Looking on the internet for information on progesterone testing is a nightmare. It’s nearly impossible to find information on what the #’s mean, or what numbers that would be ideal for breeding. Several websites will offer different advice and many vets aren’t helpful at all.
So what numbers am I looking for when progesterone testing?
When do I start progesterone testing with my female?
What numbers are best for an AI (Artificial Insemination)?
Well that depends on the type of Artificial Insemination you will be doing, if the Stud is local or you’re receiving shipped fresh chilled or frozen semen.
We’ll break it down for you in a way that’s simplified and won’t make you go cross-eyed. For you slow readers, skip to “Cheat Codes”
The use of artificial insemination in the dogs has experienced a tremendous increase in popularity over the last several years due to bot its increased success rate and the flexibility it allows the dog breeder. A stud dog can be utilized successfully and easily from thousand of miles away, allowing the breeder to choose the best genetics for his or her bitch without the risks, expense, and other difficulties associated with transportation of the bitch.
A previous or current champion’s genetics can be preserved indefinitely through the use of frozen semen. There are several factors that determine the success or failure of artificial insemination. The most important of these factors is proper timing of the insemination.
Old rules of thumb such as breeding between days 10 to 14 will not work in every case because of the variable length of standing heat (receptivity) and because the optimum time to breed may occur any time during, before, or after standing heat. Vaginal smears have been used to help diagnose the proper time to breed. They are at most, helpful as a rough guide to know when to begin insemination when doing a natural breeding (Live AI) But they are not accurate enough to use alone when utilizing fresh chilled or frozen-thawed semen.
A more exact method to properly time insemination is to measure serum progesterone levels. During estrus, progesterone levels are as low as 0–2 ng/ml early on, rise to levels of 2.0–2.9 ng/ml during the LH surge (Lutenizing Hormone; initiates ovulation), continue to rise to 4–8 ng/ml on the day of ovulation (2 days after the LH surge), and may peak at levels as high as 25 ng/ml post ovulation.
After ovulation has occurred, the oocytes (eggs) must go through a maturation process before they are capable of being fertilized. This process takes approximately 2 days. When fully mature, eggs can then be fertilized for about 48 hours. Thus, the optimum time to breed when using fresh chilled semen is 2 days after ovulation and 3–4 days after ovulation when using frozen semen due to its shorter life span.
If previous breeding history is unknown, begin progesterone testing 4–6 days after the onset of heat. If the levels of progesterone are baseline, then the dog should be retested every 3–4 days until a level of progesterone is detected that is consistent with the onset of the LH peak.
Call the stud owner as soon as the bitch is showing signs of heat. Contact the Stud owner after the first progesterone test is performed to begin coordination and planning of the semen shipment.
It has often been said “Timing is everything” and this is certainly true when using artificial insemination in the bitch. By planning ahead and using these guidelines, one can maximize the probability of pregnancy.
Progesterone is a hormone produced by the ovaries that rises as the heat cycle progresses. Early in the heat cycle the progesterone values will usually read less than 1.0 ng/ml. The first significant rise in progesterone usually coincides with the “LH Surge”. The LH stands for luteinizing hormone and is released by the pituitary gland in the brain.
Ovulation occurs about 48 hours after the LH surge. The progesterone level at the time of LH surge is usually about 2–3 ng/ml. The progesterone will rise to about 5–8 ng/ml at the time of ovulation. Canine eggs are not ready to be fertilized at the time of ovulation and take about 2 days to mature. Once mature the eggs remain fertile for 2 to 3 days and then begin to deteriorate.
Fresh chilled breeding’s are usually performed 48 hours after ovulation and frozen breedings about 72 hours after ovulation. Due dates can be determined by counting forward 65 days from the LH surge (LH surge is day 0) or 63 days from ovulation. This is accurate +/- one day.
When your female goes into heat the first drop of blood is counted as “day 1 of her heat.” Schedule a progesterone test with your vet for day 4 or 5. Based on her progesterone test results, your vet will instruct you on when to come back for a follow up test.
There is no single exact number for determining the time of ovulation; we are looking for a number between 4ng/ml to 8ng/ml as the start of ovulation. Most typical bitches ovulate around 5ng/ml.
The magic number you’re looking for is 5ng/ml. Example: If you test on a Monday and she is at 3.9 and then you go back and test again on Wednesday and now she’s at a 6.5… You know that she passed 5ng/ml on Tuesday. Count Tuesday as when she ovulated (dropped her eggs)
DETERMINING BREEDING DAYS
Once you’ve determined the day of ovulation by using the method above, you now know (approximately) when she dropped her eggs.
The best day(s) to breed will next depend on which type of Artificial Insemination you will be doing.
Ask your vet if they perform Surgical AI and TCI beforehand so you know your options.
BREEDING DAY(S) CHEAT CODES
NATURAL BREEDING (LIVE AI)
This is where the Stud is collected next to the female and an AI is performed or the 2 dogs are allowed to mate. Most breeders will opt for a live AI instead of letting the dogs mate in order to avoid injury to the stud dog.
24–48 hours (1–2 days) after progesterone reaches 5ng/ml. Skip a day and do a 2nd AI if you have the option available to you.
FRESH CHILLED SEMEN
48 hours (2 days) after progesterone reaches 5ng/ml.
72 hours (3 days) after progesterone reaches 5ng/ml.
TYPES OF ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION
Artificial insemination (AI) can be performed by a number of different methods and utilizing sperm from fresh, extended or frozen sources.
There are 3 Common Methods used in Artificial Insemination:
AI, Surgical Insemination and TCI (Transcervical insemination)
All 3 methods will work, but when shipping in a Stud we recommend Surgical Insemination or TCI.
Both Surgical Insemination and TCI have higher %’s of success with shipped semen. Ask your vet about the methods that they perform and are most experienced with. If you’re shipping semen in and your vet offers surgical or TCI options.
As a general, rule stud dogs should produce 10 million sperm per pound of body weight and have more than 75 percent progressive forward motility with less than 20 percent miscellaneous morphologic defects. Since “normal” dog semen lives another 3-to-7 days in the bitch, the better the semen quality, the more leeway there is in ovulation timing.
Too few sperm, abnormal sperm, or poor motility may all result in poor fertility. Semen evaluation of the male prior to a breeding is always recommended, but if it wasn’t done before breeding and the bitch fails to conceive, it should be done after the bitch is determined to be not pregnant. Sometimes this can be overcome by intrauterine insemination or multiple inseminations, but in other cases, the infertility may be too severe.
EVERY FEMALE IS DIFFERENT
With most female dogs they enter their cycle every 6 months but may vary as much as 4 to 12 months between cycles. Variation can exists between the length of the “heat cycle”, with the range being as short as 4 days up to 3 weeks in length. The average time from the onset of heat to the actual mating period is 9 to 11 days.
Making matters more confusing, some dogs have “silent heats” meaning little or no obvious signs of heat such as swelling or bleeding. Some females could have whats called “split heats” where they go into a heat cycle but stop short without ovulating and then go into a fertile heat period weeks later. Heat cycles can vary meaning that just because she was ready to be bred on the 11th day the last heat doesn’t necessarily mean she will be ready on the 11th day of the next heat.
DECIDING ON A STUD
A Stud that is an actual Producer can out produce themselves on a consistent basis. They are the few with the ability to stamp their look with every litter.
“A dog can be a truly great show dog and a poor sire. A dog can hate the show ring and never win a point and be an outstanding sire. It is just as simple as that.”
The biggest mistake breeders, novice or veteran, can make is to confuse their show dogs with their breeding dogs. They can be the same. We hope they will be the same. Often they are not.
There are those who say show wins are the indicator of a dog’s value to the breed. In other words, if many judges agree a particular dog is the current ideal in its breed, the dog should be bred to. I agree — but only to a degree.
You can get every judge in the country to agree that the dog of the hour is the dog of the hour, but that same dog can be a complete disappointment in the breeding department.
If a dog’s quality is not realized in the whelping box, all we have is a box full of ribbons and nothing more.
This is not to say a winning dog cannot also be an outstanding producer. Records prove otherwise. But I cannot stress strongly enough that it is the producing ability that must be looked to and not the show record!
BEFORE DECIDING TO HAVE A LITTER
Ask yourself what you are looking to achieve by producing a litter of puppies. Do you have enough money saved for ultrasounds, X-rays and a c-section?
What about an emergency?
The last thing you want to have happen is an emergency with your female and then not being able to provide the care she needs. This could cost you the entire litter and possibly worse, the loss of your female.
Are you able to provide proper care for the puppies? Can you afford to bring the pups in to the vet for the necessary shots and vaccinations or do you know how to administer vaccines and de-worm the puppies?
Do you have a market to sell the pups? Are the parents registered? If they don’t have papers, you can forget about selling the puppies. Hold off until you have a quality female with a good pedigree and registration papers.
You’ll save yourself a ton of work and a long exercise in breaking even if you’re lucky, but most likely it will be a loss.
Some who are new to breeding, think that they will have a litter and just sit back and count cash all day while playing PS4. It doesn’t work like that, this requires a ton of work, dedication and sleepless nights.
Hopefully this aids responsible breeders in the process of producing healthy pups.
Most people get into the dog breeding business for a one of two reasons, either to make money, or because they love the breed.
Some breeders are successful and improve the breed, while the majority end up damaging it. We will try to guide you on how to better the breed. If done properly, you can end up making money as well.
The reality is that 50% of new breeders will be out of the business within the first two years, and another 20-30% will be out of business in 3 years. That leaves 20%. Of this 20%, 10% is struggling to either break even, at a small loss or profit, while the other 10% does well and has a profitable business.
Wait, so you’re telling me only 10% actually make money for an extended period of time?
That’s right.Most that decide to become breeders have seen dogs like Dax, Miagi, Bullseye, Magoo, Shamrock or Venom (dogs that have made their owners a lot of money) and think that if they purchase a Male Stud that they'll get rich too. Unfortunately, this isn’t the case, and many end up frustrated and disappointed.
First Understand the History
The American Bully breed was created around 1990 and gained recognition and establishment in 2004 with the inception of the ABKC Registry.
The United Kennel Club or UKC recognized the American Bully breed in 2013. There are other registries, but for the purposes of this article we will mention the main few- which are the ABKC, BBCR and UKC.
The American Bully breed has been selectively bred to give America’s breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier, a new direction and outlet.
American Bullies are thick, beautiful, impressive muscular dogs with a great disposition towards other dogs, people and children. When bred correctly, they can be quite athletic for their build.
Obviously they are not athletic in the same way that a 45lb American Pit Bull Terrier is.. This breed carries a lot more muscle, and some of the gameness has been bred out. Which makes them perfect family companions.
So.. The American Bullies that you’ve seen on line have caught your eye, but there’s so many different types and names being thrown around, you have no clue where to start and you’re afraid to ask. That’s ok, we’re here to help.
According to the ABKC-The American Bully breed has been selectively bred to give America’s breed, the American Pit Bull Terrier, a new direction and outlet. Like with the American Staffordshire Terrier (which is also an offshoot of the American Pit Bull Terrier) all of the positive characteristics of the breed’s ancestry were kept.
These Include loyalty, stability with humans and children, along with their physical attributes. Traits of dog and human aggression have been bred out, as they have no future purpose for that trait (outside of hunting & sport)
According to the UKC- The American Bully breed was subtly influenced by the infusion of several other breeds, which include the American Bulldog, English Bulldog and Olde English Bulldogge.
What differentiates this breed from the American Staffordshire Terrier and American Pit Bull Terrier from the American bully is the dog’s physical appearance. This breed has heavier bone structure and a “Bullier” build.
A reinvented breed was formed with the purpose of being the ultimate companion breed, and this breed is the “American Bully.”
It is important to note the ABKC got rid of the extreme class. So there are currently 4 Classes.
This is an amendment to the basic standard which aPocket Bullyis determined by its adult height. Males under 17″ and no less than 14″ at the withers. Females under 16″ and no less than 13″ at the withers.
The American Bully should give the impression of great strength for it’s size. It is a compact and medium/large size dog with a muscular body and blocky head. The American Bully should have the appearance of heavy bone structure with a bulky build and look.
Males 17 inches – 20 inches (43 cm – 51 cm) at the withers.
Females 16 inches – 19 inches (40 cm – 48 cm) at the withers. Important to note that the Standard American Bully dogs are not to be penalized for exhibiting heavily muscled, massive, bulky body type.
This is an amendment to the basic standard. A Classic Bully variety is simply an American Bully dog having lighter body frames (lighter bone) and less overall body mass (less substance) than the Standard American Bully. Aside from this difference, the Classic Bully variety follows the same standard as the Standard American Bully.
Males 17 inches – 20 inches (43 cm – 51 cm) at the withers. Females 16 inches – 19 inches (40 cm – 48 cm) at the withers.
This is an amendment to the basic standard, determined by it’s adult height. Males over 20"-23" at the withers. Females over 19"-22" at the withers. It is important to note that the XL Bully variety is simply taller than the Standard American Bully. XL dogs share the same build, body type and breed type as the Standard American Bully.
This isn’t a real classification of American Bully. If a dog reaches the height and size of an XL, that’s it’s class. Please stop using this term.
The American Bully in itself is a faily new breed — barely 25 years in the making and steming off from the bullier type American Pitbull Terriers, American Staffordshires and various types of bulldogs. The American Bully has a bullier, shorter, more compact, dense body than your average pit bull.
The exotic bullyhowever, is a relatively new term for the somewhat “overdone” type of American Bullies. These American Bullies tend to favor more of the “Bull” side of the Pit Bull, often being mixed with smaller bulldogs. They often have exaggerated features and a plethora of issues.
Once you find the style of bully that you’re looking to breed, you will need to the right kennel to purchase from. We started with two males and a female, but that was not the best move. I wish someone would have advised us to start with females! You want to get your foundation females from a kennel that has been around for a while.
Be sure to get detailed pedigree information on the dogs to ensure you are getting a quality line bred dog (Meaning that the same ancestors appear more than once in the 4 generation pedigree)
The Bully Market’s Grand Champion Thee Buss
Line bred dogs usually produce the most consistent litters. Any kennel that has been around and knows what they are doing will usually line breed. There is a difference between line breeding an inbreeding.
Having a great dog in the pedigree several times is not always better,just because a breeder says 8X Dax (Dax is in the pedigree 8 times) does not mean it’s better than a dog with Dax 1X.
We are using Dax as an example for this article, because Dax was unbelievable at producing very “bully” offspring.He throws great headpieces, neck, shoulders & chest.. but like any dog he has faults. Breeding a dog like Dax too many times can result in his negative traits being magnified ie: trouble breathing, heart issues, short life span. That’s why you see so many inbred dogs passing before the age of 3.
It is important that the Daxline or other foundation dog is at some point properly outcrossed if it is too closely linebred and having issues or inbred. Good breeders know this. Dogs like Miagi & Kratos (not that we have a problem with these dogs) But they have many more issues.
Ever wonder where these hyped up exotics disappear to after 3 years? It’s a place called doggy heaven. We will discuss line breeding and inbreeding in a future article.
A good quality foundation dog will usually run in the 2,500 – 6,000 price range. Anything more than this, don’t bother. I’ve seen kennels that have 10,000 price tags on their puppies. While they may be producing nice dogs, they usually don’t have anything that you can’t find cheaper somewhere else.
The reason people pay these ridiculous prices for dogs is always due to lack of knowledge about the breed. Anyone with any type of knowledge about American Bully bloodlines would never pay this much for a dog.
Just keep in mind, just because the price tag is high, doesn’t mean it’s worth it.
Finding a Stud dog for your yard
Most breeders offer a stud service. If you are new to breeding dogs, you should take advantage of this.
Many people that get started in the dog breeding business usually purchase a stud dog or two along with some female dogs.
Housing, feeding, and taking care of stud dogs is expensive and you’re not always guaranteed to have a great stud dog once they mature.
The better way of going about this is to start off by purchasing female dogs. When they are ready to breed you can contact kennels that offer stud service or contact the kennel you purchased the female from.
You have a few benefits using a stud from another breeder instead of purchasing one yourself:
1. You can use a well known stud this will help with your sales
2. You can line breed your dog using the kennel that you purchased your female from. (Line breeding will guarantee more consistent litters.)
3. You may end up waiting two years- only to find out the dog you purchased didn’t turn out to be a worthy stud dog. (Avoid this all together by using studs from top breeders)
If you’re spending $2500-$4000 on a Stud fee for your female, use a kennel that will provide a contract that shows you exactly what you’re paying for. DO NOT SEND MONEY via Moneygram or Western Union unless you have already established a relationship with a breeder you trust.
If you send $2500 using moneygram and they disappear, you’re shit out of luck. Use common sense! If the breeder’s name on Facebook is James “Hustlemyownmomma” Jenkins, don’t send money!
Grand Champion Beastro of The Bully Market
If you expect to collect Stud fees and increase litter sales, you can’t be cheap. Invest in yourself or your program.. it doesn’t have to be through us, but you need to do it.
American Bullies have excellent temperaments when socialized properly. If you put the work in when they are young, it will pay off in the long run. Always socialize your dogs as pups! Make sure that all social interactions are positive.
Having an aggressive dog can be a very big nuisance, not to mention a huge liability. If you own a dog that has the strength and power that an American Bully has, you need to put the work in to make sure they are socialized properly.
Now that you’re armed with the basics, it’s time to start doing your homework. Compare different kennels and find the one that you plan on partnering with to begin your program. By partnering with, we mean finding one that will assist you with your goals rather than just taking your money.
There is much more that goes into becoming a successful American Bully breeder, and we will go over that in future articles. Hopefully we’ve at least provided you with a starting point to begin your research.
Remember, it’s better to be patient and make the right additions to your program, than to rush and later regret it.
GRCH El Toro Owned by Ivan Condor
The bottom line is that the majority of people that attempt to become breeders do not make money.
The few that are successful can do very well. If you are not improving the breed, have an outside source of income to support yourself between litters and have limited knowledge on breeding.. this isn’t for you.
Let me repeat that. Anything and everything possible at some point will go wrong. If you don’t have an outside source of income and cash reserves in the bank, you will fail. Miserably.. and possibly lose a dog because you couldn’t afford the surgery or medical treatment they will need. Be patient and responsible.. start after saving.
If you think you’re going to be able to sell dogs for $2500-$5000 just because of a big name dog is in your pedigree, you’re sadly mistaken. Without a solid reputation in the bully community and a proven track record of honest business, most people won’t send the type of money you think you’re going to be getting for your puppies.
CH MBBP’s Rocky Has A Hard Head
If you’re looking for a get rich quick scheme, this isn’t it.
Dog breeding isn’t a get rich quick plan, it’s a get-broke fast plan.
Unless you are furthering the breed or following your passion, keep your day job. There’s enough dogs in shelters from “breeders” who wanted to get rich and didn’t.
If you are truly passionate about this breed, you’ll educate yourself on what it takes to be successful.
Find a mentor (someone who’s been successful as a breeder and is willing to share their knowledge with you) and you might be one of the very few that do well and do things the right way.