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When Do Golden Retrievers Go Into Heat?

If you’ve got yourself a new Golden Retriever puppy that’s a girl dog, then it is a good idea to prepare yourself for when she goes into heat.

There are signs that you can watch for, of course.

On average, you can expect your Golden Retriever to first go into heat between the ages of 10 months and 14 months. Once the heat cycles start, you can expect them to occur like clockwork every 9 months or so.

Below we’ll give you more details on what to expect when your Golden goes into heat, as well as the signs to watch out for that signal it’s about that time for her.

How Old Are Golden Retrievers When They Go Into Heat?

Though the exact age will vary from one Golden to the next, most pet parents of Goldens will tell you that the first time your Golden goes into heat she will be somewhere between 10 months old and 14 months old.

One thing that is interesting is that smaller Goldens tend to go into heat earlier than larger Goldens.

Also, if your puppy is around some older female dogs who are already experiencing their heat cycles, then she may also start her first heat cycle at a younger age.

How Often Do Golden Retrievers Go Into Heat?

According to the American Kennel Club (AKC), most dogs average 6 months between their heat cycles.

However, with Goldens the time period between heat cycles seems to be a bit longer.

On average, Golden Retrievers go into heat every 9 months. For some Golden owners, that period is reported as short as 7 months, while it is as long as 10 months for others.

The first few times your Golden Retriever goes into heat, the time period between the cycles will be irregular. But after that, you’ll notice that it comes like clockwork.

It is important for you to note how frequent the heat cycles are for your Golden Retriever so that you are prepared for any potential accidents.

golden retriever puppy in grass

How Long Are Golden Retrievers In Heat? (Cycle Length)

If you’ve never had a female dog before, then you may not know what to expect in terms of how long the heat cycle lasts for your dog.

You should know that the cycle length does vary a bit from one dog to the next.

However, the average range for how long a Golden Retriever is in heat for falls between 2 weeks and 4 weeks each time.

During this entire period, there is the risk of your dog ending up pregnant because she is fertile for the entire 2-4 week cycle.

You’ll know when the cycle is over because her vulva goes back to its normal size and there will be no more bleeding or discharge.

It’s a good idea for you to track the cycle length of your Golden so that you don’t accidentally end up with an unexpected litter of puppies a few months down the road.

And remember, even older dogs can get pregnant, so don’t think your risk of puppies decreases as the old girl ages.

What To Expect The First Time Your Golden Retriever Is In Heat

The first time your Golden Retriever goes into heat will be like no other.

Most Golden owners note that there are less obvious signs that first time a Golden Retriever goes into heat.

She will still be fertile during this period, but just may not show all the signs.

Your Golden Retriever may also experience what is called a broken heat. This is when the dog bleeds a little, then stops only to resume bleeding a few weeks later.

A broken heat is normal the first time since your dog’s body is getting use to the changes the hormones are bringing.

7 Signs Your Golden Retriever Is In Heat

When I got my first female dog, I had no idea what to look for that would tell me that my dog was in heat.

Fortunately, there are a few signs that you can watch out for that definitely let you know that she is in heat.

1. Bleeding

When dogs go into heat, the first thing you will notice is the bleeding.

There will be blood and discharge, though the amount, consistency, and color varies from one dog to the next.

If you’re not expecting this, it can be scary at first because you think your dog is injured.

But rest assured, this is a normal part of life for female dogs.

2. Swollen Vulva

In addition to the bloody discharge, your Golden’s vulva will swell up quite a bit.

Though it will look painful, since it is 2-4 times its normal size, know that it does not hurt the dog at all.

And yes, this is completely normal and nothing for you to worry about.

3. Excessive Licking

Since this time is when the dog is trying to attract a mate, you’ll notice that she starts to lick herself clean a lot more than normal.

This is nothing to worry about as well.

4. Mounting All The Things

Even though your Golden is a female, during this period she will start exhibiting mounting behavior due to the hormones she is experiencing.

It will be a lot and she will be mounting everything, including probably your legs.

While it may get annoying, this is completely normal behavior when the dog is in heat.

5. Frequent Urination

You’ll notice that your dog needs to pee a LOT more than normal when she is in heat.

This is because female dogs let male dogs know they are fertile and ready to mate with their urine.

And since your Golden is DTF, she wants all the boys in the yard to know it.

If you keep your Golden Retriever inside your home, then expect more accidents during this time.

6. More Attention From Male Dogs

Since your Golden Retriever is letting out pheromones to attract males when she is in heat, you will start to notice her getting more attention from male dogs.

A lot more attention from all the neighborhood male dogs.

Those pheromones are literally going to be bringing all the boys to the yard.

You’ll have to stay vigilant to prevent any unwanted male dogs from trying to mate with her.

7. Behavior Changes

When in heat, the behavior of your Golden Retriever will also change.

Expect both more irritability and more clinginess.

I know, it sounds contradictory, right? But you’ll likely experience periods of both moods.

She may even show some uncharacteristic aggression during this time.

Other changes you may see including whining, moaning, and loss of appetite.

These are nothing to worry about and will pass once she’s out of heat.

golden retriever with puppies

Stages Of A Golden Retriever’s Heat Cycle

If you’re curious about learning more of what’s going on with your Golden during her heat cycle, then you should know that is it made up of four parts, or stages.

Those stages are:

  1. Proestrus
  2. Estrus
  3. Diestrus
  4. Anestrus


This is the first stage of the heat cycle for a Golden Retriever.

On average, this stage lasts for 7 to 10 days, but can last as long as 20 days.

During this stage, you’ll see the signs of bleeding, vulva swelling, and some behavior changes.


This is the second stage of the heat cycle for a Golden Retriever.

On average, this stage lasts for 5 to 14 days.

This is the peak fertile window for your dog, and she will likely want to be outside more as she attempts to find a male dog for mating.

Unless you want puppies, heightened awareness is critical for you during this time.


This is the third stage of the heat cycle for a Golden Retriever.

On average, this stage lasts for 60 to 90 days.

This stage starts, on average, around 24 days after the heat cycle begins.

The dog is no longer fertile during this stage, but it’s still a good idea to keep her away from other dogs until she is no longer bleeding.


This is the fourth, and longest, stage of the heat cycle for a Golden Retriever.

There is no real average for how long this stage lasts.

It can be as short as 60 days or as long as 150 days. Since Golden Retrievers are large dogs, you’re likely going to experience the longer end of that range.

Once this stage completes, you start it all over again with stage one.

Final Word

As you can see, a Golden Retriever goes into heat at a fairly early age.

And once it starts, heat cycles become a regular part of life for Goldens and their owners.

Knowing what to expect in advance helps you to prepare for this change in your dog’s life.

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National Canine Research Association of America