When it comes to smaller dogs such as the Schipperke, special care should be taken when it comes to mating and pregnancy. While the large majority of pregnancies go by without incident, smaller breeds always warrant just a little bit more attention than larger breeds. This is because of their small stature and pelvis size. The added weight of a pregnancy can sometimes cause undue stress on hip joints of a bone structure that is only meant to accommodate twenty pounds or less. To ensure a healthy pregnancy and litter, a female needs to be at least two years of age before her first mating. Special tests that are needed cannot be performed before this age. It also provides time for owners to track their female's heat cycles.
With anywhere from three to seven pups per birth, guessing the size of a litter with the Schipperke can be tricky business. It is also just another reason why the Schipperke needs extra attention during pregnancy. Before breeding, owners will need to have their female examined by a vet. After being given a clean bill of health, the owner will often take their female to a suitable male for breeding. Experienced breeders recommend at least two breeding sessions forty eight hours apart to ensure insemination. An owner will then need to take their Schipperke back to the vet to confirm the pregnancy and ensure that all is well.
With a gestation period of at least sixty days, the Schipperke will do fine to keep her normal routine all the way up to the fourth or fifth week of pregnancy. At this time, the appetite and breast size will typically increase, prompting owners to increase calorie intake to support not only the mother and pups but milk production as well. It is also likely that the vet will want to see the female in the last week or two of pregnancy. Using a fetal heart rate Doppler the vet will be able to determine how many pups to expect by listening for the pups' heartbeats. Signs and symptoms of labor can be discussed as can the indications of complications that will require immediate medical care.
The Schipperke will need her own special place to birth her pups when the time comes. This place should be somewhat isolated but very close by so that the mother can take care of her own needs such as eating and outdoor breaks. A closet or other small space has been known to work wonders. If the floor is carpeted, laying down a large piece of cardboard covered with sheets and towels can make clean up a much easier task. While it is easy to be tempted by curiosity, the mother should be allowed to care for her pups with minimal contact for the first twenty four to forty eight hours.