This section will cover briefly what a Stud Dog should be, what shape he should be in, his diet and his well-being. As with the Brood Bitch page, interjected are my beliefs, others may differ. The routine, care, feeding are what has worked for me. Others may have different results and routines.
The Stud Dog has one of the most serious impacts on the Breed. This is because he can be used daily and produce a vast amount of puppies, more so than the Brood Bitch whose reproductive capabilities can, at most happen twice a year. The Stud Dog can sire litters on a daily basis. The management and matching of prospective females must be handled with great care.
As a result of the responsibility of the stud dog owner, you are the manager and should not breed to inferior or mediocre quality female kees. You should only breed to show quality bitches of good pedigree and superior quality as measured to the AKC Keeshond Breed Standard. The only way to ensure this quality is to require that prospective females to be bred to your dog, have at least attained championship points under at least 2 different judges. To allow your dog to be bred to any bitch, is to do the breed a disservice. You would then be only as good as a backyard breeder.
The responsibility of the stud dog owner to the resulting puppies is the same as that of the bitch owner. If your dog sires puppies you are responsible for knowing they are in good homes or not and you should be willing to take them back if they don't work out in their homes. You should be in constant contact with the owners of bitches who have puppies sired by your dog as if you had produced them yourself. Ask for names, addresses and phone numbers of puppy buyers. After all, your stud dog contributed 50% of what these puppies are.
There is no point in breeding an average male from a mixed up pedigree of questionable background. Just neuter him and let him live the life of a nice companion. I will agree that many of the keeshonds from the early history of the breed came from such males, but we have come a long way from that in breeding programs and there is really no reason to have a mediocre male from a poor to average quality pedigree produce puppies.
What is the most desired male from a breeder's standpoint is a dog with a very tight pedigree that is prepotent [can reproduce himself time after time]. When selective breeding [which we all do when dealing with purebred dogs] look for a male with a tight pedigree, one who has been tested for breed specific problems and who has a good temperament and exhibits good breed type. Outcrossed males that are reproducing specific, desirable traits when bred to bitches of varying backgrounds may also offer what you are looking for. Look at puppies a stud dog has produced from both linebreedings and outcrosses. If you are seeing this dog produce himself on a consistent basis with linebreedings AND outcrosses, and you like his type and temperament, then you have found the [near] perfect stud dog.
The Stud Dog should be OFA'd [or similar registry] well before any breeding plans are launched. In addition, any testing for genetic problems known in the breed should be performed on the Stud Dog as his contribution can occur much more often than that of any female, therefore impacting the breed positively or negatively as a result. A male should also be tested for Brucellosis between bitches so that he does not catch it from one and transfer it to another. Brucellosis is a disease for which there is no cure. It is devastating to a Brood bitch and her puppies. Be safe and not sorry. Other tests may be done. The test choices are up to whoever is involved with the breeding and what is important to them. Just remember, that if something crops up in puppies sired by the Stud Dog, he is most often the one fingers will point to first. He is the one who will be blamed more so than the Brood Bitch.
The Stud Dog should always stay current on his vaccinations and be pest and worm free. This requires monitoring because he comes in contact with females that may come from different parts of the country where different pests and worms are prevalent. He should not pass these on to subsequent mates nor suffer from these to add to his stress.
The main things to be concerned with in a Stud Dog are health, diet and stress. The Dog should be given an excellent diet that keeps him in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally. During times of serious showing and coming in contact with bitches in heat, he will need to have play times and one on one times, a special outing, with his favorite human where he can unwind and alleviate stress. He should get plenty of exercise to run off stress and to keep his muscles toned. He should be kept "happy" so his attitude is good, therefore stress is low. An occasional trip to an ice cream drive through for a vanilla softserve would be fun too.
The typical male Kees temperament is easy going, fun, loving lap dog. That is not to say he won't get wound up from time to time. My boys enjoy rough playtimes that we call "beat up sessions". These involve rough play, play growling and fun with frisbees or toys. If you have more than a few dogs, a "mixer" dog is good to have as a pal to the Stud Dog to play with and help keep his mind off of a bitch in heat. I have an older, neutered male who plays that role.
As far as the breeding goes, a good stud dog will know when a bitch is ready to be bred. If she is disagreeable, then he will know to back off and wait for another day. When the time is right, the bitch will be accepting and the Stud Dog will perform. It is important to get the bitch as soon as possible in her heat cycle. This allows the pair to become acquainted before hand. Ten minute sessions together each day for sniffing and getting acquainted times are good. The mood of the bitch is most important. Vaginal smears may be done and hormonal tests are helpful if you are uncertain about the point in the heat cycle. Nature provides strong signals and these should not be overlooked because a test says differently. It is best to let the breeding pair set their own schedule. If they cannot breed naturally, perhaps that is a signal from nature and should be heeded. Daily visits between the male and female are the best indicators. As the heat cycle progresses, the bitch will become more playful and accepting of the male. I have never had to muzzle a kees bitch during breeding as most books tell you to do, but do watch the pair carefully to be certain they don't hurt each other. I only let the pair together under supervision. When the first breeding occurs, I breed every day until the bitch says "NO". As the bitch approaches the end of her acceptance period, her mood will change noticeably until she becomes not accepting. If the pair has had successful ties during this time you can be assured of puppies.
If the weather is hot, it is best to try breeding very early in the morning or very late at night. Keeshonds are creatures of comfort and should not be inconvenienced during the heat of the day. After all, they are carrying a double coat. If the weather is extreme, provide fans and ice water for the pair. Breed well before or well after feeding time. Who wants to engage in very active exercise after a full meal? Certainly not Keeshonds.
Raising and keeping a stud dog is another aspect. It is good to introduce a young prospective stud to the smells of a bitch in heat. They learn how to behave around girls in heat and that this smell does not always mean they are going to be bred. They should learn to allow their male genitalia to be handled at an early age. This is important if the male is to be a stud dog so that he will allow assistance during breedings should that be required. It also allows for sperm collection for checking sperm count, freezing or chilling or for artificial inseminations should that be necessary. Examination of the penis is important to check for infections or after a breeding to be sure the shaft goes back into the prepuce without the hair getting stuck. This can be painful and the male should allow help with this.
A stud dog's diet should be ethoxyquin-free dry food. Ethoxyquin has been linked to problems in dogs and is still the subject of much controversy. The FDA has reopened the file on this preservative. Some dog foods which have this ingredient have bags marked "Not For Breeding Animals". The long-term affects are not known. Genetic effects long term are not known. Why bother with this when there are many good quality foods out there preserved with Vitamins C and E. The ones with questionable ingredients aren't fit for any dog.
Be sure the water the Stud Dog drinks is as pure as possible. We are fortunate to have a spring-fed well and we are at a higher elevation than most anything in our area. Our water is WONDERFUL and we have no run offs from farmers fields to be concerned with. If the water supply is not good, it will affect the Stud Dog as Keeshonds drink lots of water and it composes much of what they intake. A dog under the stress of a stud dog might be affected by a bad water supply. It may be that bottled water should be purchased.
Cook for the Stud Dog. I use a couple of the recipes from [Pitcairn book]. Specifically "Hearty Canine Combo", "Choice Chow" along with my cupcake recipe [which only one Kees male I know has refused]. I mix up a dog stew that is added to the dry dog food. These 3 main diets are alternated. [Recipes in May 1994 JabberwocKEES magazine.] The dry food I have used for over three years is Natural Life Condition and Puppy formulas [not the Adult formula!].
For stress and overall health, the vitamins I give are 3,000 mgs of Vit C, 400 IU Vit E, 6mg Pantothenic Acid [Vit B6] and 30 mg Zinc every other day when a stud dog is active. These are continued after that every third day throughout the year along with the herbal additives. The Vit C is for overall health and stress. Vit E is for boosting the blood supply, circulatory system, immune system, effects of air pollution, rejuvenating, overall skin and coat health. B6 is for increasing lifespan, immune system, adrenal glands (hormonal system). Zinc is for enzyme production, healthy skin and coat, expedites healing, helps prevent prostate gland from infection. Zinc is lost through stress and should be added back in for an active stud dog.
Remember when using herbs & vitamins, some can have disastrous side effects when used in excess or in the wrong applications. They can cause illness or even death. When in doubt, read further and consult someone more knowledgeable. Don't use something your aren't sure of.
The herbs [& related] I mix in the stud dog herbal formula are:
Red raspberry leaf, bee pollen, oil of evening primrose, alfalfa, red clover, feverfew, rosehips, southernwood, comfrey root, calamus root, slippery elm bark, rosemary, nettle, chamomile, parsley, garlic, sea vegetables, spirulina, sage, goldenseal, echinacea, brewers yeast flakes.
red raspberry leaf -for sluggish stud dogs
echinacea -stimulates the immune system, is an antibacterial & antiviral
goldenseal -is an antibacterial & antiviral, boots a sluggish glandular system, helps the liver
bee pollen -one of nature's most perfect foods. Contains vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids. Improves stamina, endurance, increased energy
Oil of evening
primrose - helps alleviate toxins related to an unhealthy diet. Helps stop growth of many kinds of cancer. Stimulates stomach action to help liver & spleen conditions. Very high in gamma linolenic acid (GLA) [an essential fatty acid] which aids in manufacturing prostaglandin. Studies are showing this to stimulate the hormone system which may be blocked in some cases. [not to be used in epileptics]
slippery elm -for gastric distress [colitis], draws out impurities, heals all parts of the body
rosemary -good tonic for reproductive organs. Relieves depression. One of the most powerful herbs to stimulate the nervous system. Rich in Vit A & C, calcium. Good for the circulatory system
wheat germ -natural source of Vitamin E, helps strengthen the nervous & reproductive systems
nettle -rich in iron to help with the circulatory system. It is rich in Vit A, C, D and calcium & protein
chamomile -destroys toxins, has healing properties
parsley -cleanses the liver, tones the body, builds resistance, strengthens digestion, source of Vit C, iron, manganese, calcium, phosphorus
garlic -natural antibiotic. It rejuvenates all parts of the body. Great for circulatory system. It also is a natural flea fighter and digestive calmer.
sea vegetables -rich in vitamins, minerals and thyroid gland stimulant. Helps with any joint problems
spirulina -provides nutrients to the body when it is not getting enough in regular diet. Good during or after battle with a chronic disease. It helps with vitality, purifies and builds the blood. Easy to digest. Rich in protein, chlorophyll and essential fatty acids
sage -rich in Vit A, C & B complex, a lot of calcium & potassium. Good for the brain, to improve memory, for mental exhaustion & improve the ability to concentrate
Listed below, in random order, are foods that are good for a stud dog and a few notes about them. When switching to a more natural diet, be sure to use balanced portions and not just a lot of one thing. We add balanced, good food portions to a quality balanced dry food. When using meats, stick to one or two kinds as too much variety in protein sources in one meal makes them more complex to digest. The rule of thumb should be MODERATION and BALANCE.
Oats -good source of iron, calcium, copper, magnesium, zinc, silica and Vitamin B. They act as a calmer for nerves, depression and insomnia. Helps to regulate thyroid & blood sugar
Carrots -(grated raw) potassium, Vit C, Vit A, Vit E [rich in the cancer fighting Vit family]
Molasses -high in iron, adds natural flavor to foods and dogs like it [moderation]
Raw beef liver -folic acid, sulphur, iron, many vitamins & minerals
Alfalfa sprouts -helps in weight gain, stimulates appetite, good for muscle/joint pains, contains calcium, phosphorus, iron, potassium, magnesium, enzymes, choline, sodium, silicon, Vits A B, D, K & P
Brown Rice -iron, amino acids, linoleic acid, Vit B & E. It strengthens internal organs, calms the nervous system & relieves depression
Cornmeal -contains more lysine than any other grain (not degerminated)
Kale -rich in Vit C, more digestible for dogs than spinach
Yogurt -very good for digestion and addition of natural bacteria cultures
Watercress -Vit A,B,C,D,E & iron. Also a stimulant for thyroid gland, regulates metabolism and the flow of bile. Put in blender & mix in food in small amounts
Any fruit they like.