Do Male Dogs Go Into Heat?

Adrienne Farricelli

Whether male dogs go into heat may be something dog owners may wonder about once their puppies reach sexual maturity. Sexual maturity in dogs in general starts when dogs are around 6 to 12 months old, although in larger breeds it can be delayed until up to two years of age.

Before discussing whether male dogs go into heat, it help first defining what the word heat really means and whether it's something that can impact both female and male dogs.

Understanding the Heat Cycle in Dogs

The heat cycle, better known as estrous cycle, depicts the physiological changes taking place in various female mammals courtesy of their reproductive hormones.

The term estrous derives from the Latin word oestrus meaning "frenzy", perhaps to depict the mental state of estrous females. Estrous cycles in affected mammals, starts after sexual maturity and are only interrupted by anestrous phases or pregnancies. It is something that will keep happening until death, unlike menopause as it happens in human women.

Unlike humans who are sexually active year-round, dogs are more likely to mate when the female dog is season, basically a brief period during which she is fertile and willing to mate.

Female dogs go into heat in general every 6 months, that is twice a year, although there are exceptions. The basenji for instance, is known for going into heat only once a year.

When females go into heat, the female dog's ovaries produce a variety of hormones that make her become fertile. These hormones are also responsible for giving off a typical odor during this time.

As females near the most fertile part of the heat, they start urine marking for the purpose of advertising their sexual availability and may develop a tendency to roam given the opportunity.

Do Male Dogs Go in Heat?

No, male dogs do not go into heat. The heat cycle is only a female prerogative. However, male dogs are influenced by the female dog's heat.

Basically, male dogs are interested in sex at any time, but become aroused only when they are in presence of a female dog in heat or when they can smell one.

The scent left behind by a female dog is heat is very powerful and male dogs can detect it over great distances, although human noses aren't able to detect it.

How far a male dog may detect the wafting scent of a female dog in heat hasn't been tested specifically for as there are many variants such humidity, wind speed, and wind direction. Moreover, once must also consider the individual dogs considering that a bloodhound is blessed with a keener sense of smell compared to a chihuahua.

The scent of a female dog in heat can lead to behavior changes in male dogs including roaming, urine marking, restlessness, whining and lack of appetite.