Summary: Is my dog too old to breed? How old should my dog be before allowing him to sire a litter? What is the recommended dog breeding age for both male and female dogs? We attempt to answer these questions in this article.
How Old Should Your Dog Be to Breed?
The fact that you are reading this article means you have an interest in your dog’s health. When it comes to breeding, there are many things to consider. One important aspect is age. Many people try to equate 7 dog years to 1 human year of age. While as a general rule of thumb, this might work, it is NOT accurate for determining your dog’s maturity.
Female Dog Breeding Age Recommendation
A female dog, (bitch) can begin puberty around 6 months of age. If she has not had her first heat, or cycle, by 12 months of age, talk to your vet. The bitch will typically come into heat twice a year after her first heat. Keep track on your calendar so you can plan your trips around her cycle. You want to keep an eye on her when she is in heat to avoid unwanted litters and pregnancy too young.
So which age is the right age? I recommend waiting to breed until your dog is 24 months old. This way you can be sure your dog is physically mature enough to breed. Breeding too young can have long-term effects on your female. Waiting until your dog is 2 years old also ensures you have had ample time to get to know your dog’s health, attitude, and get the necessary testing done with your vet.
How old is too old? AKC requires that your dog be less than 12 years old to register a litter. I think that a female dog should be retired by 8 years old at the latest, optimally around 5 years of age. Every dog is different, so you should talk with your vet about your dog’s health and age.
Male Dog Breeding Age Recommendation
A male dog, (stud) can go through puberty between 5 and 12 months of age. If your dog has not reached sexual maturity by 12 months, talk to your vet. The age varies by breed with smaller dogs maturing earlier than larger breeds. A male can be sexually viable as early as 5 months. Watch your puppy around females in heat to prevent copulation. Many people get a surprise litter because they didn’t think their puppy was able to reproduce.
A stud is really never TOO old to copulate. However, their sperm count can decrease with age. As long as his sperm is alive, he should be okay. Once again, talk to your vet about your specific dog and circumstance. She can advise you what is best for your family.
Remember sexual maturity comes before physical maturity. I wouldn’t recommend breeding dogs that haven’t reached physical maturity. (i.e. a girl goes through puberty around 12 years of age, but it doesn’t mean she should have a baby.) Don’t breed your bitch to a young stud, you simply don’t know enough about him. Just because your dog is physically able to have puppies, doesn’t mean she/he should. As always, have your dog vet checked and be sure that you are willing to go through all the work necessary to raise puppies BEFORE breeding your dog.
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