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Home > Dogs > Dog Mating Guide: Cycles, Factors & Tips

Dog Mating Guide: Cycles, Factors & Tips

Dog sniffing dog in heat

Mating dogs can be a rewarding experience, but the practice must be done responsibly and with the parent and puppies’ health as a priority. There is much to learn about mating dogs before the first breeding attempt is made. We have put together this dog mating guide to help make the process of preparing and planning for a mating experience more successful and enjoyable. Here is everything that you need to know about dog mating.


It All Rides on the Female’s Cycle

Dogs must rely on the female’s reproductive cycle to conceive babies. If a female dog is not “in heat,” she cannot conceive offspring, and mating her is a waste of time. Female dogs, or bitches, typically go into heat, which is technically referred to as the estrus cycle, twice a year. The estrus cycle usually lasts anywhere from 2 to 4 weeks, depending on the breed, size, and age of the female.

Bitches typically go into heat for the first time around the age of 6 months, but it is highly advised to wait until your girl reaches about 18 months of age before you consider breeding her. The best time to breed a bitch has not been pinpointed, but it is believed that the last half of the estrus cycle is the most fertile due to the bitch’s actions and behaviors during this time.

Beagle on estrus cycle
Image Credit: Sigma_S, Shutterstock

Signs That a Female Dog Is in Heat

Because a female dog must be in heat to reproduce, it is important to look for signs of their cycle to determine when mating should take place. Luckily, there are a variety of signs that bitches tend to display as they go into heat and work their way through the estrus cycle. Here is what to look for:

  • A change in appetite
  • Increased urination frequency
  • Swelling of the vulva
  • Bleeding

A female in heat will usually show interest in males and turn her butt toward them when they are ready to mate. This is an excellent sign that fertility is at its highest. If you are unsure as to whether your bitch is ready to breed, your veterinarian can do ovulation testing and help you determine when the best time is.

jack russell in heat
Image Credit: Reshetnikov_art, Shutterstock

Choosing a Dog to Mate With

It is important to consider things such as the size, temperament, and breed of a prospective mate for your bitch. If you are not breeding her with the same type of dog, you should research and learn all about the male dog’s past. What is their lineage like, and what kinds of tendencies do they have? If your dog is an active one and you want to breed a calmer type of dog, look for a mate that exhibits low energy levels.

If you are looking to create a reliable hunting dog, your bitch and their mate should come from a lineage of strong working breeds. You can balance size, temperament, and skills based on what each parent breed brings to the table. Work with an experienced breeder to understand how breeds, size, temperaments, and other factors will affect your new puppy breed.

Responsible Breeding Considerations

There are many dogs in the world with no homes and nobody to feed them. They end up in animal shelters, and many simply live alone homeless until they pass away, which is usually at a young age. Therefore, it is important to practice responsible breeding when mating your dog with another at any time. Never let your dog spend time with other dogs of the opposite sex when she is in heat unless you are ready to breed, or you might find yourself faced with raising unwanted puppies.

Always make sure that you have a plan for what will happen to the puppies once they are weaned. If you will not be keeping them all, find people who will take each one in and give them a good home before they are even born. If you cannot control your dog’s breeding, it is crucial to think about getting her or him spayed or neutered.

beagle couple
Image Credit: Sigma_S, Shutterstock


Final Thoughts

It is always a good idea to consult with a professional breeder before mating your dog with another for the first time. Spend plenty of time researching, preparing, and gathering supplies before you even consider making puppies. What kinds of puppies are you thinking about breeding? How many litters do you plan to bring into existence? Share your thoughts with our community in the comments section.

Another interesting read on the subject:

Featured Image Credit: atiger, Shutterstock

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