All You Need to Know About Dog Mating

Updated on February 18, 2015
A healthy and adorable litter of puppies.
A healthy and adorable litter of puppies. | Source

If you're thinking about mating or breeding dogs, be sure to do plenty of research. Taking on a litter is a huge responsibility, and you want to ensure that your dogs are healthy and well-cared for throughout the process.

At What Age Can a Dog Start Mating?

A responsible dog breeder will wait for a dog to reach maturity before allowing it to mate. The approximate ages of sexual maturity for dogs are:

  • Large Dog Breeds: 18 to 24 months old
  • Small Dog Breeds: 12 to 18 months old
  • Medium Dog Breeds: 15 to 18 months old

While a dog may reach sexual maturity in the first year and a half of life, it's best to wait until it's at least two years old before mating. This is especially true for bitches, who should not breed during their first year of heat. Just like humans, they are still mentally and physically immature. A bitch who is too young will not be able to care for her litter, which could result in the puppies being neglected.

While a dog may reach sexual maturity at six or even four months, this is too young for him to be used as a stud. If a dog mates and begins the breeding process when immature, it could exhaust his system, hinder development, and even result in injury, ill health, or early death.

Depending on health and fertility, a dog can continue to be used as a stud for about ten years. A bitch can usually breed until she is five years old. It is not advisable to allow dog mating to take place once these periods have been reached.

Understanding the Heat Cycle

  • During the first part of her heat cycle, which lasts about seven days, the bitch with exhibit a swollen vulva and bleeding. You may notice male dogs giving her more attention. However, she will not allow them to mount yet.
  • During the second part of heat, which also lasts an average of seven days, the bleeding will slow down and she will accept mates.
  • The ninth or tenth day of heat is widely understood to be the best time to breed. To maximize the possibility of conception, you should allow your dogs to mate a few times between the seventh and fourteenth days of the heat cycle, though only every other day.
  • During the last stage of heat, she will likely no longer accept a mate.
  • While the entire heat cycle lasts 21 days on average, note that it can vary. Each stage can last anywhere between four and twelve days.

How to Prepare a Bitch for Mating

Before mating a bitch, be sure of the following:

  • She must be the right weight for her age and size. A bitch that is too thin won't have the physiological resources to feed and care for a litter. A dog that is overweight is more prone to dangerous health problems during pregnancy and labor.
  • Other than weight, she should be otherwise healthy. A healthy dog is going to save you a lot on vet fees.

It is important to make sure the bitch is confined while in season, so that she doesn't mate with a dog you haven't chosen for her. If you want to prevent this from happening then you must know what to look for so you know when a bitch is in heat:

  • When in heat and just prior to it, her vulva will swell.
  • Bleeding is the most visible sign of heat. However, some experience something called "white heat," or heat without bleeding. Commonly, no blood may be present because the bitch is so thorough about cleaning.
  • The only way to know if a bitch is in heat is to remain vigilant and check her thoroughly. It is important to note that bleeding coupled with frequent urinating could indicate the presence of infection. In such a case take her to the vet.

Immediately prior to mating or coming into heat:

  • She should be thoroughly bathed.
  • The fur around the area of the vulva should be trimmed away. This will ensure a clean entry without any obstruction.

Preparing the Stud

  • The stud should also be thoroughly bathed before mating.
  • The hair around the sheath covering the penis should be trimmed away.
  • The stud's genitals should be clean. This will help prevent any present infection from being passed to the bitch during mating.
  • He should also be normal weight.
  • Don't feed him before the mating; there is a chance he may vomit.

Pairing Dogs

Dog breeding should be deliberate, and responsible breeders will carefully choose two dogs to bring together.

  • Both dogs should have good dispositions, increasing the chance that the puppies will be the same.
  • Be sure both dogs should healthy and have no family history of significant genetic defects.
  • If it’s important to you, or you want to sell the puppies (many breeders are opposed to this practice), thedogs should have the breed and looks you are seeking.
  • Decide whether or not you want to make puppies to sell, a practice many breeders are opposed to.
  • If you want your bitch to breed more than once before being spayed (many breeders don’t), she should be allowed significant time between litters.

Your goal in pairing, no matter what, should be healthy parents and a breed of healthy puppies.

Step-by-Step Process and Procedure

Some general tips on mating:

  • When it is time to put the bitch with the stud make sure you are present. The dog may have trouble mounting the bitch, and you must be there to position him.
  • If you are allowing your dogs to mate it may be advisable to ask a professional breeder to be present.
  • Put them together on days nine, eleven and thirteen of the bitch's cycle. One breeding on each of these days is highly likely to produce a litter.
  • If you allow the animals to mate more than once a day it will tire them out unnecessarily and reduce the male's sperm.
  • Canine sperm lives for a few days after mating and can still fertilize eggs.

Don't be too anxious, because dogs instinctively know how to go about mating. However, they do sometimes require a little help with the procedure.

  • If the bitch is ready to mate she will permit the stud to inspect the area of her vulva and hold her tail up so that it doesn't interfere.
  • Once the stud has her scent he will mount her from behind and his penis will penetrate her vulva.
  • One of the ways you can help the dogs to mate is to assist them with positioning if one or both animals are having difficulty with this.
  • The mating process can take a few hours, while the stud dismounts and the two dogs play around and switch positions. The actual insemination mount can take as little as five minutes and as long as an hour, during which they will not be able to separate due to swelling of two glands on each side of the penis.
  • It is very important they remain calm the entire time. Make sure there are no loud noises or other interruptions to startle them. If they are startled and attempt to pull apart they can hurt themselves. The dogs separate naturally when the swelling goes down.

After mating:

  • You must prevent the bitch from urinating for about thirty minutes after mating to save as much semen as possible. It’s a good idea to provide her with a crate, where she will be less likely to urinate.
  • After mating, check to see whether or not the stud's penis has retracted into the sheath. If it hasn't, don't force it. It could take thirty minutes for this to happen naturally, but be sure it does.

The most important thing you can do for dogs during the mating procedure is to remain calm and ensure they are in a quiet, comfortable environment.

Comments and Feedback

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      jovany 5 days ago

      my female pitbull was on a hit for a week and 3days so i mate her with a male pitbull one day half and the next day the whole day. so the following day she was brought home while at home there was a burbul. i forgot and left him outside with the female pitbull but she was already mate with another male pitbull for 2days and on the four day she mate with the burbul. how are things going to be now? did the first pitbull mate catch or was it disturb while the cycle was busy??

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      Jamie 3 weeks ago

      Dale Marshall sorry to hear your dog did not take,, I rasie lab and I can tell you all dogs are diffent in each heat cycle one of my labs come in to heat every 7 to 8 months and my male always hook up with her around 20 to 25 days into the heat. My new female did not take last time I tryed to breed her on day 7 and 9 and 11 and 13 so no puuies its only been 5 months and she came back in and on her 3 day my male tied with her. so i always say as soon as you see bleeding take her to the male they will tell you when she is ready if she fights she is not ready. good luck.

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      Dale Marshall 6 weeks ago

      My name is Dale I have a border collie I recently got her mated in June 11th and 13th she was in season I took her twice but unfortunately it didn't take she's come back into season again what best dates to try again thank you Dale

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      Roxy 7 weeks ago

      Can anyone explain what happens after mating.do they need extra care

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      Cece 2 months ago

      My male and female live together. Do I have to separate them after mating?

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      Denise 2 months ago

      I have males Shih Tzu to stud my email is gobindenise@yahoo.com. I live in St. Petersburg Fla

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      danny 2 months ago

      Can a dog be mated 4-5 times in her particular heat cycle

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      Cynthia 2 months ago

      Can you breed male dog w same mum but different dad and used to female bitch w same mum?

    • profile image

      Latisha Sheppard 3 months ago

      Looking for a.male shihtzu to breed with my female

    • profile image

      Daisy 4 months ago

      How many times can a dog mout a female wow on her heating cycle

    • profile image

      Misti Simpson 4 months ago

      My female dog urinated right after mating with the stud. I only had the stud for the day. Does this mean she more than likely won't get pregnant?

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      sherrie 4 months ago

      hello I'm looking to try to fine someone who has a girl shitiz that would like to mate them up

    • profile image

      amy 4 months ago

      Second week in heat. After sex this time dogs were bloody. Is this normal

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      Ujjwal panchal 6 months ago

      plz help me......my dogs have tried to mate each other but they were not locked together......but after some time i can able to see the symptoms of pregnancy..... is she really pregnant?

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      Mscheeky66 6 months ago

      Does anyone every reply???? useless to have this section when nobody answers.

    • profile image

      Angie 7 months ago

      My female dog is neutered and each time a male dog tries to mate with her she sits.

      does anyone knows why this behavior happens?

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      Kellie 7 months ago

      my female is ready but the male is having trouble mounting and he wont let anyone put him into position... it mainly pawing, liking, and biting of the ear.. and when he does mount it's on her head instead of the o there end..... Help!

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      isaac 7 months ago

      I have a gsd and the 18month heat period had stopped when can I mate it again

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      Anisa 8 months ago

      Please note: If there is blood mixed in urine when your dog tries to urinate, it could be an INFECTION that is painful and dangerous to her/ his health!!

      Please take your dog to a good vet as soon as possible for help!!

      Dogs should be loved and well cared for, just like kids ♥

    • profile image

      DavMega 8 months ago

      is it bad for a male to mount a female too many times during heat?

    • profile image

      Lucy 8 months ago

      I have a 11 month old dog

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      Crystal A 9 months ago

      After mating my female dog had maybe some bleeding like pinkish red from her vagina. What does that mean?

    • profile image

      Debbie Rainwater 9 months ago

      My male yorkie had a female over that was in heat. I seen them try many many times but I never saw his penis at all..is that normal??

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      Mr. James 9 months ago

      I have a question, we have 2 kinds of breeds bitches here in our house, one is Golden Retriever, the other one is a Jack russell terrier. The JR terrier begun stud this past week, but ever since that day, our golden retriever become aggressive if and only if she ever smell the JK terrier. Is it normal? Or Not?

    • profile image

      Rob donnelly 9 months ago

      My dogs are trying to breed the male mounts fine but can't seem to insert her any advice

    • profile image

      Becca 10 months ago

      My six month old pitbull just got bread by accident but now it looks like she's trying to pee but she's only trickling pee not really peeing is this normal for a first breed or is something wrong

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      Sola Diez 10 months ago

      All of y'all are disgusting.

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      deya-monkey 10 months ago

      I hope someone replies... bottom line no one likes to listen to me and they left my dogs home alone for over an hr without putting them in their crates...anyway.. my girl is in heat and they mated while they were alone... how do i know she if got pregnant? and what should i do to help her with her pregnancy.. btw i am 8 months pregnant my self.. and she is a pitbull mix, the stud is a pitbull husky mix..

      my email:

      deyanira.nunez.44@gmail.com

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      Barnaby 11 months ago

      Can a female hurt herself if she pulls herself away from the male?

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      Phyllis 12 months ago

      How many times will a male dog mate with the same female during a single day?

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      Emma 12 months ago

      What are peoples opinions on on breeding from a crossbreed? Both her Mum & Dad were pedigrees. And would you breed from the same breed as her mum or dad or bring in something different? Thanks

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      Kezz 12 months ago

      I have a dog age 4 she has grown up with an older "experienced" male, she accepts him as alpha they play, groom with each other and sleep in the same bed. They cry for each other if we seperate them ever, but when the girl goes on heat she turns into a tease. I don't know how else to word it. She knows the boy hates water and will show her back side to him to attract him let him sniff and taste her she even moves the tail out of the way and lowers her body to his height, but as soon as he goes to mount she runs and lays in the dog pond and just stares at him. He is such a sook when it comes to water he just lays there whimpering for her

    • profile image

      Mee 13 months ago

      If female dog is in pain while she is in mating.it mates just for 1 minutes whether she has got a chance of getting pregnant

    • profile image

      Jim 13 months ago

      My GSD is 5 years old and has never mated before. Will he be able to have puppies?

    • profile image

      sindhu Rao 13 months ago

      how may hours they want mating for each other

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      Kathy 13 months ago

      I need help. Dogs just mated and I don't want her to get pregnant. Another male already tried he's now a yr old this month dec 2016. What do I do that she doesn't get pregnant. How long does it take for a female to get pregnant. Please we don't want her we have two more females that need spading

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      Kathy 13 months ago

      My dogs just mated but I don't want her pregnant what do I do? The other one yr old puppy tried to mate because I heard her screaming. I'm trying to let her urinate but she's afraid to go out

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      Wierdo 14 months ago

      I read the whole thing and I noticed there is nothing on here about the need to keep the female (Especially a virgin female) More comfortable with the process of breeding. I am planning on becoming a professional dog trainer and breeder and have been researching different problems that dogs have (Defects and Illnesses) I'm just wondering if there is any way to help the female be more comfortable with the whole process?

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      Meggymoon 14 months ago

      Behaviour does change for the bitch ( same as a women I'm afraid to say ) as for the mating it is advisable to put a dog muzzle on her and to keep her head held. Good luck. Megs

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      Ryan 14 months ago

      My Staffie Bitch is 3 years old, she is usually aggressive towards other dogs. will her behaviour towards other dogs change during her heat? will i be able to mate her?

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      Shirley 15 months ago

      Hi my bitch went with a dog on day 9 they were stuck together for 15 minutes could she be pregnant

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      Jess 15 months ago

      My 2 pound chihuahua might have tied with my 40 pound pit bull. I believe he's too little to tie but I wanna know from someone else if this is true.

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      Stephanie harrinarine 16 months ago

      I want my dog to mate but blood comes out when she is peeing i want to no if is is ok or it might damage she more

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      Pom lover 17 months ago

      My male and female Pomeranians have hooked up non stop. I do want puppies. But I feel as if this is too much. And I'm afraid they will give each other sore privates or worst an infection. What can I do to check and make sure they aren't getting infections and stay healthy? Also. I believe they started their tie too soon. Can this be a problem in the breeding process?

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      mahim jain 19 months ago

      i have 1,6 year old sibarian husky with papers looking for a mating of the same regards my phone no is 9205308450

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      donnalabre!hotmale.com 20 months ago

      My female and male Chihuahua already had a tie,can they tie again in the same heat? for the second time?

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      Sarah major 21 months ago

      Successfully mated my Staffordshire Bull terrier yesterday. Today her anul area is swollen and she won't sit, lay down or eat she seems to be very uncomfortable. Is this normal. Bearing in mind on Sunday she had a bone as a treat that I had to take off her because she broke it into pieces could this be the problem too

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      Susan 22 months ago

      My dog has his first try tomorrow and we go away the folowing day so he will be on kennels will he be ok or should I not mate him now

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      hank 2 years ago

      My dog is just 10months old now, is it advisable to allow it to mate at this age?

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      Anthony 2 years ago

      My female gsd refuses to mate although i tried with the same male at her both heat cycle... She is very friendly but when it comes for mating she gets crazy although it will be in her perfect mating day and also a pro breeder came to help but she didnt allow the stud to mate her... Any advice? Note: she is almost three years

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      camelia la tejana 3 years ago

      My male dog vomited while trying to mate for the first time why is that