Springer Spaniel First Season: An Owners Guide

August 20, 2022

Coming in season, or heat is something that occurs in an unneutered female dog as they reach breeding age, commonly known as puberty in humans. Your little girl puppy is now a teenager and approaching her first season or heat.

They grow up so fast. Now what?

What are the signs? How long does it last? How often does it happen? Whether you’re just a curious pet parent or you’re planning to breed, we’re going to cover all you need to know about Springer Spaniel heat cycles including when to breed and how to avoid breeding if that’s not your goal.

What Age Does a Springer Spaniel Have its First Season?

It is possible for a dog to come into season as late as 2 years old. This depends on the size of your dog. For Springer Spaniels, the average range is between 6 and 12 months which is typical among most medium and even large breeds of dog.

For the first few days, prepare to experience mood changes in your dog. This could mean that your dog is more clingy than usual, is lethargic or less active, but may also have trouble sleeping. You may also notice a swollen vulva and your dog licking excessively in her genital area.

Springer Spaniel Heat Cycle

Like all female dogs, Springer Spaniels go through a heat cycle up to three times a year. As a dog owner, this is a process you will want to know more about so you understand what is happening to your dog and how you can help her.

How long Does it Last?

How long a season lasts will differ from dog to dog. A typical heat cycle in smaller breeds lasts about two to four weeks. Your dog will transition from the early season, called Proestrus, which is when the heat cycle (or Estrus cycle) begins. Then, the mating period, or Estrus, will last 5-10 days. This is the optimal stage for breeding.

Should a male dog be allowed to breed with the female at the Estrus stage, she may become pregnant. The next stage is the Dioestrus which can last anywhere from 10-65 days depending on whether or not your dog gets pregnant. The Last Stage is Anestrus where the body is recovering until the next Estrus cycle arrives.

How Often Does it Happen?

A dog's season cycles will range from 1 to 3 times per year. Twice per year seems to be average for the English Springer Spaniel. You may notice a sudden change in your dog's mood or appetite a few weeks before Estrus. Unlike humans, these mood changes tend to be positive and more on the cuddly side. You might even notice receptive males that are nearby. These are all signs that your dog is coming into season earlier rather than later.


Proestrus: The beginning of the heat cycle, is when a female dog's vulva will start to swell and produce a bloody discharge. Your dog may seem interested in other male dogs or even dogs in general, but she is not ready to breed yet. This stage of the Estrus cycle lasts about 7-10 days.

Estrus: The mating period which lasts 5-10 days. This is when your Springer Spaniel is ready to breed. Bleeding may reduce or stop completely around this time.

Dioestrus: 10-65 days will pass as your dog is either pregnant, or her body is at rest.

Anestrus: This is the downtime between each Estrus cycle and lasts approximately 6 months.

How to Tell a Dog is Coming into Season

You may be wondering how to tell if your dog is coming into their first season. Some telltale signs are peeing frequently or licking her bum. Some less obvious signs include being more cuddly or clingy behaviour, showing interest in other dogs (even female dogs), and being more or less hungry. Lethargy is also a common physical symptom.

You may also notice your dog experiencing a form of phantom pregnancy where they nest and pretend to care for puppies. If your dog is showing any of these signs and you don't want an unexpected pregnancy, be mindful of keeping her separated from male dogs now.

Can a Dog Breed in Her First Season?

Though you may be in a hurry to have a litter of puppies, breeding any dog in its first season is a bad idea. The first season is often termed the “silent” cycle because many dogs' Estrus cycle won’t allow for a successful litter.

Breeding a dog in her first season is a dangerous endeavour for the dog and her pups and can cause a multitude of health problems. No matter how antsy you might be, it’s best to wait.

A dog can miscarry a litter at any time, but breeders have more success when they wait till the second heat cycle. You can mate two dogs about twice a year when the dog is in heat. It is argued, however, that allowing your dog some time to rest can be beneficial.

There is some controversy between the scientific and breeding communities about how back-to-back breeding relates to humane mating practices. Consulting with your veterinarian is the best thing you can do in these cases.

How to Care for a Dog in Season

Caring for a dog in her first heat requires a bit more attention than normal. Be sure during Estrus to avoid the bitch coming into contact with a male dog the entire time she is in her heat cycle. No off-leash walks, especially at night.

Vets are the best people to refer to if you are concerned your dog's season isn't healthy. If your dog has missed a heat cycle, it's lasting longer than usual, or anything else seems off about your dog's cycle, take them to a vet.

Choosing a comfortable, leak-proof diaper is a good idea to keep your home clean as your dog goes into heat. Be sure to check the diaper often and change pads or wash the diaper as needed.

One top tip is to add menthol to the tip of your dog's tail to disguise the scent from other dogs. This can cut down on unwanted advances from male suitors.

Can you Prevent a Springer Spaniel from Going into Heat?

The only way to prevent a Springer Spaniel from going into heat is to have the dog spayed. This process involves removing your dog's ovaries and uterus both removing any chance of puppies and the heat cycle in one move.

You can spay your dog as early as six to nine months old, however, this can be done at any stage of their life later on. Any earlier and it could lead to health complications. The best course of action here is to just speak with your vet and they will be able to discuss the pros and cons in depth.

Some dog owners feel it's best to let their Springer have a season before spaying but personally, we just had our Spaniel spayed as soon as it was safe to do so. Likely closer to the six-month mark.

There are advantages to this such as eliminating the chances of mammary cancer. Each season that passes the risk of this rises making it a no-brainer if you don't intend to have puppies in the future.

It always makes sense to do anything we can to keep our furry friends safe!

When do Springer Spaniels Stop Going into Heat?

Unlike humans, a Springer Spaniel will continue to have heat cycles for their entire life. The only situation that changes this is if the dog is pregnant or spayed. Otherwise, they will keep going through this process like normal.

If you have a female Springer Spaniel who you have bred in the past but don't plan on breeding anymore then it is worth considering having her spayed to remove the chances of accidental pregnancies and having to watch out for this process starting in the future.


There has been controversy in the recent past about when is the appropriate time to get your dog neutered. Some people claim that getting your dog spayed too early may stunt puppies' growth. Other people make the valid argument that the best time to neuter your puppy is before they're able to produce offspring.

Despite your stance on this debate, one thing is certain. If you don't want a dog to breed, the best way to prevent pregnancy is to have them neutered. If you plan on breeding, do so responsibly.

Make sure you have placements for the puppies and make sure you can afford the vet bills you may acquire during your dog's pregnancy. Feed your dog a good diet and take good care of her during this exciting but challenging time in her life.

Allan  Noble
Hi, my name is Allan! I am the owner of Spaniel Advisor and I've got over seven years experience of owning Spaniels.  
I hope this article was helpful for you! 
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