heat is doubt 3-4 weeks away!
She may come into her first season as early as 6 months, but normally 9-12
months. She becomes more aggressive;yap Chihuahuas have PMS!She is in heat
approximately 3 weeks.
We never breed before the 2nd heat, with the 3rd being the best. The first
week she has a bloody discharge, which will fade to a light pink coloring,
then to a clear coloring.
Standing heat is time frame when your female will accept
a male. The red discharge will have changed to a pink or almost clear color.
She will begin to be very flirtatious and will move her tail to one side
when she is touched anywhere near the base of her tail. This is called "flagging"
the male. If she lifes her rear end up into the air, she is flagging and
she should be breed within the next week. We normally breed on the 10th,
11th, 12th day and then stop.
Because every day is credical in the development of the fetus, breeding over
a week period has caused us to have an occasional underdeveloped puppy. Those
conceived on the first mating will push those conceived on the 7th day and
be what my grandson says are "not cooked long enough, Granny." A normal
birthing weight is 3.0 ounces....and these tiny fellows can be as small
as .09 ounces. They normally do not survive, despite human intervention.
If you are not sure of the proper day to breed your bitch, you can take her
to the vet and he can run despite an Ovulation test.
Pictured Klaus, Rebekah and their dad, Gig-a-watt
Choosing A Male
When choosing a male, remember you are trying to improve
the breed so find a male that will compliment your bitch, being sure that
both are checked by a vet for healthy hearts, legs and both have good
temperaments. Talk to the breeder of the male you wish to use. Ask what traits
are behind the particular male that is being taken into consideration. Be
leary of the breeder that says there are no faults in their lines. There
is NO perfect Chihuahua and they all have some kind of fault. You, as the
owner of the bitch, what to make very sure you are not doubling up on common
fault. Look for hidden fault that might be in the parents of the two being
breed together. Ask about the siblings of the male you plain to breed
to. Don't just look at two dogs and breed them together. Study pedigrees,
find the weaknesses and the strong points, being very sure what you are willing
to introduce into your line.
Don't be fooled on a little male producing little puppies when bred to a
little female. Look at the parents of both the male and the female. Do you
remember the "Bell Curve" in school? Well. if you don't, let me explain
it this way. Picture a bell. On one side of the bell list the smallest
dog you know of in the pedigree. On the other side list the largest dog you
know in the pedigree. If the male you are breeding to is a pound and his
mama as 9 lbs, the puppies from this mating can range from 1 ounce to 9 ounces
and if you are breeding a 3 lb bitch, that is not good! She might have
difficultly birthing the larger puppy from the larger area of the bell and
you will have to head to the vets!
It is hard enough breeding, without finding out there was some hidden 15
pound chihuahua somewhere in the pedigree on the sire's side that you were
not told about! Ask zillions of questions....your bitches life depends on
How Do You Tell Your Bitch Took?
A rule of thumb.....women carry their babies 9 months,
Chihuahuas carry their puppies 9 weeks!
First few weeks you will notice:
Her vulva will stay slightly swollen at the base
Her temperament becomes more loving and gentle
We palpate our girls at 4 weeks to see how many puppies they
are carrying, if any.
If you do not know how to palpate, I would advise going to the vet after
the 28th day
Your little girl's girlish figure begins to change and she
should have begun to show
You might start to see a clear discharge, oderless discharge.
This is fine.
But if you notice it being a green coloring with a odor, call your vet
Between 7-8 weeks you will begin to feel the puppies
kicking....oh....what a blessing this is! If you own a stethoscope get it
out and listen to the heart beats. If you listen very carefully you can even
tell the sex. Males heartbeats are faster. I have hear old timers say the
sound is like Morris code. Males are the dots.....females are the
Your little girl's belly will start to drop and lay lower
to the ground.
Her sides look narrower as the puppies line up in the uterine horn......so
get that bed ready
A Few Things To Have On Hand
Stethoscope- for listening to those little heartbeats!
Clean blankets- keep puppies and mama dry after each puppy.
Vaseline - needed in case the puppy becomes stuck.
Nutra Cal or brandy - to aid mama and jumpstart her puppy
Quick stop - to stop cord bleeding
Scissors & Clippers - We cut the hair around the vulva and teats.
Scale - digital stamp scale is best.
Paper and pen - to write down those weights. The average weight is 3.0
Blow Dryer -blow the puppies dry, make sure you keep your hand over the puppy
to gauge the heat!
Heating pad - you need to keep the puppies warm!
Paper towels - to clean the puppies
Thread or hemostat - to tie off the umbilical cord
Camera - You must have those first pictures!
Bible - to keep you focused
Coffee - to keep you await in the wee hours of the morning!
Beer - Give mama a teaspoon if she doesn't appear to have much
The Blessed Event Is Right Around The Corner
Temperature drops to 98 degrees
She *might* refuses to eat, although some will eat with up to the minute
She might begin to withdraw and want to be alone
She might what to cling to you more, not letting you leave her sight
She tries to rest, but can't get comfortable
Clear discharge appears, remember to call your vet if you care concerned
about the color
The Chihuahuas' normal temperature is 101.5, but due to the
hormone levels, the final trimester of a pregnant bitch is somewhere around
100. Start taking the temperature around the 56th day of the first mating.
You will soon learn that between 12-24 hours before the blessed event the
temperature will rise higher than normal (maybe 101) and then drop to 98.6.
If your bitch has not had puppies within 24 hours of that drop in
temperature...call you vet!
She will feel cool to the touch and might shiver She starts
She will begin to frantically dig
I also give her shredded paper to tear apart, along with her blanket
She keeps licking herself
Listen to you bitch and your heart. If she is napping between contractions
she is probably ok. If you see a bubble protruding, yet she is constantly
pushing with no visible puppy something is wrong . Call you vet
Pushing much harder
If you bitch is pushing or crying and this lasts over an
hour with no puppy, you could be in trouble. Do not let your bitch
push hard for more than 15 minutes. Once you see that head/rear of the puppy,
don't wait more than a few seconds before you assist her. Get a towel and
gently pull when you see the bitch contract. DO NOT pull when she is not
Puppies are born covered in membranes which must be cleaned away or the pup
will suffocate. The mother will bite and lick the membranes away. Allow her
a minute or two after birth to do this; if she does not do it, then you must
clean the pup for her. Simply remove the slippery covering and rub the puppy
with a clean towel. The umbilical cord may be tied about one inch from the
pup and clammed with hemostat. DO NOT JUST CUT; this straight cut will cause
bleeding and the puppy could die.
Although I have had successful litters whelped at 58 days, those whelped
at 56 days had very little hair and their lungs are not quite developed.
Some I saved, some I didn't. Those I saved where tubed for a week before
they were strong enough to nurse on their own.
What To Expect The Next Few Days
Watch the mama for a least the first night. Keep them in
a quite place and do not let them stress in any way. Be very careful
when having puppies during 4th of July. I once had one eat her puppies when
hearing all the noises.
A brownish red is charge is normal for a few days. But if it is black or
foul smelling, contract your vet as this could be trouble on the
Keep count on the placentas. There is one puppy with each
placenta, although once I did have two puppies share one placenta! If you
are not sure, retained placentas can be cleaned out with a shot of
Oxytocin. Oxytocin also stimulate milk production. The bitch will eat the
placentas, but we only allow them to eat one, if they eat any more than one,
they get diarrhea.
In the event you must have a section on your bitch, be sure
to ask the vet for one of the placentas to take home in a doggie bag. He
might give you a strange look, but you will be glad you did! Sometimes mama
doesn't realize the puppies are hers because she didn't deliver them
herself. By rubbing her placenta on her puppies, she smells herself and readily
will accept them.
Things That Can Go Wrong
Chihuahuas are a very small breed with a big skull. Sometimes
they just cannot pass their puppies due to a small pelvic. At other times
the puppy is twisted in the womb preventing them from being whelped naturally.
Another reason is two puppies are trying to come into the world at the same
time. Whatever the reason, we must always be prepared by remembering
we not live in a perfect world. It is times like this we must seek the help
of a vet experienced in little dogs to aide Mother Nature deliver her
I can't stress enough to people starting out, sometimes they
just don't make it, for whatever reason. If you can't handle the worst that
can happen, then breeding might not be for you.
This condition results when the bitch has trouble supporting
the calcium demand of lactation. This condition generally occurs in the first
three weeks of lactation and a veterinarian should be consulted
At first they demonstrate:
nervousness and restlessness
no interest in the pups
stiff, painful gait
Which progresses to:
inability to stand
Mastitis is an infection of the mammary glands related to
heavy milk production and incomplete emptying of the glands. The mother may
not let her babies nurse, and the babies may then cry excessively, become
weak, and die if not cared for by the breeder. In animals with severe infection,
hospitalization and surgical drainage of the mammary glands may be necessary.
The babies will need to be hand fed a milk replacement formula to prevent
malnourishment or starvation while the mother is sick.
(teats) become swollen, hot, and painful with dark red or
purple soft spots.
The word pyometra is derived from latin
pyo meaning pus and metra meaning uterus. The pyometra
is an abscessed, pus-filled infected uterus. Toxins and bacterial leak across
the uterine walls and into the bloodstream causing life-threatening toxic
effects, Without treatment death is inevitable.
What Might Make You Suspect This Infection?
Usually, she has finished a heat cycle in the previous 1-2
months. She has a poor appetite and may be vomiting or drinking an excessive
amount of water. In the more usual open pyometra the cervix is
open and the purulent uterine contents is able to drip out thus a smelly
vaginal discharge is usually apparent.
There is also a form of pyometra called a closed pyometra where
the cervix is closed. In these cases, there is no vaginal discharge and the
clinical presentation is more difficult to diagnose. These patients also
tend to smell more than those with open pyometra due to retention of the
toxic uterine contents.
Breeding is a neverending story of ups and downs, joys and disappointments.
I will add things I've learned as I think back to them. In the meantime,
if there is any questions that I have not included, please contact me at
ChLegend@aol.com and I will do my best
to answer them!