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Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

This article was written by TOBALIE in cooperation with Nathalie Sari - Tiertraining & Verhaltensberatung

Like almost all animals, dogs must have sex in order to have a baby. With one difference: Sexuality pursues the purpose of reproduction in our dogs. When does sexual maturity begin in dogs and how does the actual act proceed?

When does maturity in male and female dogs begin?

If you speaks of sexual maturity in dogs, you can compare this with puberty in humans. From this point on, the dog is theoretically fertile. Theoretically, because there is a difference between physical and mental maturity. A female dog who is in heat for the first time can expect a baby, but this does not automatically mean that she is already psychologically able to take care of her puppies.

Females reach sexual maturity when they are in heat for the first time. However, the first heat, which is divided into different cycles, depends on the size and breed of the dog. Smaller breeds mature earlier, on average the first heat can be expected between the 6th and 9th month of life. Very large dog breeds can only become sexually mature after the 24th month.

When the female is in heat, she can become pregnant in a certain cycle period. This can happen up to twice a year, usually in spring and autumn.  In males it looks a bit different. At the beginning of sexual maturity, which lies between the 5th and 8th month of life, males are always ready to mate.

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How does the mating behaviour looks like?

Males are thus from the time of the sexually maturity the whole year over mating ready. This means that if they perceive the unmistakable scent of a potential partner, they want to make love. Infatuated by the females’s sex hormones, the most loyal and obedient male can now mutate into a true gigolo. It is not uncommon for males to tear themselves free and accept long distances only to be allowed to court their chosen ones. Competition cannot be ruled out either. When they then meet a female in heat, the favour of the female is strongly courted, because not every male is chosen as the chosen one. It is sniffed, licked at the rear part and the male tries to “ascend” to the female. If the female lets this approach go, she will stand still and turn her tail to the side to facilitate the penetration of the male. If she is not yet ready, she will send clear signals to the male, for example by growling at him or biting him away.

How does the sexual intercourse of dogs work?

When it comes to the actual act, the male jumps on the female and clings her loins with the forefeet. Only when the penis has penetrated, the dog penis erects completely. After a few minutes it comes to the ejaculation. The male dog descends laterally from the female and leads a hind leg over the female’s back, but both are still “connected” to each other because the limb is strongly swollen. Afterwards the two stand together with the hind parts 15-60 minutes, one calls this procedure also “hanging”. The purpose of this is to increase the probability of fertilisation. In this situation you should NEVER separate the dogs by force, this can result in serious injuries. Only when the dog penis swells again, the two separate again.


Also our estimated four-legged friends have a sex drive, which serves naturally primarily the reproduction. Unlike females, males are always ready to mate. You should never try to separate the two lovers, as this is very painful for both.