How To Stud Your Dog For The First Time. Complete Beginner Guide

My Story with Bella

How to Stud your dog for the first time

There are so many things running on my mind when we are considering to breed our three-year-old American Bulldog named Bella. Besides, it was our first time—me and my husband, to try studding Bella and we wanted to make sure that everything will go well.

Also, we wanted it to be successful just how same people feel when their our studding their pet dogs. Lucky we are because we made it too. However, it was difficult as we both didn’t have the experience and enough knowledge about it. 

How to Stud for the First Time

how to stud your dog for the first time

Moreover, I, personally, have been taking care of male dogs ever since I can remember, but not for the purpose of breeding. I take care of dogs just because I have always been in love with this species.

Additionally, this experience was all new to me and my husband so we decided to put our time and effort to research and make sure that it will be a success.

Gathering Breed Information

On the other hand, while my husband went to his friends to ask about details, what I did was to go to the most reliable place to get information from, its Google! I just typed “how to stud your dog for the first time?”.

Honestly, I didn’t get much specific information about studding American Bulldogs suited for the first-timers, like me. Thus, it is safe to say that most of our learning came from our own experiences.

To summarize, this story I am sharing with you is our own story, fully based on our experiences when we had studded our dog Bella for the very first time.

Thus, we hope that it can help our breeder readers, especially those who are planning to stud their dogs for the very first time as well. 

What is Studding?

Getting ready for dog studding

To those who have tried having researches about breeding their dogs just like we did, you can literally see the common word stud.  What is Stud? A stud is a registered animal retained for breeding which can be either, a male or a female dog.

Most of the time, they refer to a stud animal more commonly to male dogs which they used for breeding. 

Shortlisting Preferences

For us, Bella, our female American Bulldog was scheduled for a stud session with a well-known sire, named Zap.  

In other words, and to better understand its purpose we would like to define the word “stud” as the process of breeding, starting with mating two dogs. We call the female dog as the dam, to a stud, and the male parent known as the sire.

Now, aside from Bella, we also have Jackie, a male American Bulldog. He is Bella’s offspring from her first pregnancy. We will put Jackie up for stud services in the next 2-3 months which will then be a separate article for you guys to follow.

Why is there a need to stud dogs?

Maybe you’re thinking, why is there a need to do a “stud”?  Simply, to produce puppies or off-springs.  Artificial insemination (which will be a future article that we will share) is a process that also happens with dogs. It is the natural way of mating two selected dogs to produce puppies.

But where did this even start?  They say that just like human beings, dogs have specific traits and characteristics. 

If you want to produce more of puppies or dogs and improve their quality with a specific trait or characteristics, then the best thing to do is to mate them with one another.

With this belief, dog-owners in the earlier years have decided to follow the idea which has been a practice until now.  

When To Stud?

When to stud your dog

For us, specifically, since we want to have more purebred American Bulldogs puppies, we had to look for a stud that has qualities that want to see in our future puppies.

Now that you already knew what studding is or getting a stud service means, the next thing you should know is when do you actually do it?  We know that female dogs also have their menstrual cycle which is commonly known as their heat cycle. 

Age Matters

By the time your female dog is sexually mature, their heat cycle normally happens twice a year.  Between the dog’s 9th to 12th month and then every 6 months thereafter, the first heat cycle may happen.

As for Bella, her first heat cycle happened on her 10th month, but we did not schedule her for a stud yet. 

Heat Cycle

When we consulted several breeders, they said that it is advisable to start breeding them during their 2nd or 3rd heat cycle to ensure she is already mature enough. Which then considered to a more solid line of pups produced.

Since they are the experts and experienced, we believed and followed their advice putting Bella up for her first stud during her 2nd heat cycle. 

Another recommendation that was provided to us is that there are schedules to be followed and we cannot just schedule a stud at any given time, which I will discuss later on in this article.

Choosing my Dam’s mate (Sire)

Choosing the male partner for your dog is important

As discussed earlier, a Sire is known as a male parent partnered with a Dam.  As “rookies” with the idea of breeding and studding, we had to do a lot of research with whom we will choose to be Bella’s mate.

We learned that we cannot just choose any dog for her since we have our end goal which was and still is, to produce a good number of quality pups.   

There are things to consider prior to choosing the best sire for her.  Here are some of them for your reference. You can also use these when it comes to your time to look for a sire, unless of course, you already have a Sire in mind that you’d like to match with your dam.


Choose the nearest stud to avoid stressing your dog

Proximity is one of the first things we actually considered.  Since we were bringing Bella to the place of the sire, we limited the dog owners based on their location. 

It is important to know that if you will be traveling back and forth during these sessions, there is a chance of your dam to be stressed and might have issues when it comes to her being pregnant. If you will ask me, the nearer the location of the sire, the better.

Finding the Nearest Sire

Proximity is one of the first things we actually considered.  Since we were bringing Bella to the place of the sire, we limited the dog owners based on their location. 

It is important to know that if you will be traveling back and forth during these sessions, there is a chance of your dam to be stressed and might have issues when it comes to her being pregnant. If you will ask me, the nearer the location of the sire, the better.

Quantity and Quality Of Puppies Produced

understanding the quantity and quality of puppies produced

As part of choosing the sire for your dam, you should know and understand the history of numbers of puppies that had produced by the sire when matched with a different dam. 

These breeders should provide you with these pieces of information by the time you contact them, like pictures of their previous off-springs. 

If you are dealing with a well-known breeder or sire-owner, you should also get some pieces of advice from other people on the type of off-springs produced by their line.

This is also a thing you should consider when you are more concerned about how the pups will look like. Based on their parents, their color, size, and total appearance you will try and imagine how the future pups will look like.

Ancestors or Littermates

ancestors or littermates

This factor relevant to the quality and quantity of pups produced by the sire.  If it is not their first time to have a stud then there should be previous littermates that you can search.

You will know how many puppies were born and produced, but it doesn’t mean that you and your dog will have the same. 

With the litter mates and ancestors, you can have a basis if the sire has a “champion line” which is preferable to some dog buyers, especially if they want to join and be part of pet shows or competitions.


observing your dog's temperament is important

Temperament from the word itself means the animal’s nature or behavior.  This is another important thing to consider as you will need to look for a dog that would match the temperament of yours.

This is an example of why temperament is an important thing to consider when you have a quiet dog then paired it to another quiet dog.

There’s a high possibility that the off-springs may be too much for any new owner to pet. As for Bella, she is averagely playful but at the same time affectionate with everyone in the family and is really friendly around kids.

On the other hand, our sire is easy to train and intelligent.  When paired and mated, they did produce a set of amazingly cute and smart pups.

Stud Fee or Cost 

stud fee or cost

This may be one of the first things you need to prepare for when you plan to breed.  A stud fee is an amount of money you need to pay the owner of the male dog for having the right to breed.

Come to think of it, wanting to have babies with celebrities – if they are not your partners, technically, then it is like you are paying for a fee to get their good genes and combine it with yours. 

The amount may vary from one owner to another as it is their prerogative on how much they will ask considering the “good line” they know their sire can produce.     

Stud fee may vary, depending on the sire owner. Most of the breeders prefer to have cash as a payment, of course, after the service has been provided.

Always remember to check the arrangements if no puppies were produced. Normally, if this happens, the dam is given a repeat stud session for free.

Puppy Share 

While, there are some breeders who are more prefer to do the mode of payment called “puppy share”, instead of asking for cash payment.

As mode of payment, the breeders don’t ask for cash payments for the stud session but they are asking for a share of the off-springs or puppies once they are ready. 

We did experience this for the first time when we didn’t anticipate the amount we needed to pay the sire-owner. Since it was then, a bit expensive for us, we agreed with the terms of sharing puppies. 

Back then, the agreement was to share one puppy if there are 4 or fewer puppies born.  If there are 5 or more puppies, then we have to share 2 puppies. Following another agreement of whom to choose first. 

If you will ask me, I will advise you to pay for the stud fee, especially, if you have the budget to do so. If you will think about it, it is cheaper to pay one-time the stud fee than sharing your puppies.

Schedule of Stud

American Bulldog stud schedule

Generally, you cannot just schedule the studding at any time during the heat cycle of your Dam.  Much like the ovulation period of women (human beings), there will only be days that your Dam will be fertile enough and will most likely conceive when mated with a male dog. 

This is very important and as first-timers, this is something you need to take note of so that you would not miss these dates. 

Once you notice that your dam’s heat cycle has begun, you need to mark your calendars and count.  From that day, count 8 days and mark your calendars again. 

This should be the first day that you schedule the stud session with your chosen Sire.  From the 8th day until the 14th day – are your best days for these stud sessions, scheduling it one day apart. 

For those people like us (first timers) who wants to be sure that our dog, Bella, will get pregnant, we have scheduled three sessions with the Sire. This can be your option, too. Although there will be an additional cost for that extra session most breeders will be good with just two sessions.

Preparations For Your Dam (Bella's Story)

Now, this part will not just discuss the preparations prior to the actual stud session but the totality of what needs to be considered too before breeding our dog, Bella.

Just like what I have mentioned in the earlier part of this article, you need to make sure that your dam is mature enough when you start to breed her.  It should be a given that you would not want an immature dam to have puppies as you won’t be sure if she can take care of them.

Having this in mind, we agreed to breed Bella on her 2nd heat cycle, when she was roughly about one year and four months old.  Lucky for us and as advised by our breeder friends, she was mature enough to handle her new pups by that time.

This means that her disposition and good qualities can be passed on well-enough to her off-springs.

If you are still feeling unsure if it is already the best time to start breeding your dog or scheduling a stud session, then you can check with a veterinarian as they will be able to determine this more accurately than anyone. 

Once you are sure that you are ready for breeding and the actual stud session, then here are a few things to bear in mind.

Few Things To Consider

few things to consider in studding
  • If you are driving your dam to the sire, make sure that she gets to rest first prior to starting the session.                                                                                                             
  • Travel to the location of the sire during the coolest time of the day to lessen the stress of your dog.                                                                                                               
  • Regular physical care and grooming have to be done.                                                      
  • Ensure that both dogs will be free from any diseases upon contact.                                   
  • Have your dam be checked by a vet to ensure that her vaginal opening is in its normal size.                                                                                                                          
  • Make sure that your dam is free from worms since this will help ensure that your dam will be able to produce healthy pups. 

Tips For Successful Studding Before and After

Tips for successful breeding

I know that I have already shared a lot, in terms of the preparations prior to stud sessions. Our experiences and basic knowledge of when we started breeding our dog Bella and a lot more. 

I hope that you were able to get a thing or two points that will also be helpful to your breeding and in case I missed any here’s additional tips that I’d like to share with you to help make sure your 1st stud session and breeding is a success.

Develop Familiarity

  • Some breeders would schedule some meetup sessions between the two dogs to develop familiarity.  To them they feel that the more familiar the two dogs get, the easier and more comfortable they will be during the actual stud session.                       
  • During the actual stud session, it is highly suggested to do this during the coolest time of the day.  When these dogs mate, they would literally feel hot, thus, it would help a lot in avoiding or lessening the stress if their environment is cooler.                    
  • The place where the stud session will happen should be in private as much as possible so that the dogs will not feel stressed.                                                                
  • Give them time and do not hurry them up during the session.  Dogs, like human beings, also feel stressed when being asked to do something they are not in the mood of.  Having them take their time and letting nature takes its course is always the best thing during these sessions.                                                                                 
  • For first-time stud sessions, you can hire a “shooter” that should be able to help during the process.  A “shooter” is someone who will help or assist with the mating.  Payment for the shooter services can either be shouldered by the owners, depending on the agreement.                                                                                                             

Tips For Successful Studding Before and After

Spending time with american bulldogs before studding
  • If its your dam’s first time, be observant with her temper at this time, as some are not comfortable and aggression happens.                                                                                 
  • Do not be in a hurry when choosing a sire for your dam.  Take time to consider all factors before you go for a specific sire.  It is also a good idea to have a backup male in case your first choice sire becomes unavailable for some reason.                                      
  • Make sure that you, as a breeder, is also mature enough to understand the responsibilities that come along raising puppies.                                                              

Allot More Time

  • Be ready to spend most of your time, energy and money when starting to breed.  Once the puppies are out, you will have less to no sleep at all during the first week.  After this, you are required to look after them like you have babies, helping with the feeding and all for these new pups.                                                                                                 
  • Regular physical care and grooming have to be done prior to and after the stud session.  Remember that you are still presenting your dog to other people and dogs, so it is normal to ensure that they are well-groomed when doing so.                                         
  • Be ready and familiar with the changes that may happen to your dam during the next 2 months after the session.  When dogs are pregnant, there will be changes in their behavior and habits.                                                                                                                   

Prepare for Pups

preparing them for puppies

Continue to feed your dam with healthy and high-quality food to help in improving the quality of her future pups.

  • Once confirmed that your dam is pregnant, start preparing for the tools needed for the arrival of the pups. Some of these would be the whelping kits, gloves, cloth, cage or kennel, and the most appropriate environment to raise them.

Successful breeding depends on what you want to achieve so do not compare it with other breeders.  

If you wish to enhance a specific trait or characteristic within your line, then you need to prepare for line breeding.  If what you want is to get more diverse genetics, then go for an outcrossing.

Although putting up your dog for stud the first time may seem like a totally difficult, nerve-wracking and frightening task, if you will prepare properly and get all the guidance as well as knowledge you can get prior to doing it – then, there is nothing to worry about, nothing at all.