Dogs can become huge parts of our lives, and we often breed our dogs so that they can have puppies, and our dog’s legacy can live on forever. If you have an older dog, you may be wondering if it is too late for them to have puppies, and at what age is too old for a dog to breed.
Despite most dogs getting a little slower, grayer, and calmer as they age, you may be surprised to find that some dogs can have puppies much later in life, and are known to breed further on in their latter years of life.
So, how old can a dog have puppies? With our guide, we will tell you how old a dog can have puppies, how young a dog can have puppies, and how to stop your older dog from having puppies!
How old can a dog have puppies?
The short answer to this question is that female dogs can have puppies up until the point where they are about 10 years old. For male dogs, they are still able to create puppies even when they are 12 years old.
However, this does depend on the breed, and the dog itself. In addition, having puppies too late in life can be detrimental to your dog’s mental and physical health, and giving birth can be very traumatic for some dogs.
Sometimes, it can be better for some dogs not to breed or have puppies, as having puppies can take a toll on their bodies, or not spaying them can leave them at risk of infections and diseases. If you are thinking of breeding your dog, then make sure that you have consulted the veterinarian first, and are aware of the risks that may follow, to see if it is safe for your dog.
It should also be noted that not everyone should breed their dogs, and an amateur breeder without proper training, knowledge or license can be extremely harmful to the dog, and unethical. If you are not a licensed breeder, or someone with knowledge in the field of animal breeding, it should be left to a professional.
What is the oldest a dog can have puppies?
If you have an older dog, you will have noticed how much they can slow down as they reach the golden years of their lives. This is why it can be a little bit of a surprise to find out that your dog is pregnant, or expecting, and they are a little past their prime.
Whether your dog can have puppies or not will depend on their age, along with a few other factors. So, let’s take a look at the youngest a dog can have pups, how old a male dog can breed, and how old a female dog can be having puppies!
What is the youngest a dog can have puppies?
If you have ever had a puppy, then you know yourself how fast they grow up. One minute they are little bundles of floof, the next they are bouncing off the walls and furniture in your home.
This is why it comes as no surprise that puppies can mature very quickly, and can reach sexual maturity from a young age! This is when a lot of unexpected pregnancies can happen, as you may have been unaware that your cute little puppy may have been a little naughty!
For instance, some puppies can reach sexual maturity and are able to reproduce from as young as 5 months. However, for the most part, most puppies will reach maturity from about 6 to 9 months old, and can actually have puppies at this point.
Female dogs can often surprise you, because unlike male dogs they do not hump often, or show any signs that they have reached sexual maturity…until they become pregnant. This is why, if you have no intentions of allowing your dog to breed, then you should have them neutered or spayed from a young age to avoid any…accidents.
What is the oldest a male dog can produce puppies?
Just like in humans, most male dogs can produce puppies much later in life, whereas female dogs may struggle to get pregnant past a certain age. When it comes to breeding dogs, male dogs are often used to sire new puppies for much longer than female dogs.
In some breeds, a male dog can be used to make puppies up until they reach around 10 or 12 years old. That being said, much larger dogs should be bred at a younger age, whereas smaller breeds are capable of producing children at a later age.
In addition, whether an older male dog can produce puppies will depend on their sperm. Factors such as the sperm quality, quantity and count will affect how well they can reproduce. As dogs get older, their sperm count can decrease much quicker, and it is more unlikely that they would be able to produce puppies.
This is why some breeders will examine and check their male dog’s sperm frequently, and will see how often a dog conceives with the sperm to ensure that they are capable of producing more puppies.
When dogs get older, the puppies that they produce may not be as healthy or the female dog may not get pregnant successfully. Once the sperm count slows down or becomes less successful, it may be time to retire the male dog, and let him live out his remaining years peacefully.
What is the oldest a female dog can have puppies?
Just like male dogs, female dogs can be bred later in life, but just not as late as males. Whilst male dogs can produce puppies at the age of 12, female dogs can produce puppies up until about 8-10 years of age.
If you have a female dog that you think is past the age of breeding, then you could be wrong, and it might be viable to leave her on a leash when in public places, just in case.
Female dogs can actually remain fertile and reproduce for most of their lives, and some are able to have litters up until they are 10 years old. When you consider the fact that most dogs only live between 10-13 years old depending on the breed, having puppies at this ripe old age is an incredible feat.
However, some breeds are not capable of reproducing at an older age, and stop being able to have puppies around the age of 6 or 7 years old. Typically, the larger the dog breed, the shorter the lifespan, and so some large dogs cannot be bred once they become older.
Despite the fact that it is possible for older dogs to have puppies, it is not always a good idea. Female dogs do not enter menopause, which means that they are in fact fertile for their whole lives, but pregnancies later in life are not always as successful.
In addition, the older a female dog gets, the less often she will have heat or menstrual cycles. This is what makes it far more difficult for the dog to get pregnant or have a litter of puppies. Even if an older female dog did have puppies, she may struggle to care for them, she may not be able to produce milk, or she may shun them, which would make survival for those puppies very hard.
Older female dogs can come into many complications if they are pregnant too late in life, and the dog may not survive through labor, let alone the puppies. This not only risks the health of the mother dog, but all of the puppies, too. It is for these reasons that it is sometimes more advisable to prevent an older dog from having puppies, in case of any problems or health issues that can arise.
How to stop an old dog having puppies
The best way to prevent your dog from having puppies is to ensure that they are neutered or spayed from a young age. If you know when you have your dog, as a puppy that you are not going to breed them, then it is vital that you spay them or neuter them as soon as it is safe to do so. This can not only prevent any unwanted litters, but also reduce the risk of infections, diseases, and aggressive behavior.
That being said, if you take in an older dog that has been bred, then it can be unsafe to spay them later in life. If this is the case, then you will have to take some extra precautions when caring for your dog. For instance, if you have an older female dog that is not spayed, then you must always keep her leashed in public especially when she is in heat.
This is to prevent her running off to see male dogs when in the park, as you may not be able to stop them mounting her in time, and you could be left with a pregnancy to deal with! In a similar way, if you have a male dog who is not neutered, then it is your responsibility to keep it on a lead around other female dogs, or he can run off and find female dogs to reproduce little mini me’s with.
Unneutered male dogs can still try and find spayed females to mount and hump, which can be very embarrassing if you have left him to roam freely in the local park. By the time you run after him, he may have already mounted an innocent dog trying to enjoy their walkies, and you have the embarrassing task of peeling him away from them! So, keep him leashed!
Even if you think that your dog is trained, when they are in heat, or see dogs of the opposite sex, then can ignore your commands and do as they please! Dogs can find it difficult to control their mating urges, especially when in heat, so it is better to take some precautionary measures and keep them on a lead until it has passed.
This is even more important if you have both a male and a female dog. When the female dog comes into heat, you should keep the dogs separated.
How long before dogs can have their own puppies?
Puppies are little bundles of joy. They are full of energy, love, and can be very bouncy. However, they grow up so fast, and before you know it they are almost fully grown. You may also notice that your puppy can reach sexual maturity very quickly. This can happen from a young age, and sooner than you probably thought.
Surprisingly, a young pup may begin to reach sexual maturity at around 5 months old, and may get pregnant from this age onwards. This is why it is important that you make a decision regarding spaying or neutering your dog from early onwards, so that you are not left with an unwanted pregnancy, or lots of puppies to care for all of a sudden.
If you are planning on breeding your dog, then always be aware of the best practice, and what times they typically reach sexual maturity, so that they are not bred when they are too young, or too old.
Most dogs reach sexual maturity, or puberty from about five to six months old, however, this depends on the breed. Some smaller breeds may reach sexual maturity from a younger age, and other, larger breeds may not come into heat for the first time until they are about a year or eighteen months old.
Frequently Asked Questions
We have found some recently asked questions regarding dogs having puppies later in life to help you understand how old a dog can be having puppies.
Can an 8 year old dog have puppies?
An 8 year old dog can indeed have puppies, but this does depend on the breed as smaller breeds can have longer lifespans, and so having puppies later on in life is not as risky as it is to larger breeds with shorter lifespans.
Can a 10 year old dog have puppies?
It is possible for a 9 year old dog to have puppies, as some breeds have longer lifespans than other breeds.
That being said, the later a dog has puppies in life, the more dangerous and risky it can be for their health. However, it is not unheard of.
Can a 12 year old dog have puppies?
Whilst a male 12 year old dog may still be fertile, it is highly unlikely that a 12 year old female dog would still be able to get pregnant, and give birth to any puppies.
A pregnancy this late in a dog’s life, would possibly mean that a pregnancy could risk the dog’s life, and it is highly unlikely that the pregnancy would go to full term.
To conclude, most dogs can begin reproducing from about a year old. What is surprising is that many dogs can keep reproducing until they are very old, with male dogs able to have puppies up to 12 years old and females up to 10 years old.
As with any creature, the older they get, the more at risk dogs can be to illnesses and health issues, so it is generally advised that you do not breed dogs very late into their lives. That being said, if you are looking to breed your dog for the next generation of perfect pups, then you may be surprised that it is not too late to do so, as long as the veterinarian approves.
In other cases, as your dog ages, becomes a little slower, a little quieter and a little gray around the mouth, it may be time to let them calm down, stop breeding, and live out the rest of their remaining years cuddled up with you on the sofa, or napping by the fireplace.