How long does a German shepherd stay in heat?

Categorized as Health
german shepherd in heat

While we love our German Shepherd dogs to the core and don’t want to see them suffer, watching them go through a heat duration is inevitable. Fortunately, there are various ways we can help alleviate some of the pressure from our precious pets.

A German Shepherd’s heat cycle is known to last for approximately three weeks, unlike many other dogs, mainly the minuscule breeds, who might enter the heating phase for no longer than several days.

Others go weeks beyond a German Shepherd’s duration. We hear about the heat all the time, but what does it mean?

What Does It Mean When a German Shepherd Is in Heat?

We may see our female dog behaving oddly, and her body is changing drastically. This is also the first time we might have witnessed our pet do anything like this.

Some people compare a German shepherd’s first heat to a human girl’s initial menstrual cycle. There are likenesses, but there are also variations.

Heat, also known as estrus, is the time in a female dog’s life when her hormone levels rise, and she is ready to mate with males. The very first heat of the German shepherd is also the youngest she may become pregnant (also read: how long is a German shepherd pregnant).

When is a German Shepherd’s First Heat?

For large breeds such as the standard German shepherd, the first heat occurs from nine to twelve months. However, depending on how large the species is, the first heat may occur at varying times.

Since we’ve mentioned smaller breeds German shepherds, it is important to note that the heat phase can be experienced by them from even at six months of age.

Yes, that’s a bit difficult to embrace, but it’s the reality that we have to brace ourselves mentally in order to help our pets get through it unscathed.

The only way to prevent this from happening is to take them to the vet for neutering, which is a usually safe procedure, preventing both heat and pregnancy as a whole.

What Signs Indicate That My German Shepherd Is in Heat?

The signs which indicate that our dog is in heat vary according to the heat phase that they are in, and unfortunately, there are four such stages, namely:


Male GSDs are drawn to female GSDs during this time, but the female is not. This typically takes about nine days. The most noticeable indication that you’ve reached this level would be when male dogs begin to congregate outside your home.

This is due to the way male dogs respond to a female who is in heat. They are drawn to each other.

Your pet, on the other hand, is likely to refuse them because she isn’t ready to mate yet. Furthermore, fertilization is not feasible at this time.

Irrespective, vaginal bleeding will begin at this point in your female dog’s cycle, but the blood should become lighter as the cycle proceeds.


During this period, the female GSD will be receptive to mating, which lasts four to twenty-one days. This is referred to as the “flagging point.”

The deep red vaginal discharge will lighten during the flagging period. Your pet also rubs against household items like furniture.

These are signs that your German shepherd’s female is sexually mature. This is also the point at which the ovary releases mature eggs.


Matestrus is a period of pregnancy that lasts an average of nine days. If the female German Shepherd is already at this point, there aren’t many signs to look for.

For obvious purposes, the most noticeable symptom is a bulging belly. Our female dog will return to the fourth stage, anestrus, if fertilization does not occur at this time.


Anestrus is the time between each heat cycle, and it lasts around six months, as previously mentioned.

This is the fourth level, but it isn’t technically part of the heat cycle. Regardless, the reproductive organs of the female German shepherd will not expand and evolve at this time.

Heat Signs

Since you’re curious if a dog in heat is in pain, the answer is yes. In this way, it’s similar to a woman’s menstrual cycle.

Across the heat cycle, a female dog in heat that is not eating is a common occurrence. Even if she doesn’t eat enough, you can load up for when it’s time for her to regain her body fat.

Female dog aggressive behavior during the heat cycle, in spite of the stage, is yet another sign that the animal is in heat. It’s among the most noticeable since we’re used to her being affectionate.

How Often Will, My German Shepherd, Go Into Heat?

Unfortunately, as much as we’d like to know precisely when our female German Shepherds will go into a heat phase, it is not set in stone.

In a large number of circumstances, the typical female heat process can go up to a month. Several female German Shepherds will enter the estrus phase four months later, yet others might not reach that stage for another year.

Do Female Dogs Cry When They Are In Heat?

As our female dogs hit the estrus phase of their period, vocalizing increases even more, especially if you have an active male dog in the household.

Male dogs in the neighborhood respond to moaning, whining, weeping, and even screams as a sort of call to come and mate.

We may struggle at times watching them in pain but be reminded that it is a normal process. If you can’t bear it, find ways to keep them active and distracted, which has been proven to help and recommended by all pet experts.

How To Control Bleeding During Heat

Purchasing some pet diapers for your dog to wear throughout the house can help to control the bleeding.

It may appear awkward the first time round, but as you go through the continual cycle, you’ll find that pet diapers save you time and energy that you can spend playing with your pet.

We have to let them stay away from the furniture when possible and place her in an area of the house with a floor that cleans effortlessly instead of carpet or rugs for the duration of the heat cycle.

When My German Shepherd Is In Heat, How Do I Console Her?

When a female German shepherd is in heat, she is likely to change her personality. As a result, we should always be aware of our pets’ movements.

For your girl, while in the heat for the very first instance can be a frightening experience. She’ll need more time and support.

Set down some additional space for loads of snuggles because puppies appear to get very cuddly throughout that period.

  • Try getting a lap desk because then you can function and cuddle at the same time.
  • Provide a healthy, chew-resistant toy for her to nudge. This, too, will give you a sense of safety.
  • When your dog makes a bloody mess, never scold her; instead, gently comfort her as you clean this up.
  • Make sure she’s getting more than enough food and water.
  • Prepare yourself for more potty trips because a bunch is happening down there now, and she will need to release herself very often.

If she’s agitated, you can get her calm by playing with her, brushing her hair, or the fun things she usually enjoys that involve movement.

Thank you for reading this article. I hope you found it helpful and useful as you raise and train your German Shepherd.

Here are some of my favorite reviews for German Shepherd supplies that I personally use and recommend. If you do decide to purchase them, please remember that I’ll earn a small commission which helps me maintain this website.

By Andrew Garf

Andrew Garf has loved dogs, especially German Shepherds, since he was 10 years old. Though he also loves burgers, training dogs is his real passion. That's why he created the website TrainYourGSD.com - to help dog owners learn how to properly train, care for, and bond with their German Shepherd dogs.