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When’s the best time to have a Labrador bitch mated?

I prefer to have a bitch mated when she’s about three years old.

At this age she will have completed her training and enjoyed one, possibly, two shooting seasons.

Everything, of course, depends on when she comes into heat but ideally she wants mating towards the end of the shooting season so that her litter arrives in spring and the pups then have all summer to harden off on grass at the homes of their new owners.

This sort of timing is also important for the bitch because after all that whelping and prolonged suckling she’s going to need two or three months to recover and regain full fitness – just in time to enjoy another shooting season with you.