Our First Litter of Boxer Puppies
We had Boxer puppies this summer, ok, our Boxer “dog” had puppies and now that our puppy grandchildren have pretty much gone to their new furever homes I have some time to sit down and write about our puppy whelping experience. You see our two legged children are all grown, or mostly grown, and we are pretty much empty-nesters. Our dogs have become much like our kids and they have actually given us grand-puppies, unlike our adult offspring. Not that I’m rushing my children, I’m just saying we’re ready.
We had been thinking about breeding Leah for several years, but didn’t want to breed her just for the sake of “experiencing” puppies, no matter how cute they are they are a lot of work. She is a four year old AKC registered Boxer and not only did people comment on how pretty she is, and what a nice confirmation she has, but total strangers come up to us and remark on how gentle and calm she is for a Boxer.
Supposedly Boxers are hyper, bounce a lot, are mischievous, and high maintenance. Nope, not Leah. She rarely jumps, doesn’t bark, and won’t push you over when she leans. She is wonderful with kids, a friends six month old baby one day grabbed her jowls and literally put her hand in Leahs mouth and Leah doesn’t move. People in our town would randomly come up to use when we took her for a walk and ask us if you ever breed her we would be very interested in a puppy.
Choosing a Stud Dog
The first thing we did was bring her to the vet had have a health exam, make sure she was current on all her shots, and get x-rays for hip dysplasia.
So we started looking around for an AKC (American Kennel Club) stud Boxer and interviewing people on the local Facebook Boxer Classified page. I wanted a match for her that complimented her coloring, body style and most of all her personality. We were looking for a gentle male and a breeder family that had the same goals of matching pups to families who would appreciate the Boxer breed and personality. One we could trust with our Leah for a week where she would be treated as part of the family and not just another “bitch” and kenneled.
We found Theo online (yes doggie computer dating) and in January, before Leah went into heat, we visited his home and introduced the dogs. It was a doggie match made in heaven. Theo was just as gently as Leah, he didn’t bark or jump at visitors and didn’t jump or rough house with his future canine girlfriend. The Surghoe family lives on an acreage in central Nebraska and have two young boys who are VERY involved in caring for the dogs and have the main job of socializing puppies.
We compared papers, which in our case was really important because Leah was born about 40 miles away, and found no relation. We also inspected each others health records. I posted our “match” on the site announcing an expected birth date and had a lot of inquiries. One particular person who had shown and bred champion Boxers even felt the need to message me privately and complement me on Leah and her head confirmation and was very impressed with Theo as well.
She spent a week in April with Theo and at the end of the week they didn’t want to let her come home. They too had fallen in love with her. In fact within three days Leah was sleeping in bed with them, even though she doesn’t sleep in bed with us at home. She has her bed on the floor by my head.
Supplies For Birthing Puppies
There is a lot to raising puppies the right way and fortunately we did have the time, and we also had the perfect whelping area in our walkout basement with a 10 x 8 foot entry with a concrete floor and a hallway we could close off with a baby gate. We gradually added to our supply shelf items we would need when it cam time for Leah to have her pups.
- Birthing bed – We used a baby wading pool
- Newspapers- to line the bottom, ask friends, or your local gas station to save them
- Sheets – from the local thrift store where we got them free
- Small Towels – to rub the pups dry and stimulate them in case they were slow
- Bath mats and blankets – again free from thrift store (ask for dog blankets)
- Heater – to keep the puppies warm
- Dog thermometer – to watch her temperature when it got close
- Bulb syringe – in case we had to suck fluid out of the puppies mouth
- Hemostat scissors and dental floss – in case Leah did not chew off the umbilical cord
- Rainbow Air Freshener and Purifier– this is VERY essential, puppies don’t smell like rainbows and unicorn farts
- Veterinarians phone number
Many people use a baby wading pool for a puppy whelping pen and that is what did and it worked fantastic for the first couple of weeks. Then the Boxer pups got big enough to crawl over the side. However if you have Yorkie puppies I imagine they could stay in the pen almost until weaning. This idea has gotten so popular you can buy circular whelping pads made specifically to fit. These are great and I will probably be buying a couple for the next litter. They are washable and won’t bunch up like blankets or sheets.
We were alerted by our daughter that labor started about noon with heavy breathing and pacing. She took Leah’s temperature and stayed as long as she could, then my nurse friend came over and served as a puppy midwife, or doula, until we could get home after work. Since this was Leah’s first litter she was nervous, so we sat quietly in the nursery area so she could get her head scratched on demand.
Active labor didn’t start until 11:00 pm and Leah let out a scream as she stood/sat and the first pup arrived. This initial pain and shock lasted only a few minutes as she turned her attention to her new brindle puppy. She started licking at the umbilical cord and the “backside” of the sac. I knew the puppy needed to get her head out to breathe so I broke the sac around the puppy’s head and pulled the sac off as Leah continued to clean.
The next few puppies came slowly throughout the night and in the end we had six puppies; two white, one fawn, and three brindles. Each puppy was lively and nursed very soon after being born. It was amazing to see these blind little pups crawl instinctively to Mama’s teats to feed.
I went to bed about 4 am for a couple of hours of sleep before going to work. The next morning I went down to the nursery to find Leah curled around her pups protectively and she looked up almost with a smile and a look that said “Look, I made these!” She seemed very proud and very protective. Getting her to go outside to go to the bathroom and relive herself was a challenge. She didn’t want to leave her pups, and often the first few days I almost had to carry her outside.
The same was true for eating. She didn’t want to leave the nursery whelping pool to drink or for food so I would place the bowl in front of her in the pool. Later she would stand up and drink from the bowl next to the pool, but for a week to ten days she was reluctant to leave her pups.
Stay tuned for Week 1 of Boxer Puppies as they have their first veterinary visit and get their tails and dewclaws done.
More Boxer Puppy News