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When Should My Female Dog Mate?

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When Should My Female Dog Mate?

When should my female dog mate? How can I ensure my female dog mates successfully? We all wished there was a reliable way to tell when it's the best time to allow a female dog to mate, but the truth is, there is no magical formula to follow. However, there are some tips that can help up the chances for a female dog to become pregnant. Generally, who ultimately decides when it's the right time to breed dogs is the female. You can do all you want, even pray in Chinese, but the decision is ultimately hers, but here are a few things that can be done to up the chances for a successful mating.

Love by the Numbers


A good place to start is getting accustomed with the female dog's heat cycle. Female dogs go first through a proestrus stage during which their body gets ready for reproduction.

During this time the vulva becomes swollen and there will be a bloody discharge. Male dogs given the opportunity may try to mount her, but she will be quite reluctant. This stage lasts for about 7 to 20 days.

Following this stage comes the estrus stage, which is when prospective breeders will need to pay particular attention to their dog. The blood discharge will turn into straw colored and she will turn flirty and receptive.

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Breeders calls this stage " standing heat" because she will hold still for the male allowing him to mount, but wait, hold your horses (or better, hold your dogs!)

The average female dog releases eggs from her ovaries (ovulates) around the second day of standing heat. This is the ideal time to start breeding the female dog. To be more precise, if we were to count the day the female dog starts bleeding during proestrus as day 1 of her cycle, the ideal time to mate her would be starting around day 9, considering that the proestrus stage lasts about a week.

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The Path to Success

To up the chances of successfully mating and having puppies, the female dog should be bred several times. According to veterinarian Margaret V. Root Kustritz, a veterinarian specializing in reproduction, the days to mate, if you were to count the first day of bleeding (proestrus) as day 1, would be days  9, 11, and 13 of heat.

Breeding the female dog every other day from the day of standing heat may also work considering that it she is still bred during the window of opportunity during which she is fertile. For those who do cannot afford to have their female dog bred multiple times though, the best time to breed is to pick the second day after ovulation. 

Determining the exact date of ovulation though may not always be easy. It would require checking the levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) through daily blood samples to be collected at the same time each day which can turn out being inconvenient and even expensive. A less precise, but more convenient option to check for ovulation may be measuring progesterone levels with the help of a vet.

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"Best conception rate occurs when the (female dog) is bred from 4 days before to 3 days after ovulation; best litter size is achieved when the (female dog) is bred 2 days after ovulation. There are 2 possible breeding strategies: Breed every other day while the (female dog) stands or breed once, 2 days after ovulation."~Margaret V. Root Kustritz.


  • DVM360, Frequently asked questions about small-animal reproduction (Proceedings) retrieved from the web on July 20th, 2016
  • University of Minnesota, Small Animal Theriogenology, Breeding Timing, retrieved from the web on July 20th, 2016

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