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How Many Times Should a Dog Mate to Get Pregnant?

Veterinary reviewed by Nicole Wanner, DVM.

Breeding is a passion for many dedicated pet owners that want to preserve their dog’s bloodline.

For the most part, nature takes its course in dog breeding; however, there are many things to learn if you want your dog to perform well.

The whole process is a complex combination of science, art, and devotion.

Responsible breeding is a challenging yet exciting task.

Breeding purebreds is even more time-consuming and expensive. Improving the breed should be the only underlying goal in any breeding scenario.

If you are new to dog breeding and you noticed how some people do it with ease it’s because they took their time to study their breed, study dog reproduction, perform training and exercise and provide wellness for their pets. 

In this article, we will discuss the act of mating and provide answers to some of the questions popping around frequently.

How Many Times Should Dogs Mate to Get Pregnant?

A total of 3 matings is considered to be sufficient by most experts in the field. After the female starts accepting the male, mating every other day for 6 consecutive days will most likely lead to pregnancy.

Three dogs are mounting each other in a park.
Photo by Creativa Images on Adobe

A female dog will let a male mount her during the fertile part of her heat cycle – the estrus.

Estrus takes place somewhere between the 3rd and 21st day if you start counting from the first day the female dog starts bleeding. The average is on the 9th day.

In most cases, the bleeding stops when the female becomes fertile and the red discharge is replaced with straw-colored fluid.

This stage is also called the ‘standing heat’ because besides allowing male dogs to mount the females flag their tails as well.

How Many Days Will a Female Dog Let a Male Mount Her?

The average period during which a female dog lets male dogs mount her is 7 days. However, this is entirely up to the female and varies between individuals. Some females let males mount them for a couple of days and others more than a week.

A small Pomeranian with a rainbow-colored tail is mounting another small dog.
Photo by sutichak on Adobe

Female dogs mate during the estrus.

Estrus in dogs lasts somewhere between 1 and 3 weeks and it can be shorter or longer for some individuals.

It’s important to know when the female started bleeding so you will know approximately which stage of the heat cycle is on.

Doing hormone testing and evaluation of vaginal smear in the vet’s office can help you distinguish the different stages of dog heat.

Experienced breeders let the dogs breed over a period of 6 days, with 2 to 3 total successful matings being ideal.

Since they want to ensure there is a gap between the matings, the owners often separate the male from the female when a single act of mounting is completed.

Don’t leave the dogs alone and assume they will mate. Observe each time the male and female are together to see if mating occurs and separate them if there are signs of aggression.

There is an old tale that says female dogs mate as much as they want and once they get pregnant their desire to mate vanishes.

That’s completely untrue since female dogs don’t have a way of knowing whether they got pregnant or not.

Some females won’t let males mount them even though they are in their fertile periods.

Situations like that happen when the female is inexperienced, afraid, or unsocial.

Other times, the female’s hormones are out of sync and she won’t stand for the male during her most fertile period.

Sometimes the female simply doesn’t like the male presented to her, but will gladly accept another.

If you try to replace the male and the female is delighted, you fixed the situation.

If not, the only solution to this problem will be assisted/artificial mating which is a whole new can of worms.

Can Dogs Mate More Than Once a Day?

Yes, dogs can mate more than once a day. There are no restrictions when it comes to how many times dogs will attempt to mate during a single day. As long as the female allows it and the male is up for it mating can occur.

Female dogs are more likely to get annoyed soon enough and prevent males from mounting them multiple times during the day.

On the contrary, if given the opportunity a male will likely mate more than once either with a single female or multiple female dogs.

Even though it’s possible, it doesn’t mean that multiple mountings in a single day increase the chances of pregnancy.

A generally accepted thought among breeders is that a male should only be allowed to mate with a female once or twice a day.

Increased frequency of mating can deplete the quality of the male’s sperm and leave him incompetent for the next session following 2 days after.

Owners of expensive males intended for breeding don’t allow mating more than once a day.

There is a significant difference between younger and older male dogs when it comes to the frequency of mating.

Usually, due to a decrease in their libido, older dogs are likely to lose interest in a female faster and refuse to mate more than once or twice.

Chances of Dog Getting Pregnant on First Time

An astonishing 40% of female dogs get pregnant after only one mating session. A single session is enough for a female dog to get pregnant on her very first heat cycle (although not recommended).

Accidental breeding is frequently observed in the first heat cycle of young females even if they are not finished growing.

The chances of getting pregnant after just one try are good news for people that purposely want to breed their dogs, but it’s a complication for someone that cannot take care of an unwanted litter of puppies.

You have to be very vigilant about letting your female pup roam loosely whenever she is in heat.

Dogs are indiscriminate when it comes to mating brothers with sisters, fathers with daughters, and sons with mothers.

Keeping a close eye on them and preventing mounting or taking the dogs to the vet to get spayed and neutered is recommended if you don’t want new puppies roaming around the house.

Male dogs can start with mating very early between 6 and 12 months of age.

Maturity can vary between individual dogs and different breeds. Smaller breeds mature earlier.

On the opposite, some large breed males need 2 years of development to reach maturity.

As your male puppies get older you will notice that they start acting strangely and develop a sudden desire to hump objects around the house (mostly cushions).

Besides this behavior, coming into maturity is also characterized by scenting things with urine.

The first signs of maturity or puberty in female dogs are redness and swelling of the vulva as the most prominent physical sign.

This too happens for the first time between 6 and 12 months of age. Your dog will start licking herself more often and urinate more than usual.

Mating a female dog on her first heat cycle is out of the question.

Females bred on their first heat are not done growing, raising the chance that puppies will be too big for the birth canal and get stuck.

There are certain health risks for both the mother and the pups when bred too early.

Breeding dogs with health or behavioral issues means passing on the genes that can result in behavioral problems like uncontrollable aggression or anxiety.

How Many Times Should Dogs Tie When Breeding?

Since the main purpose of intentional breeding is whelping a litter of healthy puppies, people are often unsure how many times the dogs should tie during the heat.

There aren’t precise numbers of how many times dogs should tie when breeding. Moreover, it’s not necessary for a male and female to tie for pregnancy to occur as a tie between dogs can’t guarantee a pregnancy.

In many cases, females fail to get pregnant after multiple ties with a male.

On the other hand, many dogs get pregnant without a single tie with a male dog.

Not only isn’t a tie that important, but the duration of the tie doesn’t seem to matter as well.

Breeders still find the tie between females and males reassuring.

It’s a form of confirmation that intromission happened and the male discharged his fluids into the female’s reproductive system.

Except for mating, tying too can only happen during the female’s fertile heat stage.

Female and male dogs tie only after intromission (the act of intercourse).

When the male begins thrusting vigorously a part of his copulatory organ called the bulbus enlarges inside the female.

In the meantime, the female dog tightens down and the male dog is trapped for a certain time.

The dogs are locked and while this happens the male continues with the transfer of fluid material to the female.

The average time of a tie is 15 minutes although it can last anywhere between 5 and even 60 minutes in some cases.

Do Dogs Get Pregnant Every Time They Tie?

No, dogs don’t get pregnant every time they tie. A tie doesn’t guarantee that your dog got pregnant at all. Be it a short tie or a long tie – there is no way to know whether there will be a litter of puppies immediately. 

Another popular misconception is that the duration of the tie can impact the number of puppies.

The longer dogs remain tied – the bigger the litter will be.

This has been proven to be untrue as well.

Few weeks after mating you can take your dog to the vet to confirm whether she is expecting or not.

Disclaimer: This blog post does not substitute veterinary attention and does not intend to do so. I am not a veterinarian or pet nutritionist. If your dog shows any sign of illness, call your vet.

About Danielle

Equipped with 5+ years of expertise as a Rottweiler owner, I partner with licensed veterinarians and trainers to share research-backed and actionable advice for you and your furry friend.

Isabella C

Friday 17th of March 2023

My dog got pregnant from her brother on the first mate and she is only 8 months old she is a teacup terrier Chihuahua mix and she is really big and they mated on January 26th 2023 and it is March 16th and we think she is giving birth on the 30th


Sunday 19th of March 2023

To be honest, that sounds terrible and should've been prevented. Not only is it an "accident litter" without plan and health testing but also inbreeding. Please consult a vet on what steps to take next.


Tuesday 20th of September 2022

This is my females first breeding. She turned 2 in July. She is an exceptionally clean dog so it was difficult to tell when she started her heat cycle. My male will be 2 in November. They have tied 3 times now. I am now keeping them separate and fully supervised but my male is still super interested in my girl. My female bleeds throughout her entire heat. How long will my male be crazy interested in her. Shes still showing signs of willingness to accept but i dont want to overbreed. My male will still try and mount and try to finish even with her wearing a diaper. Is there anything i can try to perhaps distract him or cover her scent so he can relax again? And how much longer rough max estimate should she still “smell good” to him? (With my other female was easier to tell when she started, this female its near impossible as she doesnt swell much and like i said she keeps herself very clean-basically going by when she started cleaning herself more frequently which is roughly 2 weeks ago)


Thursday 22nd of September 2022

Hi Crystal, it's hard to tell but your male dog will probably be interested for the entire duration of her bleeding as well as a couple of weeks after that. Too many breedings can definitely be stressful for the dogs and it might just be something your male has to go through with appropriate supervision and possibly temporary separation if they're left alone. I actually have an article on how males behave around females in heat.

Please make sure both dogs are healthy and raise and socialize the pups well if breeding turns out to have been successful. That'll be a whole new chapter.

Cheers, Danielle

L. Van rooi

Monday 1st of August 2022

My boerbull female is 5 and the male boerbull is 3. They had one tie between days 11 and 15...can we expect a pregnancy?


Tuesday 8th of November 2022

@L. Van rooi, I want to know if your female Boerbol was pregnant after the one tie ?


Friday 5th of August 2022

Hey, it's pretty much impossible to say whether there will be a pregnancy. It's theoretically possible, especially if you've witnessed the act and they were tied for quite some time.

If pregnancy is unwanted and this was an accident, I'd definitely recommend going to the vet and having them run tests and/or give your female meds.

Dharam Dev

Sunday 6th of March 2022

When is the best age a female dog should get pregnant. Our aussie doodle is one year old and had one cycle.


Saturday 12th of March 2022

I actually have an article on how many litters dogs should actually have max. But when it comes to starting, it's essential to wait until bone growth has finished and they're mentally adults. That'd be around 1 1/2 to 2 years for large breeds and that usually also skips the first heat.

Think about whether or not you actually want to breed, can do all the health testing, socialize the pups and so on.

Cheers, Danielle