Whilst I don’t breed dogs myself, I’m friends with a couple of breeders who I would place in the “responsible” category. Unfortunately, you can’t say the same for all of them; many will try to make as much money from their female Beagle as possible, breeding her multiple times.
But how many times can you breed a Beagle, and what qualifies as being a responsible number of pregnancies and litters?
To find out I got the opinion of the ethical breeders I know and got their professional opinions. Here are their personal points of view on what constitutes a healthy Beagle breeding cycle and regularity.
How many times can you breed a Beagle? Ethical breeders will only breed a Beagle between 2 and 3 times in their lifetime. The pregnancies should also be spaced out by at least 18 months at a minimum. Anything more than this and the dog’s health can suffer. Some Beagle breeders believe excessive breeding can also result in psychological implications.
Reasons to not breed Beagles more regularly
There are many reasons why 2 to 3 is the minimum amount of times you can breed a Beagle, some of which I touched on above. But let’s get into the specifics a bit more, as it’s important for the well-being of the dog.
1. The risk of emergency C-sections
Most Beagle’s will give birth naturally and without surgical intervention. However, some will have to undergo emergency Cesarean sections if there are complications. This is particularly common with younger Beagles who have fewer puppies in their litters – meaning bigger puppies, so possibly a more complicated birth due to the sizes involved.
It’s not fair to put a Beagle through unnecessary operations of this type, as there are risks for dogs that have too many C-sections:
- Stress: Your female Beagle could become stressed or even aggressive after a C-section. There is some evidence to suggest that multiple surgeries can also have a negative impact on the female’s mental health.
- Medical issues: There are always risks when a dog is given anaesthetic including blood clotting during surgery, haemorrhaging, or an infection of the wound post-surgery.
- Risk of injury and death: C-sections are not fool-proof and can carry a risk of the mother or puppies being injured, possibly even fatally during surgery.
2. The female’s body needs time to heal
Pregnancy and birth followed by nursing of puppies is a hugely demanding time for the Beagle mother. It can take its toll both mentally and physically, so she will need time to recover between breeding.
If she has had a C-section there will be scars that need time to heal, with the internal ones being particular painful. She will also need to re-grow parts of the uterus and need the time and get muscle tone back to where it was pre-pregnancy.
The bottom line is that you should not breed your Beagle too many times as it can take a heavy toll on her body. Expert breeders suggest that once every year and a half, and no more than 2 or 3 times in her lifetime is best for her.
3. Global pedigree associations don’t recognise puppies from frequent litters
If you want the puppies to be officially recognized by an official association then you need to reduce the frequency and number of times you breed your Beagle.
For example, The Kennel Club in the UK will not officially register Beagle puppies that have been born within 12 months of a previous litter.
The Kennel Club is very clear about how many times you can breed a Beagle if you want the puppies to be on the national register:
“The Kennel Club will not accept an application to register a litter when the dam has already whelped 4 litters. The Kennel Club will no longer register any further litters from any bitch which our records show has already whelped 4 litters. Where the number previously recorded is 4 or more, the application will be rejected.” (source: thekennelclub.org.uk)
Their website also states the following not registering pedigree litters if:
- The mother is 8 years old at the time of birth.
- The mother is younger than 1 year old at the time of birth.
- The puppies are born due to familial inter-breeding (e.g. mother and son).
- The mother has already delivered 2 litters via a C-section.
How old does a female Beagle have to be to breed?
Whilst female Beagles can become sexually mature between the ages of 6 to 9 months, ethical breeders don’t recommend them mating until they are 2 and a half years old. The oldest a Beagle should breed will be 8 years old.
The reason the breeders I know suggest the earliest age to start breeding is because they say this will let the Beagle go through a few of heat cycles first.
Male Beagles tend to become sexually mature by 15 months but can actually produce sperm as young as 6 months old.
How many times a year can you breed a Beagle?
The three different breeders I spoke to agreed that you should not breed a Beagle more than once a year, and even then, that’s probably too many times.
Healthy Beagles should be able to get pregnant during each heat cycle, but just because they can, doesn’t mean that they should.
As previously discussed, Beagle females need a good amount of time to recover from the pregnancy, birth, and looking after her puppies. Her body probably won’t be able to deal with another pregnancy so soon after.
That means limited how many times you breed your Beagle to once every 18 months to 2 years, as more than this is considered negligent and cruel.
Beagle breeding cycle example
One of the Beagle breeders supplied the following breeding cycle guidelines.
- Don’t exceed a maximum of 1 litter every second year.
- Don’t breed your Beagle more than 3 times in their lifetime.
I’ve published a lot of content on DoggySaurus about Beagle puppies and pregnancy. If you are thinking about breeding Beagles, then you might the following pieces of content helpful in knowing what to expect:
- How to tell if your Beagle is pregnant
- How long your Beagle will be pregnant for
- What to expect with the Beagle heat cycle
Beagles aren’t easy dogs to breed so you need to be responsible and aware of all possibly issues.
Ultimately, the Beagle breeding cycle is complicated, comes with risks, and is not something to take lightly, or simply to make a quick buck. There are enough unwanted puppies in the world, so please take your time in making a decision.
Image in header licensed via StoryBlocks.com