What should you expect from your Doberman when they enter their first heat? When will it even happen, and is there anything you need to do? There are many great questions regarding Dobermans in heat, and this article answers everything you need to know.
Most Dobermans will go into their first heat between 6-10 months. However, timelines can vary quite a bit. For a few Dobermans, their first heat could be as early as 4 months or as late as 18 months.
When Do Dobermans Get Their First Heat?
As explained above, the timeline can vary quite a bit. Although 6-10 months seems to be the sweet spot for most Dobermans, it’s perfectly normal if your Dobie falls outside of this range.
Some can be as early as 4 months old, and others all the way up to 18 months old, which is still completely normal and healthy. However, if your Doberman hasn’t had their heat by 12 months it is advised to go for a precautionary check-up.
How Often Do Dobermans Go Into Heat?
Once their heat cycles regulate, Dobermans typically go into heat twice per year.
What do we mean regulate? Well, before your Doberman has about 3 or 4 heat cycles, it can be a little hard predicting when the next one will be. It takes a few cycles for them to establish more a fixed pattern.
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How Long Are Dobermans In Heat For?
Expect your Doberman to be in heat for around 3 weeks give or take a few days. How many days exactly depends on how long each stage of the heat cycle lasts. With “Proestrus” and “Estrus” being the most important stages.
Proestrus (infertile) lasts 7-10 days and Estrus (fertile) also lasts 7-10 days.
Signs Your Doberman Is Going Into Heat
One of the most frequently asked questions surrounding this topic is: how will you know? What signs will your Doberman present that indicates she’s entering into heat?
● Bleeding/blood spots
● Blood tinged discharge
● Change in mood and temperament
● Swollen vulva
● Paying extra attention to her genital area
● Urinating more regularly (estrus)
● Flirtatious behavior and receptive to male dogs (estrus only)
● Change in energy
● Change in appetite
In most cases, a change in mood and temperament are the first things owners say they notice. In general, you may sense your Dobie acting “weird” or “not her self”. Sometimes she may act more distant, and other times become overly needy.
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Four Stages Of a Doberman’s Heat Cycle
In total there are four stages to every heat cycle. Let’s explain each stage in detail, what they mean, and how to identify them.
The first 7-10 days is called the Proestrus stage. This is essentially when your Dobie’s body is getting ready to come into heat, however, during this stage she will not be fertile and will not want to mate.
What to expect:
- Swollen vulva
- Tucking of the tail (if not docked)
- Blood spots
- Licking her genitle area
- Aggression towards other male dogs
The second stage of the heat cycle is called the Estrus stage, and is the most notable. This stage lasts around 7-10 days and is when your Doberman is ready to mate and capable of conceiving. Most females will accept any intact male and may even take it upon themselves to seek one, which can mean escaping (more on this later).
What to expect:
- Flirtatious behavior
- Frequent urination
- Discharge may change color or slow down
- May be aggressive towards female dogs
- Will hold tail to the side when near male dogs
The third stage of the heat cycle is called the Diestrus stage. If your Dobie has not conceived then her body will begin returning to normal. This “normalizing” stage lasts around another 7-10 days give or take.
If your Dobie has successfully mates, then she will technically remain in the Diestrus stage for the duration of her 60-70 day pregnancy.
What to expect:
- Dobermans body is returning back to normal
- Vulva will reduce in size back to normal
- Bleeding and discharge will slow to stop
This is considered the resting stage and your Dobermans remain in Anestrus until her next Proestrus stage begins.
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Tips on Caring For Dobermans In Heat
Not only is this an unusual time for your Doberman, but it can be tough knowing what we need to do… How can you help? Do we even need to help? Everything will be covered below.
Accept her mood swings
All Dobermans will react differently, and their mood swings and temperament changes can be difficult to understand if we stress over them. The best thing to do is to be ready and accepting for pretty much anything…
Some days she may be extra clingy and show you more attention, and other days she’ll be very irritable and distant. Go with the flow and give her plenty of support if she seems like she wants, but don’t smother her if she doesn’t come looking for you.
Avoid leaving her alone in the yard
During the first stage, she won’t be seeking other dogs, but that doesn’t stop other dogs from seeking her. I’ve heard of some bizarre cases of in-tact males jumping into yards in order to inspect the soon-to-be-ready female.
As you can imagine, this can result in a huge fight, which sometimes has severe consequences. It seems like it won’t happen, but it’s best to stay with her.
Additionally, when she enters into the Estrus stage and becomes fertile, she may take it upon herself to escape and seek a mate. This is very common and can be avoided by keeping her on the leash when fertile.
Be ready for a mess
Some Dobies will have very little discharge or blood spots, and others can have a lot. Save yourself a lot of trouble and have plenty of spare towels and mats at the ready. If she’s used to getting up on your couch and you don’t mind that, be sure to cover them well.
Some owners like to limit their Dobie’s movement while in heat (or at least keep them downstairs for example). But that’s entirely up to you.
It’s also important to regularly wash her bed. Discharge can build up and bacteria can develop and spread so it’s best to wash her covers every one or two days.
Exercise her on your own property for the duration
Some owners remain adamant to keep taking their Doberman outside to public areas when they are in heat. And while there’s nothing official to say you shouldn’t, it could be a good idea to simply use your own yard to exercise her for the next few weeks.
This limits the chances of interactions with other dogs and avoid a potential fight. Personally, I always exercise my dogs at home whenever they are in heat just to remain on the safe side.
Schedule a vet check up
There’s nothing wrong with scheduling a vet check up just to make sure everything is ok. There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with your Dobie for you to get a check up. At the very least, it’s worth a check up at the end of her heat cycle as there are some known health issues that could potentially happen (albeit very rare).
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