Reproduction in dogs: all you need to know!


Do you want to complete your dog’s family tree or simply want her to have a litter? Breeding in dogs requires knowledge before getting started. The health of your animal and that of its young are at stake.

Hot periods

Periods of heat are a good time to start breeding. They occur about every six to seven months and start from the age of 7 months but this varies by breed. Indeed, the menstrual cycle of bitches depends on each individual and on the breed. The Basenji, for example, are only in heat once a year. While other breeds can be three times a year. These hot periods occur in the fall or spring. But of course everything will depend on each animal. They take place in two distinct phases: proestrus and estrus.

Proestrus corresponds to the onset of heat. This phase is spread over a period of nine days which can go up to 25 days depending on the case. At this time, the bitch attracts males, but refuses to engage in breeding. Bleeding losses are observed during this period as well as turgor and swelling of the vulva.

Then comes estrus during which the bitch accepts mating. Spanning an average of 9 days, this period can be up to 21 days. As the bitch ovulates, she can be fertilized two to three days after this ovulation. Clearer discharge and swelling of the vulva that is no longer turgid are signs of estrus.

The breeding stage

The bitch becomes less reluctant to mate between the 11th and 13th day after the onset of heat. The male can go into action. He grabs the bitch’s neck, grabs her by the sides and then climbs on top of her. The erection will not be complete until the penis is fully introduced into the vagina of his partner. At the time of erection, a dilation of up to 8 cm occurs at the level of the bulb of the glans. The muscles of the vagina contract at the same time. This phenomenon leads to the knotting, that is to say that the two dogs are found glued. The male can stay in the starting position, but it also happens that he turns around so that the two are back to back.

It is very important to never intervene during this phase by trying to separate them, because this is the cause of fractures of the penile bone or vaginal fractures with blood flow. Note also that this knotting is not always obligatory, but that does not mean the failure of the projection. After copulation, the two dogs lick each other’s genitals. It is possible to have up to five matings daily. And it is strongly recommended to organize the mating on the territory of the male so that he is not destabilized and is in full possession of his means.

Another precaution: Calling in a veterinarian who will monitor the heat is a guarantee of successful mating. This professional will carry out a series of analyzes, in particular via vaginal smears, to find out the correct ovulation period.

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