The age at which Great Danes reach sexual maturity depends to a large extent on their breed. Small breeds tend to mature faster than large breeds. In general, male Great Dane puppies become fertile after six months of age and reach full fertility by twelve to fifteen months. Healthy stud dogs may remain sexually active and fertile up to eight to ten years old or older. Adult males are able to mate at any time. Females experience their first estrus (also known as season and heat) sometime after six months of age, although a wide variation occurs, with eighteen months not uncommon in some larger breeds. Estrus recurs at intervals of six to seven months on the average, depending on the breed and individual, until late in life. During the estrus period, the female is fertile and will accept the male.
The reproductive cycle of the female Great Dane is divided into four stages:
1. Proestrus: This is the time when males are attracted to females. A bloody vaginal discharge is observed, as well as distinct swelling of the external genitalia. Proestrus lasts approximately nine days; the female, however, will not allow mating at this stage.
2. Estrus: Estrus also lasts approximately nine days. During this phase, females will allow males to mount. Ovulation usually occurs in the first forty-eight hours; however, this is extremely variable. Fertilization can take place during estrus if she is inseminated by a fertile dog.
3. Diestrus: The third stage, lasting sixty to ninety days, occurs when the reproductive tract is under the control of progesterone. This happens whether or not the female becomes pregnant. False pregnancy, a condition in which the dog shows all the symptoms of being pregnant although she has not conceived, is occasionally seen during diestrus.
4. Anestrus: This is the period following diestrus when no sexual activity takes place. It lasts for three to four months.
There are many schools of thought regarding when to begin breeding a female Great Dane. It is customary, however, not to breed at the first heat to avoid imposing the stress of pregnancy and lactation on a young, growing animal. Another common practice is to avoid breeding a dog on consecutive heats, to allow sufficient time for recuperation between pregnancies. If breeding on the first heat or on consecutive heats occurs, extra attention and care are mandatory to reduce the risk of potential problems. Ask your veterinarian for advice on this subject.
No Comments yet
Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.