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Breeding Info

Finding a Good Bull Terrier Stud

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There are many male dogs that people are wanting to breed but there are very few true “Stud” dogs. This article is meant to provide detailed information recognizing a Stud dog and what questions you should be asking the Stud owner to determine if their dog is a good candidate to use to stud your bitch.

Most people have no clue the involvement in which responsible breeders go through to maintain a healthy and productive Stud for breeding purposes. Some breeds of canine require little to no effort to keep them active and productive for breeding but with Bull Terriers the opposite is true. 


Here are the questions which should be asked when considering to use a particular “Stud Dog”:

– Do you have a Stud Service Contract that I could review?

Every Stud Service contract is going to be different from each breeder. Never assume that every breeder’s policies are the same. If the Stud owner does not have a Stud Service contract this should be a good indicator that they have little to know experience with breeding and studding their dog. It is not recommended to schedule a breeding until both Sire and Dam owners have a complete understanding of the responsibilities of each party and how things will transpire during the breeding, once a litter is born, or if the Dam never even gets pregnant.

– Is your Bull Terrier a proven stud? If so, could you provide his AKC Stud Records?

AKC mandates that breeders maintain a “Stud Record” for any male dog that is bred. The Stud Record should depict every time the Stud mated with a female and the results of all breedings. This information allows people to see if artificial insemination was required or whether natural breeding took place. The Stud Record also allows people to see how successful the stud was during all the breedings he was used as a sire. It should also depict the litter sizes which is an important factor in validating the studs fertility and capabilities as well. Some of the information within the Stud Records can also be validated online within AKC to verify the actual Litters sired by the Stud. The term “Proven Stud” comes from recorded history within registered litters produced by a Stud Dog. A true “Stud Dog” is one who has proven himself through the successful development of many sired litters.

– Has your stud completed all recommended genetic testing? If so, could you provide the records?

No dog regardless if it’s a male or female should even be considered for breeding until genetic health tests are performed to ensure the dog does not carry genetic faults which can be passed down to the offspring which taints the bloodline and significantly jeopardizes the future welfare of the breed. Just because a breeder may say “Yes, all genetic testing has been done” does mean that it has. It is not insulting to ask to see the veterinarian records or documents which validate the actual tests were performed and the results of the tests. For Bull Terriers the common genetic tests that people like to focus on are:

  • Hearing Test. Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) Test.

  • Heart Test. ECG/Doppler.

  • Kidney Test. Blood test and analysis for creatine levels.

  • Luxating Patella. Palpitation test done by a Vet. X-rays if any concerns are noted.

Has your Stud been tested for Brucellosis?

Brucellosis is a very infectious disease which is becoming more common due to people who are not testing their dogs and putting them into environments where the disease can spread. It is one of the leading causes of infertility in breeding stock. It occurs worldwide, affects all dogs and can also be transmitted from dogs to humans. This is not a disease to be taken lightly and thought to be of non-exitance regardless how healthy the stud appears.

Has your stud been DNA tested? If so, could you provide the AKC DNA Certificate?    

It is very important that all Studs have a DNA profile conducted on them before they are ever used to breed as a Stud. The DNA will not only validate that the sires parents are correct but it provides reassurance for the future offspring as well. Sadly, there are many irresponsible breeders who manipulate litter registrations by claiming a false sire of the litter. DNA records keep things in check by validating the authenticity of bloodlines. If a Stud has been DNA certified the DNA # will be depicted in all future pedigrees under the Studs name. This is what a DNA Certificate looks like:    

Do you have a scanned AKC Pedigree on your stud that I could review?

Reputable bloodlines are vital when choosing the proper stud for your bitch. Many people spend a lot of time researching bloodlines in order to get familiar with the Bull Terrier breed. Not only is it a good idea to see what bloodlines produce top quality dogs that emulate the Breed Standards within structure and conformation but it’s also good to know the dogs that have a reputation for sound health and temperament. Unfortunately, there are quite a few breeders that zone more into appearance than they do health and temperament. Having familiarity with particular bloodlines that concentrate on all areas of development is key to choosing a well-balanced Bull Terrier Stud that possesses sound qualities within appearance, health, and temperament. It’s nice seeing many CH’s within a 4 generation pedigree but even better recognizing the bloodline names that hold merit for many years of raising and breeding Bull Terriers. There are many great Bull Terrier breeders that truly calculate their breedings in order to produce puppies that emulate the breed standard and complement the breed by their overall qualities. Not all are show dogs and they don’t have to be in order to represent exemplary qualities for breeding. Some of the healthiest and best Bull Terriers I’ve seen never spent a day in the show ring. However, their bloodlines come from ancestry that did and their bloodlines are all well known for the qualities they’ve produced over many years of skillful and planned breedings.

Does your stud do well with natural breeding or are his sired litters often the result of artificial insemination (A.I.)?

I wish I could say that Bull Terriers on average have the natural ability to be very effective breeders but normally this is just not the case. Sure you may have raised a young Bull Terrier that would hump everything he seen but this is not an indicator of how well he will breed. Many males get so excited and dominant during breeding they just can’t seem to “tie” with the female. Sometime the female will actually be more dominant than the male and regardless if she’s in full ovulation she may not accept any dog mounting her. This is why it’s extremely important that all breedings are done with full supervision and control. A male and female can easily decide they’d rather fight than breed. Artificial Insemination is required when a Stud does not have the experience to tie naturally with the female or the females dominance prevents the breeding from occurring. A young stud often requires some form of training and guidance in order to become a successful natural breeder. It is often best for a new Stud to be scheduled to breed with an appropriate bitch that welcomes the breeding and possesses no dominant characteristics which can effect the future productivity and confidence of the Stud.

In the event a natural breeding cannot be accomplished do you have the knowledge and experience to conduct A.I.?

Artificial Insemination is almost a requirement for any Bull Terrier breeder because of how often it is needed. Even with a seasoned and proven Stud there are times in which he may not be able to tie successfully with a chosen bitch. In the event estrus levels of the female prove to be optimal for scheduled breeding that day and the Stud cannot tie with the female for whatever reason this would be when Artificial Insemination becomes warranted in order to ensure a breeding was conducted at an appropriate time of ovulation. The aspect of saying, “well I hope we have better luck tomorrow” could be the difference between a future litter and no litter. Artificial Insemination is not a difficult or messy task. In fact, it’s pretty easy once there’s been some experience in conducting the procedure. For those opting to have stud service for their female they are going to want to ensure the breeder has the knowledge and experience to perform an AI if the need for it is warranted. Those with experience with AI will agree that the results (if done correctly) are no worse off than a natural tie.

Do you test estrus levels to pinpoint accurate times of ovulation?

A good breeder is one that has the knowledge and experience to know when the right time is to introduce a Stud to a female and initiate the breeding. Just because a female is in heat does NOT mean she is ready to breed. Allowing a male dog to mount a female when she is not ready to be bred is a Big mistake. The male might wish to dominant the female while the female quickly goes on the defense to fend him off. This can initiate a fight and throw off the entire scheduled breeding unless AI is conducted. In order to have success with breeding a pair of Bull Terriers it’s always best to test and keep track of the estrus levels of the female so the breeding can start at the appropriate time. Many breeders use estrus strips which at one time used to be fairly accurate. Unfortunately, they no longer make a test strip that provides accuracy. Proper test equipment is expensive but for breeders who are going about their breeding practices with professionalism they are certainly investing into proper test equipment. We use a product called the “Draminski Ovulation Tester” which works flawlessly to track estrus levels and peak ovulation. By testing for ovulation it will ensure breedings occur during the appropriate times with the best possible chance for impregnating the female. The first breeding all the way to the last breeding should be conducted knowing that the dates were based upon estrus levels. Consideration on whether or not the breeder has the test equipment and experience to provide for the breeding should be well thought out otherwise there will be additional expenses required by a Veterinarian in order to provide assistance with pinpointing ovulation time frame and artificial insemination procedures. If a Vet is required for these type of procedures the financial costs for breeding your female could be significantly more and the chances of gaining pregnancy could be significantly lower.  

Can you provide an overnight chilled semen shipment to my Veterinarian during the time of my females ovulation for purposes of a surgical A.I.?

Sometimes having both the stud and female available to breed naturally is impossible due to geographic location. However, when choosing the right stud people will often resort to purchasing fresh or chilled semen for the purposes of surgical artificial insemination. Many Stud owners have sperm stored at a canine sperm bank for the purpose of future breedings through AI. When canine sperm is stored the Vet will add extenders and other chemicals into the solution in order to store the sperm for many years. In order to use this sperm on a future female the sperm will need to go through a process and placed into the female during a surgical AI procedure. This is not an uncommon practice but it is often an expensive practice considering the involvement of medical specialists. Many sought after Studs have sperm available for shipment on a moment’s notice.

When was the last time a sperm count was conducted on your stud? Do you have the results of the test?

So you found a nice looking male Bull Terrier that you wish to breed your female to but does he have “swimmers”? It doesn’t matter how old a Stud dog is or what kind of pedigree he possesses if he doesn’t have a good sperm count the chances of producing a litter are slim to none. Sadly, Bull Terriers are known to lose their sperm count at early ages and if they are not actively bred their sperm count will decrease at a cyclic rate. Reputable breeders will be adamant about keeping good tabs on the sperm count of a Stud they wish to breed for many productive years. Having a sperm count conducted on a semi-annually basis is the best way to monitor the fertility proficiency of a stud dog. The test will provide the results of healthy and liable sperm and the level of productivity per volume. I wish I could tell you how many times I’ve seen and heard about so called “Studs” being used to breed that should have been called “Duds” not studs.  

During inactive periods of breeding do you purge your stud to ensure his sperm count remains high, fresh, and fertile which also minimizes the risk of causing an infection to my bitch?

Here’s a topic not too many people even think about. This kind of dedication divides the backyard breeders from the dedicated professionals who are adamant about sustaining the fertility and productiveness within their stud dogs. If a Stud dog isn’t actively bred it is inevitable that they will decline rapidly within their sperm count. Their desire to breed will also decline and their productivity will become compromised. A dog does not ejaculate or purge on a routine basis and the sperm inside them remains dormant for a long period of time. Most dogs have the natural ability to regenerate and clean out sperm on a frequent basis but with Bull Terriers they often do not. This can affect their breeding production when the time comes to breed. I would be Very nervous about allowing one of my females to breed with a stud that I thought was not actively being bred of purged on a routine basis. The last thing that I’d ever wish to risk would be an infection to my bitch due to dormant sperm during an initial breeding. Call it coincidental all you want but when I hear about a failed pregnancy after a breeding that was conducted and the female ends up with pyometra or some other nasty infection I’m always thinking about how fresh the sperm was during the breeding. It is not uncommon for breeders to “purge” their studs on a routine basis in order to ensure fresh sperm is being produced and to keep the stud active within production capabilities which certainly helps to maintain adequate sperm count. Here’s an article which touches on this subject –

Am I required to go back and forth to your location during each scheduled breeding or do you offer overnight care during the scheduled breeding? If so, please explain her living conditions, care, and attention.

It’s important to find out exactly what the Stud owner’s schedule will be during the scheduled dates of breeding. During any breeding it’s always expected that the female be taken to the Stud for services. Often the female is dropped off during the breeding. Depending on the environment and living facility this can put stress on the female which can make her less receptible for breeding. Proper food and exercise is essential during breeding and the less stress the female experiences the better chances of her having a successful pregnancy. While the female is being bred I would want to make sure that my Bull Terrier was being catered to with pride and love. During the breedings I would also hope that the breeder took a photo or two of the successful tie or artificial insemination of the slated Stud. A phone call saying “Yep, they bred” is entertaining but a photo is validation. With cameras built into every cell phone now a days it isn’t exactly asking a lot for the breeder to click one button in order to capture the breeding that took place.

What policies do you have for a litter that only produces 1 or 2 puppies?

This is a subject which should most definitely be brought up because it would be very saddening to have your female go through pregnancy and labor only to produce one or two puppies and the stud owner have full expectations of retaining the “Pick of the Litter” puppy despite how many puppies his stud sired. One puppy often does NOT constitute a litter but this is where a good Stud Service contract will dictate what is to be expected when a litter of one or two puppies is produced. It is within your best interest to find out how many puppies produced constitutes a litter and whether or not the stud service fee is based off a healthy litter size.

Do you provide a money back guarantee if the female does not get pregnant?

This is a very important question to figure out before you opt to use a stud. There’s no guarantees that a female will get pregnant after being bred. If the breeder is following the same guidelines and ethics as I’ve mentioned in this article you can rest assured that their confidence in breeding is pretty darn good. If the breeder is confident about what they are doing, chances are that they will happily provide a guarantee for impregnating your female. If the breeder has experience in breeding it really isn’t often that the breeding will result in a failed pregnancy. Speaking from my own experience I know that if I receive a female for breeding at the appropriate time of her heat cycle there is little chance she won’t be pregnant after she leaves our kennel facility. Now if chilled semen shipment is required for artificial insemination that is an entirely different thing due to the fact that the stud owner is at the mercy of whoever you have chosen to conduct the AI. This is out of his/her hands in regard to a successful breeding. However, if the breeder provides you with chilled semen which has been tested and verified for fertility during the time of receipt, they have accomplished their part and may very well expect a payment for their services.

If a stud owner is wanting to charge a significant amount of money for “Stud Service” it’s best you have knowledge if the investment is worthwhile and in the best interest for the future offspring produced. If a stud owner is not committed to raising a true stud dog and breeding with professionalism I encourage you to find an alternate stud that will enhance your goal to produce a healthy litter that you will be proud of. It is common to see breeders advertising their “STUD” for breeding purposes on social media or 3rd party web advertisements but it’s rare to see appropriate information listed for these studs. Most sought after Studs for breeding aren’t even advertised and the breeders are in expectation of people contacting them in pursuit to use their stud for breeding with their own Bull Terrier. I hope this article provides some useful insight for things to consider when looking for a Stud to use for breeding to your female Bull Terrier.

Choosing the Right Bull Terrier Stud


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This is a topic in which many breeders will have different opinions so keep in mind that the information provided here is based off my opinion from experience and knowledge on breeding Bull Terriers.


Most Canine Registries allow for VERY early ages for breeding dogs which shocks me. I am using the American Kennel Club (AKC) as an example because this is the Canine Registry I utilize and have the most familiarity with. AKC is our National Canine Registry and certainly the most reputable and recommended Registry in the United States. Their regulations on the breeding ages on dogs are as follows:


MALES:      7 months old – 12 years old.  

FEMALES:    8 months old – 12 years old.  

AKC will also allow Males and Females to be bred at younger or older ages if breeding is witnessed and an affidavit or evidence is provided. Due to these regulations it’s easy to see how dogs of any age are allowed to be bred and provided registration papers for the litters produced. Although AKC may not recommend breeding so early in age or late in age they certainly do not apply appropriate restrictions for registering a litter of puppies. Additionally, there are no restrictions on the maximum number of litters a Dam can produce. With this said, it’s easy to see how puppymills are able to start breeding a female on her first heat cycle and continue breeding her on every heat cycle until she is 12 years old. Again, this may not be something AKC recommends but it is within their acceptable policies for registering litters.

Now, just because a breeder can get away with breeding their 7 month old puppy on it’s first heat cycle does this make it right? AKC may allow it but this does not mean it’s of ethical breeding practices.

Here’s my opinion as a breeder of Bull Terriers for many years:

FEMALES:   I am completely aware of the physical makeup and health aspects to breeding a female at young age. I will even share an informative article that supports breeding at early ages due to the bitch’s pelvis development – Best Age To Breed. On a medical stand point I can understand how it would be better to breed a younger female vice waiting until she is 3 years or older. However, with Bull Terriers I know it to be very important to ensure the female is fully matured both physically and mentally. I do NOT recommend breeding a female on her first cycle because she would not have the mental maturity to safely whelp a litter of puppies and the physical and chemical changes would cause significant stress and anxiety which could prevent her from proper care and attention to her pups. It is not rare that a litter of Bull Terriers requires had raising due to the Dam becoming a bad mother. I feel that the best time frame to breed a female Bull Terrier is based on the individuals dog maturity both physically and mentality. Ideally this is during the females 3rd heat cycle and closer to the 2 year old mark. Yes, there are some which may be perfectly fine to breed during their 2nd heat cycle when they are around 1.5 years old but even at that age the female may very well still be in the puppy phase herself. Now due to the fact that I would not wish to breed a female more than 4 times (3 litters is our normal amount before we retire a female from breeding) I can’t possibly see how anyone would wish to breed a female beyond 6 years old. If you were to breed a female Bull Terrier starting at the age of 2 and skip a heat cycle between litters she would only be 4 – 4 1/2 years old by the time she had 3 litters which in my opinion is a good limit of litters for any female dog. I think it’s important to skip a cycle before breeding the female again in order to allow sufficient time for the Dam to return back to excellent physical shape prior to whelping another litter. I realize that a female may have the capabilities to rear a dozen or more litters between 8 months and 12 years old but common sense should tell you how bad this would be for any dog regardless if AKC or any other canine registry would continue to allow the breeder to register litter after litter from the same female.

MALES:   When it comes to the proper age for studding a male dog there aren’t many health concerns to consider since breeding him at any age would not be detrimental to his health or well being. However, there are many factors that should be considered prior to breeding a male dog as well as continued studding of a male dog. I provided a lot of information in regard to stud service in a couple of my previous blog topics so I’m not going to discuss in detail the difference between a male dog and stud dog. However, I will touch on the proper requirements for any male dogs that are planning on becoming a stud dog because it has a lot to do with the best age for breeding one.
Unlike many other breeds, Bull Terriers are known to lose sperm counts rapidly as they age especially if they are not bred or purged on a routine basis. With this said, the chances of having a productive stud dog after the age of 10 are extremely slim. Prior to using a male for stud service they should have a DNA test to ensure their bloodline is correct per their registry and pedigree. The rapid slide agglutination test (RSAT) is highly recommended to ensure the stud is free from the bacterial disease brucellosis. A sperm count should be performed in order to ensure the dog is fertile with high enough sperm count to be a productive stud dog.
There’s nothing wrong about initiating stud services at an early age if pertinent tests have been completed and verification of health and qualities is evident. Most studs start their breeding careers around the age of 12 months old and continue for as long as their fertility remains productive based on annual sperm count analysis.

IMPORTANT NOTE FOR BOTH MALES AND FEMALES:   Prior to breeding ANY dog full genetic tests should be conducted to verify the dog it within proper health standards for producing puppies. A veterinarian health check is NOT genetic testing. Specific tests are recommended for every breed of canine to ensure the dog does not carry a genetic health trait that can passed down to future puppies. Within the Bull Terrier breed the main concentration of genetic testing should be: 

  • Heart – Echocardiogram with Doppler (ECHO).
  • Kidney – Symmetric Dimethylarginine (SDMA) Test.
  • Hearing – Brainstem Auditory Evoked Response (BAER) Test.
  • Luxating Patella – A physical examination combined with radiography.
  • Primary Lens Luxation – (Miniature Bull Terriers only) DNA testing for Primary Lens Luxation (PLL)


Besides the appropriate genetic testing that should be conducting for all Bull Terriers being considered for breeding it is important to ensure the overall qualities of the dogs being bred possess the proper structure and conformation that emulates the Breed Standard. Just because you have a registered pure bred Bull Terrier does not mean it has the qualities to be bred in order to do justice for the future progression of the breed. The objective of breeding should always be to better the breed by utilizing breeding dogs that have exemplary qualities. It is important for breeders to study the Breed Standards and gain thorough knowledge in recognizing faults as well positive traits. Additionally, it is vital to ensure the dog you plan on breeding has sound temperament which is expected within the breed. Proper health is not defined simply by receiving positive results from the expected genetic tests pertinent to the breed. Many Bull Terriers may prove to be good in those areas but suffer from skin allergies, aggression, Obsessive Compulsive Disorders (OCD), and other negative faults that may have been inherited through bad genetics.


As a breeder I can honestly say there is an abundance of pride and joy in producing puppies but my pride comes from knowing the production of my puppies are resulting in healthy Bull Terrier puppies that emulate the qualities within the breed standards. This is, and always will be, the overall goal of any responsible breeder.