When Do Australian Shepherds Go Into Heat?

Australian Shepherd Heat

Australian Shepherd Heat

There’s no fixed date for an Australian Shepherd female to go into heat.

But generally, the female Australian Shepherd can go into heat from 6 to 12 months. However, there has been a dog owner whose pets didn’t go into their heat cycle until they were 14 months or even 15 months old.

Your australian shepherds heat cycle might be early, normal, or late. There’s no need to worry about the time when your Aussie might go into its dog heat cycle.

However, understanding the stages of the heat cycle, and the whole process of heat is crucial to take better care of your aussie.

In this article, I’ll explain everything you need to know to stay prepared and ready.

At What Age Do Australian Shepherds Go Into Heat?

Although the age to breed can vary for every Australian shepherd, the general age is 6 to 12 months. It’s unique for every dog. It’s more or less the same for every dog breed.

How Long Do Australian Shepherds Stay in Heat?

Australian Shepherds usually stay in heat for as long as 2 to 4 weeks. Most of the time it’ll be 3 weeks but that can vary by a few days more or less.

How Often Do Australian Shepherds Go Into Heat

Australian Shepherds go into heat every 6 months, that is; twice a year. The heat cycle schedule of your dog throughout its life is determined by the first time it goes into its heat cycle, and it’s different for each dog.

What are the Signs of Your Australian Shepherd Going into Heat?

So, you can’t know exactly when your dog will experience their first heat cycle. What do you do then?

Well, some signs indicate that your Australian Shepherd is going to go into heat.

These signs are the same for all dog breeds, and understanding them is crucial. Here’s a detailed explanation of what changes might take place.

Your Dog’s Vulva Would Swell

The vulva is the outer portion of the reproductive tract. Your Australian Shepherd’s vulva would start swelling during the first stage, that is the proestrus stage, of the heat cycle. I’ll explain the stages later on in the article.

It will be at its maximum size during the second stage, that’s the estrus stage.

After your dog has completed the estrus stage, its vulva would start shrinking and eventually go back to its normal size.

Your Aussie Will Bleed and Discharge

Spots of blood and pale straw-colored discharge might start appearing around the house. Some dogs bleed less while others bleed more.

However, generally, dogs bleed and discharge a lot more than other animals like cats. So a dog owner can expect to buy a lot of diapers for their pet.

So if your Australian Shepherd starts to bleed from her vulva, it’s time for you to start making efforts for additional care, and take the proper actions and precautions to ensure a safe heat cycle.

Your Dog Might Lick its Private Parts

The vulva would swell, and there would be a lot of bleeding and discharge. As a result, the female might lick her private parts in an attempt to clean the area. This is natural.

But your job is to let her lick her private parts and clean herself as much as she wants. This is natural and you don’t want to be interrupting her cleaning process.

But if she’s licking the parts too much, doggy diapers might be useful.

Your Aussie Might Act Unusual Near a Male Dog

During her heat cycle, the female Australian shepherd might act flirty or nervous near a male dog.

During the proestrus stage, the Australian shepherd will not want to be around her male counterparts. It’s because she’s in the beginning stage of her heat period, and isn’t ready to breed yet.

It’s quite the opposite during the estrus phase, however. At this point, she’s ready. She’ll act flirty around male dogs, and actively seek a partner.

See also  Are Australian Shepherds Hypoallergenic?

This is your cue that your dog is definitely in its estrus stage. And it’s time for you to take action.

Your Dog Will Urinate Frequently

Yes, your pet is going to pee a lot more than usual. So make sure she drinks plenty of water.

Dogs urinate a lot when they go through their heat cycle because the inner body changes cause the body to lose a lot of water in the process.

She might also pee in small quantities, around the house, or when going on a walk. It’s a female dog’s instinctive behavior of marking its territory.

Your Australian Shepherd Will Have Mood Swings

The heat period is a painful time for your female dog. As a result, she might get nervous, restless, or more aggressive than usual.

She’ll walk around the house more. She might nibble or chew on her toys in a destructive manner to blow off some stress. She might or might not want other dogs around.

If you get these signs, it’s worth it to take her to the veterinarian and confirm if she’s going into heat or not.

Your Dog Will Tuck In its Tail

During the beginning of the heat period, your dog is going to go through hormonal changes, but won’t be ready to breed yet. As a result, it will tuck in its tail, covering its private parts.

However, when she’s ready to breed, she’ll move her tail to the side, signaling to the male dogs that she’s ready.

If the position of your dog’s tail has changed suddenly, it’s a sign that she is going through her heat period.

What are the Stages of the Australian Shepherd Heat Cycle?

Understanding the stages of the dog heat cycle and how it all works, is crucial to taking good care of your pet.

Here is the 4 stages of the dog heat cycle.

Stage 1 – Proestrus Stage

This is the first stage of your Aussie’s heat cycle. Your Aussie will start having hormonal changes. There will be bleeding and discharge. The vulva would swell. But she isn’t ready to mate at this stage. This stage is the pre-period for her to breed.

How Long Does the Proestrus Stage Last?

This stage generally lasts for 8 – 10 days in Australian Shepherds. But keep in mind that this duration is a general estimate. Your dog may or may not fall into this range. Keep in touch with your vet to ensure everything’s safe.

What Are The Signs of Proestrus Stage

  • The dog will get a swollen vulva.
  • The vulva would be rather hard than soft.
  • There will be personality changes e.g. nervousness, aggressiveness, restlessness, or flirty behavior.
  • There might be diet changes.
  • She may or may not want to drink water.
  • She may or may not want to eat a lot.
  • She’ll be tucking her tail in, indicating she is not receptive to the male dog yet.

Stage 2 – Estrus Stage

This is the stage where the female dog will want to breed. She is the most fertile at this moment and ready to mate. This is the stage where she can get pregnant. Ensure extra care at this stage of the heat period.

How Long Does the Estrus Stage Last?

In Australian shepherds, this stage also roughly lasts for 8 – 10 days, after the proestrus stage. Again, this can be different for different dogs, so consult your veterinarian about this matter.

What Are The Signs of Estrus Stage?

  • The vulva would still be swollen.
  • There would be a little bit of softening of the vulva so that it’s ready to breed.
  • Your Aussie will move her tail to the side, instead of tucking it in, which is a sure sign for the male dogs to enter.
  • She will act flirty with male dogs, like walking in circles around them or being extra clingy.
  • She will actively seek other dogs to mate with.
  • She might run off to other dogs, while on the walk.
  • She might want to get out of the house, to seek a male partner.
  • She might want to mingle with other male dogs in the house.
  • There might be mounting and humping on other dogs.
See also  Do Australian Shepherds Like To Cuddle?

Stage 3 – Diestrus Stage

The stage that comes after the Estrus cycle is the Diestrus stage. The Australian Shepherd is no longer fertile or ready to conceive. Her behaviors would slowly return to normal. And she would start avoiding other dogs.

This stage is different, depending upon if your Aussie has become pregnant or not.

How Long Does The Diestrus Stage Last?

If Your Aussie Is Pregnant

If your Aussie is impregnated during the Estrus stage, then the Anestrus stage would last from the end of the Estrus stage to the birth of the litter. This is usually 60 – 70 days.

If Your Aussie Is Not Pregnant

But if your Australian Shepherd doesn’t get pregnant, she is no longer fertile. She’ll start getting back to normal in 6 – 7 days.

What Are The Signs of the Diestrus Stage?

  • The vulva would start becoming smaller, more towards its normal size.
  • She will not mingle with other dogs as she did in the Estrus Stage.
  • She’ll start to act more normal.

Stage 4 – Anestrus Stage

The Anestrus stage is the final stage of the heat cycle. It’s the period between the previous heat cycle and the next heat period. It marks the end of the heat cycle. She can’t become pregnant at this stage.

What Are The Signs of Anestrus Stage?

  • The vulva would completely return to normal.
  • The bleeding would stop.
  • The mood swings, diet, and personality habits would get back to normal.

How to Look After Your Australian Shepherd during its Heat Period?

Your Australian Shepherd is going through a hard time. She’ll be emotionally as well as physically uncomfortable. So make some extra effort in looking out for her and ensuring a comfortable heat period.

Clean-Up Tips For Your Dog’s Heat Cycle

During this period, there might be spots of blood and discharge appearing all over your house.

Here’s how you can keep things clean and tidy.

Get Some Good Doggy Diapers

Doggy diapers will prevent blood and discharge from leaking and getting all over the floor or the furniture.

The way doggy diapers work is that you just tie the diapers around your Aussie’s private parts, and the blood and discharge will collect in the diaper instead of spilling out.

Change the doggy diapers after every few hours to prevent infection and keep your Australian Shepherd clean.

Use an Old Towel or Blanket During Sleep

Put an old towel, or a blanket in your dog’s bed, or the area where she sleeps. It can be the bed, couch, chair, and every other place where she likes to nap.

You can wash the towel when she wakes up, put it up for drying, and then use it again. You’ll need 2 or 3 towels at most.

Have Hand-on Wipes For A Quick Clean Up

Chances are that blood and discharge would still get on the floor and furniture. In that case, have hand-on cleaning wipes, to quickly wipe up the spotted areas.

It’s also a good idea to remove the carpets. However, good quality pet carpet cleaners are also available in the market, to keep them tidy.

How To Keep Your Dog Comfortable While In Heat?

If your female Australian Shepherd is going through her heat cycle for the first time, it will be an emotional and physical train wreck for her. She won’t be able to handle it very well.

So, here’s how to keep your dog comfortable while in heat.

See also  When Do Australian Shepherd Puppies Lose Their Puppy Fur?

Make Extra Time For Snuggles And Cuddles

Your pet might get extra clingy and cuddle to you, as she’s nervous. So, grab a blanket, and keep her calm and cozy.

You can also keep her in your room and work simultaneously, so she can snuggle whenever she wants.

Get Her a Chewy Toy For Stress Relieving

During her heat period, your Australian Shepherd may chew on her toys a lot more than usual. It’s a way for her to relieve her stress.

Get her an extra resistant, chewable toy, that she can chew on and blow off steam.

Never Scold Her, Just Encourage Her

Whenever your dog makes a mess, don’t scold her. She’ll become even more nervous and stressed out.

Just clean up the mess, pat on her back, and encourage her; signaling that everything will be alright and she doesn’t have to worry about anything.

She needs all the support she can get, so make sure to stay with her and support her as much as you can.

Take Good Care of Her Diet and Water

Her eating and drinking habits might change. So you need to keep her healthy and hydrated at all times.

Make sure she eats a nice and healthy diet; and drinks plenty of water, so she doesn’t get dehydrated due to frequent urination.

Take Her Out For Frequent Potty Breaks

Your Australian Shepherd will want to pee a lot during this period. Take her out for frequent potty breaks, so she can relieve herself.

If she pees somewhere in the house, do not scold her. Just clean up the mess, and create a space for her to urinate comfortably.

What To Do If You Want To Avoid The Heat Cycle or Pregnancy

You may not want an unwanted pregnancy for a lot of reasons.

  • You may not have the resources or time to care for the litter.
  • You may want your Aussie to be comfortable and not go through so much pain.

Whatever your reasons are, here’s what to do if you want to avoid pregnancies.

Keep Her Separate From Other Male Dogs In The House

Your Australian Shepherd will try to mingle with other male dogs in the house. Make sure to keep them separate.

Maybe get them separate rooms, and keep an eye on them when you go out for walks. You can also take them out for walks separately.

Keep Her On A Leash During Walks

If you don’t keep your Aussie on a leash during walks, she’ll tend to run off to mate with other male dogs.

Male dogs can smell female hormones from a mile away, so they’ll be surrounding her a lot during walks.

During your dog’s heat cycle, keep an eye on her at all times.

Be Extra Vigilant of the Male Dogs

The male dogs can sense females during their heat period from very far away.

  • They might come near her during walks.
  • They might surround your house.
  • They might get aggressive.

Whatever the case, keep the male dogs away.

Get Your Dog Sprayed

In most cases, spaying a female dog. This is the easiest way to avoid an unwanted litter. It’s a win-win situation for both you and her.

  • Spaying or Neutering reduces the risks of further complications; like uterine infection and cancer; in your dog.
  • She won’t have to endure the stressful heat period.
  • You won’t have to take extra care of your dog.
  • In 70% of the cases, spaying is safe.

Get her spayed between 4 to 9 months.


If you just got a female Australian Shepherd for the first time, it can be pretty daunting when they go through their first heat cycle. I hope this article helped you in identifying the heat period, dealing with it, and taking better care of your dog, so she can grow healthy and happy.

Keep your Australian Shepherd happy!

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