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When Do Dobermans Go Into Heat? Get To Know Your Dog!

Chris Dinesen Rogers

By Chris Dinesen Rogers

Doberman Pinscher

Few dogs carry themselves with such elegance as the Doberman Pinscher. It’s probably one of the many reasons this breed ranks 18th among the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) list of the most popular canines1. If you’ve just invited a puppy into your home, you may wonder when it will go into heat or estrus. It typically occurs for the first time between 6–15 months2, depending on the pup’s size.

A Doberman is a large breed, with the female getting up to 26 inches tall3 and weighing 60–90 pounds. Therefore, you can expect the timing in the middle of that range, with sexual maturity at about 8–12 months4, depending on how big your dog is. Its health is also a contributing factor.

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Female Estrus Cycles

You’ll notice behavioral and physical changes in your pet at the beginning of the female’s estrus cycle. It consists of four phases. Its vulva will swell, accommodated by a blood-tinted discharge. Your pup is receptive to mating after it stops. The whole process takes about 2–3 weeks.

Females have two cycles roughly 6 months apart. However, the period between them is often longer in larger breeds, like the Doberman Pinscher.

black and tan female doberman pinscher dog standing on the bench
Image Credit: Michsa, Shutterstock

Spaying Female Dobermans

Your next question is probably when is it safe to spay my dog? It used to be a common practice to have the surgery done around 6 months old when the pet was fully vaccinated. Roughly 85% of dogs in the United States are neutered, with 32 states requiring it for shelter adoptions. The decrease in homeless pets is a compelling reason to opt for this procedure.

Other factors of spaying benefit both the dogs and their owners, including a longer lifespan with fewer sexually-related behavioral issues. However, does that mean you should spay your Doberman? Scientists have found that might not necessarily be the best advice across the board for all breeds, including the Doberman Pinscher.

Cancer Risk

One reason a pet owner may consider surgery for a Doberman is its risk of mammary tumors. Research has shown this breed, among others, has a heightened rate for this risk, with a 62% chance of it developing by 10 years old. Therefore, it would seem to make sense to get your pup spayed as a preventive measure. Unfortunately, the correlation isn’t compelling enough to make that recommendation.

Another concern with Dobermans rests with the breed’s risk of developing osteosarcoma or bone cancer. While it’s more likely to occur in these pups, some research suggests spaying may increase the chances of it happening. However, it’s worth noting that the incident rate of this disease is only 0.2%.

The data tell us that the onset of these conditions has other mitigating factors, with genetics being the proverbial wild card. Timing of the procedure, the pet’s age, and other variables may play a role, with a definitive association and disease occurrence yet to be determined.


Pyometra, defined as an infection in the uterus, occurs in females as a secondary infection after several estrus cycles resulting in no pregnancies. It usually develops in older pets, making spaying a potential benefit for high-risk breeds. Fortunately, the list doesn’t include Dobermans. However, surgery makes the condition a non-issue if done when the dog is young.

a doberman dog at the vet
Image Credit: Roman Fenton, Shutterstock

Urinary Incontinence

Doberman Pinschers have a greater chance of developing urinary incontinence after being spayed. However, the evidence suggests that timing is a critical factor, with a greater risk of developing in dogs undergoing this procedure before they are six months old. These findings may mean that delaying the surgery in Dobermans may offer additional health benefits.

Obesity Risk

Part of the beauty of the Doberman breed is its sleek profile, with its powerful chest and lean form. One concern of spaying lies with the animal’s obesity risk. Hormonal changes brought on by the surgery lower the dog’s metabolic rate. Thus, its caloric requirements are also less.

Therefore, monitoring your pet’s body condition is even more critical after spaying. Obesity can increase your pup’s risk of developing other chronic diseases that can lower their quality of life and lifespan.

Other Things to Consider

We understand why some dog owners would choose to spay their pets before their first heat cycles. However, the evidence tells us that it isn’t a cut-and-dry solution for all. You should think about other things that may influence your decision. Would you want to breed your dog? Are you interested in showing your Doberman? If so, bear in mind that it must be intact to compete in conformation trials.

Other considerations involve the procedure itself. It’s less risky and may have fewer complications when done in puppies versus adult dogs. It’s also more expensive if you delay it. All these things point to one conclusion.

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Final Thoughts

Knowing when your Doberman will go into heat gives you time to decide whether or not you should spay your dog. While there are many reasons to get it done, discussing your decision with your vet is equally essential. It’s vital if your pup is at a higher risk of specific health conditions. Spaying may provide a better quality of life for your Dobie, as long as you manage its weight properly afterward.

Featured Image Credit: PxHere

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