When Do Rhodesian Ridgebacks Come into Heat?

The Rhodesian Ridgeback is a large and sleek breed that originates in the former country of Rhodesia (now known as Zimbabwe).

African Dog Names for Male and Fema...
African Dog Names for Male and Female Rhodesian Ridgebacks

Some would say that it is one of the world’s best-hunting dogs, and that distinction comes from their old reputation as “lion dogs.”

Indeed, they have been used to chase and trap lions in the past, although they are not physically capable of taking one down.

Such capabilities have led to increased breeding of these dogs, and they have now been exported to many lands outside Southern Africa.

Of course, when you are a breeder, you have to know a little bit more about dogs than the average person.

This naturally includes information about breeding cycles and how they work.

Unlike humans, canine reproduction habits tend to fall into more definite patterns. With that in mind, let’s ask the important question…

When Will A Rhodesian Ridgeback Come Into Heat?

A female Ridgeback will not be willing to breed with a male until she is “in heat,” which is just a way of saying that she is ready.

This is the typical reproductive cycle for most breeds of dogs, and the female will normally go into heat twice a year (roughly every six months).

These are the times when you need to isolate a female if you don’t want her to have pups.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks are a little different, as they are among the breeds that only go into heat once per year.

The proper name for this “heat” cycle is “estrus,” by the way.

Estrus tends to vary a lot from one dog breed to the other, but the main determining factor seems to be the size of the dog.

Larger dogs tend to breed less often than smaller ones, some of whom might have up to three estrus cycles per year.

We can actually see this trend throughout nature, as smaller creatures tend to reproduce in much greater numbers.

You tell us which breeds more: A blue whale or an ant?

When Does A Rhodesian Ridgeback Female First Go Into Heat?

If your Ridgeback is still a puppy, you are probably wondering how long it will be until you have to start beating away the neighborhood dogs with a stick.

Thankfully, you are likely to have a significant amount of time before that becomes an issue.

A female Ridgeback usually won’t go into her first estrus stage until she has reached about one year of age.

This fact seems well-attested to by breeders and enthusiasts all over the world.

This is where some veterinarians end up giving people bad advice, although it is understandable.

As a standard practice, they will recommend spaying a female dog at six months of age, and this is old enough for most breeds.

Females do not seem to be as impacted by spaying as males are by neutering, as their sex hormones are not as dependent on physical genitalia.

For a dog of this type, you really don’t need to be in a big hurry to spay them.

Some females have been known to wait as long as 15 months before that first estrus stage.

Signs That Your Ridgeback Is In Heat

Signs That Your Ridgeback Is In Heat

Unfortunately, we cannot give you an exact answer to the question posed by the title.

The reproductive habits of these animals do fall into certain patterns, but the answer to the question will be a little bit different for each dog.

However, it seems obvious that most of them will reach their first estrus stage between 11 and 15 months of age, based on the research we did.

Because this is a non-exact answer, you will need to keep your eye out for signs that your Ridgeback female is in heat.

One popular instrument to check if your dog is ovulating is this handy detector here.

The first sign that usually manifests itself is a swelling of the vulva area.

Of course, most of us are not in the habit of taking long looks at canine genitals, so a lot of people will fail to notice this change.

Still, it doesn’t take a close-up examination to see when the shape and size of the vulva have changed.

A more obvious sign is a bloody vaginal discharge, which will be seen 1-3 days after the animal has reached estrus.

One way to check for this is to simply wipe the dog’s backside with a paper towel.

If you look at the towel and see blood, don’t freak out because it’s probably just the normal signs of estrus.

Some dog owners are inclined to get worried when they see that their dog is bleeding, but this is perfectly normal and expected.

You can also tell how far along your Ridgeback is by examining the color of the discharge.

If it is very thick and red, she has just gone into estrus recently, which means you’ve got about two weeks before things go back to normal.

If it is pinkish and watery, that means she is nearly through the cycle. In any case, many owners see fit to make their dog wear a diaper of some kind during this time.

Can Dogs Have Abortions?

With all this talk about puppies and mating, we should probably answer this question as well.

It’s not a pleasant subject by any means, but there are cases in which you might consider this sort of thing.

For instance, consider a female that has accidentally been bred too young or a situation in which there is no room for any more dogs.

Unfortunately, canine abortions are not usually a good idea.

Some vets will try to sell you on the idea, but we would take this as an indicator that you might need a new vet.

There are both medications and procedures that can terminate a canine pregnancy, but all of them present serious risks to the life and safety of your dog.

Although it is not good for a female dog to be bred too early, the results of that are likely to be far less dangerous than the alternatives.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, the Rhodesian Ridgeback is a little bit atypical in its breeding habits and cycles.

They only breed once per year, and sometimes not even that much.

They also wait longer than most other dogs before breeding for the first time, so you should respect their natural habits and don’t rush the matter even if you are breeding these animals.


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