German Shepherd Seasons

Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge
Exploring the vast prairie of the Washita National Wildlife Refuge

Hi Everyone,

I have learned that no matter how long you do something, you can always learn something new.  Albeit, sometimes, I just relearn those things I have forgotten.  Today, I’m going to write about German Shepherd dogs season or cycles.  For most German shepherd dogs, the female will have her first season or breeding cycle at or near 12-months of age.  Then the average German shepherd bitch will cycle every six months.

The length of the cycle is approximately 21 days, and begins with a light bright red discharge from their vagina.  This discharge can become heavy after a few days, especially during their first season at 12-months.  Subsequent seasons for some bitches can become cryptic unless you are a male German shepherd dog, you may never know your girls is in season.  While the season last approximately 21 days, the female will only ovulate and be receptive from one to five days during this cycle.  This should take place on the 10th day.

What I have learned is not all our female German shepherd dogs have read the text books.  We were having trouble getting some of our girls pregnant and even getting ties*.  We would start trying to breed the pair on the ninth day for a week (in case we missed the first couple of days that the cycle started), resulting in few ties and even fewer pregnancies.

I should mention that we do not place our breeding pairs in kennel and let nature take its course.  We actually assist the male during breedings.  Too much risk exist with the male becoming injured even breaking their penis bone if they are left on their own.  In addition, the male will breed every few hours after he has recuperated often resulting in infertile sperm and increase chance of uterine or vaginal infections.  Another reason we do controlled breedings is that we provide stud services here at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels, and if we did not actually assist the male, we would not be able to get breedings on a lot of the outside females that are brought in for stud service.

Two Heidelberg's tied together in a controlled breeding
Two Heidelberg’s tied together in a controlled breeding

Recently, I did something different by bringing Heidelberg’s Emmy inside as soon as her cycle began and kept her inside for entire season.  We had planned to breed her to our Grand Champion Kodi and he lives inside with us full time.  Nine days passed and Kodi could care less that Emmy was inside.  we tried to breed them for a week and we were on her 16 day of her cycle, when I made the comment that she must be having an infertile season.  We were enjoying having Emmy inside so we allowed her to remain in the house, and on 21st day of her cycle Kodi came home and was immediately all over Emmy.  We subsequently bred them over the next five days.  Emmy is now pregnant and due on June 30, 2015.  If Emmy were outside in her kennel, we would have never known that she began ovulating 11 days later when all the text books stated that she should’ve been ready to breed much earlier.

Emmy and Kodi playing at a dog show in Sullivan, Mo
A young Emmy and Kodi playing at a dog show in Sullivan, Mo
Emmy on the right with her friend Sasha
Emmy on the right with her friend Sasha
Grand Champion Heidelberg's Kodiak v Queridad, Certified Service Dog, OFA 24G Excellent, DNA  #V495166
Grand Champion Heidelberg’s Kodiak v Queridad, Certified Service Dog, OFA 24G Excellent, DNA #V495166

Obviously, I have made proper adjustments to how we judge the time our girls are ready to breed and look forwards to less frustrations and more pregnancies.  This information, should be helpful to other breeders of all breeds of dogs as well as owners that have intact female dogs.  For one, owners that are not wanting to breed their dogs and separate them during seasons had better keep them separated for the full 21 days.  Because unless you are having progesterone test performed by your veterinarian, your female may ovulate at any point during her 21 day cycle and an unwanted tie and subsequent pregnancy may occur.

Please continue to check out our web page as we post updates on available litters: http://www.keystonegermanshepherds.com/PuppiesForSale.htm.   We have several wonderful German shepherd puppies for sale that that are ready to go home.

June 3, 2015 and it's starting to get warm after a very cool Spring
June 4, 2015 and it’s starting to get warm after a very cool Spring
When can we go to our new homes?
When can we go to our new homes?

Please call me at (918) 261-4729 if you would like to take one of puppies home with you.  Please visit our web page to learn more about these wonderful Heidelberg German Shepherds that we raise at Keystone German Shepherds & Kennels. http://keystonegermanshepherds.com/

Sincerely,

Dean Heckathorn

(*Ties are where the dog’s penis swells to fill a ball shape cavity just past the entrance of the vagina.  Once this happens the dogs become locked together and are physically unable to separate until the swelling subsides).