Female dogs generally have 2 reproductive cycles each year. This process begins at puberty. Small breeds may start their cycles at 5 – 6 months of age, while some giant breeds may not cycle until 2 years of age. The average age at puberty is 7 – 10 months.
After 4 – 9 days of bloody vaginal discharge, the female will accept the male and stand for breeding. This receptive stage may last a few days or as long as two weeks. The most commonly used breeding dates are the 9th, 11th and 13th days from the first vaginal discharge. Repeated breeding, 48 hours apart, as long as the female accepts the male, produce the best conception rate.
Vaginal swabs can be taken by your vet during oestrus. Smears are made and examined (using a microscope) from the swabs and these can help pin point to your vet the best time to breed.
Usually no assistance is needed for a successful mating, especially if the dogs have had previous experience. Occasionally, however, some assistance must be given. The male may need help in mounting and entering the female or the female may need to be restrained so that she does not harm the male. A muzzle (gauze, nylon stockings, etc.) tied around her mouth will prevent her from biting the male. The females mouth may be helpful. If trouble is encountered, perhaps the timing is not correct. Double check the dates and consult with your vet.
Near the conclusion of a normal mating, the dogs will become “tied” together for up to ½ hour. Occasionally, the male turns around and the dogs appear “end to end”. This is normal and no cause for alarm. If one of the dogs becomes active during this time, gentle restraint is advisable. Do not attempt to forcefully pull the dogs apart, as this may cause injury.
Female dogs should not be bred during the first heat period. Wait until the second or third heat to breed your female.
Since pregnancy represents a considerable strain on the mother, females should not be bred every “season”. Acceptable breeding programs include breeding every other heat or breeding during two consecutive heats and skipping the third.
If a pregnancy results from the mating, the puppies should be born in approximately 63 days. Begin counting from the first breeding.
If you are considering mating your dog, discuss the matter with your vet. A thorough examination is recommended before breeding to help ensure that your pet is in good physical condition.
Please Contact Us if you have any questions about the mating process.