The bitch heat cycle and the pregnancy

The bitch heat cycle and the pregnancy are both essential components of successful dog breeding. You must understand these perfectly (and it’s not rocket science!)

Let’s start with what comes first: the season and the heat cycle. There are four phases forming a cycle that repeats itself throughout a female dog’s life:

  • The Proestrus Stage (9 to 11 days) — start of the heat/season, her oestrogen levels start rising and her body and mood are both changing
  • The Oestrus Stage (9 to 11 days) — eggs are released from ovaries, male and female are both attracted to each other and mating should occur during this window
  • The Diestrus Stage (58 to 63 days) — if the mating is successful, the pregnancy takes place now and will last 63 days; if not, her body will slowly come back to normal
  • The Anestrus Stage (4 to 5 months) — the quiescence and recovery period where her sex hormones are at their lowest

The heat lasts approximately three weeks (Proestrus + Oestrus) and it is during her Oestrus window that the mating should occur to be successful. We’ve got an 
in-depth article about the signs and stages of the dog heat cycle that you should absolutely read.

Mind that once the bitch is bred, she may still be bred by another stud and you may end up with a litter having different fathers. It is totally possible.

The mating itself, often called tie or coitus, can be a little weird to witness as once the stud has penetrated the female, he will often turn his back around. It looks odd and scary and can be a little painful at times, but please let Mother Nature handle the situation.

We’ve got 
an illustrated coit and whelping timeline that shows you everything, step by step, from the mating to the delivery of the puppies, including what’s happening in the womb throughout the pregnancy.

I hope this makes everything a little clearer now, but have a look at these two links to see visuals and more information about the heat, mating and pregnancy.

Let’s demystify this so you stop worrying 🙂