Author Topic: Should I offer my pet Cocker dog at stud?  (Read 15419 times)

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Offline Jane S

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Should I offer my pet Cocker dog at stud?
« on: November 30, 2003, 05:18:16 PM »
Should I offer my pet Cocker dog at stud?

Allowing a dog to sire a litter is a big decision & needs a lot of thought about the responsibilities involved & the amount of knowledge needed.

The responsible owner of a potential stud dog must have in depth knowledge on a range of subjects including:

  • The owner must know what hereditary problems exist in the breed & which lines have produced problems in the past to be able to make an educated decision about whether their dog should be used at all & if so, which bitches he would suit. It is never just a case of letting any bitch mate any dog - this could lead to disaster!

  • The Bitch's Cycle. The stud dog owner must be able to advise novice bitch owners when to bring their bitch for mating as all bitches differ. The stud dog owner must know from just looking at a bitch whether she is receptive to mating or not - introducing a stud dog to a bitch who is not ready for mating could lead to the dog being injured as bitches may be aggressive to males if they are not ready. The stud dog owner must also be prepared to board an in season bitch for a few days or longer if she arrives before she is receptive to mating.

  • Mating Techniques. Contrary to popular belief, not all male dogs know instinctively what to do with an in season bitch - many need careful tutoring & the stud dog owner must know how to do this & how to assist a dog to achieve a successful mating. Some matings can be technically difficult for example if the dog & bitch vary in size too much or if the bitch is reluctant to stand still to be mated. Again, the stud dog owner needs to know what to do to achieve a good result without injury or distress being caused to either party.

  • Managing the Stud Dog. Once a dog is used at stud, it is not unusual for his personality to alter to some extent. Some have a tendency to mark their territory indoors (cocking legs on furniture etc) and may be more likely to wander off the lead in search of in season bitches. Once a dog has been allowed to mate one bitch, they will generally want others! Some may also become more aggressive to other male dogs (due to sexual competitiveness). The potential stud dog owner needs to decide whether they can cope with these possible behavioural changes.

  • Responsibility for Puppies. Once a dog has been used at stud, the owner cannot just take the money & forget about it. The stud dog owner must be prepared to give advice on rearing puppies to the bitch owner (if a first time breeder) & must also take responsibility for any hereditary defects produced by their dog. They are also morally responsible for helping with the rehoming of any of their dog's offspring should the need arise at any time. This responsibility also means the stud dog owner must vet bitch owners that contact them to ensure that the breeder is reputable (not a puppy farmer for instance!) & that the bitch is old enough to be mated (or not too old) & has passed all the recommended health tests (annual eye tests, DNA tests for PRA, FN & AMS for example).

If after reading this, you feel you can undertake the responsibilities of offering your dog at stud, then you need to get him seen by reputable breeders. This means showing him (if a show-type Cocker) or working him in the field (if a Working Cocker) If other breeders can see that he is an excellent example of the breed, then they may ask to use him at stud, but the key word is "may" - there are already a large number of experienced Cocker stud dogs in the country for the reputable breeder to choose from. It goes without saying that your dog should also have had the recommended health screening tests which means as an absolute bare minimum, a current clear eye test certificate, including the gonioscopy test for predisposition to Glaucoma. Eye testing can only be carried out by a specialist vet (you can find out more HERE) He should also be DNA tested for prcd_PRA (hereditary eye disease which causes blindness), FN (fatal hereditary kidney disease), AON (Adult Onset Neuropathy) and AMS (Acral Mutilation Syndrome, particularly if your dog is a Working Cocker). Ideally your dog should be hip scored too, with a below average hip score for the breed. More information can be found on the Cocker Spaniel Club Health page at

As you can see, owning a stud dog is not for the fainthearted - it's not an easy way to make some extra cash & is never just a case of putting together any dog with any bitch & leaving them to get on with it doing this could cause one or both parties to be injured and could also result in pups with health or temperament problems. If you would like to offer your dog at stud simply because you would like another puppy with his personality & looks, then it would be easier to buy another puppy from your dog's breeder!

By J E Simmonds (updated 2020)