How Many Times Can You Breed A Dog

So, you're thinking about breeding or have already bred your dog once and now you want to know the dynamics that come after that first litter of puppies. Read on and discover everything you need to know about the optimal frequency of breeding.

best age to breed female dog

When talking about breeding, the number of times and how often can you breed your dog, you should be aware that they all depend on several factors.

Breeding a dog can be a healthy process that helps your dog lead an even healthier life and improve its growth. But, if done unadvisedly it could bring health risks and affect your dog’s overall health.

Apart from the topic we will describe thoroughly today, you should also inform yourself on when is the best time to breed your female dog, or your male dog too.

In this article, we will discuss all of them, and help you determine what intensity of breeding could be optimal for your dog.

So, let’s start!

Before Breeding

Before providing you with all the answers to the “How many litters of puppies can a dog have in a lifetime?” question, we have to mention some important things first.

In order to ensure that both your dog and its litter will be healthy, you have to make sure that some aspects are fulfilled before you get into breeding your dog.

Ensuring that the offsprings about to be born will get the best set of genes is, of course, highly connected to their parents and their overall health.

Being a responsible pet owner and breeder means bringing your dog to regular vet checks and making sure your pet has good diet and exercise routines. Therefore, it’s very important that you keep good care of your loyal pal much before you start thinking about breeding.


The absolute criteria for breeding, no matter if your dog is a male or a female, is optimal overall health. In order to be a good mother, a female dog has to be fit, healthy and able to carry a litter of pups.

On the other hand, future stud’s reputation and success in mating also depend majorly on their health. Poor health or exercise could also lead to infertility which, as you can guess, means that there will be no successful mating for your dog.

Remember that the routines in your dog’s diet and exercise influence their genes. So, as long as you keep your dog fit and healthy, it should be a good candidate for breeding. BUT, there’s another condition that highly influences the success of the mating outcome.

Sexual Maturity

Noticing the first signs of sexual maturity doesn’t mean your dog is ready to breed. The right time to start mating your female or male dog depends on several factors such as breed, size, sex, and health. Inform yourself on the right time for starting to think about mating your dog.

However, when it comes to female dogs, most people agree that it’s best to wait until the second heat cycle. Others believe that even the first heat cycle isn’t harmful to the bitch, so, the wisest thing to do is to wait until your dog has reached its adult size and consult your vet on her preparedness for the breeding process.

Meanwhile, male dogs become sexually mature at an earlier age. But this doesn’t mean that they should mate right away. Although in some breeds male dogs will be able to impregnate a female as early as 5-months old, that isn’t when your dog should start breeding. That’s because the optimal quality of the sperm is reached only after the stud reaches the average age of 1 to 1.5 years.

How Many Times Can You Breed A Male Dog?

When it comes to breeding a male dog, the number of times that the breeding can occur is unlimited. Generally speaking, it’s really up to owners to decide how many times they want to breed their stud.

As long as they’re in good health, male dogs can produce high-quality sperm throughout their entire lifespan and even in older age. The only requirements that have to be met in order to breed your stud responsibly, are to wait until it develops to its breed’s adult size and to rule out any health-related issues that might occur when your dog is fully grown.

So, as a male dog owner, you will have to do a sperm and fertility check as well as the overall health check at the vet in order to start breeding. Make sure your dog is healthy and you can start breeding.

How Often Can You Breed A Male Dog?

Although some people have reported that their male has mated 5 times in a single day, this doesn’t really seem like a good idea.

Planning the frequency of male dog breeding is very important and here’s why.

Good quality sperm is ensured by sperm checks. When this occurs the sperm has to be collected for several days in order to get accurate results. Your vet will guide you through the proper process based on your dog’s breed and age. The quality of sperm, of course, affects the results and the success rates of impregnation.

But, to ensure a successful impregnation, the good quality is not enough. The amount of time in between the ejaculations is also important in order to achieve the best results and increase the success rates of siring. So, typically breeding once a day for 3 days in a row or every other day until the three breedings are reached should be a good way to start.

So once again, the frequency of breeding in male dogs is much more flexible than it is the case for females. However, do not exceed 5 days in a row as your stud might be exhausted and run out of sperm.

Also you should know the right time when to stop breeding your stud.

How Many Times Can You Breed A Female Dog?

Unlike their male pals, female dogs can’t be bred that much. The optimal number of litters a bitch can carry is around 3 to 4 litters, depending on the number and size of the litter, as well as her overall health and recovery process in between pregnancies.

The breeding frequency, in this case, is influenced by female dog’s heat cycles and the optimal amount of recovery time that has to pass between each mating. It is very important not to exceed the maximum of 4 litters during a female’s lifetime because it can influence her health and may even shorten her life.

Anyway, what is valid for both females and males is that in order to have healthy offspring, it is very important to keep them fit and in good health.

How Often Can You Breed A Female Dog?

When it comes to females, the right question is “How often is it safe for a female dog to have puppies“?

In terms of biology and how female dogs are made, a healthy dog could be able to litter at every heat. This is indeed true, but shouldn’t be followed and here’s why.

While mating might not be such a problem in the end, the gestation and nursing period is what takes out a lot of energy from female dogs. With each whelping, females give birth to many pups at once and have to return their body to a previous state by regrowing parts of their uterus and recovering the muscle tone that decreased during pregnancy.

After the whelping comes the nursing which doesn’t make the recovery easier. It is actually what exhausts the female the most, especially once the puppies grow. So even if your female goes into heat maybe few months after giving birth, it would be quite cruel to presume she could handle another pregnancy.

While there’s debate about how long you should wait between pregnancies, we think waiting an extended healing time is definitely the best way to ensure that your female stays happy and to cut the risks of damaging her overall health.

best age to breed female dog

Most owners have seen that their bitches lose fur and their muscle tone while nursing. So, even from the breed show point of view, not waiting enough between pregnancies won’t really give expected results. Female dogs that win the most usually have no more than 3-4 litters in their lifetime and have enough recovery after nursing. Additionally, your female can’t get a title if she had a litter in the past 6 months to 1 year.

So, the answer to this question is that the safe frequency of breeding a female dog is only every 18 months to 2 years. Breeding your female once a year is probably a bad idea.

What’s The Shortest Recommended Time For Recovery Between Pregnancies?

In some countries (such as Finland) you have to wait at least 10 months before you can breed a female dog again. And while waiting about a year in between the pregnancies might seem like a fairly long period of recovery, you shouldn’t decide on it before thoroughly consulting your vet.

The recovery time does not only affect positively the mother, but it also ensures that the next litter of puppies will be in good health and born safely.

Back-to-back Breeding

However, some breeders choose back-to-back breeding and a lot of people still discuss the benefits and risks that this way of breeding might bring.

While we think that a constant back-to-back breeding is definitely not a good way to treat your dog, some dog owners say that their female dogs are completely fine and healthy with breeding litters back-to-back two times in a row, having a recovery of one or two heat cycles and another round of back-to-back litters.

Your dog’s and its litter’s health are in your hands. So before deciding on breeding your pup, think about all the aspects, consult your vet and start acting only after.

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  • Mark Andrew Williams

    How many times can I breed my female Shih Tzu dog

    • Kristina - Barking Royalty Team

      Hey Mark,

      Ideally, female dogs shouldn’t have litter more than 3-4 times in their lifetime.