Maltese dogs are playful and charming pups known for their long, flowing white coats. The Maltese breeding age starts as soon as she has her first heat, which is usually around 6 months of age, and the heat cycle has four stages.Your pup will go into heat two to three times each year. Each heat cycle has four different stages.
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Maltese breeding age
A Maltese can get pregnant as soon as she has her first heat, which usually happens between 4 and 8 months of age. Once she gets her first heat, she will continue to have heat cycles through her senior years.
Although your Maltese is capable of breeding when she is a senior, it can be very difficult for her, so consider having her spayed when you no longer plan to breed her. In fact, the American Kennel Club sets age limits on breeding dogs and will not register puppies from dogs outside that age range. Female dogs must be more than 8 months and less than 12 years old at the time of breeding.
Maltese heat cycle stages
The proestrus stage of the heat cycle is when your dog is in heat. Physical Maltese in heat symptoms include a swollen vulva and pink or red discharge. You may also notice behavioral changes, such as attempting to escape to find a mate. Male dogs will also show a lot of interest in the female at this time. Proestrus lasts about nine days but may last as many as 27 days in some dogs. This is the time when your dog's estrogen levels are the highest.
After the proestrus stage, your Maltese enters the estrus stage of the heat cycle. This is the time when she will accept being bred by a male and can get pregnant. This stage lasts between four and 24 days. Discharge slows during this phase, and the vulva gets softer to accept the male.
The third phase of the Maltese heat cycle is called diestrus. Estrogen levels fall while progesterone levels rise. The dog can no longer get pregnant and won't accept or attract males. After approximately two months in the diestrus phase, the Maltese enters the final stage, called anestrus. There are no symptoms of heat at this stage. Anestrus is the longest phase of the cycle and lasts approximately four months.
Responsible breeding considerations
If you do opt to breed your dog, take the time to research the Maltese breed standard and common genetic conditions for the breed. Luxating patella and heart anomalies are common concerns, so make sure to have your female tested before deciding to breed. If she is healthy and you are ready to move forward, select a stud dog who also meets the breed standard and has had health tests to ensure he won't pass on genetic conditions to the puppies.
Benefits of spaying
Breeding a Maltese responsibly can be time-consuming and requires plenty of hard work. If you don't plan on breeding your dog, spaying not only prevents an unplanned litter but also offers many other benefits for you and your pup. A spayed dog won't attract male attention, and you will avoid the behavioral challenges that can come with a dog being in heat. Additionally, spayed dogs are less likely to develop breast tumors and uterine infections.