When Is My Bitch Ready To Breed?

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.


  • I have a female in heat, i had to call a vet today because her blood is very chunky and it appears to has blood clots, like some humans do. I was told this is normal. She didn’t bleed heavy her first heat, this one is her second. I have her with my male (well not right now), but they tied a couple days ago, I dont know if it was by accident or on purpose. But she is now on day 6 of her heat, and I am seeing the blood clots, she has not let him touch her since the first tie. Just wondering if I could have some expert advice on this. Is there something I can do to see when she is most fertile?

  • Im breeding my 5 year old male boston with a 2 year old female and he tried to mount her a couple of times but after her snapping he gave up a little. Shes still bleeding a little bit and i was wondering if shes almost to the stage where she is interested in the male?

  • Hey, I’m TRYING to breed my 5 year old chiweenie -female- (and yes i know that they have problems giving birth) and another chiweenie -male- but my female ‘Mia’ keeps snaping at him, any ideas? :/

  • Hi. My dog has had a swollen vulva for the pass 2weeks and started bleeding 5days ago. When is she ready to mate? Thank you.

  • My Basset Hound has a very strange in heat session. She bleeds or shows color for maybe two days. I don’t ever know when the perfect time to have her studded is I don’t have the money to continue taking her to the vet to find the ovulation date. Its $120 every time i take her in to check. someone told me that you can check her temperature does anybody know what that temperature would be when she starts to ovulate?

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