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How Old Does a Dog Have To Be To Breed? Explained!

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Author: Jacob Kay

Dog breeding is often the topic of debate among people, some favour it while many strongly oppose it. However, breeding a dog has both benefits and concerns associated with it. For that reason, it is really important to follow the path of ethical breeding.

How Old Does a Dog Have To Be To Breed?

For the people who breed dogs, the major concern is, “How old does a dog have to be to breed?”. To clear your this doubt in this blog we will provide you with all the required information regarding the correct breeding age of dogs.

What Is Dog Breeding and Why Is It Important?

Dog breeding is a process in which selected breeds are matted to maintain and achieve the specific qualities and characteristics of certain breeds. With the proper knowledge regarding the breed, their characteristics, behaviour, health and genes, a good breeder breeds the dog.

The main motive of a good breeder is not just to breed the dog for money instead, to look for the welfare of the dogs.

Here are a few reasons why it is important to breed a dog:

  • Breeding is important to create diversity in the canine world.
  • To maintain the history and heritage of certain dog breeds.
  • Breeding prevents genetic disorders in dogs.
  • The world becomes more aware of the canine world, its genetics, characteristics and importance.

How Old Does a Dog Have To Be To Breed?

Good age to breed a dog

The good age to breed a dog depends upon their health, age, maturity level and sex. Generally, these factors differ considering the different breeds[1] and sizes.

The breed with smaller sizes attain sexual maturity earlier than the bigger ones. The large breed dog requires more time to grow physically, mentally as well and sexually.

The small breed dog attains maturity as early as 6 months of age whereas the large breed dog requires about 1 to 2 years to grow completely. However, the breeding period of male and female dogs also differs.

Male dogs can breed after maturing but for female dogs, it is advised to wait till they reach 2 years of age. As the female dog has to carry the puppies her body needs to be prepared for the same.

Male dogs can breed for a longer time as compared to females because the female dog goes through various hormonal changes during the entire breeding cycle.

As mentioned in petmd, "Breeding timing refers to the purposeful timing of insemination during the estrus period—commonly refrred to as being "in heat"—in order to maximize fertility and the chances of conception. This technique may be utilized to ensure conception in dogs."

When To Stop Breeding a Dog?

When to stop breeding a dog depends on the following factors:

When To Stop Breeding a Dog?

Age

Age is a factor which is very important for starting as well as stopping breeding in a dog. The dog when start growing old their physical strength also starts to decrease. The ideal age to breed a dog is between 2 to 5 years.

After 5 years the dog starts getting old and their reproductive capacity also decreases. Especially for female dogs, it is advised not to breed after 5 years. A female dog’s body is not that healthy after 5 years of carrying the babies thus you should stop breeding.

Health

To breed you must ensure that your dog is healthy and is not suffering from any disease or lifelong illness. If your dog has diabetes, hip dysplasia, asthma, lung diseases, or heart diseases then you should not consider breeding.

If you breed the dogs with this illness then there are higher chances of transferring it to their offspring too. Apart from this if your dog is underweight, malnourished or overweight then it can affect their fertility and pose a risk during the pregnancy.

Breed

To breed it is necessary to know the breed of the dog, there are certain breeds who should not be involved in the breeding process. The brachycephalic breed or as popularly called flat-faced undergoes breathing difficulties and overheating problems.

These flat-faced breeds face a lot of complications during pregnancy and in many cases require C-sections to deliver babies. Due to all these issues, the chances of their health deteriorating is higher.

Number of litters

The total number of litter the dog produces also acts as a criterion to stop the breeding of the dog. According to the experts, the maximum litter a dog should produce is between 4 to 6.

Breeding your dog frequently will not only have an ill effect on your dog but will also decrease the quality of litter. You should wait for at least 12 months before breeding your dog again and let her recover properly.

What Are Some Ethical Concerns in Dog Breeding?

Here are some concerns about ethical breeding in dogs:

What Are Some Ethical Concerns in Dog Breeding?
  • The first and foremost concern of ethical breeding[2] in dogs is that it should not be done just for the sake of money. Dog’s health and well-being should be given priority.
  • Overpopulation is a major concern of ethical dog breeding, if a dog is not spayed or neutered then it can lead to an overpopulation-like situation.
  • Not testing the dog’s genetic health and having insufficient information regarding the dog’s health and disorders. This insufficient information might cause the offspring to suffer from those genetic defects too.
  • Not maintaining the dog’s litter frequency can lead to an adverse effect on the dog and the quality of the litter.
  • Not providing the proper information regarding the dog’s characteristics, behaviour and features.

The Benefits of Breeding Dogs

Here are some benefits related to the breeding of dogs:

  • Breeding helps in understanding and researching the canine world. It provides insight into the dog’s health, characteristics and features.
  • Breeding helps increase the number of specially skilled dogs, which can help in the defence sector as well for various security purposes.
  • By combining the best features a whole new breed suitable for the modern world can be created.
  • Breeding helps in reducing the genetic risks in dogs.

FAQs

How do I know my dog is ready to mate?

The behaviour and activity of male and female dogs ready to mate may differ. For a female dog when she is in the estrus phase of her heat cycle is the right time to mate. For a male dog, if he has become aggressive, is constantly humping and tries to escape from home then this all is a sign that he is ready to mate.

How old does a dog have to be to breed?

The right time to breed a dog depends upon their age, size, health and their sex. Typically dogs breed when they attain maturity, some dogs mature early while many do not. Due to this reason, it is generally considered to wait till 1 year for your dog to mate.

How many times can a dog get pregnant in a year?

The number of times a dog can get pregnant in a year depends upon their heat cycle. Generally, a dog goes in a heat cycle twice a year which means she can get pregnant twice a year. There are some dog breeds like Basenjis and Tibetan mastiffs who go in heat once a year.

Can a 4-month-old male puppy breed?

No, a 4-month-old male puppy cannot breed. To breed a puppy has to be fully grown and mature which a four-month-old puppy cannot be. Apart from this even though the puppy can breed between 6 to 18 months the right and ideal age to breed is 1 to 2 years.

Is it OK for a 1-year-old dog to get pregnant?

Yes, generally it is considered okay for a 1-year-old dog to get pregnant. If your dog is fit and healthy and mature enough then you can consider breeding her. Still, it is advisable to consult a vet before you make any decision related to breeding.

Conclusion

We hope that through this blog, “How old does a dog have to be to breed?” you got the answers to all your queries. By knowing the correct breeding age of dogs you can prevent your dog from facing health-related issues.

If you are considering breeding your dog then follow the ethical breeding. Breeding your dog in the right way possible is not only necessary for your dog but also for their offspring. The health and comfort of your dog must be your top priority.

If your dog has any prolonged health issues, then consider avoiding the breeding.

Reference:

  1. Hirst, M. (n.d.). The selective breeding of dogs. The Selective Breeding of Dogs.
  2. Turning up the Volume on Man’s Best Friend: Ethical Issues Associated with Commercial Dog Breeding – CRONEY RESEARCH GROUP | Canine Welfare Science. (n.d.).
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About
Jacob Kay
Jacob Kay is a Veterinary Advisor and Editor at WWD. He’s also a dog lover and has two pet dogs of his own. He has extensive knowledge in the field of veterinary medicine and is always happy to share his insights with others.

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