This section is from the book "The Dogs Of Great Britain, America, And Other Countries. Their Breeding, Training, and Management in Health and Disease", by John Henry Walsh (Stonehenge). Also available from Amazon: The Dogs Of Great Britain, America And Other Countries.
The best mode of preparing a place for the bitch to whelp in is to nail a piece of old carpet over a smooth boarded floor, to a regular "bench," if in a sporting kennel; or on a door or other flat piece of board raised a few inches from the ground, if for any other breed. When a regular wooden box or kennel, as these are called in ordinary language, is used for the bitch, she may as well continue to occupy it, as she will be more contented than in a fresh place; but it is not so easy to get at her there if anything goes wrong with either mother or whelps, and on that account it is not a desirable place. A board, large or small, according to the size of the bitch, with a raised edge to prevent the puppies rolling off, and supported by bricks a few inches from the ground, is all that is required for the most valuable animal; and if a piece of carpet, as before mentioned, is tacked upon this, and some straw placed upon all, the hight of comfort is afforded to both mother and offspring. The use of the carpet is to allow the puppies to catch their claws in it as they are working at the mothers teats; for without it they slip over the board, and they are restless, and unable to fill themselves well; while at the same time they scratch all the straw away, and are left bare and cold.