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Monday, October 19, 2009

Who's your Daddy?

Who’s your Daddy?

A question came across my doggie desk from woman who had a purebred Bernese Mountain dog which was in estrus and she mated it with another Bernese. The problem? Well, a Heinz 57 dog also got to her purebred dog so her question was, “If the male Bernese was the first to mate with her dog did that mean that he was most likely the father of the pups or could the mutt be the father and should she consider an abortion for the female.”

Thus the compilation of this article. On the left you will see a picture of my dog Babe as well as a random litter of mixed pups on the right.

I remember years ago running to the ASPCA because Pete and I saw that there were St Bernard mixed pups up for adoption. When we looked at the pups that were left from the litter, the facial mask could have represented a St Bernard, but the feet and body were very small.

“I don’t think this is a St Bernard mix.” I said.
“Sure it is!” Peter said. “Look, right here on this kennel card, St Bernard mix.”
“But the feet and body are too small.” I said.
“They wouldn’t say it’s a St Bernard if it wasn’t.” Peter replied.

Was it worth the argument? Nah, a pup is a pup, is a pup, as far as I’m concerned, I love them all!

Babe as we so fondly called her was not even close to a St Bernard! She just about came up to our knees! St. Bernard indeed!

My dog is a mix of:
Mother: Collie.
Father: Beagle, Sheltie, Cocker, Retriever, and St Bernard?

What’s up with that? When you get a mixed pup, there can be many different breeds listed on its adoption papers but can a pup have more than one father? Can the mother get pregnant by many males at once? Can a female get pregnant if there is no tie with the male? Questions, questions, questions!

So here it goes, the dog listed with all its mixes probably doesn’t have that many breeds in it. Possible? Yes, if the mixed mutts have really made the rounds in procreating which I guess is possible with irresponsible owners, but not likely.

Can many males that mate with the female during one estrus cycle contribute to the making of one very mixed variety pup? No, while the female who is in estrus from 4-9 days and can become pregnant by more than one male at a time, there can only be one father per pup. Hmm, so who’s the father if she ties with many males? Well they can all be a father, but each would be the father of one individual egg. So the Collie can be a father of one or more in the litter, the Sheltie can father one or more, and the St Bernard can father one or more eggs and so on. Yet the pup’s heritage or mix listed on the adoption card may be named after what breed or breeds the owner saw mate with the female or by the looks and markings of the pups themselves.

So when you pick a mixed dog be aware that it can list many mixes on the card, but there would be only one father no matter how many mated with the female. The male’s sperm lay in wait a day or two until the female’s eggs mature and make their way down the uterine horns then all the surviving male sperm which has been hanging out on the sidelines, make a mad dash toward the eggs to fertilize them. Who reaches the eggs first is anybody’s guess; it could be the first dog she mated with or the last. I guess it depends on how strong and fast the swimmers are!

Do dogs actually have to tie to make puppies ? Nah, there is such a thing called slip mating so if the male ejaculates at the right place at the right time, some of his swimmers still have a fair shot at getting a dog pregnant, however breeders would prefer to see a tie take place.
You can read about slip mating here.

In recent years DNA tests have been made available for dogs so one can see what breeds of dog make up their mix. Is there importance to know this? Well, it may answer some potential health questions as some breeds may be prone to certain diseases. It may also answer that question, why is my dog so hyper? Or the opposite, why is my dog so lazy? I guess it comes down to the importance to each individual owner and the price they want to pay to find out. These tests can cost anywhere from 49 dollars and up. You can get a kit online or pick one up at Pet Smart.

DNA kits

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