Breeding is essential to most pet parents. However, before you can breed your pet, you need to know the right Golden Retriever mating age. If you intend on breeding your Golden Retriever, you must do it at the right time. You need to understand that even though your Retriever may have their first heat cycle when they are as little as six months, at this point, they are not yet ready for breeding. What is the proper Golden Retriever mating and breeding age?
How old are Golden Retrievers when they become able to mate?
The Golden Retriever mating age for male dogs is around 12 months and above. The proper mating age for a female Golden Retriever is usually around 18 to 24 months. Most experts advise you should wait until the second birthday before breeding your female Retriever.
For a female Retriever, breeding them too early can lead to health complications. That is why most experts advise that you not breed them during their first heat cycle. At this point, they are still young and not fully developed.
Additionally, to be safe, we advise you not to breed them even during their second heat cycle. There is still the dog’s risk of developing health complications during pregnancy and birth. Let us look at the right Golden Retriever mating age for male and female dogs.
Golden Retriever Mating Age: Breeding Age Explained
The male and female Golden Retrievers have different physiology; they develop and mature differently.
Male Golden Retriever Mating Age
In most cases, male Retrievers reach sexual maturity quicker than their female counterparts. Male Golden Retrievers can reproduce as early as 6 months. However, it is not until they’re 12 months to 15 months old that they reach full sexual maturity.
One significant distinction between male and female Golden Retrievers is that the male does not go through hormonal Cycles. Due to this, male Retrievers can start breeding as soon as they reach the reproducing age.
Furthermore, male Retriever can still be sexually active and fertile into their senior years, as long as they maintain good health.
Breeding a male Retriever is not tricky. However, it isn’t easy for a female Retriever since various factors should be considered.
Female Golden Retriever Mating Age
Female Retrievers can mature sexually as early as six months like their male counterparts. At this point of their development stage is when they get their maiden heat cycle. They get this heat cycle once every 6 months from this point onwards.
Pet parents and breeders are advised against breeding a female Retriever during their first heat cycle. This is because they have not developed fully.
Pregnancy during the first heat cycle carries significant complications and risks for the female Retriever. It can lead to stress and health problems as the dog develops.
Although your female Retriever may look grown and is fertile, you should realize that they are not yet mentally and physically mature to carry a pregnancy. Since Retrievers are a large breed of dogs, they mature at around 18 to 24 months. At this time, your dog should be on their third or fourth heat cycle.
You can safely breed your female Golden Retriever after they get to 2 years and above.
The Heat Cycle of A Female Golden Retriever
No pet parent or breeder likes a surprise litter of Golden puppies or making their Golden Retriever undergo several breeding attempts ending up in failure. Also, this can cause complications and put your dog under more stress than necessary. Therefore, you must understand your dog’s heat cycle to achieve your desired breeding outcome.
During the heat cycle, the body prepares your female Retriever for the possibility of conception. This is the dog’s reproductive phase. Another name for the heat cycle is the ovulation cycle.
There is no clear indication of how long your dog’s heat cycle may last, but it is approximately 3 or 4 weeks for most Retrievers. One important thing to note is that your Retriever is not fertile throughout the entire period they are in heat.
In most cases, they are most fertile from the 10th to 14th day after the heat cycle starts.
A female Golden Retriever goes through several stages during their heat cycle. These stages are:
The Proestrus Stage: The stage occurs during the first nine or so days at the beginning of their heat cycle. At this stage, the body of your female Retriever prepares for the possibility of pregnancy.
Also, a typical behavior is that your dog does not entertain any advances from male dogs and will not allow mating. Some signs to look for during this stage include a bloody vaginal discharge and swelling of the vulva.
The Estrus Stage: This is the second stage of the female Retriever’s heat cycle, and it also lasts for around 9 days. At the start of this phase, an egg is released from your dog’s ovaries. It’s the most fertile phase.
The estrogen levels in the body will reduce while there will be an increase in the progesterone levels. You will note that your female Retriever will welcome mating advances from male dogs.
The Diestrus Stage: If your Retriever is already pregnant, this phase will continue until they give birth. However, if the dog is not pregnant, this phase usually lasts for around 2 to 3 months. Your Golden Retriever will not allow any mating advances like the proestrus stage.
Furthermore, the dog may still have a bloody discharge; however, it will gradually reduce and stop. All the hormones in the dog’s body from the previous stage level out by the time they get to the end of this phase.
The Anestrus Stage: Anestrus is the last phase of the heat cycle of a female Retriever. The dog is no longer fertile and will not tolerate any mating advances.
Generally, female Retrievers have a heat cycle 2 times a year. However, since Retrievers are a large breed, some may only have a heat cycle once per year. The reproductive capability of most Retrievers starts to slow down when they get to six years and stop conceiving when they get to 7 years.
Between 2 and 5 years is the age optimal for breeding your female Golden Retriever.
Dangers of Breeding Your Golden Retriever Early
If your female Retriever is bred before they mature, it will put a lot of stress on the dog. The dog’s joints will be under strain because of carrying the pregnancy. Also, the pregnancy will deprive your dog of some essential nutrients from the food she is eating since most will have to go to the pregnancy.
Additionally, because the dog is young, her immunity is not optimally developed, and the added burden of carrying a pregnancy will make her susceptible to infections and diseases. Some of the most common complications include virginal tract infections, miscarriages, and stillbirths.
One of the saddest scenarios is that your dog may die before or even when giving birth. This is because the dog’s pelvic canal is not fully grown and, as such, is not big enough to fit through puppies during birth. This is something that will endanger not only the life of the Retriever but also the puppies as well.
One of the ways of dealing with the above situation is surgery. However, even surgery risks health complications to your female Golden Retriever.
What Should I Do If My Female Retriever Gets Pregnant Before They Mature?
If your young female Retriever gets pregnant before their body is ready to carry the pregnancy, we advise you to consult a vet quickly. That way you and the vet can come up with a plan for your dog to ensure they are safe and that you make a decision that is best for them.
We advise that you protect your dog during the first 2 years to ensure they never have to experience the burden of carrying a pregnancy before they are mature and mentally able to do so.