Female Dog Sex Cycle


While male sex hormone production is fairly constant throughout the year, the female experiences a reproductive cycle divided into a prepatory pro-estrus stage, ovulation or estrus itself, a subsequent metestrus stage followed by the hormonally inactive anestrus period.



  • Lasts 7-14 days.
  • The vulva swells.
  • Bloody, then clear vaginal discharge.
  • Increased wandering/restlessness
  • Will not accept mating


  • Lasts 4-7 days.
  • Discharge stops.
  • Eggs are released (ovulation).
  • Pregnancy is possible.
  • Bitch will accept mating.


  • Natural next stage if not pregnant
  • Lasts 6-10 weeks.
  • Hormonal changes continue.
  • Period of 'false' pregnancy.
  • Uterus wall thickens.
  • Enlarged mammary glands
  • Milk production.
  • Mothering toys.
  • No interest in sex.


  • Lasts 15 weeks.
  • No hormonal activity.
  • No milk production.
  • No interest in sex.

Silent Cycles

Most bitches have estrous cycles twice yearly, except the Basenji, wolf-hybrids and some Greyhounds which cycle once yearly. Some bitches appear to miss one of their cycles but it is more likely that there has been a "silent cycle" one with minimal vulvar swelling and little if any discharge.

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