Q:

At what age should I start breeding my dog?

A:

Quick Answer

Veterinarians and reputable breeders recommend waiting until a female dog is at least 1 to 2 years old and fully matured before breeding her. Male dogs can produce sperm by 6 or 7 months of age, but do not have optimal sperm quality until about 18 months old.

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Full Answer

Although both male and female dogs can reach puberty by the age of 6 months, early breeding can cause both physical problems and negative behaviors. Also, waiting until a dog is mature allows a breeder to screen the animal for problems such as hip dysplasia, which may not be apparent before maturity. The American Kennel Club refuses to register puppies born from a female less than 8 months old or sired by a male less than 7 months old.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    How old does a dog have to be before it can breed?

    A:

    A female dog is bred for the first time during her second heat cycle or after, provided that she is no older than 12 years of age. A male dog is ready to breed by about 15 months of age.

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  • Q:

    What is a female dog called?

    A:

    A female dog is called a bitch - even as a puppy. This term distinguishes female dogs from male dogs, the latter of which are called dogs, studs or sires. When a female dog is pregnant with a litter of puppies she is called a dam.

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  • Q:

    How long is a female dog in heat?

    A:

    Although the heat cycle varies from breed to breed and in individual dogs, the average time a female dog is attractive to male dogs (or in heat) is 18 days. Most females are attracted to males for less time than that.

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  • Q:

    Can a neutered male dog still mate?

    A:

    A neutered male dog may become sexually aroused post neutering but cannot breed with a female dog. Neutering diminishes arousal in most dogs, but there is the possibility of a neutered dog becoming attracted to a female in heat and trying to mount her.

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