Ever wondered if a male dog can keep on covering female dogs and breeding until they die? The reality is that male dogs can’t always keep on breeding, and at some point, they will be too old to breed. The consensus is that male dogs should stop breeding when they are 10-12 years of age.
However, there are a number of factors that will decide whether your male dog is still able to breed and when you should stop breeding them. Being a responsible dog owner and dog breeder means you will always put the health of your dogs first.
If you are registering your dog’s litters, you should keep in mind that the American Kennel Association will not register litters where the sire is more than 12 years of age.
7 Factors That Influence a Male Dog’s Breeding Age
When considering if your male dog is ready and able to breed again, you should keep the following in mind:
Factor One: Their Age
An older dog will begin to lose the hormones that drive them toward mating. They will become less interested in females and their sperm count will also decrease.
Along with age, several other factors will increase in how it influences your dog’s ability to breed. Their health, genetics, and hormones will all start to weigh in, possibly limiting your dog’s ability to breed and desire to do so.
Factor Two: The Previous Litter
When a male dog’s fertility starts to decrease, the size of its last litter will also start to diminish. You may notice that your dog needs to cover the female several times for her to become pregnant.
If the last litter they produced has smaller size puppies or there are only a few puppies per litter, then you know it is time to stop breeding your male dog. Low fertility and poor quality sperm may lead to puppies that won’t meet their breed standards or produce puppies with low health and survival rates.
Factor Three: Their Physical Condition
Breeding your male dog places quite a lot of strain on them. When they become hormonally charged to breed, they may stop eating, obsessing with the female dog. This can drain their energy and lead to rapid weight loss.
A male dog that is weak and sickly will struggle with the rigors of the breeding process, and they may not recover.
If you allow free-breeding instead of following in-hand breeding where the male and female are leashed, there may be fighting if the female is not yet ready to be mated. Your male dog may be injured if they are physically weak.
Factor Four: Their Current Health
When your dog has suffered a recent injury, it may not be in the best health to breed at that time. Cuts, infected injuries, broken bones, and recovering from illness may all reduce your dog’s hormone balance, causing them to lose interest in the female dog.
Your dog may also lack the stamina to breed with the female, and he may also be further injured during the breeding process if he has a broken bone or injury.
There is quite a variance in how long the actual copulation or breeding lasts, and your dog may be locked with the female for anything from 10-30 minutes or even hours. This can be quite exhausting to your dog, and if they have been recently ill, they may end up suffering because of the energy expense.
Factor Five: Any Genetic or Health Conditions
Should your dog have any genetic conditions that are showing up when they are older, you would want to stop breeding them immediately. Conditions such as hip dysplasia and arthritis are sure signs that they shouldn’t breed anymore.
Some older dogs also start to get kidney stones and an inflamed urinary tract, which will make breeding painful, and you should also stop when this happens.
If you notice that the last litter had puppies with genetic conditions such as poor eyesight, overbite, or low joint health, you should also stop breeding your male dog.
Factor Six: Their Hormone Levels
Older dogs see a drop in their hormone levels. This will lead to a decrease in sperm count, and they will also show less interest in females (even when the females are in heat).
Forcing your dog to still cover females when they have shown a lack of interest will lead to other health complications and make your male dog become stressed.
Factor Seven: Your Dog’s Mental Health
Breeding is a stressful business. Aside from the physical toll and fatigue that comes with breeding, it can also lead to mental strain. Your male dog may become more aggressive than usual if they no longer show any interest in inbreeding.
Some breeds have breeding issues, such as Scottish terriers that may need help from a vet to do artificial insemination. The procedure of harvesting the male dog’s sperm may become stressful to them, and they may start to experience mental decline as a result.
Older dogs may also start to show signs of dementia, and making your older male dog breed when they are suffering confusion and anxiety is not humane or productive.
Breeding Age of Male Dogs FAQs
How old can a male dog be and still breed?
Many male dogs can breed well into their senior years. It is believed that larger dogs can breed until much later in their lives than smaller dogs. On average, the rule of thumb is to stop breeding a male dog when their health shows they are unable to do so. This usually happens around the age of 10.
What happens if a male dog doesn’t mate?
While most dogs are physically able to mate, your male dog doesn’t have to mate in order to remain healthy. Neutering your male dog that is not being used for breeding helps them with urinary health and also makes for a cleaner dog that is more docile too.
How do I stop my male dog from mating?
Keeping your male dog from mating is a case of making sure the male and female dogs don’t have access to each other. If you live on a property with a large yard that is divided, you can keep your mating pair separated. Otherwise, you will have to consider getting sprays or using diapers.
How often should I let my male dog mate in a day?
Your male dog is capable of multiple matings in a day, but if you take breeding seriously, you will ensure they only mate once or twice every three days. This will ensure their sperm count remains high and produce good size litters.
At what age do dogs start breeding?
While female dogs can conceive their first litter while as young as six months of age, male dogs should be kept from the female dogs until they have fully grown. There are several reasons for doing this.
The strain of breeding may retard the dog’s own growth, and older dogs have already proven their physical traits and temperament.
Breeding your male dog is a personal choice for many dog owners and breeders. While you may want more litter or want to continue the bloodline, you should consider the dog’s health both physically and mentally.
Your male dog will be able to sire puppies well into their senior years, but by the age of 10, you should consider whether it’s time to stop breeding them for their own health.