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I have a young nearly 6 month old bitch. When can I anticipate her first season? I am very concious of recognising when she commences her first season as I have two male setters as well and so obvioulsy need to ensure that she is safe from any advances. Advice please?

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Hi Sally :-)


Bitches will vary, I have had some that come into season at 9 months and others that are well over a year old before they come in, some lines are slower to mature than others, so this could make a difference.  One of my english setters was nearly 18 months when she had her first season, yet her litter sisters who still lived with the breeder were 6 and 7 months old when they came in.


I also had dogs and bitches mixed and I found that the dogs would get more interested than usual about 2 weeks before the girls actually came into season, they would be more playful than usual with the girls and spend more time sniffing etc., so you may find that your boys give you an indication also.  Also the girls would tiddle a lot more than usual, and sometime tiddle on the bedding for a couple of weeks before actually starting their season.


When I had a few bitches I also found that they would bring each other into season within a few weeks of each other...it was a nightmare sometimes as my dogs all lived in the house and we would have to move the girls all to one section with a seperate garden just to make sure there weren't any accidents.  Fortunately our boys were none the wiser but I have heard some awful stories of dogs singing and whinging to get to their in-season house mates.


Hopefully some of these tips may be of use to you.


Sheree :-)

thanks for this!


As Sheree says, all bitches are different. None of my Irish(living here!) came in heat before 10 months, but  some of my pups living elsewhere came in at 6 months!! I always wondered if my older bitch Rua, as top bitch, somehow delayed heats of her daughters living with her?? Alpha female theory?? Its funny, but none of my bitches living here come in more than every 10 months or so, yet their sisters, living in other homes, come in every 6 months;o))

But your males will tell you weeks ahead of time if anything is happening! I have one male setter and he has to go to my kennels when the girls come in, and he does howl sometimes during this time;o)) Poor Milo!!

I have had bitches come into season for the first time as early as seven months and as late as 18 months.

From what I hear from pet owners with only one bitch puppy, she is likely to start earlier than her sisters in a multi dog household

I think the first season can be delayed if there are older bitches inthe household who are dominant

And my bitches also come into season as a group, one starts, then over the next month, the rest all start to come in too. Mayhem for a few weeks, but at least it is all over quicker than if it was spread out over the whole year

How the male dog reacts varies quite a lot. Some are very noisy,smelly and desperate to get at the bitch,and aggressive with other male dogs,  others are more laid back and accept being separated from the bitch more easily. Some younger ones are desperate as soon as the bitch comes into season, other more experienced older dogs sit back and wait until the bitch is ready to ovulate

Some male dogs seem able to get a tie within seconds, and they are particularly dangerous, and you need eyes in the back of your head and an acute sixth sense about what these dogs are doing ALL the time.




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