The Dog Breeding Heat Cycle
Author: Steve Evans
Assuming that you have what is often called a “pre-potent” sire or bitch (that is one that always producess puppies very similar to herself) you have a good chance of puppies which will have the traits you expect and want. If you are in that position with your bitch you will then be awaiting on her dog breeding heat cycle. Such animals must themselves have a “good linebred pedigree” and that in technical language is one that is inbred just so much that the animal is called – homozygous – for as many as possible of the characteristics that you/the breeder considers desirable.
The first sign of a female (also called a Dam) coming “Into Season” is often a swelling of the vulva. This swelling can occur a week before bleeding, or the day before. Other signs of heat are behavioral changes, your Dam may start to hump other Dams, or pups or even your leg. She may also begin to lick her self a lot.
Watch for this and mark your calendar. This will help, but not guarantee, you a good heads up for next time. Mark the first day of swelling as day 1. First day of red blood will work if you don\##Q##t know this date.
You will also find that boy dogs become interested. Simply watch for the blood, and the swelling of the vulva, and you will be able to tell when a female dog is in heat.
While it is not a hard rule to apply in all cases, most female dogs come into their first heat cycle at around six months of age, although I have had them wait as long as one to one and a half years old. As a general rule females will hold to a fairly steady schedule of coming into season about every six months, but as they say rules are made to be broken and it really can vary quite a bit. Some bitches will only come into heat once year, while others may even come in as often as once every four months, but often these “extra” seasons are not always fertile. Breeders usually advise that once a female has her first season, you should track her dates through subsequent seasons to find out what her natural pattern will be.
So, it stands to reason that you female can be bred when she goes into heat. To help you decide when to breed with her let\##Q##s go thorugh the sequence. First she will get a swelled vulva(“place”) and will bleed out of it blood ranging in color anywhere from milky to red. She may also urinate more often and males will be more attracted to her.
Her heat can be said to have started and on average lasts 3 weeks, and progresses as follows. About one week after going into heat (a stage lasting from 1-17 days), and for one week in heat (this stage lasts from 3-21 days) you should have the male (“Stud”) around. However, as the length of the heat is so variable in dogs the Stud should be available from from the first day, just to be sure not to miss the right time.
If she is an average bitch and does not become pregnant she will go into heat again about 6 months later. If she does get fertilized she will be pregnant for 58-66 days counting from about the time she was mated.
You should not breed with your dog when she is less than about 9 months old, or preferably 1 year.
When you let your bitch mate be sure that your female is both physically and mentally mature enough to be bred. Just the fact of her being in heat is NOT enough to justify a breeding. A general rule of thumb is to breed from a female on her 2nd heat or 15 months old, but many say leave it another heat before starting and this can vary by breed and individual. We recommend that you consult with reputable breeders of your breed and/or your veterinarian on this point.
Male dogs mature sexually at about six months of age. When both testicles are descended, theoretically the dog can mate, but it is best to wait until the dog is nine to twelve months old before using it for breeding. This is to allow the dog to fully mature and a heavy breeding season might stunt his growth.
In today\##Q##s urban society where most male dogs are confined to limited territory and most bitches are desexed, the male dog has fewer opportunities for mating now than they did in the wild. Some believe this causes behavioral changes in many male dogs. Undersexed male dogs, the reasoning goes, are more likely to bite, to fight with other dogs, chase cars, exhibit sexual deviations (such as riding legs!). In fact this is a difficult theory to prove either to be accurate or not.
Breeding a dog can be a very joyful experience. It is very important to remember that dog breeding involves a lot of dedication, patience and responsibility coupled with a great deal of knowledge about dog reproduction and the dog reproduction cycle. You also need to bear in mind that dog breeding is an expensive undertaking. Like skilled dog breeders, a dog breeding beginner should have thorough knowledge about his or her chosen breed. Most breeders are very loyal to their dogs and their dog’s welfare is their primary concern. However too often, people are willing to sacrifice the health and welfare of their bitch for the sake of making a profit. Don\##Q##t forget also that you will need to be able to sell your puppies, and that may not be easy at all in the current economic circumstances.
Professional breeders allow dogs to mate for a specific purpose which may be to create pups for sale and at other times to carry on a purebred line. Such breeders have access to records which show a dog’s lineage and they are also aware of the difficulties involved in the dog reproduction process of the breed that they handle. Our plea here is that if you plan to breed for the first time, you really must obtain expert advice from other breeders about your Dam, and the Stud you plan to use, before proceeding.
Note from Blog Daddy:
Please if you are a dog owner, get your dog fixed! Never under any circumstances attempt in any way to separate two dogs that are stuck together. This can and will cause damage to both animal and you risk the chance of getting bit. When the swelling has finished the dogs will separate, if you own the female and this is an unwanted situation, get her to the vet within the first 4 weeks. Keep in mind that if you chose to terminate the litter, you will also terminate the dogs ability to breed.