Sasha, one of our Brittany/Cavalier girls is now 11 months old and finally has come on heat for the first time with us noticing a slight bloody discharge and slight swelling of her vulva this morning. More often than not with small to medium dogs their first heat is at around 6 months old, but like Sasha it can take longer before their first heat. The longest time I've had a small/medium sized bitch go before their first heat is with our Cavalier girl Millie, who had her first heat at 14 months old. She then cycled until spayed a few years ago either 10 or 12 months. Some might wonder if taking longer to cycle and longer time between cycles might indicate lower fertility, but in Millie's case it seems to indicate the opposite, as she had 3 litters of pups having 6, 6 and 7 pups. With the average for Cavalier litter size being around 4 pups per litter, she more than showed that fertility was not an issue.
Interesting reading around the internet looking for an article to link to about heat (Estrus) cycles in Dogs. Many will tell you that bitches are more aggressive when on heat, but don't explain why you might see more aggression at this time with a bitch. The aggression will not be with you, but with other dogs. What happens when a dog comes on heat, is weeks before she starts to bleed, she will be giving off scents (that you will not be able to smell) to other dogs that she is coming near to her heat. Over zealous males and females on getting these scents will try to court her and mount her. The aggression that the bitch displays to other dogs as she comes in to heat and whilst on heat, until she is ready to mate, is just her telling the over zealous that she is not interested in mating yet. So the aggression will be about the way other dogs behave to her.
We have known that Sasha has been coming on heat for the last couple weeks, as the whole pack male and female take more interest than normal in sniffing her after urinating and trying to mount her, and when playing with her sister Bertha (who normally does not try to mount her) it ends with Bertha trying to mount her. Yes, bitches mount and they also mark as well.
“The greatest pleasure of a dog is that you may make a fool of yourself with him, and not only will he not scold you,but he will make a fool of himself, too.”
― Samuel Butler
Me (Jane) with Puddin' and Teagol, waiting patiently to flush a patch of kale, December 2019
Hello, I am Jane!