The sexual cycle in dogs

In order to breed, it is important to understand the dog's sexual and reproductive cycles and bitch. Two cycles that are obviously different.

Bitches have two heat periods per year , every 6 months, each lasting 2 to 3 weeks. The females living together often cycle over each other and therefore have their heat at the same time

The first heat occurs between 6 and 15 months and the bitch can be fertilized in the first cycle . The onset of heat is later in larger breeds with longer growth

The bitch is a spontaneous female, unlike the ovulation-induced cat. This means that ovulation is independent of the protrusion. It occurs every 6 months (whereas in the cat, ovulation is triggered by the protrusion).

Heats more spaced or closer to a month are however not abnormal. Cycle length varies from one animal to another and from one breed to another, but it remains between 150 and 300 days

The sexual cycle in the female

This cycle contains four phases : proestrus and estrus, which constitute the period of heat proper, then metoestrus and anoestrus, which are phases of sexual rest. The behavior, the physiology and the anatomy of the animal undergo modifications during each stage of the heat.

  • The proestrus


For a duration of 7 to 10 days, it indicates the beginning of the heats. We can observe the first blood loss and a very visible increase of the vulva. At this stage, the males are attracted by the female, but the female refuses the projection. In the reproductive tract, the follicles, which will release the ovules during ovulation, develop.

  • Estrus


This phase follows the previous one and lasts 5 to 10 days. The losses in the vulva decrease to stop completely. The male is accepted. Ovulation occurs during this period, usually 2 to 3 days after the acceptance period of the male. This notion is very important because it means that the ideal moment of reproduction is not that of the acceptance of the projection by the female

  • The metoestrus


This stage lasts from 110 to 140 days. The bitch is pregnant, or in sexual rest if it has not been fertilized.

  • Anoestrus


This phase precedes the new period of heat; it is of variable duration knowing that on average a bitch is in heat twice a year

The sexual cycle in the male

The dog does not have a precise sexual cycle: it is in rut when a bitch in heat is presented to him. In the newly mature dog (between 8 and 10 months), the spermatozoa are often few and sometimes have abnormalities.

Its fertility is therefore not at its maximum and it is better to wait for age from 10 to 15 months for the first projection . During these cycles, many hormones are secreted.

It is not a question of going through all these molecules, but it is necessary to know the most important hormones to understand the regulation of the cycle and its dysfunctions.

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