Have a new German Shorthaired Pointer female and wondering about when (and how often) she will go into heat? Let’s explore this so you are ready when it’s time to help your GSP puppy out when they go into heat.
This is one area that I don’t have a lot of personal experience in – Hank, for obvious reasons, never had these problems – but when you have a GSP you become part of a community, so I see it as my job to provide information to my fellow GSP owners.
While I don’t know a lot about GSPs going into heat, I do know how to find out all the information and I have a number of trusted places and people to help with that.
So, instead of you having to traipse through the internet looking for an answer, I’ve done all the legwork for you, and here’s everything I’ve found!
GSPs In Heat: The Early Years
Shall we all just ignore that the subtitle sounds like an awesome album? We should, right? Good idea!
Anyway, one thing you need to know about GSPs in heat is that their first cycle comes a lot quicker than most people realize.
In fact, so many owners of dogs of any breed are surprised when their puppy enters their first heat cycle, because they still see them as an innocent little pup who is in their early stages of development.
Well, the truth is, dogs mature much faster than humans do, so even at 5 months old, you shouldn’t be surprised by your GSP going into heat.
On average, GSPs go into heat between 5 and 14 months old. There is quite a gap there, but just like anything in life, GSPs develop at their own rate.
I’ve heard stories from fellow GSP owners and breeders who swear blind that smaller pups will enter their first heat cycle much earlier than larger puppies, so if your GSP was the smallest in their litter, you should be prepared for them to enter heat somewhere closer to 5 months than 14.
However, I will say that I haven’t been able to find any sort of scientific reasoning behind that in my research, so take it with a grain of salt, but keep it in mind just the same. After all, other people’s experiences are still valid even if there’s no explanation for what they’ve noticed just yet.
How Often Do GSPs Go Into Heat?
Once your GSP has entered their first cycle, you should expect them to go into heat twice a year – roughly once every six months, but again, there will still be some variation there.
On average, a GSPs heat cycle will last around 3 weeks, and it’s during their second week that a GSP is most fertile, so if you’re thinking of breeding your GSP, you should know the chances of them becoming pregnant with a litter of their own is best during the second week of their cycle.
Now, I understand if that sounds a little overwhelming at first. Dealing with your GSP in heat for 6 weeks of the year might sound like a lot, but so long as you know how to care for them properly and how their behavior might differ from normal, you will be absolutely fine.
Before we jump into how to deal with a GSP in heat, I also need to point out that once their first cycle has started, they will continue to enter heat every 6 months or so until the end of their life.
Unlike humans, dogs never stop being able to have puppies, so if you choose to keep your GSP unspayed, expect to deal with your GSP in heat for the rest of their life.
Dealing With Your GSP In Heat
The first thing to understand about GSPs in heat is that their behavior will change dramatically.
It’s a biological process that they have no control over, and basically, it’s their body’s way of telling them they are ready to mate and procreate. This means your GSP will have mating on their mind, and very little else.
That’s right, I’ve known female GSPs who are the most well-trained and well-behaved dogs in the world until they enter heat.
After that they don’t listen to commands as well, will actively try to escape to find a male to mate with, and will generally be way more hyperactive than usual. So be prepared for this.
But don’t worry too. Your GSPs behavior will change, but so long as you’re aware of it you can work to prevent it.
If you’re using your GSP as a working or hunting dog, then you will need to stop taking them out on jobs or for hunts during this time, because they will happily run away to find a mate instead of working with you.
Even if you don’t work with them, you should still keep your GSP on a leash when out on walks, because they will seek a mate if given the opportunity.
You should also make sure that you shut tight any entrances to your yards and monitor creative escape routes too.
I’ve heard of GSPs jumping high fences, squeezing under garden gates, and even jumping out of living room windows to find a mate. In short, vigilance is key when your GSP is in heat – you never want to leave them unsupervised when they might find a mate.
Having A GSP Spayed
Now, to finish, I wanted to highlight this point. I know having your GSP spayed isn’t for everybody, but it’s a point worth making all the same.
If you aren’t planning on breeding your GSP and you’re not in a position to monitor your GSP effectively whenever she enters heat, then I think having her spayed is the responsible thing to do.
This will stop her from having heat cycles, and therefore she won’t be able to have puppies. Being stuck with a litter of puppies you never wanted isn’t a good thing, especially if you know nothing about raising healthy puppies or how to care for a pregnant GSP.
You should get no dog spayed until after they’ve had their first heat, however, as it can really have a detrimental effect on their physical and mental health if you have them spayed before they’ve gone through their first cycle.
After that, consult with a vet and get professional advice on how to proceed with having your GSP spayed.
Like I said, this option isn’t right for everybody, but if you aren’t planning on breeding, then it is a great way to ensure you aren’t caring for a pregnant GSP and later her puppies when you’re not in the position to do so.