Labrador Retriever Breeding Age

Labrador Retriever Breeding Age: Male Vs Female

Humans take years for their sexual development, but Dogs mature almost overnight (not literally, though). One fine day you have an adorable Labrador puppy in your hand, and then the very next year, you have a fully grown muscular Labra who is nearly ready to fill your living room with more of his cute canines.

But when truly is your Labrador prepared to breed? Is waiting for a specific time necessary? Or Breeding before Sexual Maturity can lead the Labrador into trouble? Well, no matter what question you have, we present answers to all of them.

What Is The Best Breeding Age For Labradors? What is the Correct Breeding Age of your Lab Dog? Well, dogs’ sexual maturity largely depends upon their size and specific breed. A Male Labrador becomes fertile as they reach the age of 1 year (12 months). Whereas a Female Labrador is fertile slightly later, around the age of 2 years (18 to 14 months). For breeding a Labrador pair, dog owners and breeders must wait until the female experiences her third heat cycle. It is when a female Labrador develops fully, especially with her reproductive organs. She, by then, has gained enough physical powers and abilities to mate, conceive and birth her little canines.

What to expect as your Labrador dog sexually matures?

When your Labrador starts maturing sexually, you may be able to notice several signs. They can’t alter their behavioral and physical changes during their sexual maturity age.

Labrador Retriever Breeding Age

Signs of Breeding Maturity in Labs

  • Male Labradors are reproductive year around. When they reach their sexual maturity, male Labradors will start marking their territory. Some of them even start forgetting the basics of their behavioral training. Even the simplest things, including toilet training, potty training, or walking on a lead, may appear as heavily confusing.
  • Male Labradors even start looking eye to eye with their owner or every human in general. They will stop enjoying the puppy privileges and will begin following female dogs from the same or even different breeds around. 
  • Female Labradors reach their sexual maturity slightly later and become reproductive not more than twice a year. After getting their age of sexual maturity, female Labradors start experiencing heat, similar to humans’ menstrual cycle. It is when she is the most fertile and will probably conceive if mate.
  • Female Labrador’s vulva will swell during heat, and she will urinate frequently and lick her private parts. She does not bleed precisely like humans but has a red vaginal discharge for a week or 10 days. Following the smell of her vulva, male dogs often approach or even land them upon the female. 

Does The Age Of A Male Dog Matter When Breeding?

Yes, even though the maximum work of reproduction is dependent on a female dog, the age ad physical health of a male dog too matters when breeding.

Only male dogs who have reached their sexual maturity age and can produce sperm can breed. And unless they suffer from a very major illness, male dogs remain fertile for their entire life.

They may have low quality and lower sperm count, but given the right circumstances, the male dog can impregnate a female dog regardless of their age. However, old male dogs may not have the same sexual drive as young male dogs due to their age.

What Is The Best Age To Breed A Male Labrador?

Male Labradors become fertile near the age of 8 to 10 months.

However, reach full sexual maturity by 12 to 15 months; before, it isn’t safe to breed them. 

What Is The Best Age To Breed A Female Labrador?

Female Labradors reach their sexual maturity around the age of 2 years.

Some might experience it near 16 to 18 months of age; however, for breeding, wait until the female dog turns at least 24 months.

At What Age Do Labradors Go Into Heat?

For many dogs, the first heat cycle usually arises at the age of 6 months. However, large dogs like Labradors may experience their first heat between the period of 9 to 12 months. Still, that’s not necessary for every Labrador present worldwide.

Given their breed size, there have been instances when a female Labrador got her first heat at 18 months or even as late as 24 months. This delay may be a result of several factors, including environmental and, more specifically, dog genetics. 

Labrador Heat Cycle Chart

Stages Experiences
Stage 1 Proestrus (The dog experience swelling in the vulva and release a red vaginal discharge)
Stage 2 Estrus (It is when the Labrador can mate and become pregnant)
Stage 3 Diestrus (It is when the dog is no longer fertile but might have become pregnant)
Stage 4 Anestrus (It is the last stage of the heat cycle and time for uterine repair before the next Proestrus starts again)

What is the Maximum Age For Labrador To Have Puppies?

Age is a very crucial factor when planning to reproduce. Regardless of humans or animals, the age of both potential parents matters.

While a Labrador male can impregnate a female for their entire life, it is the female dog who has the upper limit for reproduction.

A female Labrador can have puppies by the oldest of 8 years. After that, it is what nature allows them, though responsible breeders usually retire breeding a Labrador by the age of 5 to 6 years.

Female Labradors never go into menopause; however, even the fittest and most reproductive of them all can’t bear so many pregnancies throughout their lifetime.

Breeding a female Labrador at an older age can lead to complications like fewer canines, calcified pubic region, and even organ failure. 

How Many Puppies Do Labs Have The First Time?

Dogs at one litter can produce about 5 to 6 pups quite quickly. However, according to the American Kennel Club, aka AKC (a non-profit organization that handles the registry and maintenance of purebred dog pedigrees), Labradors can produce 5 to 10 puppies in one litter. Labradors are right in the middle compared to many breeds, and they can have 7 puppies on average.

If your female Labrador is having litter for the first time, they will be relatively less. However, some may have litters in higher numbers as well. The highest number of Labrador litters in one go is reported to be 14 puppies.

Spaying & Neutering Labs

If you aren’t ready to see small puppies all around your house, it is essential to spay or neuter your dog right before they enter the age of sexual maturity. For both spaying and neutering, timing is an important consideration.

Dogs who have been spayed or neutered before the age of sexual maturity may experience a risk of future orthopaedic problems. Therefore, waiting until the commonly recommended age or at least till your female dog experiences her first heat is essential. 

Performing Health Checks Before Breeding- Is it Important?

Well, yes, for responsible breeding, it is essential that you get your dog checked thoroughly before. Take your female dog for a physical examination at a Vet one month before breeding.

The Vet will check her to ensure proper physical and mental growth along with health issues like elbow dysplasia, hip dysplasia, and eye disorders. The Vet will also confirm whether both the breeding parents are well vaccinated or not.

More than for males, it is vital that your female dog is fit enough to breed. She needs to be physically and mentally fit, must have a balanced weight, and have decent muscle tone.

Some advanced breeders even go for DNA testing before breeding their dogs. DNA testing will help in figuring out health sensitivities, background, and much more.

Wrapping up…

Labradors are one of the most beautiful dogs you can have at your home. Whether you want them as house dogs or service animals; they do both jobs excellently. 

We hope the guide above will help you in breeding your Labrador dogs rightfully. Given the details in the article, we have ensured covering maximum essential points. However, if you are stills sceptical about something, we would advise you to reach a Vet or Breeding Expert.