How old should my bitch be before breeding?

How old a bitch should be before breeding is a question often asked by keen yet inexperienced dog owners.

Before rushing out to breed your dog, whether the bitch or as a stud dog, remember that they need to mature themselves first.

For this reason, do not breed your bitch during her first heat cycle.  Typically, a female dog has her heat season approximately every six months; it will last for around two weeks and you need to know when your bitch is ready to breed.  The first season may not happen until she is twelve months old or so.  It isn’t easy to give an age for how old the bitch should be before breeding, but certainly no earlier than her second heat season and even then, consider whether your dog has matured yet.

Breeding too early can result in developmental problems, for either a bitch or a dog.  Especially with a bitch, not only will her growth be inhibited but valuable nutrients that she may still need will be passed to her puppies resulting in possible problems for her or the puppies.

The best advice would be to read up on breeding information such as our earlier article, ‘Things to know before you breed’, and to consult a vet before taking the decision to breed your dog.


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