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How Long Does it Take For Dogs to Mate?

Brooke Billingsley

By Brooke Billingsley

beagle dogs mating

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Dr. Lorna Whittemore

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The breeding process of dogs is very different from that of humans, which can leave us with a ton of questions. When a male and female dog mate, the male dog will become “stuck” inside the female dog. If you’ve just come home and found your dogs together, you may be concerned with how long this process might take. When should you be concerned? Should you try to separate them? Here’s what you need to know.

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How Long Does it Take For Dogs to Mate?

Once the male and female dog are tied, it can take as little as 5-15 minutes to as much as 1 hour for the mating process to be complete. However, dogs can have a successful mating without a tie, so this isn’t necessarily proof of a successful mating. In fact, there’s no way to know right away if your dog’s mating has been successful or not.

If this was an unintentional mating, you should keep your female far outside the reach of any other male dogs for the remainder of her heat cycle. Follow up with your vet for information on when to check your dog for pregnancy. If the mating was intentional, many people continue to monitor their dog’s hormone levels and may aim for multiple breeding sessions spread across a few days to ensure a pregnancy occurs.

beagle dogs mating in the garden
Image Credit: Sigma_S, Shutterstock

Should I Separate Mating Dogs?

The copulatory tie happens when the male’s penis swells and the muscles of the female vagina contract to hold it there. This helps to keep semen within the reproductive tract of the female. No matter how badly you don’t want a pregnancy to occur, the answer to this question is that you should absolutely not attempt to separate dogs that have become tied. This can lead to physical injury to the genitals of both the male and female dog.

You may see people suggest things like dumping water on the dogs or spraying them with water guns, but this is only going to stress the dogs and may lead to injury. The act of the tie is a physiological action that dogs have no control over once it occurs. This means that once two dogs are tied together, nothing you can do can safely separate them except waiting for the attempted breeding to finish naturally.

How to Prevent Unwanted Mating

Unfortunately, the only guaranteed way to prevent unwanted mating events between two dogs is to have them spayed and neutered. Some people may not want to do this for a variety of reasons, though, which means you have to become an extra vigilant dog owner.

For owners of intact female dogs, it’s essential to keep your female dog contained during her heat cycle. This doesn’t just mean keeping her inside your fenced yard. Male dogs can smell a female in heat from miles away and will stop at just about nothing to get to her. This means that an unattended female dog in a fenced yard can still end up mated. It is not recommended to take your dog out for walks when she is in heat.  If you must take her out then try to avoid popular do walking times and make sure she is on a leash. In your home, she should be kept in separate rooms from any intact male dogs. It only takes one slip up for a mating to occur.

If you are an owner of an intact male dog, this means that you are responsible for keeping your dog contained at your home. Male dogs will dig or jump out of enclosures in search of an intact female. You must be vigilant about keeping your dog contained in your yard or on a leash. If there is an intact female in the home, keep the two dogs separate throughout her entire heat cycle.

Speak to your veterinarian about treatment options to avoid unwanted pregnancies.

two sheepdog mating
Image By: atiger, Shutterstock

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While it can only take a few minutes for two dogs to become tied, this doesn’t guarantee a successful mating. Your vet or a reproductive vet can give you specific information on when and how to check hormone levels and the receptivity of your female dog. If you are attempting to breed your dog, you should have a long conversation with your vet beforehand anyway so you are aware of the precautions to take through the whole process.

If you choose to keep your dog intact, you must become an extremely responsible pet owner. It’s your responsibility to keep your dog safe from unwanted pregnancies, as well as from injury from escape. It’s not uncommon for dogs to become injured or killed from escaping a yard in search of a mate.

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Featured Image Credit: Sigma_S, Shutterstock

Brooke Billingsley

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Brooke Billingsley spent nine years as a veterinary assistant before becoming a human nurse in 2013. She resides in Arkansas with her boyfriend of five years. She loves all animals and currently shares a home with three dogs, two cats, five fish, and two snails. She has a soft spot for special needs animals and has a three-legged senior dog and an internet famous cat with acromegaly and cerebellar hypoplasia. Fish keeping...Read more

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