Thinking of Breeding Westies? Read This Westie Breeding Guide First
As an owner of a pedigree West Highland White Terrier, you may have considered breeding your Westies. Breeding Westies is not a hobby, it can be demanding, complicated and is not something the average home owner should dabble with. Many people have thought of breeding their Westies as a means of making money. Buy a male and female Westie and let them get on with it. This is not the correct attitude, and if you are here to earn money selling dogs, you are not welcome in the site.
The beloved family pet is perhaps not the best candidate to continue the purebred strain of Westies. In fact there are some breeders who insist you have the dog spayed or nurtured.
Consider the time and money involved just to get your Westie bitch into breeding condition and then to look after her throughout her pregnancy and afterwards while she looks after her young pups. You will need to house, feed, groom and housebreak all the puppies until good homes are found, not to mention periodic trips to the vet for worming, vaccination and check-ups. Breeding Westies is a full time job and should not be taken likely.
Westies on Heat
Most West Highland White Bitches will reach puberty when they are between 6 and 7 months old. At this time the bitch’s vulva will become enlarged, during this time varying amounts of blood stained fluid is passed. This period in time is usually referred to as “Come on heat” or to be “in season”. Some Westie females will show signs of abdominal discomfort and can also become excitable more than usual. They may also loose their appetite for a few days before they come on heat.
The Westie female will become attractive to the male dog usually from the first day of heat, but are not really interested until 7 to 10 days. At this stage The female Westie will become anxious to escape from your home to meet the male.
Around the second week or so ovulation occurs, this is the critical period for her to mate. The female will have many eggs know as Gametes. Each egg is surrounded by a wall, that only the strongest sperm will penetrate and fertilize the egg.
Expectant West Highland White Mum
After about 35 days of pregnancy, the mother’s caloric requirements will begin to increase. In general, she should require about twice as much food as usual. When she begins nursing, she will need about three times as much food. Exercise of the pregnant female should be avoided after the first 4 weeks of pregnancy. Do not give extra calcium or excess vitamins as these may be harmful to the puppies.
Around the 45th day, your dog should be examined by a vet. At this time, the skeletons of the unborn pups will have mineralized and are thus visible on a radiograph scan. Ultrasound may be used to confirm pregnancy much earlier, after 25 days, the heart may be seen beating, but it is more difficult to count the number of pups using this method. A general pregnancy blood test can be performed around day 35 just to confirm whether or not she is pregnant but neither this nor ultrasound will tell you how many puppies to expect, only radiographs can do that.
Breeding Westies – Whelping Preparation
The gestation period of the dog is considered to be in the range of 58-68 days, average 62 days. A comfortable area in your home should be set aside for whelping and raising the puppies. The female should feel at home there and should be able to come and go as she likes while the puppies must remain secure.
You should provite her with a bed in a secluded, darkened and warm place. Plenty of clean paper should be placed in the bed to line it, she may shred up this paper during the early stages.
West Highland White Labour
When the time approaches, you should begin monitoring your female West Highland White rectal temperature. Normal dog temprature is between 100?F to 102?F, When her temperature drops below 100?F.
Labour may start from 2 to 24 hours, during this stage she may be restless and pant quite a lot. She will begin to contract and it is wise to make a note of the time this happens.
At all times the mother should be observed, she is doing what comes natural, but may be frightened and not quite sure what to do next. Usually little help is needed from you, but its wise to stay close to be sure that the mothers lack of experience does not cause any problems. Be ready to help if necessary.
First Stage of Labour
Uterine contractions begin, the female Westie will look very restless and may pace back and forth, scratch the floor or pant, She may also be sick.This is all normal and all you can do is see that the female has water available should she want it.
This stage of labour in a Westie can last 12 hours while the full dilation of the cervix happens in preparation to expel a puppy.
The second stage of Westie labour is the “hard labour” stage, in which the puppy is expelled. The first pup should appear. The pup will appear in a dark colour sac of fluid, which will be wrapped in another fluid membrane. The puppy should be born soon after this stage. Never pull any of the pups out, let nature take its course.
The expulsion of the placenta and afterbirth, each pup may not be followed by afterbirth. She may pass 2 pups and then 2 placentas. West Highland White 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 in a knot about one inch from the pup and cut with scissors on the far side of the knot.
How Often Is a Westie Puppy Born?
Expect one pup every 45-60 minutes with 10-30 minutes of hard straining. It is normal for her to take a rest partway through delivery and she may not strain at all for up to four hours between pups. If she is seen straining hard for over 1 hour or if she takes longer than a 4 hour break, a vet should be called.
You should have your vets telephone number at hand at all times, and have discussed with him any possible help you may need when the time comes. If anything seams to be going wrong telephone immediately.
As you can see, there is a lot more to breeding Westies than a lot of people think. If you are still interested in breeding a West Highland White terrier litter then make sure you read our article on problems with Westie birth.