How to Breed a Schnauzer

By Amy S. Jorgensen

Schnauzer breeders have long known the secrets of successful Schnauzer breeding. While making a successful match for these delightful dogs is similar to breeding dogs in general, you need to take a few steps to ensure a safe and successful coupling. When you breed Schnauzers, you are helping to bring new puppies into the world so make sure you are prepared for that responsibility before you get started.

Choose a breeding pair. You can find a sire (male) or a bitch (female) for Schnauzer breeding by speaking to other reputable breeders or your veterinarian. You can also use your own Schnauzers if they come from different parents. Make sure both dogs are registered, in good health and have pleasant temperaments before breeding.

Wait for the female to be fertile. The Schnauzer bitch first needs to be “in heat.” Female dogs have their cycles twice a year. The period lasts for approximately 21 days but she will not be fertile during that entire time. Wait for her discharge to become clear--this is a signal that the fertile period is about to start. This typically occurs 10 to 14 days after her cycle starts.

Keep the female isolated from male dogs. Females in heat attract male attention. Aggressive males can injure your female by trying to mate with her before she is ready. Also, males can impregnate her and ruin the purity of the litter. Unlike humans, dogs can have multiple fathers for the puppies in a single litter. Use a secure kennel to keep male dogs away and to prevent her from escaping to find a mate on her own.

Check her fertility. You don’t want to attempt breeding dogs before the female is fertile or she will resist the male. To be sure she is fertile, your vet may be able to check her hormone levels. You can also scratch the base of her tail. If she raises her tail and wags it from side to side, this “flagging” motion is considered a way to beckon prospective dogs.

Put the dogs together. When the time is right, put the male and female together in an enclosed space outdoors. Watch for mating activity. If the dogs begin mating, the process can last up to 45 minutes.

Repeat process. Although one successful mating is all it takes for a female to become pregnant, you won’t know if the pairing was successful right away. Try breeding the dogs every other day until the female begins refusing to mate with the male. Her refusal is a sign that her fertile period has ended.

Wait. You won’t know if puppies will be a product of the pairing for at least a month. Although you may seem some signs of pregnancy in the female, such as enlarged nipples or pronounced weight gain, these can also be symptoms of false pregnancy. After about a month, however, your vet can do an ultrasound on the female to see if she is pregnant.

Keep the female healthy. Pregnancy can be difficult on female dogs, especially smaller types like some Schnauzer breeds. Work closely with a vet to ensure that she and her puppies are kept healthy.

Watch the birth. Successful Schnauzer breeding will result in a healthy litter approximately 61 to 64 days after the mating. Set up a whelping box where she can be comfortable during and after the birth of the puppies. Be aware of the expected date of the birth so you or someone else can be available to assist in case of complications.