Understanding the canine heat cycle can be tricky—especially when it differs depending on various factors. One thing heat cycles have in common is that they typically last approximately 2–4 weeks. However, how often dogs enter the estrus (heat) cycle and the age at which it can start is different depending on how old the dog is and how big they are.
If you’re a new Dachshund parent and want to know more about what the heat cycle looks like for smaller dog breeds, we endeavor to answer all of your questions.
What Exactly is “Heat”?
Technically called “estrus”, the heat cycle is a period of time in which female dogs are fertile and responsive to male dogs’ “advances”.1 In short, it’s the time in which the female dog can get pregnant. Dogs cannot get pregnant if they’re not in heat.
It can only occur in unspayed dogs—many owners choose to have their dogs spayed to prevent unwanted pregnancies and unwelcome overtures from male dogs. Contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to wait until your dog has experienced a heat cycle before getting them spayed.
Spaying can also help prevent irritability and unwanted behaviors like roaming and guarding tendencies that can come with the heat cycle. Let’s take a closer look at some of the signs that indicate a female dog is in heat.
Signs of Heat
There are many signs that a dog is in heat, and these take the form of both physical and behavioral changes.
It’s also worth noting that the amount of blood from the vulva may differ depending on the dog’s size. Smaller breeds are more likely to bleed less than larger breeds, but this isn’t a cast-iron rule as it can vary.
Moreover, it’s important to note that your Dachshund should not bleed for the entire heat cycle. Bleeding typically only lasts between a week and ten days and can range from light to heavy.
When Do Dachshunds First Go into Heat?
Dogs enter their first estrus period at around 6 months of age on average, but smaller dogs like Dachshunds can go into heat from the age of 4 months old. On the other hand, large and giant breeds can wait for between 18 and 24 months before they enter their first heat cycle. Some large dogs even pass the 2-year mark before going into heat for the first time.
How Often Do Dachshunds Go into Heat?
Unspayed female dogs go into heat periodically for their whole lives. On average, dogs go into heat once every 6 months, but this can vary depending on breed and size.
For example, smaller breeds like Dachshunds have the potential to go through three or four heat cycles in a single year. By contrast, bigger dog breeds are more likely to only go into heat every 12–18 months.
Your Dachshund’s estrus cycle might be irregular early on, but it should even out by the time they’re 2 years old. As dogs get older, their heat cycles may become less frequent.
To recap, Dachshunds typically stay in heat for between 2–4 weeks, like other dog breeds. The cycle length varies for different dogs—some might be in heat for as little as a week and a half whereas others are in heat for up to 4 weeks.
If your Dachshund’s heat cycle is much longer than usual, for example, if it continues past the 4-week mark, contact your vet to make sure there are no underlying issues.
Featured Image Credit: David Pecheux, Shutterstock