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When Do Pitbulls Go Into Heat: (ALL You Need to Know)

If you’re the proud owner of a beautiful female pitbull, you might find yourself curious about their heat cycle.

From understanding when their initial season arrives, the indicators to watch for, what’s to come, ways to assist, to even addressing pregnancy concerns…

In this guide, I aim to break everything down for you, clearing any apprehensions or uncertainties you may harbor. You’ll find me using “heat” and “season” synonymously.

Pitbulls usually have their initial heat/season around 6-9 months old. However, as with all breeds, the timing can fluctuate, so some might encounter it slightly earlier or later than this range.

when do pitbulls go into heat

When Do Pitbulls Have Their First Heat?

While the timeline can vary for each pitbull, the 6-9 months mark tends to be the prevalent time they undergo their first heat.

After consulting numerous pitbull owners, we found some reporting as early as 5 months and others as late as 10 months. Both scenarios are absolutely typical.

However, a piece of advice: if your pitbull hasn’t shown signs of heat after 10 months, it’s prudent to schedule a vet appointment to ensure her health is intact.

How Long Are Pitbulls In Heat For?

Pitbulls generally experience heat cycles that last approximately 19-24 days (roughly 3 weeks).

Although this might seem like an extended period, with your pitbull behaving differently than usual, take comfort in knowing that with each subsequent cycle, things will become more manageable.

Within these 19-24 days, your pitbull will traverse distinct phases of the overall heat process. More on this shortly.

A quick note on Pitbull training! Considering a training method like Brain Training For Dogs could yield swift results in obedience and behavior. It’s genuinely a remarkable resource for all pitbull owners.

How Often Do Pitbulls Experience Heat?

Typically, pitbulls enter their heat phase every 6-8 months. However, it’s common for the frequency to stabilize only after they’ve been through two or three cycles.

This implies that until this regularity is established, predicting the next heat cycle might be a tad challenging. Once she stabilizes, forecasting subsequent cycles becomes more straightforward.

Initial Signs of Heat/Season

Wondering how to decipher if your pitbull is entering her heat cycle? No, you don’t need any mystical powers! Simple vigilance suffices.

The following symptoms suggest your pitbull is initiating her heat cycle:

  • Shifts in mood and behavior.
  • Alterations in appetite and sleeping routines.
  • Vulva swelling.
  • Presence of blood spots or discharge.
  • Tail being kept low or tucking it.
  • Increased focus on her genital area.
  • Potential aggression or interest towards male dogs.

A crucial reminder: It’s not guaranteed that all these signs will manifest. Some may be more pronounced, while others might not surface at all. Hence, familiarizing yourself with all of them and being observant is essential.

Many pitbull owners express concern about blood spotting. It varies; you might notice barely any or, in some cases, a substantial amount. Since there’s no definitive way to anticipate this, it’s wise to be ready.

4 Stages of Your Pitbull’s Heat Cycle

The heat cycle of a pitbull encompasses four distinct stages. Each phase signifies something unique, and your pitbull will exhibit specific signs during each. Here’s a breakdown of these stages:


Spanning the first 6-9 days, the Proestrus stage is when your pitbull begins her heat cycle but isn’t fertile yet. This period is more about prepping for the upcoming fertile phase.

Signs of Proestrus:

  • Alterations in behavior, mood, and appetite
  • Blood spots or discharge
  • Swollen Vulva
  • Tail tucked down
  • Displaying hostility towards male dogs
  • Increased attention to the genital area


The next 6-9 days are termed Estrus. This phase is especially significant as it’s when your pitbull becomes fertile and receptive to mating. If intact male dogs approach her during this time, she might be amiable. Furthermore, she might exhibit increased aggression towards other female dogs.

Signs of Estrus:

  • Discharge becoming clearer, indicating fertility
  • Tail positioned to the side, making the Vulva more prominent
  • Playful or flirtatious behavior with male dogs
  • Aggressive tendencies towards female dogs
  • Heightened frequency of urination
  • Mood fluctuations


Covering the subsequent 6-9 days, Diestrus is the stage when your pitbull’s body begins reverting to its regular state if she hasn’t conceived. But, if mating was successful, her body remains in Diestrus throughout the 60-70 day gestation period.

Signs of Diestrus:

  • Vulva returning to its standard size
  • Behavioral normalization
  • Cessation of blood spots or discharge


Anestrus is a dormant phase that lasts until the commencement of her next heat cycle with Proestrus. This phase is essentially a resting period where no significant physiological changes occur.


  • Proestrus: Initial 6-9 days (non-fertile)
  • Estrus: Following 6-9 days (fertile phase)
  • Diestrus: Ensuing 6-9 days (either returning to regular state or starting gestation)
  • Anestrus: Dormancy until the next cycle begins

More Info: VCA Hospitals Estrous Cycle In Dogs

How Do Pitbulls Handle Being In Heat?

The heat cycle in pitbulls often raises eyebrows and a host of questions, primarily, “What transformations will my dog undergo?” We’ll tackle that concern here.

Behavioral Changes

Among the primary shifts owners witness is an alteration in behavior and demeanor. These can range from moodiness and increased affection to sudden bouts of stubbornness. Being informed and adaptable to these fluctuations is crucial.

It’s essential to comprehend that these peculiar behavioral shifts are transient. Your pitbull will gradually return to her usual self. Informing family members about these natural tendencies can prevent unnecessary alarm, especially if they’re accustomed to a consistently energetic and jovial pitbull.

Interactions with Other Dogs

Navigating interactions with other canines becomes a bit of a challenge when a pitbull is in heat. In the early stages of her heat cycle, the hormones she releases produce a distinct aroma that’s highly alluring to male dogs. Yet, she might not be receptive to their advances, leading to confrontations that can be dangerous.

When she reaches the Estrus phase and becomes fertile, she may actively seek male companions, which can pose risks of her wandering off during walks or finding escape routes in your yard.

Given these complexities, many pitbull owners opt to keep their dogs indoors during the heat cycle. Some even leash them within fenced yards. The primary aim is to minimize dog-to-dog interactions during this period, which can lead to unforeseen challenges.

Appetite Changes

A fluctuating appetite is not uncommon during the heat cycle. To keep her interested in her meals without altering her diet significantly, consider adding a bit of low-sodium meat broth (either chicken or beef) to her food. This can enhance the palatability.

However, always moderate the amount to prevent gastrointestinal disturbances. If your pitbull refuses food and shows other concerning symptoms like vomiting or lethargy, it’s vital to consult your vet.

Managing the Mess

Protecting household items like carpets and furniture from potential stains becomes a priority. Using old towels in her favorite spots can be beneficial.

To localize the mess, some owners restrict their pitbulls to specific rooms. Cleaning any blood spots promptly with pet-safe cleaning products is essential.

Regularly washing her bedding, especially during this time, can prevent bacterial buildup. Although the task might seem tedious, remember it’s a temporary phase!

Dog diapers are available and can be a potential solution. Yet, many pitbulls might find them uncomfortable or even succeed in quickly discarding them.

Supportive Measures

Beyond the pointers above, ensuring your pitbull feels secure and cared for is crucial. Be patient with her mood swings, offer affection when she seeks it, and maintain a consistent routine that ensures her safety.

Recognizing that the heat cycle is a natural occurrence can provide some solace. In just over three weeks, your pitbull will be back to her regular self, likely displaying a more mature and calmer demeanor.

Should a Pitbull Be Spayed Before Her First Heat Cycle?

The topic of spaying (and neutering) is often surrounded by various opinions and debates. Many dog owners grapple with the question of WHEN the most appropriate time is to have their dog spayed. Indeed, the answer can be multifaceted…

There are some veterinarians and breeders who champion the idea of spaying a Pitbull before her first heat cycle, while others caution against this decision.

Some studies have drawn connections between early spaying and an uptick in the likelihood of obesity and joint problems. Given that certain larger breeds, including some Pitbulls, can be prone to conditions like hip dysplasia, this is a factor worth considering. On the flip side, advocates for spaying emphasize its potential to extend a dog’s life and decrease the chances of health issues like mammary tumors and pyometra.

From the standpoint of an everyday dog owner, if you’re leaning towards spaying, doing so before her first heat cycle is a viable option. However, it’s essential not to rush into it too early. Since most Pitbulls might not experience their first heat until around 6 to 9 months of age, waiting until she approaches this age range before spaying can be beneficial. This delay allows her body to develop more fully and ensures proper hormonal balance before the operation.

Alternatively, some dog owners opt to spay after their Pitbull has undergone one or even two heat cycles. This gives her body the opportunity to mature completely and naturally before the surgery, with some arguing that this route leads to a more well-rounded and adjusted dog.

As with any significant decision regarding your pet’s health, it’s imperative to engage in discussions with your veterinarian and conduct a comprehensive health assessment before deciding on spaying.

Spaying before or after, more info, Maroochy District Animal Hospital


Let’s run through some of the FAQs on this topic!

When can pitbulls get pregnant?
Pitbulls can become pregnant during their first heat cycle, which typically occurs between 6 to 9 months of age. However, breeding them during their first heat is not advised due to their physical and emotional immaturity.

How long are pitbulls pregnant?
Pitbulls, like most dog breeds, have a gestation period that averages around 63 days. The range can be between 58 to 68 days.

What age can pitbulls be bred?
It is recommended to wait until a pitbull has gone through at least 2 or 3 heat cycles before breeding. This usually puts them around 1.5 to 2 years of age, ensuring they are mature enough both physically and mentally.

How many puppies do pitbulls have?
A pitbull’s litter size can vary, but they typically have between 5 to 10 puppies. Factors influencing litter size can include the mother’s age, health, and genetic factors.

Thanks for reading!


Before making any decisions that could affect the health and/or safety of your dog, you should always consult a trained veterinarian in your local area. Even though this content may have been written/reviewed by a trained veterinarian, our advice to you is to always consult your own local veterinarian in person. Please read our full dislcaimer if you have any questions.