Female dogs generally have two reproductive cycles each year. This process begins at puberty, which is usually 7 to 8 months of age. The female enters her receptive stage following the 4 to 10 days of bloody discharge. She will accept the male and stand for breeding at this time. 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 signs of vaginal discharge. Repeated breeding, 48 hours apart, as long as the female accepts the male seems to produce the best conception rate.
Generally, no assistance is needed to accomplish a successful mating. This is especially true 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 stocking etc) tied around the mouth may be helpful. If too much trouble is encountered perhaps the timing is not correct. Nowadays there is a very accurate method of pinpointing ovulation and hence exact time to mate, via a simple blood test during the heat period. Consult with your veterinarian if you require further information on this test.
After a normal mating, the dogs may remain ‘tied’ together for up to ½ an hour. Occasionally, the male turns around and the dogs appear ‘end to end’. This is normal and to be expected. If one of the dogs becomes active during this time, gentle restraint is advisable. The significant fact is that this situation is normal and no cause for alarm.
Female dogs should not be bred during the first heat period. Wait until at least the third heat, or until she is at least 18 months of age. It is advisable not to breed after 5-6 years of age. Since pregnancy represents a considerable strain on the mother, females should not be bred every ‘season’. Acceptable breeding programmes include breeding every other heat.
If a pregnancy results from the mating the puppies will be due in approximately 63 days.
If you are contemplating mating your dog, discuss the matter with your veterinarian. We can give you helpful advice and information regarding the production of healthy puppies.
© Forrest Hill Vets (2000) Ltd