Best Breeding Age for German Shepherd Dog

Best breeding age

Giving birth to a new puppy is a fantastic experience for every dog. That is also an exciting process for every pet owner, but some things must be ensured before the mating. Therefore, in this article, we will share some important information that you must know about German Shepherd dog mating and the best breeding age.

A German shepherd can do mating after 12 months of age, but a female should wait for breeding until their third cycle. Here, we will understand heat cycles, the best time to mate a German Shepherd, and the possible consequences of breeding too young or old.

Best Breeding Age for Male German Shepherd

Male German Shepherds reach their sexual maturity at the age of six months, so they are fertile at that time. Therefore, they are never allowed to mate with the dog until it is fully sexually developed. At least, they must be one year old. The German shepherd can reproduce and have puppies into their senior years, seven years of age.

After that, their fertility and ability to produce healthy puppies diminish in older age. The sperm of quality and quantity of male sperm are affected by age. Some breeders check the sperm count and monthly quality. 

Best Breeding Age for Female German Shepherd

It is necessary for a female German shepherd to develop fully; otherwise, many complications can develop. Breeding too early can affect the female dog’s mental health and parenting ability. Therefore, responsible breeders have patience and wait for the best breeding age of German Shepherd.

For female dog mating, there is a need to understand their heat cycle. Their first heat cycle starts around 9-10 months of age. During the first heat cycle, they can get pregnant but should not breed a female dog during the first heat cycle. The heat cycle of female German shepherds starts every six months.

Complications in pregnancy occur if females mate during the first heat cycle, and in these consequences, stillborn pups and premature labor are common. At 18 to 24 months, a female German shepherd is fully developed, so you can breed until the third heat cycle starts when she is around two years old that is best breeding age. The fertility in female German Shepherds starts to drop after five years of age.

Labor becomes complicated and comes with risks, and female dogs also have difficulty producing milk. According to the UK Kennel Club, many breeders prefer an age limit of eight years for breeding female dogs.

Understanding Female Heat Cycles

When the first heat cycle comes to a female dog, her body prepares for conception. The female GSD stays in heat for around three to four weeks, and her most fertile days start 9 to 10 days into the heat cycle. The high fertility period lasts five days; therefore, female mating should not be between the 9th and 14th day of the heat cycle. There are four stages of the female dog heat cycle that must understand to maintain the German Shepherd health.

1. Proestrus

Proestrus is the first stage when the female dog prepares for conception. Male dogs get attracted to her, but she is not allowed to breed. The proestrus stage remains for 4 to 20 days, and you can notice physical symptoms like swollen vulva and bloody vaginal discharge. Sometimes she tuck in her tail to cover her vagina and keep males away.

2. Estrus

Estrus is the major and second phase of the heat cycle when ovulation occurs. The female is ready to mate at this stage, following her body instincts and accepting the male. The discharge will change the color to pink/brown. This stage lasts between 4-15 days.

3. Diestrus

The third stage remains for 60 days. That is also a rest period, and the swelling of the vulva will go down. During this stage, estrogen level goes down, and progesterone increases slowly. The fertile window closes at this stage, and she will no longer mate with males.

4. Anestrus

The final stage of the heat cycle in female German shepherds lasts almost four months. During this stage, no sexual activity because her uterus is preparing for a possible pregnancy.

The female GSD will go into breeding two times a year, and in the fifth and sixth years, the ovarian activity starts to decrease.

Pre-breeding Health Tests

German shepherds demand proper care to produce healthy puppies. For that purpose, they should be in good health because a happy mother gave both to a strong puppy. Moreover, regular exercise and diet are necessary to conceive. Therefore, they should not be overweight before mating.

Before breeding, the female GSD should undergo a vet’s pre-breeding tests. Vaccination and worming treatments should be provided to female dogs.

DNA Testing

DNA testing is recommended for female GSD before breeding. People also use online testing kits to check by themselves. These kits have some genetic health risks.

Bottom Line

In a nutshell, the right age is important for mating German shepherds for both genders. It keeps them away from other medical problems like hip dysplasia. Male German shepherds’ suitable age formatting is 12 months, and females can do between 18 and 24 months, a third heat cycle. Therefore, always ensure their age is correct before mating a German shepherd. 


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