How long does German Shepherd Stay in Heat?

It can be a daunting experience to go through the heat cycle with your dog. It is more important if you have a female breed. But you don’t need to worry a lot because it is a normal process in a female dog’s life. To avoid any difficulties, there are many things to learn and apply to keep your female dog breed comfortable during her heat cycle.

Do you have a German Shepherd? Have you been through the heat cycle with your female German Shepherd? If yes, I hope you have learned a lot about it. One of the most frequent questions asked about German Shepherd is, “how long does German shepherd stay in heat?’. 

In this article, I  goanna talk about this phenomenon. My objective to write these lines is to educate and reassure the guys who have been going through the heat cycle with their beloved female German Shepherd.

How long does German Shepherd stay in heat? Well, in a normal routine an average GSD will be in heat for 3-4 weeks. Usually, a female German Shepherd stays in heat twice a year. But you can find a variation dog to dog.

how long does German shepherd stay in heat

Stages to a German Shepherd’s Heat Cycle

What is the heat cycle in GSD? It means when a female dog is sexually mature and ready to breed. You must know that during this heat cycle your dog’s body releases more hormones with quick level drops. It is a signal to the ovaries to discharge the eggs.

Typically, a GSD will be on heat twice a year, which means it may be once in 4-6 months every year. You may observe the variation from dog to dog.


The first stage in the heat cycle is Proestrus. In this stage you will observe the swelling in the vulva and signs of bleeding in her vagina and the body temperature of your dog may be high due to the hormone level going up.

Bleeding signs can be late. In some cases, it is early or maybe showing after a few days. In this stage, your GSD is not ready but the male dogs may charge towards it but in that case, your GSD will defend their charge. Proestrus is comprised usually about 7-9 days.


In this second stage, the eggs are mature and ready for fertilization. You will observe the color of her vagina is changed to pink color. The eggs are released from the ovary and ready for the process of fertilization. Now you will observe the signs of willingness to breed by your German Shepherd.

Estrus is the stage when your GSD will accept the charge of the male dog. You will see that her tails stand up in the air and this is the sign that tells the male that she is ready to process the fertilization and breeding. In most cases, you can see your German Shepherd will tend to rub her rear end with some solid surfaces like walls, furniture, etc. The second stage may comprise up to 24 days.

famale german shepherd tail stand up


In the 3rd stage, your German Shepherd is going to be normal. The vulva is going to shrink, and your female German Shepherd will no longer allow mating. She will repel the male advances. The swelling in the vulva and vagina is going to be decreased in this stage.

Pregnancy is expected if the mating is successful. In case the mating was not successful, your German Shepherd may show the signs of pregnancy that is known as “Phantom Pregnancy”. Don’t forget to take your German Shepherd to a clinic to get checked if the mating was successful. It will confirm or deny the pregnancy.


Anestrus is the 4th stage of your German Shepherd’s heat cycle and she is back to her normal life. Her vulva has shrunk to the original normal size and the tails are no longer stand up in the air. Your GSD is no longer on heat. This is the end of the heat cycle and it will longer up to 6 months until the second heat cycle starts over again.

How to know that your German Shepherd is in Heat Cycle?

If you have a German Shepherd and you want to prepare or prevent pregnancy, then it is important to know that when your dog is in a heat cycle. With the increasing age, your German Shepherd becomes less fertile but still, this is quite possible that your German Shepherd gets into pregnancy.  

You can always determine that your German Shepherd goes into a heat cycle by the signs of change in temperature or vaginal bleeding. But to find exact signs of the heat cycle in your dog, you will have to observe deeply. For example, you may recognize her heat cycle by simply observing her restlessness.

Signs that indicate your GSD is in the heat

Signs that indicate your GSD is in the heat 

All the dogs are different individuals. Their heat cycles may be different, and they may last for different durations. You know your dog better than anyone else and you will get to know her heat cycle and behavior when she is on heat. 

After proper research and based on my experience, I have organized a list of some common signs that indicate the German shepherd is on heat. So you can be prepared to take care of her during her heat cycle to prevent or prepare for pregnancy.

  • The first sign of your dog is in the heat is the charge or advance that male dogs do towards her and she accepts them. It is because of the smell that comes from her urine and the tells the male dogs that she is fertile and ready to breed.
  • The second sign that indicates her heat cycle is your dog will urinate more times than her normal routine. You will notice this phenomenon when you are going out with your dog for a walk. The smell of its urine will attract the male dogs and accept their advance. It may be difficult at home to know this sign.
  • The most common sign of the heat cycle is swelling of the vulva. It is difficult to notice the swelling because there is a lot of fur around her rear and you will have to observe it by hand.
  • Another common sign of the heat cycle is her vaginal bleeding. German Shepherd is a very nice dog breed and they want to be cleaned all the time. So your dog will want to remain clean after bloody discharge and you can see her licking her vagina.
  • Your dog will be wanting to keep her clean from the bloody discharge and licking her genitalia. This licking will not clean the dog completely but helps to reduce the bloody discharge.
  • Another sign of the heat cycle is a clear change in her behavior. Your dog will rub and mount her rear end with solid surfaces like walls and furniture, etc. She will the mounting behavior towards objects and other dogs. It means that she wants to be mount or rub by other dogs.
  • The most common sign indicating that your dog is coming into the season is the clear change in behavior. Your dog will be whiny and restless. You know your dog better and you will notice some strange changes in the behavior of your German Shepherd normal indicating that she is entering the heat cycle.
  • Change in posture is another common sign in the German shepherds when they are on heat. The tail of your dog will stand up in the air to accept the charge from male dogs. This sign is called ‘flagging’.

Every strange change in behavior is not heat

For the untrained or misinformed guys, this can be awful a lot like a heat cycle in male dogs. If there is a behavior issue, it may be a simple response to any other female dog. It is not a heat cycle.

For example, your GSD has shown a female dog and he wants to advance towards her but you don’t allow him to do this or he can’t get to her due to any other reason, he may be frustrated or become violent. The source of his frustration is the smell of the female dog that is in heat. As you remove your dog from the heat source, he will be returning to his normal behavior.

If he returns to normal behavior quickly, it means that he is not in a heat cycle. Your German Shepherd was just responding to an object or the female with a heat cycle.

How to take care of your German Shepherd in the Heat cycle?

How to take care of your German Shepherd in the Heat cycle?

When your German Shepherd goes into a heat cycle she may be uncomfortable and can show a little changed behavior. You need to keep her comfortable as well as safe. When a German Shepherd goes into the heat cycle, many of the owners don’t know how to take care of the dog to make her comfortable and safe.

Based on my experience and research, I have organized some of the necessary measures to take for your dog when she is on heat. Your dog can be very active or tried during this period and the females can try to run towards their male counterpart and you will have to take care of her to keep her safe.

1. Allow your dog to rest if she is restless:

During the heat cycle, some personality changes are under-taking in your German Shepherd. Your dog feels uncomfortable and becomes very active or tired. So you need to take care of her rest especially if she needs it.

2. Protection of your home:

Due to the increasing level of the sexual hormone during the heat cycle, your dog may not act normally and becomes violent. The dog will rub or mount the solid surfaces or sometimes mounting your legs. To avoid such situations, you must take care of your dog more than normal.

3. Keep your dog inside:

During the heat cycle, your German Shepherd is fertile and ready to breed. Her tail stands up in the air and she accepts the advance from male dogs. As a result, your dog may become pregnant. So you should keep your dog inside to avoid any accidental mating.

4. Take care of your dog’s cleaning:

German Shepherd is a very nice dog breed, and they want to be cleaned every time. And you know that bloody discharge starts when your German Shepherd is in heat, you should keep her clean all the time to avoid stains in your home. You can also use dog diapers.

5. Your Dog needs attention:

During the heat cycle your German Shepherd is full of all kinds of emotions, so to keep her easy, calm, and comfortable, you should pay more attention. If she wants some play, you should play with her and if she wants to rest, don’t bother her.

6. Take care of hygiene:

When your German Shepherd is on heat, she will clean herself by licking her vagina after bloody discharge. This licking can’t completely clean her up. So, you will have to take care of her cleaning. You should give her more regular baths during her heat cycle. A dog conditioner is the best thing to use for her bath.

7. Isolation:

If you have some other dogs as your pets in your home along with a female German Shepherd, then you should separate the female who is on heat. This will help to prevent any unwanted mating.


German Shepherd is an expensive dog breed and taking care of this breed is pretty difficult. You must know all about German Shepherd before taking it as your pet. In this way, you can better understand your pet and it is necessary to keep your dog comfortable.

In this post, I tried to describe and share information and my experience about the German Shepherd Heat Cycle, signs of the heat cycle, and how to take care of your German Shepherd during all this time.  

When your German Shepherd is on heat, you don’t need to worry much about it. If you are well-informed and you can take all the above-mentioned measures during your German Shepherd heat cycle, it will not be difficult for you to take care of your dog every time in the heat.  


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