If you want to breed from your dog, then it is necessary to get her mated with the stud dog at the right time. Your bitch can only be mated when she is in season. Make sure you have found a stud dog in plenty of time before the season, seen and checked the stud dog, negotiated payment with the stud dog owner, and anything else you need to check. See our earlier articles on Stud Dogs Checks and How Much Should Stud Dog Fees Be for more details.
Frequency of Season
A dog generally comes into ‘heat’ or into ‘season’, as it is often termed, twice a year. She will generally have her first season before she is twelve months old, although it isn’t unusual to be slightly longer than this. It has been known for a dog not to have a season until she is nearly two years old, but that is unusual. How often the dog comes into season will vary, on average, it is every six months, but many bitches seasons will vary from every five months to ten months.
How to tell when your bitch is coming into season
There are several different signs of when your dog is coming into season, which are listed below. Not all of them will be present, but one or two will be.
- Not eating properly, or losing her appetite altogether
- Swelling of the vulva
- Licking the vulva
- Urinating more frequently than usual
The obvious sign is spots of blood appearing round the vulva. Some dogs bleed more than others. When you spot the blood, make a note in your diary of the date and ring the stud dog owner to make the arrangements.
Knowing the right time for the mating
There are two stages to the heat or season. The first is called the pro-oestrus stage and the second is called the oestrus stage. The length of each stage does vary according to the breed, but on average each stage will last 8 to 10 days.
In the first stage, this is when the dog releases the blood stained discharge that many people associate with a bitch being on heat. Her vulva will be enlarged and she is likely to reject advances from a stud dog at this stage.
In the second stage, the vulva will swell more and then discharge will change to a yellow-coloured discharge. This is the time for the stud dog mating to be arranged. The most fertile time is approximately two days into the second stage as this is when she is ovulating.
Many stud dog owners will allow two matings, two days in a row, or at most two days apart, but if you are unsure about the right time then your vet can do an ovulation test on the bitch to ensure she is ovulating. This might be a good idea if you have had an unsuccessful mating in the past or if the stud dog or bitch is a champion show dog and you really want to make sure of a successful mating.