Dogs should be at least two years old before they are bred.
Before mating, both bitch and stud should go through a comprehensive health exam. They should be free of genetic defects that they can pass on to thier puppies.
Vaccination and deworming of the bitch two to four weeks before breeding will help puppies be protected from disease and parasites.
Both the bitch and stud shoul be checked for brucellosis, a sexually transmitted disease in dogs which can cause aborted litter or puppies to be born dead.
Bitches go into estrus, or heat, twice a year. Dog mating usually takes place approximately 10 to 14 days after the female goes into heat. The signs of a bitch in heat are: pinkish discharge and flirtatious behavior toward the male such as lifting her tail or prexsenting her behind to him.
Remember, during pregnancy bitches have increased nutritional needs. See dog food