How Old do Dogs Have to be to Breed?

By MarĂ­a Besteiros, Expert veterinary assistant and canine/feline hairdresser.. Updated: September 8, 2019
How Old do Dogs Have to be to Breed?

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Canine reproduction is complex and there are numerous different factors which need to be taken into consideration. All dog caregivers should have knowledge about their dog’s reproductive cycle, heat stages and more, especially in the case of avoiding unwanted litters. If, for example, you live with a male dog, it is your responsibility as their owner to know when your male dog is fertile, prevent mounting and wandering, and make sure your dog is cared for correctly. Not only does male dog fertility bring the possibility or reproduction, but a fertile male dog may change in terms of general behavior.

If you’re wondering, ‘‘When can male dogs breed?’’ This article is for you! Keep reading here at AnimalWised to discover everything you need to know about responsible dog breeding and male dog fertility.

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When can male dogs breed

When do male dogs experience heat? In female dogs, heat manifests itself with clear and obvious symptoms, such as vaginal spotting or an enlarged vulva. In males, however, it is not as obvious. Unlike female dogs, male dogs do not have a clear set heat cycle. In fact, male dog heat is activated by the female, who releases pheromones during her heat phase.

During a male dog’s heat, you may notice behavioral changes stemming from desperation for the female. Some of these male dogs in heat symptoms include crying, groaning, escape attempts to escape, fights with other male dogs, legs raises and urine marking. This behavior which varies depending on external factors, can occur at any time once a male dog has reached sexual maturity.

Unlike female dogs, there are no pills or medication that can destress a male dog in heat. In order to avoid this anxity, prevent behavioral problems, and control canine overpopulation, we recommend castration and/or sterilization. These interventions are incredibly beneficial to a dog’s health. Always make sure to consult your veterinarian about your options and the best time for neutering.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, ‘‘What is the difference between castrating and sterilizing a dog?’’

How Old do Dogs Have to be to Breed? - When can male dogs breed

Male dog fertility age

Heat in dogs can only begin once a dog reaches sexual maturity. Before this time, when dogs are still puppies you may notice them riding their siblings or objects. It is important to know that these are simply behaviors that, at an early age, are separate from sexual stimulation and are rather related to curiosity.

So, when does a puppy reach sexual maturity? One of the most obvious signs is when your male dog begins lifting its leg and urinating. This action, also referred to as marking, is a way in which dogs communicate with other dogs, especially in regards to sexual maturity.

Dog sexual maturity is linked to sperm production and occurs at varied times depending on the breed of the dog. On average, a male dog becomes fertile between 6 and 12 months. Smaller dog breeds tend to mature later than larger dog breeds.

Dogs reach sexual maturity before becoming fully grown. That is why the age to cross of a male dog can be delayed for up to 12 or even 24 months. A male dog is fertile from the beginning of sperm production, and therefore, the right precautions need to be taken (even if not fully grown).

How old does a male dog have to be to get a female pregnant?

Unless a dog is suffering from an illness or is castrated, male dogs are fertile for their whole lives.

For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss, ‘‘Is my male dog in heat? - Sexual maturity in canines.’’

At what age can a male dog breed?

Now that we know at what age male dogs are fertile, we must understand that for them this is strictly reproductive. This means that male dogs are only interested in copultaing when they detect the presence of a female dog in heat. For the same reason, a female dog will only allow mounting duing some of her heat days. Only in those days of fertility can fertilization occur. Read my female dog won’t accept a male.

How often can a male dog breed?

There is no minimum or maximum number of ‘male dog mounts’ and it will vary depending on each individual dog. Therefore, a male dog that lives with a female dog in heat can mount her several times a day.

It is important to note that canine intercourse presents certain differences with respect to that of other species. In order for fertilization to occur, dogs must remain ‘‘stuck’’ for a few minutes, a situation that usually makes the female uncomfortable. Therefore, sterilizing your female, even if you live with a sterile male dog, is equally important.

For more, we recommend taking a look at our article where we discuss how to control a male dog around a female dog in heat.

How Old do Dogs Have to be to Breed? - At what age can a male dog breed?

How old does a male dog have to be to breed?

Some dogs may suffer from diseases that cause sterility or anatomical malformations that prevent riding and/or mounting. To know for sure whether or not a male dog is fertile, you can consult your veterinarina about a fertility test.

Additionally, hormonal abnormalities, underdeveloped or retained testicles, genital tract infections such as brucellosis, hypothyroidism or fever can all cause infertility in male dogs . Some dog tumors cause impotence. In any case, it is important to remember that dog breeding should not be carried illegally in homes and/or establishments. For more, we recommend reading our article where we discuss everything you need to know about transmissible venereal tumors in dogs.

Benefits of neutering a dog

As we have pointed out throughout this article, controlling our canine population prevents the increase of stray and homeless dogs. In order to avoid the abandonement of animals, spaying and neutering both male and female dogs is incredibly important.

Not only do these surgical interventions help decrease this abandonment rate, but they also prevent certain health problems in dogs related to their reproductive systems. Neutering or spaying dogs helps to prevent the appearance of breast or testicular cancer, psychological pregnancies, etc. In adult dogs, neutering decreases the risk of behavioral changes by 40%. This means that the remaining 60% of male dogs can still experience heat behavioral changes in dogs.

Now, which is better, dog castration or sterilization? In general, castration is usually the intervention of choice, however, this will depend your dog and your veterinarian’s recommendation.

For more about neutering in dogs, we recommend reading our following articles:

If you want to read similar articles to How Old do Dogs Have to be to Breed?, we recommend you visit our Heat category.

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