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When Is the Best Time to Breed a Dog in Her Heat Cycle?

Nicole Cosgrove

Trying to breed a dog is no easy task, even if you know exactly what you’re doing. One of the hardest things to figure out is the exact time to breed your dog.

It’s not an exact science, but typically, the best days to breed a dog in heat are between the 10tyh and 14th day of her estrus. But that’s not completely foolproof.

So, how do you know what day is best for your pup, and what else do you need to know when mating your dog? Just keep reading, as we break everything down for you.

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How to Determine When to Breed Your Dog

two smiling dogs happy outside mating
Image credit: S Curtis, Shutterstock

There are two ways to determine your dog’s approximate ovulation cycle when she’s in heat. Both involve taking your pup to the vet.

First, there’s a blood test that your vet can do. Second, they can complete a vaginal cytology. While these are tasks that an experienced vet can easily handle, they’re not necessarily things that you want to try completing on your own if you don’t know what you’re doing.

How Do I Know When My Female Dog Is Ready to Mate?

a female dog is cleaning the genitals by licking
Image Credit: SOORACHET KHEAWHOM, Shutterstock

If you know what you’re looking for, there are a few clear-cut signs that your female pup is nearly ready to mate. The scientific term is proestrus. This starts to happen at the beginning of the heat cycle when estrogen levels start to rise. Your dog’s vulva will swell and they might have blood-tinged discharge.

They tend to get a little clingy, and they’ll likely start to show aggression toward male dogs. Finally, your pup will probably pay extra attention to her genital area by licking it, and she might hold her tail close to her body. After about 9-10 days (depending on the breed and individual dog), the next phase of the cycle will begin, this is called oestrous. The oestrus coincides with ovulation and this is the time when the female will allow a partner to mount.

How Many Days Will a Female Dog Let a Male Mount Her?

Male,And,Female,Pomeranian_curraheeshutter, Shutterstock
Image Credit: curraheeshutter, Shutterstock

There’s no set number of times that a female dog will let a male mount her, but it is about two to three times. Usually, they won’t let them mount on consecutive days, which means if you’re attempting to mate your dogs, you have a 2–4-day window from the first mating session.

This isn’t a large window, and considering that most female dogs only go into heat twice a year, if you miss the window, you’re stuck waiting for quite some time until you can try again.

How Long Should Dogs Wait Between Litters?

Labrador mother dog and her puppies
Image Credit: Renata Apanaviciene, Shutterstock

Considering that the gestation period for a dog is just over 60 days and that they  most breeds only have one heat cycle every 6 months, it’s not uncommon for your pup to not miss any heat cycle even if they get pregnant. While that can change if your pup is irregular, they can typically breed mate twice a year regardless of pregnancies.

But just because your pup can breed every heat cycle doesn’t mean they should. While there are plenty of scientific studies to support arguments for back-to-back breeding, there are equally as many that condemn the practice.

Therefore, it’s always best to take your pup’s health and previous pregnancy into consideration and consult with a vet. There can be benefits to back-to-back breeding, but if your pup isn’t in ideal health, it can do more harm than good.divider-dog

Final Thoughts

Dog breeding isn’t nearly as easy as many people make it out to be. Finding the right days to breed your dog while she’s in heat is no small task, and considering a missed cycle means waiting another 6 months, it’s a big deal.

To ensure that you don’t miss your dog’s cycle, consult with a vet and get a complete blood test to see if you can’t narrow down your dog’s most fertile days. This should increase your chances of success, which is a win-win for everyone involved!


Featured Image Credit: Spik and I, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.