Young puppies aren’t sexually active. To become sexually active, they must first reach sexual maturity. However, when your pup reaches sexual maturity and can impregnate a female can vary greatly based on their size and breed.
Perhaps you want puppies, and are wondering when your male will be ready to breed. Perhaps your goal is to avoid pregancy. In either case, it’s important to know when your male pup can get females pregnant.
At what age can a puppy get another dog pregnant?
The age when dogs experience puberty and reach sexual maturity can vary greatly. Some dogs may become sexually active as early as 5 months, while others may be 18 months before they are able to get a female pregnant.
The average age for sexual maturity is 6 to 9 months for smaller dogs. Keep in mind that small dogs can reach maturity before six months.
For medium and large size dogs, most will reach maturity at 12 to 15 months. Some may reach sexual maturity sooner, while some large breeds may not reach maturity until they are 18 months.
Optimal Breeding Age for Males
It’s not a great idea to breed a male as soon as they reach maturity. Most experts recommend waiting until the male is one year old before breeding.
The AKC requires a male to be at least 7 months old before breeding. A female must be at least 8 months old before breeding according to the AKC rules, but most experts recommend waiting until the female is at least 18 months old.
Physical Signs of Puberty
In addition to an age range, it can be helpful to know the signs of puberty in your pooch. These are reliable indications your dog is reaching sexual maturity.
There are a lot of similarities between teenage humans and dogs reaching their maturity. Puppies don’t develop acne and body odor, but they do have their own set of physical indications of puberty.
The most obvious sign a male is reaching maturity is typically marking their territory. Most males will begin lifting their leg to pee, particularly when marking.
However, if your previously housetrained dog begins having accidents, this may be marking, regardless of the pee position.
They will also get their adult teeth around the time they hit puberty. This prompts them to be avid chewers. If you don’t provide plenty of chew toys or rawhides, they will chew on whatever they can get their mouth on.
Lastly, they will also shed their puppy coat. All puppies begin with a soft fluffy single layer coat that helps keep them warm until they develop the ability to regulate their body temperature.
As they reach maturity, they will shed this puppy coat. The new coat will depend on their breed. Instead of a puppy coat, they will have the type of coat typical for their breed.
Behavioral Signs of Puberty
Behavioral signs of puberty will also be apparent. When it comes to behavior, there are more parallels between human and canine teens. You can expect your pooch to want to roam as they become sexually mature.
It’s natural for them to have a desire to impregnate females, and they search for them by exploring. Some males will have a stronger drive to do this than others, but most will venture farther from home if allowed.
You may also notice increased aggression, particularly with other males. As your pup starts the path to adulthood, their hormones will change. When they become sexually mature, they smell like an adult male to other dogs.
They will then be treated as an adult male. They may be seen as competition, which can lead to aggression. They are also beginning to establish their own place within the hierarchy.
Some dogs are alphas, or top dogs. Others are betas, which are subservient only to the alphas. The omegas are at the lower end of the spectrum, and are subservient to alphas and betas.
Dogs of any age and any gender can hump. It’s not always a sexual act. In fact, the majority of the time, it’s not sexual. Humping can indicate a desire to play or dominance over another dog.
However, when a male reaches sexual maturity, you may notice them humping more often. They may hump not only other dogs, but toys and even your hand or leg when you are unaware.
They tend to be more fervent when humping for sexual reasons, so you may notice increased enthusiasm as well.
This can be embarrassing for us, but it’s perfectly normal for your dog. They are just expressing their new found sexual energy.
However, feel free to set limits as to when, where, and who your pooch is allowed to hump. If you don’t set limits early on, the habit will be much harder to break.
Remember, a behavior that can be amusing when your dog is 6 months old might not be so cute when they are 2 years old.
Experts recommend neutering your dog if you don’t plan to show or breed them to help control the pet population. Neutering was once believed to cure most of the issues that come along with male puberty.
However, we now know that neutering is not a cure all, and can actually lead to increased aggression and behavior problems. The earlier your dog is neutered, the greater the risk of behavioral issues.
On the other hand, if you allow them to reach sexual maturity before neutering, they may still engage in some behaviors associated with intact males after neutering. This is because the pathways that drive sexual activity have been fully formed. They no longer have the hormonal drive, but they still have the habit.
The other issue with neutering before your pooch reaches sexual maturity is that their growth plates haven’t closed. Testosterone is responsible for much more than sex drive. It’s essential for growth and development as well.
The latest research suggests that it’s best to wait until after your dog reaches sexual maturity and the growth plates have closed before neutering if you choose to do so.
Can a 6-month old puppy get another dog pregnant?
Yes, many breeds can reach sexual maturity by 6 months. However, they haven’t reached optimal sperm quality yet, so it’s best to wait if you plan to breed them.
Can a 3-month-old puppy get another dog pregnant?
No, even small breeds who mature faster will not be sexually mature by 3 months old.
Can a 4-month-old dog get a female pregnant?
It’s highly unlikely for a male to be able to get a female pregnant at 4 months old. 5 months old is considered the earliest a male can reach sexual maturity.
Can a 10-month-old puppy get another dog pregnant?
Yes. Most dogs will be sexually mature by the time they are 10 months old. Some large breeds dogs may reach sexual maturity later, however.
Can a 5-month-old puppy impregnate?
Some smaller breeds may reach maturity by 5 months old. Most dogs will not be sexually active quite that early. If you have a small male dog, it is possible for them to impregnate a female at 5 months.