How Often Do German Shorthaired Pointers Go Into Heat?

German Shorthaired Pointers are some of the cutest pups you’ll ever find, but if you’ve just gotten a female, you’re probably worried about a few things in the midst of the fawning and admiration. Questions around their heat period are often high on the list. So what’s the reality on that front?

German Shorthaired Pointers typically go into heat once every six months. Most of them will experience the first heat cycle when they are five to 14 months old. After the first cycle, the next one will occur six months in and continue over the dog’s lifespan—barring any health issues.

In this article, I’ll take a closer look at what you need to know about a German Shorthaired Pointer’s heat period. You’ll learn what to do to make the phase as easy as possible for you and your dog.

The German Shorthaired Pointer Heat Cycle 

A German Shorthaired Pointer’s heat cycle, or estrus, is when the dog’s reproductive system prepares to conceive new puppies. 

The first heat cycle will typically occur when the GSP is between five and 14 months old, though smaller-sized GSPs experience the first heat cycle earlier.

The average heat cycle will last approximately three weeks. 

The second week is when the GSP is most fertile because it is the ovulation week. As soon as your dog completes the first heat cycle, expect a repeat every six months.

In the early days, the frequency may vary slightly. Still, expect a heat period at least twice a year and for the cycle to continue throughout the dog’s life. 

The wait time will get longer as she ages, but it never stops completely.

What Happens to a German Shorthaired Pointer During the Heat Period?

A German Shorthaired Pointer in heat will display an array of physical and behavioral differences. The first two signs are a swollen vulva and frequent urination. Bleeding will follow, lasting between 12 and 21 days. Behaviorally, dogs in heat may also display greater nervousness and alertness.

It’s also not uncommon for some dogs to become hyperactive around this time. 

You should note that your GSP isn’t receptive to mating from the onset of the heat period. She’ll only start signaling to potential mates in the middle or towards the end of estrus.

Bloody Discharge

At the start, the estrogen levels rise and fall as necessary to facilitate the release of eggs. During this phase, you’ll notice some bloody discharge around the dog’s vulva. 

After the ovaries are released, the discharge decreases, ushering in the mating period.

Mating Signals

Once your dog is ready to mate, she will raise her ears towards male dogs and push her tail to the side. 

If you’re trying to avoid raising puppies, don’t wait for the mating signals to appear before taking precautions to keep her away from males.

The male dogs sense that she’s in heat and will attempt to mate right off the bat.

Also, keep in mind that even though your dog has a higher chance of getting pregnant during the ovulation stage, she can get pregnant at any time during her heat cycle.

Stubbornness and Disobedience

If your typically well-trained GSP starts to display some disobedience or just ignores you, don’t read too much into it. Most of them are preoccupied with other thoughts, and they often cannot focus like they normally would. 

So, if your GSP is your hunting partner, the heat period isn’t the best time to take her on a trip.

Tips That Can Help When Your GSP Is in Heat

The heat period challenges your relationship with your dog in different ways, but knowing what to do at every turn can make the phase less strenuous overall. 

Here are some tips to keep in mind:

  • Keep her on a leash when she’s not at home. The heat period is the worst time to let the dog out of your sight if you don’t want to raise any puppies. There’s a chance she may run off, and even when she’s close to you, separating her from an interested male is a bit more difficult if she isn’t leashed.
  • Get some dog diapers. Your GSP will clean herself, but you’re likely to find drops of blood or smears around the house during the proestrus stage. Using dog diapers will reduce the mess. Check out Amazon for both disposable and reusable diapers.
  • Get blankets. Some GSPs chew off the diapers when they get uncomfortable. Keep some old blankets handy to cover cushions, your dog’s sleeping crate, etc., during the bleeding phase.
  • Keep some water and soap nearby. Even with your best efforts, you can still get some blood around the house. Clean immediately to keep the blood from drying. Dried blood takes a bit longer to clean off floors and walls. 

Can You Prevent Heat Periods in German Shorthaired Pointers?

You can prevent heat periods in female German Shorthaired Pointers by spaying your dog. The heat period is a natural biological process experienced by all healthy female dogs, so the only way to keep it from happening in a healthy dog is to surgically alter the reproductive system.

If you choose to spay your GSP, you still have to wait until she’s 18 months old. Waiting until your dog is fully mature before spaying ensures you’re not putting her health at risk.

Removing the ovaries too early leads to problems like urinary incontinence, joint diseases, and more. 

A qualified vet should decide when a dog is ripe for spaying. Until then, you have to cope with the heat period using some of the tips we’ve covered above.

Can a GSP Get Pregnant in the First Heat Period?

A GSP can get pregnant in her first heat period, but this can be detrimental to her health. Ideally, the dog shouldn’t breed within her first or second cycle. Her body reaches full maturity at two years of age, so waiting ensures she is fit to birth puppies. 

Waiting until your dog is two is also a good way to rule out any potential inherited diseases. 

It’s your responsibility to ensure the dog doesn’t raise an unhealthy litter. Talk to your vet if you’re in doubt about your dog’s breeding status.

Final Thoughts

German Shorthaired Pointers go into heat twice a year like most dogs. Knowing what to expect during this period makes it less challenging. 

You’ll also be in a better position to help your dog breed or stay puppy-free.


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