Living with Bitches

By Anne Taguchi | Last Updated: July 6, 2021

I learned to say “bitch” in conversation and not bat an eye a long time ago. Actually, I might be a little too unthinkingly liberal about the way I speak (about Weims, what else?) in public — and with that, I think I may have earned the right to share a few things about living with girls. 😉

Pros and Cons of Weimaraner Females

Size

One of the advatanges of Weimaraner girls is that they are smaller than their male counterparts. This may not seem like a big deal, but the 10-20 pound (and 2-3 inch height) difference might be something to consider if you are worried about things being knocked over (including people).

Controlling this is actually about training, however, the reality is that a teenage boy Weim that is rambunctious and full of energy running around the house may cause a little more destruction than a dog that is smaller.

Personality

Personality is not gender specific, BUT… there are a lot of breeders, myself included, that will tell you that, “They are called bitches for a reason.” Making a broad generalization, I think girls can be more manipulative, intense and moody, which may be a result of where they are in their hormonal cycle.

Hormones

More and more breeders, owners and vets are understanding that having a female go through at least one heat cycle is beneficial for their development. If you’ve never owned an intact female, this whole thing may be a mystery to you, so let’s unpack what goes on with the girls and their hormones!

Everything You Need to Know about Her Heat Cycle

I’m not going to be shy here. A bitch in season, which is also a way of saying, a girl in heat, can be a pain in the butt.

I recommend that you read this whole article and consider whether you can really deal with it all. If not, read about the boys and see which gender you may be better equipped to deal with.

Just One Heat Cycle?

There is a lot of (conflicting) information online on whether or not it is advisable to have your girl go though one heat cycle before spaying, which is discussed more here. You may want to click over, and then come back, but basically the jury is still out on whether keeping a female intact really increases her chances of mammary tumors.

Bottom line, you should do your own risk/benefit analysis, but I personally believe and recommend that you allow a bitch to go through one heat cycle before spaying her.

Researchers are beginning to do some studies that show that not only is it better for canine athletes, but it is also better for bone development, as well as allowing their bodies and minds to fully mature. Those hormones play some very important roles in the body beyond just sex!

When Do Most Weims Go Into Heat?

Weims can go into their first heat as early as 6 months old or as late as 24 months, but both those scenarios would be rare. It is more typical for them to have their first heat at around 12 months old. A normal range is from about 8 months to 18 months.

The best “tell” though, is if you know when your Weim’s mother had her first season. And if you know about her grandmother, you’ll have an even better guess, as this tends to follow family lines.

How Often Do Weim Girls Cycle?

The six-month cyclers are text book, but for some girls, their cycles can be anywhere from every four months to every eight months. Some girls are very regular, and some are all over the place. Having regular girls around unpredictable girls commonly bring them all cycling together, and frankly it’s a lot easier for those that keep multiple intact girls around this way!

Dogs are a diestrous species, meaning that they go into season (or go into estrous) twice a year. This, like everything else, is variable, as some dogs will have three heats a year and others of specific breeds will only have one heat a year. Most Weims have two a year.

Breaking Down the Cycle

Proestrous

This period on average lasts 9 days (range 2-27 days). When you notice that your dog begins bleeding, this is “Day 1” on the calendar. Your girl will be attractive to males, but will not let them mount her.

Most girls will snip at the male, and most males will absolutely respect it. And proceed to try again a second later, especially if they are young and eager. An experienced stud dog may not react to your girl in proestrous. Nonetheless, if she has to snark other dogs off of her, keep her away from them so nobody gets hurt!

Estrous

This period on average lasts 9 days (range 3-21 days). Your girl will accept a male. This is highly variable from bitch to bitch, but tends to be in the second week of her heat cycle. She will “flag” her tail if you scratch her at its base and acts very flirty.

Keep her inside and supervised at all times! She welcomes males during this time, and you will likely get a “tie” (when a male penetrates a female and is locked in place during the breeding).

weim-bitch-in-season
This is Roxie on Day 13 of her heat cycle, a high risk time for pregnancy!

Diestrous

This period beings on average 90 days after estrous. If she were bred, this would be the time her body would be preparing to have a litter. If she was not bred, this is the time when she may show signs of “false pregnancy.” Her hormone levels are the same whether she was bred or not, and this is the reason she may experience this.

Anestrous

This is a time of hormone inactivity and on average lasts about four months, or until she goes back into a heat cycle.

This is the optimal time to spay a bitch due to this being a period of the least reproductive activity. It is believed that timing the spay at this time will reduce the likelihood of spay incontinence.

How Do I Know When She’s About to Go Into Heat?

The first sign you will probably notice is that her vulva will swell. How big it gets depends on the girl. Some will barely look swollen, and some…. well, to repeat a crude joke, we call one of my girls’ vulva an “elephant trunk”!

You may also notice her marking which could start prior to her season, often worse than any male dog you’ve ever seen. This is her way of advertising to everyone around her that she’s getting ready.

With Weims that are in the house and with you all the time, you will likely notice a change in her personality as well. She might act a bit off for a few weeks. She might be bitchier, clingier or maybe more hyper. She might be very playful with her canine housemates, boy or girl. Conversely, she might be more snappy and want them away.

How Messy is a Dog in Heat?

This depends on the girl. Some are very clean, others not so much. Some bleed a lot, and with others you may not see very much blood at all.

The bleeding will not be a flood, but it will be noticeable if you have any white furniture or carpets. You will likely want to crate her more when you can’t watch her. She may prefer to be in there anyway.

Bitch britches, basically doggy underwear is tolerated by some, but others will protest and try to tear them off. I have had girls dart out the dog door with me chasing behind them, “Stop!!” while they start to squat. With the girls that tolerate this, you can also put a sanitary pad inside the britches if necessary.

A DYI alternative is to buy little boy underwear and turn them backwards with her tail through the hole. Easy!

Most girls will bleed a bit heavier towards the beginning of their heat and for a week or 10 days, with even two weeks being normal.

After that, the discharge turns more straw colored, pink, or light brown, and it’s generally less copious. This is the really dangerous time!!! You have to keep an eye on them the whole time, but this time in particular can result in pregnancy.

Remember, When Your Dog’s In Heat, She’s Not Herself!

Most girls are receptive around days 9-16 (i.e., in estrous, as described above), and your little girl will turn into a full. blown. hussy!!

If you have other dogs, even females, she may push her butt towards them to try to get them to mount her. She may mount them. It can get a little embarrassing, especially if you didn’t know and this is the first time you’ve owned an intact female. Just ignore the behavior. It will go away when the hormones do.

Some girls can get cranky, and the crate trained ones usually go through a period where they are there by choice. And that’s a good thing because they really need to be kept away from other dogs even if they are still early or late in the cycle. It’s simply easier and safer to keep your girl away from other dogs for the duration of her heat cycle, i.e., at least three weeks, but a month is better.

What About After Her First Heat?

The first thing you’ll notice is that her nipples are not decreasing in size. They will always be bigger than a puppy’s as long as she stays under the influence of her hormones, i.e., until she is spayed.

Same with her vulva. It will not fully decrease to the size it was pre-estrus. But it will get smaller than it was when she was in estrous.

Pyometra

Pyometra is a life threatening infection of the uterus, and occurs within 12 weeks of a heat cycle. It usually happens with middle aged bitches, but it can happen after a first heat cycle.

Symptoms can include lethargy, going off feed, vomiting, increased thirst — or she may show very few symptoms. If she does show symptoms, they may or may not seem severe. You may or may not see any discharge from her vulva.

Any time you suspect illness in your Weimaraner after she is in heat, she needs to get checked out by a vet. They can get septic (massive infection) very quickly and die. It is a medical emergency!

False Pregnancy

False pregnancy is not uncommon and harmless when mild. You will generally see signs about one to two months after her heat: nesting, swollen mammary glands sometimes even with milk production. She may even adopt a special toy that she carries around the house.  

Where this is dangerous is that these false pregnancies tend to become more severe as your girl gets older and can cause her significant distress. Talk to your vet or an experienced breeder about it if your girl shows signs. And just in case a vet mentions spaying your girl, that is fine, but she should not be spayed until her false pregnancy subsides.

Split Heats

Abnormal heat cycles are beyond the scope of this article, but one important one to mention is split heats.

Split heat usually happens with young girls, when then come into heat, then stop, only to come back in again. It is the second part of this heat that is fertile, and when she can get pregnant!

Multi-Dog Management When She’s In Heat

If you ask me, this is a great time to board your other dog if your other dog is a male. Girls in season will drive boys nuts. They may vocalize, quit eating, and of course, if your other dog is intact, there is a chance of accidental mating. Girls in heat will also drive neutered males nuts. (Hey, they are still studs in their own minds!)

So, I often do a trade with other dog friends, keeping my females here for Fort Knox surveillance, but sending my males to Aunt or Uncle So and So.

If you are in a multi-girl household, they will likely be cycling together and might get a little snarky, but that’s tolerable to me — since I totally understand!

I hope this was helpful and answered some questions. I wouldn’t trade living with bitches for anything!

Photos courtesy and © Blue River Weimaraners.

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About Anne Taguchi

Surviving life with Weims!

38 responses to “Living with Bitches”

  1. ReneeRox says:

    Of course, I live with a bitch as she is featured here. I hate it. She was really good wearing her Bitchwear and a maxi pad inside for over two years, but nowadays, she wants to eat the pad (eew). So she can only wear them when I am home and she is supervised. Otherwise, she is locked away without any panties making a mess. Fortunately, I have old sheets to spread around to help with the mess.
    This video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CsMbyyqOxgw is her first cycle with a neighboring dog. When I noticed all the comotion at the fence while she was out to potty, I had a feeling that the other dog was male and not fixed. I knocked on the door and asked and sure enough, he wasn’t neutered. So, no more unsupervised potty breaks and on a leash she goes in my own backyard. This fence behavior only lasted a few days during what I suspect is the PRIME time for mating. Before and after she wasn’t remotely interesetd in the fence or what was on the other side.
    It is important to note that if left to their own devices, these two would have figured out a way to get to each other whether it be over, under or through the fence. Best place for a bitch in heat is locked in the house.
    You boy dog owners have some responsibiltiy too… if you notice that your boy has lost his brains and pacing the fence, there could be some street walkin hussy out there teasing him… best to bring him in.

  2. Carrie says:

    Very interesting!I`ve always owned dogs. So this was very educational for me.
    Now I know what I have to look “forward” to.
    Thanks! 🙂

  3. Annie says:

    Thank you! Very helpful now that i am raising a little ‘bitch’.

  4. Chris Hale says:

    Very helpful. Now that Sasha is getting close to that age. And my Vet told me something I didn’t know…that even though Gunner is neutered he may still be very interested in her when she goes into her heat cycle. Didn’t know fixed males would notice. But no puppies here.

  5. kelly mcclary says:

    im raising a bitch as well…..weimy…..named Gretchen…….oh my god what a mess she is…..we also have an intact male bull terrier and it is a full time job to keep the bullweimer population at o……….

    not a lot of fun but they really do love each other and he feels that we bought him his own run way model and he lives to give her kisses….he would like to give her more than that but we keep them both apart when we need to…..they are both great dogs……..

    we would like to get her out to field abit…she is already showing that she is a perfect pointer….we live on an eight acre farm near warrenton, va

  6. Starla says:

    Thank you! Our weim, Bleu, just had her first cycle. She was crated a great deal of the time and had supervised potty breaks. I started panicking bc her nipples are larger but this info helps a great deal!

  7. Kirsten says:

    I have a question, have a weimaraner bitch now 5 months old and a weimaraner male 8 years old. We like to breed once but not when she first comes into heat: possible at her 2nd heat cycle. But to separate the two is not possible. The male is not used to be somewhere else – will go into major depression. What do I do to pass the first heat of our bitch? Any suggestions? how do the injections for birth control work if only administered once?
    Thanks for commenting.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Kirsten, I have to be honest with you, you WILL get an accidental breeding if you cannot separate the two dogs. If you are trying to breed the two of them later when she’s mature he will likely be too old to produce. You can do a mismate shot and you’ll have to go to your vet several times, I’ve never done it but assume it’s costly and I would use a reproductive specialist not a regular vet. Sure seems easier to plan out a breeding in advance….

      • Anne Taguchi says:

        Hi Anne. Thanks for your comment. What is a mismate shot.read about stud stoppers. Does anyone have experiences with this birth control measure? Thanks

  8. Stephen says:

    Getting my 3.5 yo fixed this week. She had the disorder they are prone to when first shots administered. Lots of paranoia as that was not a fun journey. She had her next round of shots trouble free so now it’s time to fix after 6 months post shots. She just had heat, but she leaks, it’s yellow and thicker than pee but doesn’t smell like pee. Anybody have an idea on what that is? It’s like she has no control over it, usually after she has peed it will flow. Hoping that goes away after fixing her. She has never been bred. I vaguely remember my Dalmatian had discharge similar but that was long ago.
    Anybody with females for sure let me know. Tired of washing bedding and thank god for leather furniture!!!

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      In puppies, females can get puppy vaginitis which is caused by their anatomy and being closer to the ground. For older bitches, it could be vaginitis that resolves itself or an UTI, or even an infection in the uterus. Probably a good idea to get her spayed. Good luck, it’s usually an easy and uncomplicated procedure.

  9. loren says:

    thanks for the very informative info! I have a Rhodesian Ridgeback and I think she is just starting her first heat. Thanks for taking the time to share this stuff. It answered the majority of my questions.

  10. Bethany says:

    We have 2 weimaraners one is a male that is 2 and one is a female that is 7 months old. We want to breed them but defiantly don’t want to do it when she very first goes into heat. How long is it recommended to wait before breeding a bitch?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Hi Bethany, usually it’s recommended that you wait until 2 as the bitch will be mature at this age, and also you will be able to do your health clearances. The recommended tests for Weims are listed here: http://www.caninehealthinfo.org/brdreqs.html?breed=WE

      • Anne TaguchiBethany says:

        Thank you so much! We were thinking of waiting that long but weren’t too sure what the recommendation was. I have talked to a few different people along with referencing your website and that seems to be the best. I just wish our male was AKC registered, he is purebred but his dad isn’t registered, because our female is and they are going to make great puppies but we aren’t in it for the money. We just want people to be able to have a great dog bred.

  11. Jinger says:

    I have a question, my girl allowed a Male to “tie” with her back in August, it was only once, but she ended up with signs of a false pregnancy. Had she been pregnant she would have had pups last month around the 16th. Well this is now Novemeber and the male dog is back and she is allowing him to “tie” with her again. I believe he has gotten a hold of her several times but I am unsure, only caught them tonight. Is it possible she is actually in heat 3 months after the first “tie” with this male dog. I am at a loss, any information would be of great help. Thank you

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Yes it is possible. It sounds like it could be a split heat and yes they can get pregnant. Keep an eye on her. You can get an ultrasound to confirm pregnancy at the vet’s.

      • Jinger says:

        Thank you for the information. Do to her age (11) I believe we are going to take her to get fixed. We have never had issues with putting her on her lead rope out back to go potty until this year. And from what I have been told the owners of the male dog ( 3 streets over) doesn’t care what he does.We have leash laws to where if your dog cant be contained in the yard you have to have a lead rope to make sure they dont leave the yard. And to top it off he is somewhat an aggressive dog, my oldest son said he had growled at him a few times when he was out back playing in the yard and our female was on her lead rope. I just hope that do to her age that getting her fixed, or allowing her to go through pregnancy if she is indeed pregnant wont hurt her in anyway.

        • Anne Taguchi says:

          At 11 you should take her to the vet. If she’s pregnant, I can’t imagine she’d be able to sustain a litter, and at best I would imagine a pregnancy at that age would be risky for her…

  12. Patricia says:

    My female dog is Sadie she is mixed Jack Russell terrier & Chi she was in heat I put doddy diapers on her for pertction she has not interacted with a male but Ger nipples are swollen does that mean she’s pregnant?

  13. Stacie Roberts says:

    This was very helpful. Thank you!

  14. Phillip Grisotti says:

    Was wondering about a second dog as I have a Male 16-month. Some recommend giving a female, and I’m getting a second dog your dog should be 16 to 24 months old and well socialized with your current family is this true. Does gender matter . What would you recommend if morning to have a second dog .
    Thank you for all of your information.

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      It’s usually easier to have two of different genders in general, but it mostly depends on the temperaments of each individual. 16-24 months is also a good age difference. Best of luck with your new addition.

  15. Mike Pusey says:

    Interesting string of comments. Our Weim puppy, Ruby Tuesday, is 12 months old and started her first season 4 weeks ago, although male dogs showed a lot of interest in her for a couple of weeks prior. The season seemed a bit erratic and she didn’t bleed a lot or constantly. It appears to have “re-started” and she is bleeding a lot more now and showing more physical signs. We consulted the vet and all seems ok so I guess it is either a split season or a prolonged one. Either way, it will be difficult to judge when she is “safe” again!!!
    We were due to run in her second Gundog Working Test this weekend – in Puppy and in Novice – and it looks like that won’t be happening now. I even have a hotel booked as it is a fair trek away from home. At her first GWT, she took 2nd place in puppy – and it is the toughest test in the UK – I was a bit proud!!!

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Awesome to hear that she did so well on her test Mike! One of the hard things about having an intact female is having to miss out on some events, and they always do seem to come into season at the worst times! Hope you will be able to get in on the next test with her. Good luck!
      PS – She may start to get more regular after this first heat cycle.

  16. Janice Davies says:

    Great information. Just about exactly what my bitch does. Unfortunately mine is a 4 month bitch. Had to laugh when I first witnessed the “Hussy” coming out in her.
    I also do obedience and have had to miss out on some events.

  17. Matthew says:

    Do you have any siggesstions on how to get my two female weims to like each other again??? Kali is 3 and daisy is 5. There both are female blue weims. Daisy and kali were best buds before kali started her heat cycle. I could see a trend happening that disturbed me when they started raising their voice at one another. They were in an altercation and ever since then they have to be seperated. I had the bright odea of putting a muzzle on both of them and letting them wear themselfs out with no harm done to either. Though they saw that they couldnt harm one another it still has not helped so i keep them seperate. Any suggestions?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      I don’t have an answer for you… I have had this very situation happen myself when my girl became pregnant. I have not experienced a bitch fight before and I never want to. Everyone says that those are the most ferocious, and I honestly would never truly trust the two together again. While I think that it’s probably possible to rehab them with a lot of time, I would opt for separation for the safety of all.

  18. Amanda says:

    I appreciate all of that info. I was told that my one year old is in heat. She pants a lot and mounts every people she can get her teeth on. Is that normal at all or something else wrong?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      It’s hard to say just based on what you wrote, but if other people think she’s in heat, she probably is. Usually they get swollen back there, and they will also bleed, but some keep themselves so clean it can be hard to tell. The mounting isn’t necessarily related to her heat cycle, it is a dominance thing. I’m not sure about the panting. Dogs usually pant because they are hot, anxious or in pain. If you aren’t sure what is going on with your girl, I would take her to the vet.

  19. Lee says:

    My girly is on her first cycle now. Day 10 , swollen more than I expected but looks ok ( I guess) and bleeding seems heavier today. How much swelling, flow is normal and when to be worried and go to the vet?

  20. Mary says:

    I have an 8 month old that is now in heat. I had an appointment this month to have her spayed but they told me the risk is greater and the procedure is much more expensive if she’s in heat. So why would I get her spayed while she is in heat? How long should I wait to safely get her spayed?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      The best time to spay would be 3 months after her heat cycle, i.e., right in between her cycles when hormone activity is lowest.

  21. dominique apo says:

    My dog has been on her period for 4 going on 5 months now is this normal?

    • Anne Taguchi says:

      Hi there. No it’s not normal. Heat cycles usually last 3-4 weeks. You may want to take your girl to the vet. Please keep us posted!

  22. Jac says:

    This article was AWESOME! Made me laugh and valuable knowledge! Thank you from a owner of two beautiful Weim’s!

  23. Shannon says:

    My weimeriner started bleeding 2 weeks ago. Her first cycle (ours too as we have only had males previously). She was being boarded when she got it. When I went to pick her up, within 1 minute of her being next to me, I started cramping really bad, like super painful!! Has anyone else had this happen? My husband thinks I’m crazy!

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