What Time of the Year Are Most Puppies Born?

Updated on March 16, 2018
alexadry profile image

Adrienne is a certified dog trainer and behavior consultant, former veterinarian assistant and author of "Brain Training for Dogs."

When are puppies born?
When are puppies born? | Source

Is There a "Puppy Season" for Dogs?

Among the many changes domestication has brought into the lives of our canine companions, reproduction has also been affected, bringing substantial changes into the heat cycle and whelping habits of dogs. It is estimated that dogs have domesticated and separated from gray wolves about 15,000 years ago, when they started frequenting human settlements.

Unlike grey wolves, which are generally monogamous, (breed only with one partner) with females going into heat in late winter so that pups are born in early spring and have time to grow strong before winter hits again, dogs have undergone substantial changes when it comes to reproduction. With more resources, better care and less exposure to the harsh elements of the wild, dogs are not monogamous and have become promiscuous with females going into heat twice a year and virtually at any time.

Dogs also tend to mature earlier. For instance, female dogs may mature physically and sexually around 7 and 10 months of age (this does not mean they should be bred on their first heat), whereas, wolves are generally not mature until they are approximately 22 months. Male dogs are promiscuous and fertile year round, whereas male wolves are more selective and monogamous. The male wolves' testes are even subject to atrophy when out of the breeding cycle, rendering them infertile, explains Lindsay, Steven R. in his book "Handbook of Applied Dog Behavior and Training." Iowa SP. 2000. Vol. 1.

This predisposition for domesticated dogs to readily accept any sexual partner and be promiscuous is considered by many breeders as "a facet of domestication."

So, is there a puppy season in dogs? Apparently not. Female dogs have bi-annual breeding cycles and male dogs are willing to mate any time a female is in heat. This causes puppies to be born virtually any time of the year. However, there are some exceptions to this rule.

Some Exceptions to the Rule

Not all dogs, however have bi-annual heat cycles. This applies to certain dogs belonging to primitive breeds.

  • The Basenji: Basenji dogs tend to go into heat only once a year in the fall, with puppies being born for the most part in the months of December and January, according to the Basenji Club of Canada.
  • The Tibetan Mastiff: The Tibetan mastiff, an ancient breed, retains some instincts related to survival in the wild in Tibet. The female Tibetan mastiff goes in heat only once a year, towards the end of fall, regardless if moved to different area with different climates. This causes most Tibetan mastiff puppies to be born as well between December and January, according to Tibetan mastiff Club Malaysia.
  • New Guinea Singing Dogs: The breeding season of New Guinea Singing Dogs generally starts in August and ends during December. In Tierpark Berlin, it was estimated that 80% of the New Guinea Singing Dogs litters were born in the months of October and November.

Other dogs following similar breeding patterns are wolf hybrids. Generally, the higher content of wolf in the animal, the more likely it will go into heat once a year, during the late winter breeding season just as wolves do. This results in puppies being born in the spring. Should the wolf hybrid have less wolf content, then it would go into heat biannually just as dogs do, according to Wolf Valley Farm. Male wolf hybrids may therefore also be fertile year round as most dogs or may be fertile only in the late winter breeding season as wolves.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. It is not meant to substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, or formal and individualized advice from a veterinary medical professional. Animals exhibiting signs and symptoms of distress should be seen by a veterinarian immediately.

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    • profile image

      Emma 

      6 months ago

      Are those golden retrievers on the picture

      AWWW I love them

    • profile image

      Nancy 

      2 years ago

      Thanks for that information.

    • alexadry profile imageAUTHOR

      Adrienne Janet Farricelli 

      6 years ago from USA

      It was quite interesting writing the hub as well for me as I only knew the Basenji came into season once a year, while there are several other breeds as well!

    • Linda Bliss profile image

      Linda Liebrand 

      6 years ago from San Francisco

      Thanks for answering my question about what time of the year most puppies are born! Your answer was really interesting, and actually not quite what I expected. I'm especially surprised about the older breeds who only come into season once a year compared to all other dog breeds! Thanks again - I'm just about to hit the share button and I'll give your hub a well deserved vote up too :o)

    • nadelma profile image

      nadelma 

      6 years ago from Bushkill, Pa

      Thank for all this information. I use to have a sheltie and a newfoundland and a newfie/black lab mix.

      This is very informative.

    • Suhail and my dog profile image

      Suhail Zubaid aka Clark Kent 

      6 years ago from Mississauga, ON

      My Kuvasz boy was born in spring of 2011.

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