Choosing a Stud Dog

If you’re planning on breeding your bitch, you need to find some potential puppy daddies. If you are breeding to make the breed better, this process can be a bit daunting. This is a rough guide to my process in selecting a stud that will best complement my bitch.


  • Are you just going to have one litter? If you are breeding to create one litter of great pups, you may choose a different stud than someone who is planning 2-3 generations ahead.  Choose the best.
  • Are you trying to start a line/your own kennel? This requires a different breeding strategy than with an already established line, or breeding just for the litter. Do you have a “foundation bitch”? You might not know yet! You are doing yourself a huge disservice if you start a kennel with your female simply because you have her. You need a bitch with a strong genetic background that consistently produces pups that are as good as she is, if not better. I cannot over-emphasize the importance of a strong female start. After all, the bitch has MUCH more effect on the quality of the litter than does the male.
  • Line Breeding? If you are trying to sustain an already-proven bloodline or stock, this is an easy choice. When choosing to breed to a stud with a similar genetic background, you have a much better idea of the pups you will get, and you can nearly guarantee that pups will not have any faults not already present in the line.
  • Outcross?  Choosing a male that has no ancestors in common with your bitch is an “outcross.” This is a riskier breeding choice than staying within your dogs’ line, because honestly, you have NO IDEA how the two genetic packages will combine. Even two fabulous dogs can have only mediocre pups when crossed. However, outcrossing is a vital part of sustaining genetic diversity within a line, and crucial in getting “new” traits into a breeding program.
  • Test? Test breeding is a highly stigmatized practice. This is usually done to find out if a genetic problem exists in a certain line. A bitch will be bred to a male that is known to carry a problem “X.” If all of the resulting puppies have the problem, the female is a carrier. This is a questionable practice because it can imply the choice to bring unhealthy pups into the world- but it can also save numerous litters from having the same problem.

Narrow the Field

  • Based on your breeding goals (above), narrow your search to only one “type” of stud. (an outcross, a line breeding, or a test)

RequirementsThe Right Stud Dog

  • Demand that the male be tested for disorders common in your breed (hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand disease, etc). You may find breed-specific tests and results here.
  • Figure out what things you are not willing to compromise. Health, temperament, and specific faults should completely rule out some (if not most) potential stud dogs.
  • If your dog breed had a job, make sure the stud is able to do it. Sporting dogs should hunt, water dogs should swim, etc.


  • What are you hoping to get from the litter? Prioritize the traits you are looking for. Any dogs that have already satisfied the “requirements” above can be ranked by their strengths.

Research the Top Candidates

  • Look at any puppies he has sired- Remember that in picking a stud, you are not choosing HIM- you are choosing what he will most likely produce with your bitch. Many gorgeous dogs never have a single pup that’s as good as they are. You aren’t getting the male, you’re using his sperm.
  • Temperament- All the best pedigrees and photos cannot replace real knowledge of the dog as a dog. Talk to his owners, people that have met him lived with him, and/or seen him work. Try to get a good idea of the personality of the dog.
  • Pictures- (Or better yet, meet him!) Almost anyone can get a single decent photo of their dog- no matter how they truly look. Look at as many as you can, and try to create a composite image of the stud.
  • Talk to other breeders! Some gorgeous dogs are completely unphotogenic. I’ve owned one, and it’s a sad situation. Trust your fellow breeders, if you trust their eye for dogs.


  • By this point, you should have one or two dogs that really feel right. Congratulations!
  • Talk to the owners. Are they amenable? Sell them on your bitch.
  • Make sure the stud contract is logical and clear.

Pop the Champagne! The hard part is over. Now you can wait for your girl to be ready, and start preparing for puppies!

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About BredByBitch

Hello! My name is Dani, and I've been in the "dog world" since I was 8 years old. My mother raises and breeds Irish Wolfhounds, which was my introduction to the show ring. I showed in Junior Showmanship for many years before aging out and getting my first German Wirehaired Pointer. I live in Tucson, AZ with my German Wirehaired Pointer, Luke. Luke is my man, from my first home-bred litter of wires.

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One Response to “Choosing a Stud Dog”

  1. Tania Kidd Says:

    Hello Dani,

    Please note: website is unpublished as yet. Should be in next 2 weeks. Announcement of owner/publisher change of mag has not been made yet.

    I hope this reaches you. I am soon to be the new publisher of a 60-year old magazine for Miniature Schnauzer exhibitors & breeders called Schnauzer Shorts.

    I would like to ask your permission to publish in part or in the entirety a couple of your articles for our stud book issue upcoming. I love the “Choosing a Stud Dog” article on your site. And, perhaps a little bit from “Male Dogs that Faint”

    Thank you so much for considering this. Of course you would receive full credit if these are your articles (which it appears they are) :). I would be happy to send you a copy of the publication if I do, in fact, use the material.
    Thanks once again. Fingers crossed that you see this.
    Tania Kidd


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