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When Does a Doberman Go Into Heat? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ

Written by: Cassidy Sutton

Last Updated on May 17, 2024 by Dogster Team


When Does a Doberman Go Into Heat? Vet Approved Facts & FAQ


Dr. Paola Cuevas Photo


Dr. Paola Cuevas

Veterinarian, MVZ

The information is current and up-to-date in accordance with the latest veterinarian research.

Learn more »

A dog going into “heat” means she’s ready to make puppies. A female Doberman in heat will allow mating from a male. Whether you want to breed or spay your Doberman, it helps to know what to expect so you can stay ahead of the estrus cycle.

When a female dog goes into heat depends on the breed. Larger dog breeds start their heat cycles later than smaller breeds, so you should expect your female Doberman to go into heat between 9 and 12 months old. However, some Dobermans can go into heat as early as 7 months or as late as 15 months.

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Signs Your Doberman Is in Heat

The first heat cycle can be challenging because you don’t always know what to expect. Keeping the two dogs separated can be an even bigger challenge if you have an intact male dog in the house.

To help you prepare, let's start with the obvious signs of heat cycles.
  • Red, swollen vulva: The vulva is the opening to the dog’s vagina. When a dog is in heat, blood flow increases to the area, and the vulva swells.
  • Vaginal bleeding and discharge: Female dogs will bleed and produce a discolored discharge at the beginning of estrus. Owners like to add a doggy diaper to their female dogs during this time. Otherwise, the furniture and floors get messy.
  • Changes in urination: In estrus, the female dog’s urine contains pheromones and hormones to alert male dogs that she’s ready to mate. Your Doberman will urinate more frequently during this time.
  • Frequent licking of the vaginal area: Your Doberman will lick her vaginal area more frequently during estrus.
  • Increased agitation and affection: Hormones are flying, so your Doberman will have mood swings. She will be agitated one second and affectionate the next.
  • Welcoming of male dogs: In estrus, female dogs want to be around male dogs more than usual. Your dog may allow mounting by raising her rear end. She may also roam the house or backyard in search of male dogs.
  • Odd tail positioning: Dogs in heat keep their tails tucked at the beginning of estrus but move them to the side when estrus kicks in to alert male dogs they’re ready to mate.

How Long Does the Doberman Heat Cycle Last?

Dobermans typically go into heat twice within 12 months. Regularity will vary with age and breed. However, unlike other species, dogs don’t rely on sunlight, weather, and temperature for regular cycles.

dobermans sitting on grass
Image by: Piqsels

The 4 Heat Cycle Stages

The heat cycle is categorized into four stages: Proestrus, estrus, diestrus, and anestrus. Each phase inherits different behaviors and physical changes.

  • Proestrus: Proestrus is the start of the heat cycle. This is when you notice bloody or discolored discharge, a swollen vulva, excessive licking, and behavioral changes. During this phase, your Doberman won’t be receptive to male dogs yet.
  • Estrus: Estrus is the phase where your Doberman is ready to mate. She’s welcoming of male dogs and is doing all she can to alert male dogs nearby that it is time to make puppies. You’ll notice her moving her tail to the side to allow for breeding. The vaginal discharge will slow and change to an off-yellow color.
  • Diestrus: This is the “after heat” phase. Your Doberman’s body is returning to normal or is adjusting to pregnancy.
  • Anestrus: This is the inactive phase. Your dog’s body returns to normal, no changes are noted.

What to Do When Your Doberman Is in Heat

You can breed your Doberman or wait until she’s out of her heat cycle to get her spayed. You must be extra careful during her estrus phase if you don’t want her to breed. A well-behaved dog will toss basic training to the side and give in to natural instinct when in heat.

When your Doberman is in heat, consider the following:
  • Never let her outside alone: Neighboring male dogs will detect your Doberman’s pheromones and hormones and do whatever it takes to mate with her. Many owners have left their in-heat female dogs outside only to find a neighboring dog mating with her when they return.
  • Never let her off-leash: A female dog in heat will do anything to find a mate, which includes ignoring basic commands from the owner. This can put your dog at risk, so never let her off-leash.
  • Check dog tags and microchips: Ensure your information is updated on tags and microchips in case your female Doberman escapes.
  • Separate her from male dogs: Males can create a ruckus around in-heat females, so it’s best to separate them.

Can I Spay My Doberman When in Heat?

During estrus, a female dog’s body pushes a lot of blood toward her uterine area. A spay surgery can be more challenging if a veterinarian chooses to open her up during this time. There is the risk of excessive bleeding and for this reason, some veterinarians prefer to wait until the heat passes.

However, experienced veterinarians will still do the procedure and adjust their techniques to meet the animal’s needs.

Still, many veterinarians prefer to wait until a dog is in the anestrus cycle, and odds are your veterinarian will tell you to do the same.

doberman on dog bed
Image By: Aysun Kahraman Öktem, Pexels

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Dealing with a dog in heat is challenging, to say the least. Your dog’s behavior will be weird, other animals will act strange around her, and you’ll have to watch her as you’ve never done before. Truthfully, the entire experience is annoying if you don’t want to breed her.

The good news is that estrus only occurs a couple of times a year for Dobermans, so scheduling a spay around her heat cycle is easier than you think.

The biggest takeaway is never to leave your Doberman alone outside when she’s in heat unless you want the dog next door contributing to an unwanted pregnancy.

As always, call your veterinarian if you have any concerns. It never hurts to ask!

Featured Image Credit: Kateryna Orlova, Shutterstock

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