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Show Dog Events & Blog

28 Feb

Welcome To Dog Circuit

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DogCircuit is about your Dog; everything about your Dog. Show us lots of  Pictures, and tell us about their achievements, their life and all that goes into being a show dog. Stay in contact with your peers and share information about Judges, Shows or anything at all.

To get started, Register as a Member; Its free. Your member profile will be a way for people to reach you.
Add as little or as much information as you like. When you add your dogs to the database, they will automatically be added to your member page; all in one place. Communicate directly with other members from your member page. Go to Members, and view Esteban to see a sample page.

Next Start a profile for your Dog. Upload a Great profile picture, fill in all the stats and tell us everything about your Dog.

Build a Gallery of photographs for each of your dogs so people get the whole picture. You can never look at enough photos. This is Bouvier des Flandres Champion, I.M. UNO-Comet at a Show, as a puppy and in the snow.

Build their Pedigree. An ancestor's profile must be entered in the database first, before they can be selected for your pedigree. We work from the past to the present. You can enter your Dog without the Sire and Dam and return to this part later. If you know, the Sire and Dam, enter each first or contact the owner and invite them to enter their Dog into the database.

We hope to Connect people interested in purebred dogs and to make more Dogs available for breeders to increase our gene pools. DogCircuit is a work in progress. If you have any ideas to make the site better, any articles or information that you would like to see, or need any help in building your profile or adding a dog, please contact us at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


29 Jul

What are Cartenoids?

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Cartenoids are compounds that give pigment to leafy plants and vegetables. Orange and red cartenoids are classified as carotenes and yellow pigment cartenoids are classified as xanthophylls. They are used by green plants in photosynthesis as well as to preserve clorophyll and help protect plants during periods of excessive sunlight.

Animals cannot produce cartenoids on their own, and must either consume cartenoid rich vegetables or animal products that have accumulated cartenoids. In the past cartenoids were most commonly known as a source of vitamin A. This is because some cartenoids, especially beta-carotene and alpha-carotene are converted to vitamin A in the body. New research has shown that cartenoids are involved in many processes in the body as well as being powerful antioxidants. Two cartenoids, Lutein and zeaxanthin accumulate in the retina and in much the same way as they protect plants, they defend the retina from powerful sun rays. There is evidence that diets rich in cartenoids reduce the risk of macular degeneration, (in humans) and slow the development of age related cataracts. The highest concentration of cartenoids in the body are found in the corpus luteum and so they play an important role in female reproduction. Cartenoids influence colon health, cardiovascular health, diabetes and insulin levels, as well as defending against radiation, boosting the immune system, maintaining healthy mucous tissues, and aiding in the production of red and white blood cells.

Foods rich in cartenoids include carrots, sweet potatoes, broccoli, kale and other leafy greens, and eggs. To supplement your Dog with cartenoids try using organic freeze dried kale powder, organic alfalfa powder, or kelp powder. Alternate them to get a well rounded assortment from different sources. They are fat soluble so when supplementing your Dog with cartenoids, it is good to mix them with fish oil, coconut oil or another healthy fat, then mix directly into their food. ( See Lutein, zeaxanthin, alfalfa, kelp, corpus luteum   in our Dog iniiiii      i                in our Dog Dictionary.)


19 Jul

CERF EXAM 101-Persistent Pupillary Membranes

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 The pupil of an unborn puppy is covered with the pupillary membrane which channels blood into the eye area to nourish the developing eye.  Before birth, the membrane should completely disappear.  Sometimes remaining strands can linger after birth, but they should disappear by the time the Pup is 4 to 6 weeks of age.  If strands remain after this time, the Dog is said to have Persistent Pupillary Membranes, or PPM and they are visible through a CERF exam.  Persistence of the strands into adulthood is thought to have  hereditary origin.

The strands can be attached from one point on the iris to another point on the iris.  These are designated on the CERF exam as "Iris to Iris" and usually do not present a problem.  Strands that attach from iris to lens can cause small cataracts that can later affect vision.  You will find these on the CERF report as "Iris to Lens."  "Iris to cornea" strands are serious and can create problems for the Dog. These are listed as "Iris to Cornea."  There are also "Iris Sheets" which are sheets of membrane in the front chamber of the eye that also create serious problems for the dog.  If either "Iris sheets" or "Iris to Cornea" PPM's are presented, the Dog will not pass the CERF exam.

04 Jun

Semen Evaluation

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If you own a male Dog that you are using in a breeding program, and if you plan on storing frozen semen, or performing an artificial insemination (AI), you will at some point want to have his semen collected and evaluated. Semen has 3 components: the pre-seminal or pre-ejaculate fluid, the sperm rich part, and the fluid from the prostate.  Your veterinarian will examine the color, the motility, the concentration of the sperm, the health and structure of the sperm, and the presence of any bacteria.

The color should be a translucent ivory-milky white color. If it is tinged with red, blood is present, and may indicate either an infection of some kind, or signal a prostate problem. It should be viscous. Thin or watery fluid generally indicates a poor collection. Any yellowing is an indication of urine in the sample and is not good for the sperm.

Motility will be rated as a percentage.  At 70% or above, the sperm exhibit very good motility, 30-50% is OK, and below 30% is a poor mobility rate. Sperm should not be going round in circles, but rather moving forward in a direction.

On average, a healthy Dog in his prime will have 10 million sperm per 10 pounds of  weight so that a 10 pound Dog will have 10 million sperm and a 100 pound Dog will have 1 billion sperm. American Bouvier, I.M. UNO Comet weighs 95 pounds and his last collection was estimated at 1 billion sperm cells.

Evaluating the structure of the sperm will include looking at the shape of the head, looking for broken tails or any abnormalities in the mid section that will affect its ability to travel through the uterus and impregnate the egg.  Your veterinarian will again give you a percentage of healthy sperm.

Some bacteria is present in a semen collection but excessive amounts signal an infection of some kind.

30 May

An X-ray of Puppies in the Womb

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Below is the  x-ray of a very pregnant Bouvier des Flandres, "Bouvaces Raven",  taken 4 days before her expected due date of June 3rd.  Performing an x-ray during the last week of pregnancy confirms the number of puppies and enables the breeder to be more certain that all puppies are passed and no one is left behind.  It is also a useful tool to determine the positioning of the pups as they jockey toward the birth canal. 

Here  the Pups are  marked with  red arrows and we can easily count 9 skulls. The puppy at the far left is clearly defined and we see the head well positioned for exit, as well as the spinal column, rib cage and front leg. Life in the womb and a new generation on the way. Pretty exciting stuff. 

On June 2nd, 3 days later,  7 boys and 2 girls were born.  Below is a picture at 1 day old.


16 May

What's Wrong With Fluoridated Water?

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There is no question that fluoride is a toxic substance and in many  countries around the world it  is prohibited to use as an additive to public water systems.  Here in the United States, it is considered "safe"  when added to the water supply at the rate of 1ppm, (parts  per million.) to prevent tooth decay. It is true that fluoride toothpaste  has been useful in fighting cavities, but there is no concrete evidence of any kind, that ingesting fluoride can help preserve teeth.  Fluoride is never removed from the water system and it continually makes its way into the environment;  into our agriculture products and livestock.  It  accumulates and pollutes ecosystems in ways that we do not fully understand.  Fluoridation is the result of a policy that began in the United states in the 1940's and has remained in effect despite newer evidence that questions the safety of the practice.


In a document presented by the California Environmental Protection Agency as long ago as 1997,  it was  reported that "When administered orally to laboratory animals, fluoride has adverse effects on bones and teeth, as well as the kidneys and stomach.  It has shown to affect bone calcification in every animal tested including rodents, Dogs and cattle."  They go on to say, "Subperiosteal hyperstosis (*1)  may be an adverse effect, since it would tend to change the mechanical properties of the bone surface, possibly affecting the performance of joints.  This effect has been observed in even the lowest dose group."(*2)


There is also a  thesis from a Harvard Graduate student published in 2001 linking fluoride consumption to increased risk of osteosarcoma in young boys, most prevalent during their growth spurt between the ages of 5 and 10 years.(*3)   A survey conducted by the New Jersey Department of Health confirms that young boys living in areas with fluoridated water had a higher rate of osteosarcoma then boys living in cities that do not fluoridate the water. (*3)  Fluoride stimulates the growth at the end of the bones which is where osteosarcoma occurs and also where compromised joint formation and function can occur.(*4)  Five to ten years time is within the life span of a Dog and within the time frame to see fluoride accumulation affect bone calcification and joint performance.


In addition to water contamination, Dogs must deal with fluoride present in kibble formulas.  Although fluoride is found in all tissues in the body, It directly accumulates in bone.  Dog foods that contain bone meal as an additive have a much higher level of fluoride than formulas made without it.(*5)  Terms like chicken meal, turkey meal, lamb meal, bone meal, poulty by-product meal, and beef and bone meal are all key ingredients that signal elevated fluoride levels.  Combined consumption of fluoridated water and elevated fluoride feed formulas expose a Dog to unsafe levels of fluoride; as much as 3 times the allowable level for humans.  The effects of fluoride are cumulative in the body and health issues can develop down the road in the life of the Dog. 


What can we do?  Do not feed kibbles that contain bone meal or animal by-products.  Invest in a reverse osmosis water filter for your Dog and yourself.   It is the only filtering system that can remove fluoride from water.


(*1) Periosteum is a fibrous membrane that covers the entire bone and to which ligaments and muscle are attached. Subperiosteal means under this tissue. Hyperstosis refers to thickening and bowing of bones.

(*2) Quotes taken directly from a report published by The Pesticide and Environmental Toxology Section, Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment, California Environmental Protection Agency. December, 1997.

(*3) Taken From a July, 2005 article in The Washington Post.

(*4) From an article by Richard Clapp of Boston University's School of Public Health.

(*5) Article by Environmental Working Group, by Olga Naidenko, PHD, June, 2009.



15 May

OFA Hip X-rays

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Examining the hip joint for normal formation is important for any Dog in a breeding program. In an anatomically correct hip, the femur head is almost round and fits tightly into a smooth, deep and equally well rounded socket. Healthy Cartilage secures the tight fit and the Dog should exhibit an easy full range of motion.

Radiographs are sent to the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) and are examined by 3 different and independent board certified veterinarian radiologists. Their combined evaluations are averaged together to come up with a single rating. There are 3 passing classifications (excellent, good and fair,) a borderline rating, and 3 dysplastic ratings, (mild, moderate, or severe.)

The OFA accepts hip and elbow radiographs from Dogs that are at least 24 months of age. In Europe, Dogs must be at least 12 months of age to secure a hip evaluation. This is because changes in the hip structure can occur later in the Dog's development and evaluations must come from fully developed animals. According to the OFA, the majority of Dogs (over 95%) will show evidence of changing hip structure by 24 months of age. Visit www.offa.org to view the 9 different areas of the hip joint that are evaluated for an OFA hip certification.

Above is an xray of the Hips of Champion Bouvier, I.M. Uno Comet. He was evaluated at 24 months of age and received an Excellent rating. He is assigned a OFA number to catalog his results. Uno's OFA number is BF-6271E24M-VPI. The E designates Excellent and 24M tells you his age in months at the time of evaluation, and that his sex is male. Here you can see the smooth well shaped Femur head and the equally smooth deep socket of the Hip joint.

Here are the Hips Of Uno's Dam, Champion Bouvier, Sachem's Comet. She was evaluated at 25 months and also received and Excellent rating. She exhibits well shaped femur heads and a nice tight fit. Its easy to see the deep well formed sockets. Her OFA number is BF-5707E25F-Pl. Note the F for Female.

Above is a picture of a preliminary hip evaluation of an 8 month old female. The veterinarian radiologist has declared this dog free of Hip dysplasia. The femur heads are seated in the sockets, although the shapes and fit are not as smooth and snug as the OFA Excellent ratings. This Dog will be re-evaluated at 24 months and the radiographs will be sent to OFA at that time for evaluation and rating.

This is an xray of a 30 month old Bouvier male. Here we can see that the femur head on the left side is mis-shapen and partially out of the socket. The femur portion just below the head does not have that nice "neck" shape. The right femur head is more rounded, but is not properly seated in the socket. This dog lives without any symptoms of dysplasia but it was agreed that these hips would not pass an OFA rating.

This is a photo of the right elbow of Champion I.M. UNO Comet. Xrays of both elbows are submitted to receive an OFA rating. OFA issues a separate number for the elbows from the Hip number. In this case the number is BF-EL2275M24-VPI.
The EL tells you its elbows, the M is for Male and 24 is his age in months. There is not an E (Excellent), G (Good) or F (Fair) as in the Hip evaluation. He is either found clear of any elbow dysplasia or does not pass. In this case Uno is clear of any Elbow dysplasia.

24 Apr

Blue Powder Ear Treatment

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American Champion, Sachem's Comet loves to swim. When the summer is unbearably hot, "Luna" is in the pool 3, 4 or 5 times a day and inevitably in the late summer, around August, She develops black yeasty gunk in one of her ears. After searching the internet for ear treatments I came accross a recipe for Blue Powder Ear Treatment.  Despite my skepticism, I have found that this is one treatment that really does the trick.  The recipe calls for Isopropyl alcohol,  but if there is irritation in the ear from scratching, few Dogs will tolerate the sting of alcohol.  Substituting witch hazel has worked equally well.


          16 oz bottle of Isopropyl Alcohol or Witch Hazel

          4 Tablespoons of Boric Acid Powder

          16 Drops of Gentian Violet Solution 1%


Mix all the ingredients in the bottle and your done.  Be sure to shake the bottle each time before applying to make sure the Boric Acid powder is suspended in the solution.  Lay your Dog on His/Her side and flood the ear making sure to protect the eyes. Massage the ear for a minute and then wipe clean with cotton balls. Treat once in the morning and once in the evening until clear. Most often ears clear within a week. I have used the solution on small cuts, hot spots, tick bites or even cleaning pads with great results.

The first time anything ever comes up with a Dog's ear, its good to take a trip to the Veterinarian and make sure there is not a serious infection or any condition affecting the ear drum. If all is clear definitely try Blue Powder Ear Treatment.


20 Apr

The Power Of Sardines

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Few foods are more power packed with essential nutrients and protein than sardines.  They have a much shorter lifespan and lower position on the food chain in comparison to larger fish like salmon or tuna, and so contain much lower levels of ocean contaminants.  The following is a nutritional breakdown of a 3.2 oz can of sardines taken from The World's Healthiest Foods website; www.whfood.com.   (Daily Values are based on Human nutritional needs.)

Vitamin B12            135.1% DV

Tryptophan               78.1% DV

Selenium                   68.3% DV

Omega 3 Fats           55.8% DV

Protein                      44.6% DV

Phosphorous             44.4% DV

Vitamin D                  43.7% DV

Calcium                     34.6% DV

Vitamin B3                23.8% DV

Choline                      16% DV

Sardines are rich in Vitamin B12, second only to liver. B12 is essential for the development of the nervous system and the ongoing production of red blood cells.  They also contain Vitamin B3, a vitamin that is important in the conversion of foods into energy. They are a great source of Vitamin D, which is a hard to come by vitamin for dogs and essential for bone development especially during the first 2 years of life.  Sardines also contain Coenzyme Q10.  Marathon runners take Coenzyme Q10 supplements because it enables the blood to carry more oxygen and so improves circulation. Q10 is a powerful anti-oxidant and immune booster.  Sardines also contain Vitamin K as well as minerals; magnesium, phosphorus, iron and calcium.


Perhaps the greatest thing about sardines is that they are a rich source of omega 3 fatty acids. Unlike vegetable sources for fatty acids, Sardines provide omega 3s in a form that is readily absorbed into the system. Omega fats are great for pregnant and lactating Bitches as omega 3 fatty acids are important in the development of the brain in unborn puppies and also in the formation of their eye structure while in the womb as well as during the first 3 weeks of life.  It is well documented that essential fatty acids need to be consumed in the freshest state possible and begin to lose their benefit with exposure to air. Kibble formulas that claim they are rich in omega fatty acids may not be as well preserved as needed and Dogs more than likely require additional availability of essential fatty acids.


Always choose Sardines packed in water and immediately refrigerate any unused servings in an airtight container. After opening the can  use all the sardines within a few days. Canned Sardines are higher in sodium though it is hard to compare their sodium levels to kibble formulas since it is never on the label. I split a can of sardines between two bouviers twice a week or sometimes feed smaller portions every day. It depends on their activity level.  If you have any concerns about feeding Sardines to your Dog, Check with your veterinarian.



07 Mar

Canine Dentition

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Special Thanks to Bouvier des Flandres Champion, I.M. UNO-Comet for allowing photos of the inside of his mouth so that we could make these renderings.

Both Upper and lower jaws each have 6 incisors in the front. To each side of the incisors there is a canine, also called a cuspid, for a total of 2 on the upper and 2 on the lower jaw, followed by 4 pre-molars on each side for a total of 8 premolars on each jaw.

The molars are the teeth in the back of the mouth and here the count is different on each Jaw. This first drawing is the upper jaw which holds 2 molars on each side for a total of 4 molars, whereas the lower jaw has 3 molars on each side for a total of 6. The first molar next to the premolar on the lower jaw is known as the carnassial. It is pointed and used for shearing flesh. The other bottom molars are flat and designed for grinding. The corresponding carnassial on the upper jaw is the fourth pre-molar from the front.

Puppies have 28 baby teeth; 14 on each jaw. The first teeth to emerge are the middle incisors followed by the remaining incisors, then canines, then premolars. Puppies do not have molars. All the teeth come in between 3-6 weeks of age. Permanent teeth emerge in the same way, starting with the middle incisors and moving out to the canines, premolars and finally the molars. The emergence of permanent teeth begins around 3-4 months and finishes at about 7 months of age. A normal adult dog will have 42 teeth; 20 upper teeth and 22 lower teeth.





The width and the length of the muzzle are important to make sure each tooth fits in the correct location. Narrow jaws may have crowded incisors and shorter muzzles may cause poor positioning of pre-molars. The more we breed to change the shape and look of the muzzle and skull, the more we affect the efficiency and performance of the mouth and teeth. An extreme example of a redesigned structure would be that of a Bulldog or Pug, where the muzzles have become so short that normal positioning of teeth and jaws are no longer considered.

In nature, and for most breeds, the correct positioning of the upper and lower jaws form a scissors bite. When the jaws are closed the upper incisors just overlap and touch the lower incisors. The canine teeth interlock to form the correct bite. If, when the jaws are closed, the edges of the upper and lower incisors touch evenly without any overlap, the dog is said to have a level bite. Although this is considered acceptable by many, it is not correct dentition.

Sometimes the jaws develop in unequal lengths. If the upper jaw is longer than the lower jaw, so much that the upper incisors overlap over the lower teeth without touching the lower incisors, the dog is said to be overshot, or to have a parrot mouth. This is a disqualifying fault in the show ring. Conversely, if the bottom jaw is longer than the upper jaw so much that the bottom teeth overlap the upper incisors, the dog is said to be undershot. A few breeds have been bred to have undershot bites, but for all others this is a disqualifying fault in the conformation ring. Missing teeth are another fault. The most common teeth to be missing are the pre-molars on the sides of the mouth, although molars can sometimes be absent. Using dogs with overshot or undershot bites or dogs with missing teeth in a breeding program should definitely be questioned.

Lesser faults include dropped incisors or "floaters." This is where the middle lower incisors drop from the line or are a little smaller than the other incisors. Crowded or crooked teeth can occur when the muzzle is not wide enough to properly house the teeth.

25 Feb

The Canine Heart

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Canine HeartThe heart is a muscle with 4 distinct chambers, divided in the middle between the left and right sides by a thick muscular wall called the septum. In larger breeds, it will beat 60 to 100 beats per minute and in small breeds it will beat 100-130 beats per minute. Like people, Dogs that are physically fit will have lower heart beat rates than less active animals.

In the drawing, blue represents blood returning from the body and red represents blood that has been oxygenated and cleansed in the lungs. Blood returning from the body is depleted of oxygen and high in carbon dioxide. It enters into the right atrium, which is the upper right chamber of the heart. (left side of our drawing) Blood collects here and when the muscle tissue of the right atrium contracts,  flows through the tricuspid valve into the right ventricle, which is the lower right chamber of the heart. From there, blood is pumped through the pulmonary valve into the pulmonary artery to the lungs. The valve prevents blood from seeping back into the chamber after the right ventricle contracts. When the dog exhales, carbon dioxide is eliminated from the body and when the dog breathes in, fresh oxygen enters the blood. The oxygen rich blood returns to the left atrium which is the upper left chamber of the heart. From there it is pushed through the mitral valve to the left ventricle, which is the lower left chamber of the heart. The left ventricle is the primary pumping mechanism of the heart. From here blood is pumped through the aortic valve to the aorta and to the rest of the body.

This cycle continues nonstop throughout the life of the dog. The arteries transport oxygen, nutrients, hormones and other important chemicals to the cells in the body. The veins return the blood from the cells from all parts of the body to the heart and lungs for cleansing.

16 Feb

Reproductive and Hormonal Cycles in the Canine Female and The Benefit of Progesterone Testing

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The normal reproductive cycle of the female can be divided into 4 stages; Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus and Anestrus. Although there is an average duration for each stage, the length of each period can vary widely from Bitch to Bitch. Understanding these cycles, and the effects of hormones such as Estrogen, Progesterone, Luteal hormone, inhibin and Follicle Stimulating Hormone, on the reproductive cycle of your Bitch, can better forecast ovulation and increase your chances of a successful breeding and maximum litter size.

Reproductive Hormones

Estrogen is produced primarily by the ovaries and is essential to promote estrus. Estrogen also initiates behavior in the Bitch, such as “Flagging of the tail” that displays a willingness to breed.

Follicle Stimulating Hormone is produced by the pituitary gland. The secretion of FSH stimulates the growth of follicles in the ovary which contain the unfertilized eggs.  As they grow, follicles expand toward the surface of the ovary in preparation for ovulation.

Luteal Hormone or Luteinizing Hormone is produced by the Pituitary gland during Estrus.  The secretion of LH signals the ovaries to produce more progesterone and less estrogen and within 48 hours of the surge in LH, ovulation occurs. The follicles reach the surface of the ovary, erupt and release the ova. LH is also essential to convert the burst follicles into the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum continues to produce progesterone. Because of the close relationship between the LH Surge and increased levels of progesterone, measuring serum levels of progesterone help define the LH surge and calculate ovulation.

Progesterone is secreted by the ovaries, and later by the placenta. Increased levels of progesterone prepare the Uterine walls for the implantation of fertilized eggs as well as maintaining the pregnancy. Progesterone also promotes the development of the mammary glands.

Inhibin is produced by the  Corpus Luteum which inhibits the Pituitary Gland from producing FSH and LH. This terminates the mating and fertile period.

The Cycle

Proestrus is marked, by the onset of a bloody vaginal discharge and the swelling of the vulva.  Rising levels of estrogen cause the cells in the vagina to take on a characteristic shape. The cells are said to be cornified and smears of these vaginal cells are examined under a microscope to confirm proestrus. The female is not yet fertile and refuses the male.  Some Bitches can remain in proestrus for over 2 weeks, while others stay in this stage for as little as 3 or 4 days.

Estrus. Ovulation and the fertile period occur during estrus. The vulva will soften and the swelling will diminish. The vaginal discharge may change from bloody to straw colored or clear and the Bitch becomes receptive to males.   Further examination of vaginal smears are used to verify that the majority of vaginal cells are cornified. In addition, serum Progesterone levels rise to 2ng/ml. Ovulation most often occurs 48 hours after the 2ng/ml Progesterone level. If we count from Day 1  of the “Heat” cycle as defined by the first day blood is observed, the average female will enter Estrus around day 8 or 9 and remain in Estrus for 7 to 9 days.

Diestrus. About 1 week after Ovulation, the Corpus Luteum produces Inhibin which terminates the mating and fertile period.  Cornified cells return to their normal shape and this marks the beginning of Diestrus. This stage ends when progesterone levels drop below 1ng/ml. In general this will take 60 days if the Bitch has not been bred or just before whelping if the Bitch was bred.

Anestrus  is a resting period in the reproductive cycle and  begins when the serum progesterone level drops below 1ng/ml and ends when Proestrus begins. This stage also varies greatly between individuals and it is a good idea to mark your calendar to determine the length of time for your Bitch. Also take note of any specific changes in weather, travel or stress, as environmental factors also play a role in the length of the anestrus period. The average length of time is 3 to 4.5 months.

Using Progesterone Testing

The first day that blood is noted can be counted as Day 1 of the Bitch’s “Heat.” Increasing levels of estrogen cornify the vaginal cells and initiate receptive display in the Female. At some point, the pituitary gland in the brain secretes luteinizing hormone which causes the ovaries to produce progesterone and to decrease production of estrogen. This is called the LH surge. 48 hours after the LH surge, ovulation will occur. The eggs require another 48 to 72 hours  to mature before being  ready for fertilization. They remain fertile for 2 to 3 more days. Healthy Sperm live 5-6 days and even more in the reproductive tract of the female. Therefore breeding 2 days after ovulation is the most optimal time for insemination. The average female will surge on day 9 or 10, ovulate on day 11 or 12 and be ready to conceive on day 13 or 14.

Two or three days into proestrus, the first progesterone measurement is taken and every other day there after. Look for movement above 1ng/ml. Some bitches can languish at lower progesterone levels for days, while others will surge straight away. For this reason it is good practice to check every other day, or in some cases every day,  especially with younger or unfamiliar bitches. Note the day when the female’s progesterone level reaches 2ng/ml as this marks the LH surge. Two days later, she will ovulate. Confirmation of ovulation occurs as the progesterone level passes through the 5ng/ml level.

The following is an actual example of a Bitch’s heat cycle and the progesterone testing used to calculate ovulation and plan the breeding. Before traveling to the sire, testing began to determine base level.

Sept. 24                Day 1     Bloody Discharge begins

Sept. 26                Day 3     0.5 ng/ml progesterone level

Sept. 29                Day 6     0.6 ng/ml progesterone level

Oct. 1                    Day 8     0.7 ng/ml progesterone level

Oct. 2                    Day 9     Bitch begins “Tail Flagging” and other receptive tendencies

Oct. 3                    Day 10   0.8 ng/ml progesterone level. Bitch is completely receptive to Male

Oct. 5                    Day 12   2.1 ng/ml progesterone level. Signals Luteul surge

Oct. 7                    Day 14   2.6 ng/ml progesterone level.  Luteul surge is occurring.

Oct. 8                    Day 16   9.3 ng/ml progesterone level. Assume ovulation has occurred.  The bitch is bred the first time to cover all bases.

Oct.10                   Day 18   Eggs are fully mature and ready for insemination. This is the optimal day for conception. The bitch is bred again.

Oct. 12                  The Bitch returns to her home

Dec. 10                 Puppies arrive. 63 days after our calculated ovulation date.


It’s important to note that the Bitch is in a full standing heat, 6 days before ovulation and 8 days before the eggs are fully mature and ready for insemination. Estrogen initiates the receptive behavior in the female and without progesterone testing can falsely prognosticate the mating period. It is said that the majority of unsuccessful matings are caused by bad timing. Relying on the receptive tendencies of the female to determine breeding time may not be the best bet. Measuring Progesterone levels to calculate  ovulation can insure optimal breeding time, predict the whelping date and maximize litter size.



Biological Science, 2nd Edition. By William T Keeton. Cornell University. Copyright 1972.

Pamela A. Davol. Canine Reproduction. Copyright 2000

Encylopedia Britannica

Dr. Melissa Goodman. Copyright 1996-2006



25 Oct

Ring Basics 101

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To become a Champion of Record, a dog must win a total of fifteen points.  These fifteen points must include two major shows and be won under at least three different judges.  A major show is one in which there are larger numbers of competitors in the class. They are categorized as three, four, or five-point majors, depending on the number of entries. Since the maximum number of points that can be won at one time is five, it will take even a top winning dog at least three shows to finish his championship.


There are five regular classes in each sex in each breed: Puppy, Novice, Bred by Exhibitor, American Bred, and Open.  The winner of each of these classes competes for Winners Dog or Winners Bitch.  For example: the winner of the Puppy Dog Class, the winner of the Novice Dog Class, the Bred by Exhibitor Class, the American Bred Class, and the winner of the Open Dog Class will, immediately after the judging of the Open Dog Class, come into the ring to compete for Winners Dog and Reserve Winners Dog.  Then the classes for bitches will begin.  The winners of the Puppy Bitch Class, Novice Bitch Class, Bred by Exhibitor Bitch, American Bred, and the winner of the Open Bitch Class will, immediately after the judging of the Open Bitch Class, compete for Winners Bitch and Reserve Winners Bitch.  Points are awarded to the dog who goes Winners Dog and to the Bitch who goes Winners Bitch, and  to these two only.


The judge, immediately after judging winners, also names a Reserve Winners Dog and a Reserve Winners Bitch. The Reserve Winner, will receive the points if for any reason the points are taken away from the winner. This is usually due to an infraction of certain rules of egligibility.  The Winners Dog and the Winners Bitch, immediately after the judging of Reserve Winners Bitch automatically go into the Best of Breed competition, the class in which Champions are entered, and will then compete for Best of Breed together with any champions of that breed that may be entered in the show.


Immediately after choosing Best of Breed, the judge will choose his Best of Winners from the Winners Dog and Winners Bitch in the event that neither of these two was placed Best of Breed.  After selecting Best of Winners, the judge will choose a Best of Opposite Sex to Best of Breed. The best of Breed Winner alone moves forward to compete in the Group class.