This article covers all the important aspects of when your poodle has her first heat cycle, the signs to look out for, when she’ll reach physical maturity, and many other breeding best practices that are essential to know.
10 to 12 months is when most Poodles get their first heat cycle. However, it potentially can range from as early as 6 months of age, all the way to 18 months of age, and in very rare cases, even longer.
When Will Your Poodle Have Her First Heat Cycle?
Depending on who you ask, you may hear something drastically different. Some owners report their Poodle going into heat as early as 6 months of age, and others as late as 2 years old.
Despite the huge range, most Poodles go into heat around 10 to 12 months. But don’t be worried if your Poodle doesn’t. Earlier or later, it’s still considered normal and common. There are many factors that can change when your Poodle will have her first heat cycle.
An interesting point to make is the size of your Poodle… Small breeds usually go into heat quicker than large breeds. This means a toy Poodle will be more likely be on the early end of the range, whereas a standard Poodle (physically much bigger) would usually take longer.
Signs Your Poodle Is Going Into Heat
You will first start noticing signs your Poodle is going into her first heat cycle.
Signs your Poodle is going into heat:
● Swollen vulva
● Discharge (blood-tinged)
● Change in behavior (clingy and aggressive towards males)
● Change in tail positions (usually held high)
The most common signs you will witness will be excessive licking of the genital area, blood-tinged discharge, swollen vulva and, aggression toward male dogs.
Flirty behavior only comes once she’s in the second stage of her cycle. This brings us to the next section.
Different Stages Of Your Poodle’s Heat Cycle
Once your Poodle enters into her heat cycle, it doesn’t mean she’s immediately ready to mate. Your poodle will only be ready to mate, during the second half of her heat cycle.
Take a look at the TWO stages of the heat cycle below. Although there are technically four stages, these two are the most relevant.
Proestrus stage: First 8-10 days (Not Fertile)
Your Poodle will first enter the proestrus stage for around 8-10 days. Expect to see some bleeding and a swollen vulva throughout this stage.
Important to note! During the proestrus stage, your Poodle will NOT want to mate. So it’s highly recommended to keep her away from males for the first 8-10 days to avoid aggression and fighting.
Estrus stage: Second 8-10 days (Fertile)
The second half of the cycle known as the estrus stage begins after the proestrus stage. This lasts for another 8-10 days and is when she’s fertile and capable of getting pregnant.
You may see her discharge to become very water at this point and this is a good sign. It means she is at her most fertile and ready to mate.
Aggressive behavior will turn to flirty behavior and her tail will be held high.
How Often Do Poodles Go Into Heat?
Another common question to have is how often will your Poodle go into heat. Believe it or not, this changes for each poodle, and yes, it’s because of their size!
Being the smallest of the bunch, Toy Poodles mature earlier both sexually and physically. You can also expect Toy Poodles to have 2 to 4 heat cycles per year.
Miniature Poodles are considered a small breed, and will have heat cycles as frequently as 2, or most likely 3 times per year.
Standard Poodles are the largest of the three which means they mature much later than their smaller cousins. Standard Poodles will have around 2 heat cycles per year.
These are just guidelines and it may vary for your Poodle, but in general, the smaller the breed, the more frequent her heat cycles will be.
What’s The Best Age to Breed a Poodle?
Your Poodle will be capable of breeding from when she goes into her first heat cycle. But this is not recommended for some crucial reasons explained below.
The best age to breed your Poodle is around 2 years of age, OR whenever she has reached sexual and physical maturity after having her second or third heat cycle.
Let’s run through the reasons why it’s critical to wait:
Her body isn’t ready: During the first and even the second heat cycle, her body is still not sexually or physically mature (despite being capable of breeding).
If she was to be bred at this early stage, her body would be going through immense stress and unique physiological and biological changes before her own body is properly developed. As you can imagine, this can cause a wide array of health issues not only for her but for the offspring too.
Health issues in your Poodle may be present: Responsible breeding is of utmost importance, which means breeding together only healthy dogs.
A major issue when breeding a young female dog is that she could have underlying health conditions that have not yet shown themselves. This will likely be passed down onto the offspring.
Increased risk to offspring and mother: It’s not just health issues that can happen either, breeding too early on can have serious negative behavioral effects on the mother and even the offspring in the future.
Stress, anxiety, depression, aloofness, and aggression are just some of the possible outcomes of going through a stressful ordeal at such a young age.
How Many Puppies Can a Poodle Have?
How big is a litter of puppies from a Poodle?
There are two main factors that can affect the size of the litter. This is the physical size of your Poodle (Toy, Miniature or Standard) and whether she is in good health and has reached full sexual maturity when she is bred.
The average litter size for Standard Poodles is 3 to 6 pups. This is assuming the Poodle is in full health and has reached sexual maturity before being bred.
The average litter size for Miniature Poodles and Toy Poodles is naturally less. Miniatures typically produce litters of 2-4, and it’s very common for a Toy Poodle to have only a single puppy.
But, it must be said that litter sizes can always vary!
Although very rare, you may be fortunate enough to have a litter of upwards of 10 pups! This still likely wouldn’t happen with a Toy Poodle, but it’s happened before with Standard Poodles. So you must always be prepared!
Signs Your Poodle Is Pregnant
There are a range of signs you can look out for after having bred your Poodle which may indicate pregnancy.
It can take up to 30 days after mating to notice any of the following signs:
● Weight gain will happen around 30-40 days after mating. As she gets further into pregnancy, her weight may even double.
● Her teats may become swollen, secret a semi-clear liquid, and change color slightly.
● You may witness vaginal discharge around 30 days after mating.
● Vomiting early on is also typical, but if vomiting becomes excessive, visit your veterinarian asap.
● It’s normal for her to become quieter and less sociable.
● In the very beginning, her appetite will likely decrease, and then increase drastically the further through the pregnancy she is.
If you suspect she is pregnant but you are not sure, the best thing to do is visit your veterinarian for a check-up.
So there you have it! Your Poodle will typically go into heat between 10-12 months, but this can range from as early as 6 months, all the way up to 18 months and over.
Physical size has a lot to do with how soon she will go into heat and how often it will happen from then on. Toy Poodles will usually come into heat much sooner and more frequently than Standard Poodles.
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The best brush to keep your poodle tangle-free is without a doubt a simple Slicker Brush. This brush will also do a good job at removing loose hairs and debris from the coat.
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Brain Training For Dogs has become increasingly popular in the last few years and is now recognized as one of the best ways to train dogs in the most stress-free, positive way.
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Keep your poodle at the correct weight by switching out the high-calorie treats and opting for something healthier. Zuke’s Mini Naturals contain only 2 calories per treat and are made from natural ingredients, making these some of the healthiest treats on the market.