The Miniature Dachshund is a small, short-legged and long-bodied dog. It was originally bred to hunt small burrowing animals such as rabbits but they also make loyal and loving house pets. The female dachshund is able to breed from around six to eight months old. As with many small dogs however, miniature dachshunds can sometimes face health issues during pregnancy and when giving birth.
Estrus or "heat" refers to the breeding cycle of a female dog. Female miniature dachshunds usually come into their first heat between six and eight months old. The cycle is repeated every six months, meaning she will be fertile twice each year. Proestrus lasts about nine days and is accompanied by a bloody discharge. The estrus phase itself usually lasts about four days. During estrus the vulva swells while the discharge decreases and lightens in colour. During the next phase, diestrus, the discharge will becomes redder again and the vulva will return to its normal size. The whole cycle typically lasts about 21 days. After it finishes, the bitch enters anestrus until the next heat cycle.
The female dachshund will be receptive to breeding with a male during the estrus phase of the cycle. Although they are more likely to conceive during estrus you should consider your dog to be "in season" for the whole 21 or so days of her estrous cycle according to Dachshund World. Bitches in heat can attract male dogs of all kinds so do not leave her outside unattended. If you intend to breed miniature dachshunds you should ensure the bitch is in perfect health and consider a stud partner carefully.
The gestation period for a miniature dachshund is generally around 63 days. If you are intentionally breeding your dog you can take her for a scan about a month after mating. This will not only tell you if she is pregnant, it will also give you an idea of the size of litter to expect. It is important that the mother-to-be is exercised regularly and fed a nutritious, well-balanced diet during her pregnancy. This will help keep both mother and pups healthy.
The duration of the first stage of labour can vary but once they start coming the pups should be born at intervals of between 15 to 30 minutes. The average litter size is three to four pups. As they are born the mother should lick the membrane from their faces and clean them if all is well. Miniature dachshunds can have problems giving birth however, due mainly to their small size. If no pups have arrived after three to four hours or there is a protracted gap between births you should seek veterinary advice according to The Dog Directory.