If you wish to breed from your bitch or remove the risk of unwanted attention from male dogs, then you’ll need to identify when she is most receptive to breeding.
When does a Cocker spaniel come into season?
When a spaniel is about to come into heat, it will have milky discharge from the vulva for several days.
She may lose interest in food and become restless.
Her vulva becomes swollen and her vagina discharges a bloody or pinkish fluid.
These signs usually begin at 6 months of age , but this should only be taken as an average guideline as dogs differ and she could come into season at a later age.
How do I know if my Cocker spaniel is in season?
Here are some signs that your Cocker Spaniel might be in season:
- Swollen Vulva
Swelling: The vulva will become noticeably swollen.
Discharge: You might observe a bloody discharge from the vulva. The discharge may start off quite bloody and then change to a straw-coloured liquid as the heat progresses.
- Behavioural Changes
Affectionate Behaviour: She may become more affectionate or clingy towards you.
Agitation: She might seem restless, anxious, or more alert than usual.
Flirtatious Behaviour: She may exhibit flirtatious behaviour towards male dogs, such as raising her rump and moving her tail to the side.
Aggression: Alternatively, she might become more aggressive or snappy, especially towards other female dogs.
- Frequent Urination
She may urinate more frequently than usual. This is a way of spreading her scent to signal to male dogs that she is in season.
Excessive licking of the genital area is common as she tries to clean herself.
- Appetite Changes
She may experience changes in appetite, either eating more or less than usual.
- Nesting Behaviour
Some dogs will exhibit nesting behaviours, such as gathering toys or bedding and being protective over them.
- Attraction of Male Dogs
Male dogs may become more interested in her, and you might notice them hanging around your property.
How long does a Cocker spaniel’s season last?
A Cocker Spaniel’s season, or heat cycle, typically lasts about three weeks or up to a month, but this can vary slightly depending on the individual dog.
The heat cycle is divided into different stages, each with its own distinct behaviours and physical changes.
Understanding the reproductive cycle of Cocker spaniels
Before we dive into the timing of when Cocker Spaniels come into season, it’s important to understand their reproductive cycle.
A female Cocker Spaniel‘s reproductive cycle can be divided into four stages:
Let’s take a closer look at each stage:
This stage lasts for about 9-10 days and is characterized by the swelling of the vulva and the discharge of bloody fluid.
Male dogs will be attracted to her during this time, but the female Cocker Spaniel is not yet ready to mate.
This stage lasts for about 7-10 days and is when the female Cocker Spaniel is fertile and ready to mate.
The discharge during this stage changes from bloody to straw-coloured and becomes more viscous.
This stage lasts for about 60 days and is the period when the female Cocker Spaniel is pregnant or not pregnant.
If she is not pregnant, she will go into heat again after this stage.
This stage lasts for about 4-5 months and is the period of sexual inactivity.
Signs to watch out for with your female Cocker spaniel
Many bitches display some behavioural changes before they come into season.
You’ll often find that she may become clingy and eat more or less. She may also want to sleep more frequently or could even become more active.
On many occasions bitches will slip with their housetraining and will ‘mark’ areas in the home.
If you do witness any changes then it could be a sign that she is due to come into season.
As her season approaches the dog’s vulva will become swollen. This may or may not be easy to see.
Her teats could also become swollen.
This is normally when she will begin to bleed and you should try to spot this as accurately as you are able.
This is important if you are planning puppies – it is also vital when keeping her away from male dogs.
She will bleed for about ten days, but sometimes this can be a shorter or longer period of time.
Towards the end of the bleeding, the discharge will become a clear fluid.
If you notice anything other than blood colour or clear then you should talk to your vet in case your dog has an infection.
When is she ready for mating?
When the bleeding ends, this is the time that your bitch is ready for mating.
If you are planning a litter then the next ten days are when your dog should be mated.
If a litter is not intended then, for the next ten days, and ideally longer, you will need to keep your bitch under supervision – away from male dogs, of all breeds – this includes kennel mates, brothers, father, uncles etc.
Male dogs ( and most bitches ) are not fussy so be very careful if you want to avoid accidental puppies.
Do not leave her unsupervised anywhere, including gardens or yards – dogs can be really persistent and ingenious at gaining access to bitches that are in season.
Recommended reading for breeders
If you’re new to dog breeding or want to improve your knowledge then these books are an excellent source of information and reference.
- Successful Dog Breeding: The Complete Handbook of Canine Midwifery by Walkowicz & Wilcox
- Hardcover Book
- Walkowicz, Chris (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 240 Pages – 01/02/1994 (Publication Date) – John Wiley & Sons (Publisher)
- England, Gary (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 344 Pages – 11/23/2012 (Publication Date) – Wiley-Blackwell (Publisher)
- Evans, Janet (Author)
- English (Publication Language)
- 50 Pages – 06/26/2014 (Publication Date) – Speedy Publishing LLC (Publisher)
How to care for your Cocker spaniel during her season
When your Cocker Spaniel is in season, it’s important to take extra care of her to ensure her health and well-being.
What can I do if my bitch is accidentally mated?
You should contact your vet immediately as they can administer a drug that acts like a ‘morning after pill.
This happened with one of my Springer spaniel bitches many years ago but the injection did not work as we were late in getting her to the vet.
Thankfully the dog was also a Springer spaniel who lived next door.
Prevention is always better than cure, but accidents do happen and both dogs and bitches can be devious and overly creative at gaining access to each other in these circumstances.
How often does a Cocker spaniel go into heat?
It is not unusual for a spaniel to go into heat twice in one year.
However, if this happens then you should be aware that there could be an underlying health issue. Seek advice from your vet.
On the whole the majority of bitches will have just one season per year, however, it is possible to have two seasons in the same year.
What is a silent season?
A silent season is where the bitch does not have a period of oestrus or heat.
Many females that are used for breeding will have a silent season between one and three years of age.
It is possible to mate a bitch during these silent seasons but you should talk to your vet beforehand as it would be advisable to check that she is in good health and that her uterus is free of infection.
Frequently asked questions
What are the signs that indicate my Cocker Spaniel is coming into season?
Some signs include a change in behaviour, increased urination, a swollen vulva, and some minor bleeding. It’s vital to observe your pet regularly so you can quickly notice these changes.
How often does a Cocker Spaniel go into heat, and at what age does it start?
Cocker Spaniels generally go into heat twice a year, roughly every six months. The first heat typically occurs between 6 to 9 months of age, but it can sometimes happen as late as 14 months.
What steps should I take when my Cocker Spaniel is in season?
Maintain regular exercise but avoid public places to prevent unwanted attention from male dogs. Ensure she has a comfortable space at home, keep her clean, and monitor her health. Consult your vet if you notice any unusual signs.
How can I manage the minor bleeding during my Cocker Spaniel’s heat cycle?
Using dog-specific pads can help manage bleeding. Regular cleaning of her bedding and living spaces will also help to maintain hygiene and comfort during this period.
How long does a Cocker Spaniel’s season last?
A Cocker Spaniel’s season can last for about 21-24 days, although this can also vary.
Can I bathe my Cocker Spaniel during her season?
It’s recommended to avoid bathing your Cocker Spaniel during her season, as this can disrupt the natural balance of her hormones and increase the risk of infection.
Last update on 2023-12-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API