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This winter has been exceptionally cold, and in Scotland it was the coldest December for a century, with snow starting earlier than usual in November.

All my bitches were due in season between September and November , but nothing happened , so all of them are now very overdue. Finally one of them has come into season, as the temperature has risen several degrees  in the last ten days, although still around freezing point. so probably the rest will come in fairly soon

 So was the delay due to the very cold weather? is there some primitive mechanism at work which prevents puppies being born during the very cold winter months? I know working bitches who are kept kennelled outdoors in cold climates often only come into season once a year, often at the end of winter. Like foxes.

Has anybody else noticed any difference in the cycles of their bitches this winter?

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Margaret, I think you are really onto something here! Gracie is also several months off cycle and I was beginning to wonder if I had missed it somehow although she always has a false pregnancy which is a bit hard to miss.  I hadn't really thought about it being weather related. We had an unusually warm, extended fall this year and then a sudden drop to bitter cold weather right about when she was due to go into heat.  It briefly warmed up to above freezing over the past weekend but we are back to normal, cold January weather conditions in Michigan. Thinking back a 100 years ago when I was taking biology classes, it makes sense that a biches cycle would change in response to changes in weather for the reasons you provided.

Neige has just started after a few days of milder weather, and it looks like another bitch is also about to start, as the male dogs are sniffing at her,

But all my bitches are at least two months overdue this time , and that is quite unusual,

Margaret.....in my experience (certainly in my bitches, maybe mothers pass it onto their daughters) IS are notoriously unreliable with the dates of their seasons. I certainly know that the cold weather doesn't seem to affect bitches in countries where the winters are more severe, they still manage to come in regardless of conditions.
I can understand that it could affect bitches whot live in kennels all their lives but I cannot imagine how it could affect bitches who sleep on sofas in centrally heated homes. I am, at present, waiting for Vita to come into season and THAT could be any time within the next three months hopefully, maybe!!!!????
I dont have  central heating and live in a very old house up in the hills where the temperature was down to minus 20 at night during December. So cold that the locks on the doors froze,
Wow Margaret.......I won't be turning up on your doorstep in the winter!! In that case you have probably hit the nail right on the head........
Incidentally, to also take in another Forum discussion about seasons, my Vita was 22 months before she had her first season when other sisters were already on their 2nd. Her next season was 15 months later so. great if you live with stud dogs but a nightmare if you want to plan a litter. This is definitely a case where it is within the make up of the bitch.
I dont get many visitors in winter, but lots of visitors in the summer! Overseas visitors to Scotland , who own setters, seem to find their way here pretty regularly in the summer, which I enjoy!

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