Has someone asked you if your male dog has come in heat already? Or has your male dog suddenly developed symptoms of being in heat? This begs the question:
“Do male dogs go through heat?”
There’s no need to worry if your male dog has not come into heat, yet. Why? That’s because male dogs don’t do that. Male dogs don’t come into heat like female dogs. However, if your male dog shows symptoms of being in heat (especially bleeding from “something that looks like vulva”), you should take him to your veterinarian. If the reason you are reading this is that females nearby are in their heat cycle and your boy dog is going crazy, read this article: How to handle your male dog, while females around are in heat.
Do Male Dogs Have Seasons?
You may have heard “Male dogs are in heat all the time.” And there are reasons for this. On one hand, males are responsive to the heat cycle of females most of the time. Are you wondering how many times can a male dog mate in a day? Studies show once a male dog reaches sexual maturity, they can mate up to five times a day. Five times, wow. So what do you call a male dog in heat? Normal. That is, when a female in heat is around.
On the other hand, we don’t need to ask, “do male dogs go in heat?”. There are certain differences in how the reproductive system of male and female dogs work:
- Heat in female dogs does not represent only states of willing to mate and not willing to mate.
When a female dog reaches sexual maturity, she has four stages of their heat cycle :
- Proestrus. This is when her estrogen hormone levels are at their highest. She won’t be receptive to males. This stages lasts about 9 days.
- Estrus. This is when she is receptive to males. This lasts about 9 days.
- Diestrus. This follows Estrus and she is no longer receptive. This last about 2 months.
- Anestrus. This is when she is recovering from her heat and lasts about 4 months.
These four stages are independent of external factors, such as the presence of males, daylight hours, or weather.
Male dogs, do not have those four cycles. Their ability to breed is affected by external initiation. In most cases a male dog senses the scent of a female dog in heat. However, while male dogs can mate most of the time, serious breeders would allow some time in between separate breedings.
That all being said, male dogs do not go in heat. Unlike females, they can turn their willingness to mate on and off almost instantaneously. We saw that the first time we mated our first male. After their third “encounter”, that was it. He wasn’t interested in her. She even tried to mount him and he wasn’t interested. Thankfully our gift, was our third puppy. Yes, we got our male dog neutered shortly after that. Note we aren’t in the business to breed dogs. We had to endure almost 4 years of having an intact dog. This was well planned as we had dreams of having one of his puppies because he came from a long line of show and obedience trial dogs. He was super smart, very well trained (went through obedience confirmation), and had a very calm, loving personality. We researched his background to ensure he had no family history of diseases (such as hip dysplasia, testicular tumors), and was very healthy 42 months of age when we bred him.
What age do males dogs become sexually active?
One amazing thing about dogs is they mature so quickly. One day you are cuddling your little ball of puppy fur with their magic puppy breath and the next day they are mounting their stuffed animals. Dogs do mature quickly with a male dog being able to breed between 6-9 months of age as confirmed by the American Kennel Club. So should get your male dog neutered at an earlier age? It isn’t recommended as your puppy’s bones haven’t completed growing. Their “growth plates” haven’t closed which allows their bones to grow as they mature. As always, talk to your Veterinarian about neutering your male once it’s appropriate for their breed (as some giant breeds mature later), size, and health of your puppy.
How far can a male dog smell a female in heat?
When a female dog that hasn’t had spay surgery yet goes into heat, she emits pheromones along with her vaginal discharge that will drive intact dogs crazy. Even neutered males will notice her scent. It has been found that her scent can travel as far as 3 miles away. As part of the canine reproductive cycle, this was helpful before dogs were domesticated. By attracting males from far away, a female dog could mate with the most prominent male in the area. This helped ensure the survival of their species. Unfortunately, that evolutionary trait makes it difficult as our “four legged” children can become unruly because of this. This means your male dog can start mounting things and exhibiting other sexual behavior because of females in heat a few miles away.
How do you calm a male dog in heat? or How to handle your male dog, while females around are in heat.
Intact males can be driven crazy by the estrus and proestrus stages of a female pup. Her swollen vulva may not be within visual range but the pheromones travel long distances. So what do you do to calm your male dog that can’t stop mounting everything in sight? First, if you have the female dog that is in heat, keep your intact dogs separate from her. Like as far as physically possible far away. This can happen as we recommend not putting your female puppy through spay surgery until she has had her first heat cycle. Try to hide or mask her scent with doggy diapers. We recommend disposable diapers such as these super absorbent ones as they collect her vaginal discharge and you can dispose of them (far away from home please). And keep your female dog indoors as much as possible to avoid unwanted pregnancy.
The other thing you can do is exercise your male dogs more than normal. Ideally this should be done where they won’t encounter the nearby female that is in heat. Letting them release some energy through exercise will help them sleep more instead of mounting the couch. And above all, patience. It is challenging for you as the owner but please understand the raging hormone levels that your male dog is having to deal with.
This article is a part of a series about dogs in heat.