Author Judy Nordmeyer
QUESTION: What age does the AKC recommend for a female dog to be bred for the first time?
Also, some of the breeders say to breed the female every heat cycle & other breeders say to
breed every other heat cycle.
How often does the AKC recommend a female to be bred?
ANSWER: Responsible breeders generally do not breed a bitch at the first heat to avoid imposing
the stress of pregnancy and lactation on a young, growing animal.
It is also customary to avoid breeding a bitch on consecutive heats to allow sufficient time for
recuperation between pregnancies.
Most dogs are first bred between the 10th and 14th day after the onset of proestrus.
As long as the bitch will accept the male, mating every other day for a total of two or three
matings is generally considered sufficient.
However, signs of proestrus are not obvious in some bitches.
To catch the peak fertile period, a veterinarian may need to perform hormone tests or examine
vaginal smears under a microscope.
Bitches are usually less inhibited by new environments so they are usually taken to the stud.
Breedings involving young males proceed more smoothly if they are paired with experienced
Sometimes human handlers must step in with assistance or guidance during breedings.
Artificial insemination is a relatively simple procedure that can be used when natural breeding is
The AKC accepts registration of a litter mated by artificial insemination using fresh semen, fresh
extended semen, and frozen semen, provided the proper procedures are followed.
Registration for AI litters requires parentage DNA certification.