Breeding Timing in Dogs

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Breeding Timing To Maximize Fertility in Dogs

Breeding timing refers to the purposeful timing of insemination during the estrus period—commonly refrred to as being "in heat"—in order to maximize fertility and the chances of conception. This technique may be utilized to ensure conception in dogs.

The condition or disease described in this medical article can affect both dogs and cats. If you would like to learn more about how this condition affects cats, please visit this page in the PetMD health library.

Symptoms and Types

In order to maximize the odds of conception with properly timed breeding in dogs, it is best to pin-point, as closely as possible, the day of ovulation for the female dog—more commonly referred to as a bitch, which is the correct terminology. Symptoms of estrus-onset in the bitch are evidenced by swelling in the vulva and the appearance of a clear to brownish vaginal discharge. The male animal, or stud, will show interest in the female, and she may exhibit “flagging,” by which she will respond to being stroked at the genital region by elevating the tail to one side. A vaginal exam, however, serves as a better indicator of a fertile period than the aforementioned physical and behavioral signs.


Breeding timing and related fertility-maximizing techniques may be utilized for a number of reasons. This may be deemed necessary if there is an apparent failure to achieve conception in the female dog.


The most reliable method of determining the ovulation cycle is via vaginal exam and vaginoscopy in order to examine the vaginal lining and determine if the bitch is in estrus. Hormone levels, such as LH, and progesterone, will be tested to determine when fertility levels are peaking. Additionally, an ultrasound of the ovaries may help verify ovulation.

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A hormone that is created at the time of pregnancy


The white fluid produced by males in the testicles for reproduction


The genitalia of a female; found on the outside


The process of the maturation and release of eggs

in heat

The term for an animal that is ready to mate with a male or in estrus


The time period in which a female is receptive to male attention


The period that an animal is pregnant in which the fetus develops from conception to birth


A female dog that has not been spayed.


To put semen into a vagina during coitus or to do so artificially by a method other than intercourse

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