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All female German Shorthaired Pointers will have a heat cycle at some point. Knowing when your GSP goes into heat can help owners be prepared for what will happen during the cycle.

When Should I Expect My GSP To Go Into Heat?

GSP’s usually start their first cycle of heat around the age of 10-14 months old. You can expect her to be in heat about every six months and it will last about 2-3 weeks.

It’s a good idea to track when their first cycle begins as the timing should be regular for the second cycle.

If you think your dog is having problems with their heat cycle, our veterinarian writer has a blog post you might want to read: Dog in Heat: Problems and Help (Veterinarian)

How Do I Know My GSP Is In Heat?

Your German Shorthaired Pointer will go through physical and behavioral changes during her heat cycle.

Here are some signs your GSP is in heat:

  • Bleeding and/or discharge
  • Swollen vulva
  • Frequent urination
  • Licking genitals
  • Nesting
  • Mounting behavior
  • Personality changes

Bleeding Or Discharge

Bleeding and discharge are normal during your GSP’s heat cycle. This can last up to 2-3 weeks.

You may want to buy some diapers to stop any blood from getting on your carpet.

Any discharge from your GSP will likely be bloody, brown, clear, or yellow-colored.

Swollen Vulva

A swollen vulva is the first sign of your GSP in heat. This happens 2 or 3 days before vaginal discharge.

The vulva will begin to swell and engorge during this time, however, it isn’t painful for your dog.

Frequent Urination

Dogs mark their territory with urine to communicate with other dogs. Female dogs urinate frequently during their heat cycle to tell other dogs they are going into heat.

So if your GSP is urinating or spot urinating a lot, then this is also a strong signal that she is going into her heat cycle.

However, it can also be a sign of urinary tract infection so keep an eye on this.

Licking Genitals

Your GSP will likely lick her genitals during her cycle.

This can be a sign of keeping herself clean, however it can also be caused by sensitivity from increased blood flow.


Your GSP may display nesting behaviors during her heat cycle.

She does this as preparation for her pups. If you see her carrying toys around, or blankets, or moving her bed, then this is also a strong signal she is going through her heat cycle.


Mounting may occur more often than usual when she is in heat.

Personality Changes

As hormonal changes occur in your GSP, she will likely display new behaviors and personality quirks.

This can include her being clingy, more playful, or perhaps even more shy and anxious.

Aggressive behaviors may also show up toward other female dogs. If you see her being aggressive to female dogs during this time the best course of action is to keep her away from other females.

Are you interested in reading our post, Is My Dog Pregnant or Fat? Here’s How to Tell

GSP Heat Cycle Timeline

Here are the stages of the dog heat cycle:

Proestrus Stage

This is the start of your GSP’s heat cycle and it will last about 9 days.

During this stage, her vulva will become very swollen and she will have a bloody discharge from her vagina.

This stage brings about the most behavioral changes, such as what we talked about under the personality changes heading.

Estrus Stage

The stage signifies chemical changes occurring in your GSP.

It usually lasts about 10-12 days and she can not get pregnant during this time. The discharge will likely change to a watery, clear color.

Diestrus Stage

In this stage, your GSP is not receptive to males and cannot get pregnant.

Estrogen levels remain low as progesterone levels climb. The progesterone levels will peak one month after the estrus stage and then decline.

This stage lasts about 2 months and vaginal discharge begins to lessen at this point.

Anestrus Stage

This is the longest stage of the heat cycle. This stage can last between 3 and 4 months. Estrogen levels will return to normal.

This is the time for recovery after delivering a litter of puppies. When this stage ends, the proestrus cycle will repeat for a total of two heat cycles per year.

Here is a video explaining the heat cycle of a dog:

Caring For a GSP In Heat

Your GSP may feel a little fragile during this time so it’s a good idea to be very loving and caring. Give lots of treats, scratches, and cuddles!

Public Places Should be Avoided

Going to places such as the dog park or the pet store may lead to attention from male dogs that you don’t want. She may also come across a female and not be too friendly.

Exercise And Rest

Some dogs can be more active during their cycle, while others will laze around the house.

As you go through the cycles of your GSP over time you will come to know what she’s like and her behavioral changes.

Dog Diapers

Doggie diapers are a great way to ease your mind of any messes that may be made during your dog’s heat cycle.

These diapers will help in keeping your carpet, bedding, and other areas of your house clean.

Talk With Your Vet

Some things to know about the heat cycle for GSPs.

  • The heat cycle should become regular after the first one
  • Do not let your GSP become pregnant during her first heat cycle
  • Signs of heat cycle – swollen vulva, discharge, behavior changes.
  • 4 stages of the heat cycle are: Proestrus, Estrus, Diestrus, Anestrus
  • The cycle can last 60 to 90 days
  • Behavior changes – clingier to family, may growl and snap at male dogs
  • Will move tail to the side, signaling a willingness to mate, also known as “flagging”
  • May show some aggression
  • When it’s over, the heat cycle starts all over again

Are you interested in reading our post, When Will My GSP Start Pointing: (Answered)