The Countryman's Weekly

Lurchers

Lurchers
April 24
08:04 2019

Lurcher breeding – do ya feel lucky? Do ya?

by Dave Sleight.

NOW the days are lengthening the gradually extending periods of daylight bring animals and birds into breeding condition. It’s the time when the question of whether to breed a litter of lurchers pops into the mind of the bitch’s owner. Most bitches will come into season in springtime and again in autumn but for those who work their lurcher, spring is the obvious choice. Once a decision to breed has been made, a litter born in early summer has the benefit of longer days and vital sunlight.

As a young man I saw quite a few autumn born pups suffer from rickets resulting in bowed front legs, weak joints, flat feet and brittle bones. Rickets was brought on by a combination of a lack of vitamins and natural sunlight.

Whelps which survived to adulthood were often undersized when compared to both parents. Thankfully, due to scientifically produced puppy meals, it’s unusual to find signs of rickets in puppies now.

Given the choice though, I’d still prefer to produce a spring litter. Rearing is all-important for lurcher pups intended to work or race and a poor start, if only for the first few weeks of life, will detract from the performance of the finished article.

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