Male Dog Behavior When Female Is Pregnant-Clear Answer(2023)

Dogs are incredible creatures with a remarkable ability to sense changes in their environment, including the physical and emotional states of their human companions.

One fascinating aspect of canine behavior is how male dogs react when a female dog is pregnant.

Male dogs can detect the changes in a pregnant female through their heightened senses, such as hormone levels, disposition, and mannerisms.

While they may not fully grasp the concept of pregnancy, their instincts kick in, preventing them from mating with the pregnant female and leading to a range of behaviors that can be both intriguing and challenging for dog owners to navigate.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind male dogs’ reactions to pregnant females, delve into the science behind their extraordinary sense of smell, discuss the various behaviors exhibited by male dogs when a female is pregnant, and provide practical tips on how to manage and understand these reactions.

Whether you are a dog owner or simply fascinated by the intricacies of canine behavior, this article will shed light on the topic of male dog behavior when a female is pregnant.

Male Dog Behavior When Female Is Pregnant

Male dog behavior can change when a female dog is pregnant.

Many male dogs can detect hormonal changes through their keen sense of smell.

They might become more protective or attentive towards the pregnant female, showing increased interest and concern.

Some males might exhibit guarding behaviors, ensuring the female’s safety. However, some males may also become more anxious or restless due to the changes in their environment.

It’s essential for owners to monitor interactions between the male and pregnant female, providing necessary support and supervision to ensure a peaceful coexistence during this sensitive time.

The Canine Sense of Smell: A Remarkable Gift

Before we delve into the specifics of male dog behavior when a female is pregnant, it is crucial to understand the incredible sense of smell possessed by dogs.

Their olfactory prowess is far superior to that of humans, allowing them to detect scents and changes in their environment that would go unnoticed by us. Dogs have approximately 220 million olfactory receptors, compared to the mere five million found in humans.

Moreover, the part of a dog’s brain dedicated to processing smells is about 40 times larger than ours.

This exceptional sense of smell has made dogs invaluable in various fields, such as search and rescue, drug detection, and even medical diagnoses.

They can detect certain diseases, including cancer, by sniffing a patient’s breath, and they can sense changes in blood sugar levels, making them valuable companions for individuals with diabetes.

It comes as no surprise, then, that dogs can also detect when a female dog is pregnant.

Male Dogs’ Instinctive Knowledge of Pregnancy

Yes, male dogs can indeed detect when a female dog is pregnant. While they may not comprehend the concept of pregnancy as humans do, they can sense the changes occurring in the pregnant female’s body.

These changes include variations in hormone levels, disposition, and mannerisms. Their acute sense of smell enables them to pick up on these alterations, leading to a range of behaviors that indicate their understanding of the situation.

It is important to note that male dogs’ reactions to pregnant females are instinctive rather than conscious.

Read Also: How Soon Can A Dog Get Pregnant After Having A Litter Of Puppies

They do not possess a cognitive understanding of pregnancy, but their instincts tell them that they cannot mate with the pregnant female.

how do male dogs act when female is pregnant

As a result, they may become frustrated and exhibit different behaviors around the pregnant dog. Let’s explore these behaviors in more detail.

Whining: A Frustrated Expression of Desire

One common behavior exhibited by male dogs when a female is pregnant is whining.

Whining is a natural and instinctive reaction that can indicate a range of emotions, including overexcitement, frustration, or even sickness.

When an intact male dog becomes aroused, he may express his sexual frustration by whining, especially in the presence of an in-heat female.

Male dogs can detect the scent of an in-heat female from a considerable distance of 3 to 5 miles. Similarly, they can pick up on the scent of a pregnant female.

In the case of a pregnant dog, whining serves as a way for the male to alleviate the discomfort of being unable to mate. It is a vocal expression of their frustration and desire, indicating that they recognize the female’s unavailability for breeding.

Aggressive Behavior: Fear and Defense Mechanism

Aggressive behavior is another reaction that male dogs may exhibit when a female dog is pregnant. Aggression in dogs typically stems from fear or the need to defend themselves.

While male dogs can generally get along with one another, when a female is in heat, it is common for intact males to exhibit aggression toward other males.

However, in the case of a pregnant female, males usually do not display this combination of nervous and violent postures. Instead, they tend to whine to express their incapability to mate.

It is important to note that allowing pregnant females and males to play together can lead to dangerous situations, as the pregnant dog may become aggressive toward the males.

This aggression is a protective instinct to ensure the safety of her unborn puppies. Therefore, if you observe negative behavior in male dogs when a female is pregnant, it is advisable to separate them, especially during the later weeks of the pregnancy period.

Roaming: The Urge to Seek a Mate

Male dogs naturally have a tendency to roam and mark their territory in the neighborhood.

This behavior becomes more pronounced when they sense the presence of a female in heat nearby, prompting them to spend extended periods outside in search of a mate.

However, when a female dog is pregnant, the opportunity for mating is limited, as her pregnancy prevents her from engaging in breeding activities.

It is crucial to manage the roaming behavior of male dogs when a female is pregnant to prevent the spread of diseases and ensure the health and safety of both the male and female.

Keeping them separated during the final weeks of the pregnancy period is highly recommended. This precautionary measure helps prevent the transmission of infectious diseases from the male to the pregnant female and her offspring.

Attraction to Females Giving Birth: A Natural Instinct

Male dogs are naturally attracted to females giving birth. They possess the ability to sense when a female dog is pregnant and, as a result, experience signs of anxiety and distress.

It is not uncommon to hear male dogs producing clear and loud whining noises when in close proximity to female dogs during parturition.

The reason behind this stressful reaction lies in the fact that male dogs can mate at any time, whereas females have estrous cycles that occur only about twice a year.

Pregnant females, in particular, are unable to engage in mating activities. Therefore, when males encounter females who cannot mate with them, their interest is rejected, leading to the manifestation of anxiety and distress.

male dog behavior when female is pregnant

It is worth noting that even sterilized male dogs can still exhibit attraction to females in heat or during whelping. However, their interest is typically less intense than that of intact males, and it does not result in any reproductive outcome.

Neutered males are incapable of impregnating females, but their reaction to a pregnant female is entirely normal.

Managing Male Dogs’ Interactions with Pregnant Dogs

Dogs are pack animals, and their pack mentality remains strong even when a female within the pack is pregnant. Many dog owners wonder whether they should separate male dogs from pregnant females.

While complete separation may be necessary during the final weeks of pregnancy and the birthing process, it is possible to keep them together for the majority of the pregnancy period if they do not pose a threat to each other.

Let’s explore the recommended guidelines for each stage of the pregnancy period:

First Weeks: Understanding Normal Changes

During the first three weeks of pregnancy, female dogs undergo visible changes, including vaginal discharge, swollen nipples, increased appetite, heightened affection, and decreased physical activity.

These changes are normal and should not be cause for concern. It is essential to allow the pregnant female to interact with the male dogs during this initial stage unless aggression is observed.

Second Weeks: Feeding and Monitoring

As the puppies grow inside the pregnant female, hunger may become more frequent. To avoid conflicts over food, it is advisable to feed the female dog separately from the male dogs.

The pregnant dog may experience additional physical changes during this period, such as a 20-50% increase in body weight, clear and odorless vaginal discharge, abdominal expansion, and puppy movements.

Read Also: What Happens When a Dog Gets Pregnant Too Young

Male dogs tend to be protective of the pregnant female, so supervised play sessions can be allowed, ensuring that the female does not become overly exhausted.

Final Weeks: Isolation and Preparation

As the pregnancy nears its end, it is crucial to keep the male dogs separated from the pregnant female. This precautionary measure allows the female to become accustomed to her birthing environment and ensures a comfortable space for delivery.

The presence of male dogs during the birthing process can cause unnecessary stress and anxiety, leading to disruptive behaviors such as whining.

Additionally, male dogs do not have a natural understanding of their role in the birthing process and can potentially interfere with the mother’s caregiving instincts.

After the delivery, the female dog will assume complete responsibility for caring for her puppies, including carrying them, nursing, cleaning, and guiding their early development.

male dog protective of pregnant female dog

Male dogs do not possess paternal instincts and do not play an active role in raising the offspring. Therefore, it is best to keep the males away from the mother and her newborn puppies until the puppies are at least three weeks old.

If the male dog is healthy and vaccinated, supervised introductions can be made once the puppies are weaned.


Can a male dog tell when a female is pregnant?

Yes, male dogs can often sense when a female dog is pregnant. Their acute sense of smell enables them to detect hormonal changes. This might lead to changes in behavior, such as increased attentiveness or protective instincts. However, individual reactions can vary among dogs.

Should I keep my male dog away from my pregnant female?

Keeping your male dog away from your pregnant female depends on their dynamics. Some males might be protective and supportive, while others might cause stress. Supervise interactions and consult your vet. Safety and the well-being of both dogs should guide your decision during this crucial period.

Why is my pregnant dog attacking my male dog?

Pregnant dogs can display territorial and protective behaviors. If your pregnant dog is attacking your male dog, it could be due to heightened sensitivity, hormones, or discomfort. Consult a veterinarian to ensure both dogs’ safety and address any underlying issues causing aggression during this time.


Understanding and managing male dog behavior when a female is pregnant is essential for dog owners and enthusiasts alike. Male dogs have the remarkable ability to detect the changes occurring in a pregnant female’s body through their heightened senses.

While they may not comprehend the concept of pregnancy, their instincts prevent them from mating with the pregnant female, leading to a range of behaviors such as whining, aggression, and roaming.

By acknowledging and respecting these behaviors, dog owners can provide a supportive and safe environment for both the pregnant female and the male dogs.

It is crucial to observe the recommended guidelines for each stage of the pregnancy period, allowing for appropriate interactions between males and pregnant females while ensuring the health and well-being of all dogs involved.

As responsible pet owners, it is our duty to understand and accommodate the unique behaviors and needs of our canine companions.

By doing so, we can foster a harmonious environment where both male and female dogs can thrive and coexist throughout the various stages of pregnancy and beyond.

Thank you for reading, and we hope this article has provided valuable insights into the fascinating world of male dog behavior when a female is pregnant. Stay tuned for more informative articles about dogs and their behavior!

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