How Old Does A Dog Have To Be To Breed?

When a dog reaches sexual maturity, which is usually around a year old, it can start reproducing; whether the dog is a male or a female, its breed will determine whether breeding is appropriate.

Smaller species can reproduce after six months because they frequently mature sexually early; however, larger breeds should wait until 18 months old.

Male dogs generally can begin breeding anywhere from 6 to 12 months of age.

Male puppies shouldn’t be born before female puppies again after the first heat cycle.

Most breeders wait at least 18 months before mating the female.

Remember that these are merely averages and not hard and fast rules.

In this way, it’s possible that certain male dogs can start mating as early as six months of age.

Several other criteria determine the best time of year for a canine to start breeding; the dog’s age, size, and health all play a role.

Female dogs don’t experience menopause, but female dog fertility declines beyond a certain age.

That is a crucial factor, so the animal isn’t bred when it’s past its prime.

Pregnancy at a young age might harm the mother and produce substandard offspring.

If a dog is bred too late, the dam’s health could be at risk.

Your veterinarian can assist you with this and provide health clearances indicating that your dog is a qualified stud dog ready for breeding.

As you know now the answer to the question “how old does a dog have to be to breed”, continue reading to get more information.

Breed A Female Dog

6 different puppies looking to the camera

What Is The Best Age To Breed A Female Dog?

It’s challenging to pinpoint the ideal age for responsible dog breeding, but the dog must be fully developed before it happens.

While this varies from dog to dog, physical maturity is usually reached at around 24 months; therefore, at what age can a dog begin breeding?

It depends on the breed, though.

So, to better understand when a female dog should be old enough to breed, speak with your veterinarian as soon as you see the indicators of sexual maturity.

They shouldn’t, of course, be “too adult.”

Older female dogs shouldn’t be bred because the breeding and whelping procedure can be physically taxing and exhausting to breed female dogs.

Knowing the maximum age at which a dog may reproduce is crucial because you want your dog to live as long as possible in good condition.

Just remember that a responsible dog breeder will wait till the bitch is at least 18 months old before breeding her or not before the second or third cycle.

At What Age Do Female Dogs Become Sexually Mature?

Around six months old, female dogs often go through puberty or reach sexual maturity.

However, depending on the breed of dog, this can vary greatly.

As early as four months, responsible dogs, mainly the smaller female breeds, can have their first normal heat cycle; however, it might take up to two years for enormous breeds to become sexually mature.

When To Stop Breeding A Female Dog?

Knowing when to stop breeding a female dog is just as crucial for ensuring your dog’s health as knowing when is a good age to start producing your dog.

Most veterinarians concur that healthy female dogs can cease reproducing when they are eight; other elements may also impact the suggested age for breeding retirement.

Breeding a dog after age five might be harmful in some circumstances; before deciding whether or not your dog can continue reproducing, many health issues and the breed and size of your dog must be considered.

Anytime you consider breeding a dog older than five years old, you should always talk to your veterinarian because after that age, the risk of health problems developing during pregnancy increases.

What Is The Oldest Age A Female Dog Can Have Puppies?

labrador mum feeding 6 puppies

Female dogs don’t go through menopause, so they can theoretically start having litter at any point in their lives.

Perhaps you were under the impression that your senior female dog could run free in the park and play with the younger dogs.

By nature’s grace, female dogs can have up to 12 puppies and maintain their fertility throughout their lives; however, most pregnant female dogs reach a point in their lives where they experience difficulty giving birth, and significant challenges are often seen during delivery.

Some pregnant larger dog breeds may have trouble giving birth, and it is very typical for one or more puppies in a litter to die during delivery.

Maternal death rates are high because older dogs have problems producing enough milk for feeding puppies.

Because of these threats and challenges, most reputable breeders retire their dams around five or six.

When selecting whether or not to withdraw a female dog from a breeding program, responsible breeders look at the same factors as male dogs.

There will be a comparison of conception rates, litter sizes, dam health, complications during birth, and postpartum recoveries.

With this information, you should be able to determine whether or not it is safe to continue breeding your female dog.

Being a dog owner, the most important thing to remember about owning a female dog is that she can get pregnant anytime; In contrast, older dogs are less fertile than their younger counterparts, but it is still possible for an unexpected pregnancy to occur.

As a result, you will need to oversee your dog avoid any unwanted matings or elect to have her spayed if there are no hazards associated with her age and general health problems.

It would help if you talked to your veterinarian to provide veterinary advice about the best preventative measures now that you know dogs can become pregnant at any point in their lives.

How Many Times Can You Breed A Female Dog?

Right now, we know that a female dog shouldn’t mate until her two normal heat cycles or after turning 5 to 8 years old.

But how frequently can a dog breed?

It is well-known that a female dog may become pregnant on average twice a year, depending on her breed; however, consecutive pregnancies can worsen your dog’s health and affect its overall well-being.

Knowing how to balance breeding with your dog’s health is crucial.

For your dog to recuperate and have a successful pregnancy, at least one and a half years should pass between pregnancies.

How Often Do Female Dogs Come Into Heat?

This frequency varies greatly from dog to dog, although it often occurs twice a year.

Most females may expect three or four normal heat cycles a year.

Additionally, the cycles can initially be quite erratic, with a variable gap between each cycle.

Some female dogs’ cycles can take up to two years to become regular.

Smaller breeds typically cycle more frequently than every old-age breed.

On the other hand, the larger breeds often cycle once every twelve months.

Some smaller dog breeds cycle three or four times annually.

Even more than 18 months can pass between periods in particular dogs.

Breed A Male Dog

white dog breeding black dog

What Is The Best Age To Breed A Male Dog?

The process is much simpler when selecting a male dog to breed; because he isn’t the one bearing the litter, you don’t need to worry as much about the male’s potential health risks.

Typically, male dogs sexually mature earlier than their female counterparts.

Smaller breeds could develop sexually in as little as five months.

Giant breeds occasionally don’t attain sexual maturity until they’re closer to 2 years old.

The breed of the male is crucial, just like it is for the females.

Adult male dogs can mate every day of the week after he reaches sexual maturity; this is not advised, though, as there can be an excess of puppies.

Finding mating mates for those puppies later may be difficult if one male produces most of the litter.

Males should be in good physical condition before mating because it will affect their fertility.

Provide proper nutrition-rich food to male dogs instead of what they eat in routine.

Even though most male dogs attain sexual maturity quite early, it’s possible that they don’t reach their peak fertility for several months; usually, it takes a little while for their body to adjust around their first year of life, but most male dogs mature to their fullest potential.

Dog owners don’t need to take stress about the fertility of most puppies.

Although they frequently don’t experience a decline in fertility like most female dogs do, there comes a time in their existence when they won’t be able to function as well.

A dog’s sperm motility and viability may be impacted in old age; even if he still can mate, these conditions can reduce his capacity to fertilize eggs.

Age-related illnesses like arthritis can also impact male fertility.

This decrease often occurs early in larger dogs; they typically experience health issues before smaller dogs and have shorter lifespans.

Young dogs can frequently maintain breeding for longer than other very old dogs.

At What Age Do Male Dogs Become Sexually Mature?

Sexual maturity emerges at various dates, primarily depending on size and breed.

While a puppy’s sexual development typically begins between 6 and 9 months, some big breeds may postpone sexual maturity until later in life.

However, most dogs must be at least 9 to 11 months old before their growth plates close.

Many vets believe spaying or neutering your dog may be harmful before the growth plates close.

The reason is that these treatments can alter hormones, which are crucial for developing healthy bones.

When To Stop Breeding A Male Dog?

Male canine reproduction stopped for various reasons, including age, health, and temperament.

Even that might be a reason to stop, as some male dogs become more violent after mating.

Age and health are other considerations because mating does need energy and could pose a safety risk.

Male dogs can typically continue reproducing for years, whereas female dogs should cease after a while.

black dog with grey hair

What Is The Oldest Age A Male Dog Can Sire Puppies?

A healthy male dog can breed until he is ancient.

Contrary to popular belief, male dogs usually stop breeding far later than their female counterparts.

According to AKC rules, a male dog that isn’t more than 12 years old when he breeds can have puppies that are registered-eligible litters.

In reality, most reputable breeders will lower their male dogs between 10 and 12.

But just because a male dog is older than 12 doesn’t mean he can’t sire puppies.

Older male dogs can still get females pregnant, but they may need more attempts since they are less fertile than they once were.

One of several elements that affect a male dog’s capacity to produce puppies is age.

The quantity and quality of a male dog’s sperm also affect when it can have puppies.

To determine whether their male dogs can still produce litters, many professional breeders periodically check the sperm count of their males, at least once a month.

Dog breeders will also look at various other factors to determine whether their male canines are past breeding age and should be retired.

Another indication that a dog is getting too old to produce puppies routinely is a low conception rate.

That indicates that even under ideal circumstances—one mating daily and a fully healthy female—a male dog cannot successfully make a female dog pregnant.

Additionally, if the female dog’s partner consistently has a smaller litter or if the puppies are frail and ill, a dog breeder may decide that the male dog is too old to produce puppies.

How Many Times Can You Breed A Male Dog?

Knowing the timing of ovulation is crucial if you’re utilizing frozen sperm for artificial insemination, but it’s not vital if a male is present.

All her eggs will be fertilized if you breed her as soon as she is willing to stand, then breed her every two or three days until she is no longer willing to allow the male to mount.

The sperm will linger inside her for around 5-7 days.

When she ovulates (when the eggs are too immature to be pierced), when the eggs are ripe, and even afterward, when the eggs are dying, healthy sperm will be present inside her.

There are various options according to AKC rules if your female dog won’t tolerate being bred.

Even if she is in a heat cycle, the most likely cause of the difficulty is that she doesn’t want to mate with the male.

A female who chooses not to mate with a male will require help.

If you are working with an experienced breeder, they can demonstrate the best methods for controlling your dog.

Be cautious if you aren’t working with a breeder because it could harm you and the dog.

How Often Can Male Dogs Breed?

There is no restriction on how often a male dog can reproduce with a female.

Depending on each particular dog, it will change.

When a female dog in heat stays with an unsterilized male dog, he may mount her frequently throughout the day.

It’s vital to remember that canine mating differs from those of other species in a few key ways.

Dogs need to be stuck for a few minutes for fertilization, which is usually uncomfortable for females.

Even if you share a home with a sterile male dog, sterilizing your female dog is still crucial.

When a male dog reaches sexual maturity, it can be extremely challenging to prevent them from seeking to mate.

You can read how to control a male dog around a female dog in heat for ideas on handling this situation.

Factors Influencing The Mating Season For Dogs

5 different dogs sitting on grass

Size Of The Dog

Dog reproduction is a cycle that has been ingrained in the animal since its wild canine origins.

For instance, wolves mature sexually at the age of two.

Through selective dog breeding, humans have developed various varieties of dogs through domestication.

The genetic tinkering that produced breeds has also brought significant modifications in the reproductive cycle.

Larger and giant breeds mature sexually later than smaller breeds.

Toys typically last six months, but large breeds commonly previous eighteen months. Since there is such a wide variation in species, the average lifespan of dogs is one year, which is not a particularly trustworthy statistic.

However, as most dogs belonging to a particular breed are anticipated to have a similar physical size, it is fair to declare an average for a species.

Sex Of The Dog

Generally speaking, male dogs reach sexual maturity earlier than female canines.

Or, at the very least, male dogs reach sexual maturity earlier than female dogs, which is distinct from getting a sexual performance.

Typically, a buck’s first heat occurs between six and one.

At five months, dogs may be able to reproduce.

Both sexes age more slowly with large breeds. The large and giant breed may not go into heat for the first time for a year or 18 months.

Once physically mature, dogs can mate daily for the rest of their lives. At the very beginning and end of a dog’s life, there will be less sperm, both in quantity and quality.

The aging process, illness, or chemicals can harm sperm, impacting their viability and vitality.

The quantity of fully functional, undamaged spermatozoids that may successfully fertilize an egg is known as the viability of sperm.

The capacity of sperm to migrate to and enter the eggs is referred to as their vitality or motility. As the dog aged, this vigor declines. Aging dogs may have less seminal fluid due to frequent diseases like enlarged prostates. Additionally, too many consecutive matings with a dog may lower the number of sperm available for fertilization.

Bitches do not go through menopause as women do; they will continue to have heat for the rest of their lives.

However, the viability of a bitch’s eggs decreases with age.

A bitch’s fertility is reduced by aging, severe illnesses, and environmental exposures.

Additionally, as female dog ages, statistically speaking, genetic mutations grow more probable.

mum dog with one puppy

Health Of The Dog

Even dogs of the same sex and size might have different fertility levels. In both canines and females, sexually transmitted illnesses and reproductive tract infections can severely affect fertility, sometimes even bringing it to a standstill.

Sterility may result from tumors in the ovary or testes of a female animal.

Additionally, the therapies used to treat cancer in other areas of the dog’s body (such as lymphoma) may make the dog sterile.

Every dog is susceptible to genetic mutations.

A female can become infertile if she has thyroid insufficiency, which is more common in breeds like Boxers, Doberman Pinschers, Dachshunds, Retrievers, Great Danes, Irish Setters, Miniature Schnauzers, and Poodles.

These illnesses can frequently be treated but still call for medical care.

Then, some dogs aren’t as fertile as others for unknown reasons.

Diet, weight, and unidentified genetic makeup are all possible causes of unsuccessful matings.

A dog’s temperament or attitude may predispose it to mating behavior and successful dog breeding.

How Do You Know When To Mate Your Dog?

That can be challenging. Around the eleventh day of estrus, most dogs ovulate and become fertile.

The female will be active

Before You Go…

Now you know the answer to the question, “How old does a dog have to be to breed?'”.

If you want to learn more, read the following articles too!

Mena Emad, DVM
Mena has a Bachelor’s degree in veterinary medicine. His expertise, passion for animal welfare, extensive knowledge, and experience in the field of veterinary medicine make him an excellent resource for our readers.