All About Dog Canine Artificial Insemination

  There are many different reasons you may need to learn about Artificial Insemination with dogs. Some females are too aggressive towards the male to be bred, or it may be standard practice for the breed. We have all the important information you need to understand and consider to successfuly produce a litter using Artificial Insemination.

What are the advantages of using artificial insemination over natural breeding?

– Artificial Insemination opens up your options for selecting a stud dog. When you find a veterinarian who knows how to receive an overnight shipment of fresh chilled semen, spin off the extender, check sperm quality, and insert it, you can open up your options to any stud anywhere in the lower 48. This gives you the ability to prioritize a high-quality stud from another state.

– Artificial Insemination can be very important for a breeder who is offering stud service and breeders who have a breeding female. I have done 100’s of stud services. Females who are very dominant can be difficult to breed. Females who are first-timers can be difficult to breed. It’s important to understand that females can be aggressive when mounted for 2 reasons. The first being they are not ready. Typically a female who is not yet at the right time to be bred will put her butt down when the male approaches her hind quarters. She will always be aggressive. The second reason is she’s dominant. She could be ready, but super aggressive. In either of these situations,  you may not be able to have natural breeding take place. Some studs are shy to tie for many reasons, like having a man in the room or having anyone around. As a young breeder, I was saddled with a stud who was too shy to breed naturally. I had to figure out how to collect him, and utilize artificial insemination rather than lose the value of a significant investment that I had made in my stud. If you are in the breeding business, you should have artificial insemination supplies on hand at all times. If you own a female or a male. It can save you a missed breeding worth ten thousand dollars in puppies or a stud fee from a client. Learn how to collect and inseminate. Be prepared.

Do I need to be careful when artificially inseminating my dog?

 – One time my stud went to naturally tie a female and every time he started to swell and tie the female, he kept popping back out, after multiple times of this happening I decided to ask the owner if I could do a vaginal exam of the female to check for a stricture.

  Sure enough, I gloved up, put some non-spermicidal lubricant on my pointer finger, inserted my finger, and met with a narrowing of the vaginal channel at the top of her hips.  It was so small, that I tried my pinky finger and was still unable to insert my pinky finger. Keep in mind that stud dogs reproductive  small breeds like Yorkies are anywhere from 1/2 inch to a full one and a half inches thick when fully engorged. You should be able to get at least your pinky finger into the female past the hips. If you can’t, you are most likely dealing with a stricture that will have to be surgically removed.

  In this instance, my client decided to go ahead with artificial insemination where the tiny pipette easily passed through the small hole. The client then went to a reproductive specialist clinic, where it was confirmed that she did in fact have a stricture, and was also pregnant. They planned a c-section and the stricture was surgically removed at the time of the c-section. Then the female came back later for another breeding and was naturally bred!

  So where is the danger in this situation? If I had gone ahead with insemination without checking the female, the bitch owner (this was her first litter) would have tried to let this little momma naturally whelp, which would have likely resulted in the loss of the litter. The mom dog would have tried to push for a long time until the owner knew something was wrong and took her in for an emergency c-section. I am so proud to know, that my knowledge and experience saved this client an emergency c-section fee, most likely the life of the first puppy to meet the point of stricture, and even possibly her female’s life. That is a ton of money saved. Working with an experienced breeder can save you so much heartache and loss.

– The tissues that make up the uterus and vaginal canal are muscle and cartilage that don’t have much sensation. This means that when inserting the tube you are very unlikely to be able to do any damage to the female’s internal organs. Use gentle pressure. Never forceful. Females may yelp because of a foreign sensation; just be careful and considerate. Talk to the female in reassuring tones. Some girls that display aggressiveness with stud dog may try to bite you as soon as they feel the pipette. Your mental state and ability to handle an aggressive female will dictate your success. If you are uncomfortable and afraid of being bitten, you can ask the female owner to cover her head with a small blanket or dish towel, basically put the blinders on to calm her, this works sometimes, or it may make her more upset, if it makes the female more agitated, remove it.

How do I safely insert the pipette into the female dog?

When inserting the pipette into the female you insert the tip of the pipette at the top of her slit, push it in slowly at an upward angle toward her tail until it stops, and angle your pipette in toward her chest, at somewhat of a downward angle.  You can softly adjust left or right while twisting the pipette. It’s like a bag of folded skin. You can pump the seminal fluid right into a corner fold where it’s not likely to be easy for sperm to get to the eggs. Twist the pipette while moving it around in any direction. Soft pressure. If you meet resistance, back up and try another direction. Every female is different, and her cervix can be flipped or off to the side, etc. If you are inserting and then randomly go in a bit farther, that usually means you are in the right place. 

When is it appropriate to use a canine semen extender?

  In the past, I was happy to use a semen extender even with freshly collected sperm with the female right in the room. Now I do not that do that. Here’s why. When you ship sperm to a vet in another state, they actually spin the fluid to take out all the extra fluid to return the semen back to being highly concentrated with sperm. So if the female is right there and you collect your stud to insert as soon as you are done collecting; I do not recommend adding an extender.

  I do recommend adding an extender when you are actually shipping sperm overnight. The extender protects the sperm as they are chilled and then warmed back up.

What is a good semen extender to use?

  I like to use Dr. Kenney’s Semen extender. It is a good brand, it’s also used for horses. I used to always buy the one with antibiotics in it, just to hopefully protect the female from any bacteria from the stud, and get antibiotics into the female to kill any bacteria in her uterus. Bacteria in the uterus is one of the most common things to inhibit female fertility. I have completely stopped using the one with antibiotics in it. I found out that antibiotics can be hard on the sperm. So I just completely stopped using that one and I only buy the one that doesn’t have any antibiotics in it. I personally have had better success with using the one with no antibiotics.

  You can collect your stud, and separate it into two portions, then add the antibiotic extender into one and the extender without antibiotics into the other. Then use a microscope to continuously check the quality to see if the antibiotic is negatively affecting the lifespan and motility of your specific studs sperm. Each stud is different and one stud’s sperm may be ok with an extender that has an antibiotic in it.

How do I collect sperm from my male stud dog?

– I generally use just get a Ziploc bag (Ziplocs do not kill sperm, you don’t need the expensive collection bag).  Gently squeeze behind the bulbus glandis or the big knot at the base of the male’s penis. This will allow blood to flow in but not out of the male, simulating a tie. You need to simulate a natural tie feeling. Gently put a small amount of pulling pressure and pull on the bulb towards the dog’s head. In a natural tie, when the stud begins to swell, the female’s internal muscles grab behind the bulbous and the male pulls away putting tension pressure on the bulbus glandis, you see the dogs turn butt to butt when this happens in a natural tie.

  Keep the gentle pressure and stay there until you see the milky-looking fraction, or the sperm-rich fraction goes into the Ziploc. Sometimes it’s a 30-minute hold, sometimes a 2-minute hold. There are 3 fractions of ejaculate. The First has no sperm usually though it may have some, and clears the way, the second is sperm rich, third is designed to push the second in deeper. Pull the Ziploc away and add the prepared extender. Slowly – suck up the mix, if you go too fast, you will rip the tails off the sperm as they enter or exit the tube.

 Where can I buy Semen Extender?

  I buy the Dr. Kenney Semen extender without antibiotics off amazon,  “Click Here” to buy it. Instructions come with it on how to prepare before adding it to the sperm collection.

How do I insert the pipette into the female when doing artificial insemination on my dog?

– After you have slowly sucked up the collection into the pipette with the attached sperm-friendly syringe – hold the female’s tail with the left hand so she can’t move around on you. Then insert the tip of the pipette at the top of her slit at an upward angle so it’s pointing up to her hips, as you go upward as you push the pipette in you keep slowly going until you stop at her hips, once it stops (don’t press hard), change the angle of the pipette to about pointing towards the bottom of the dog’s chest. then slowly start to push the pipette in. Some females’ channel is a little higher or lower as you push it in, if you feel resistance go to the left or right or up or down with small pushes. Twisting the pipette is a great technique to easily pass through folds. You will find the channel. Your pipette should be inside the bitch about 5″, even for a small Yorkie, and at least double that for a large breed. Once you are in far enough, lift the hind end of the dog up a little off the ground, and slowly push the syringe, emptying the contents. Slowly! If sperm starts to come back out – re-adjust your pipette position a little moving it to the right or left. Then start pushing more of the contents in with the syringe.

Do I need to do anything special right after the sperm is inserted?

  Make sure that after you are done inserting the sperm you do hold her rear end up high in the air. In a natural tie, the male is stuck in there for about 30 min holding everything in. Holding her for at least 30 min after artificial insemination is extremely important.

How much fluid should I expect to get after I collect semen from a stud dog?

– Some males have 5 mls of fluid, some only .5 or .25 ml’s of fluid. .5 is plenty! I know that’s crazy but I’ve been doing AI for years and worked with a breeder who’s been doing it for over 40 years. If you only get .25 your male may not be old enough. It can take 2 years for a male to reach maturity. If you get about .5 an ml from the male, only add .5 an ml of the extender to it. That is enough!! If you talk to a veterinarian who works at a vet clinic doing breeding dogs only- they will tell you one drop is enough. One drop from a healthy fertile stud has millions of swimmers, and your female has anywhere from 1 – 16 eggs depending on your breed of dog. You just need one drop inside the female, in the right spot, at the right time.

  I went to the south mountain veterinary clinic in Draper Utah. I was there to have transcervical artificial insemination done. That’s where the veterinarian actually takes the sperm and uses a camera to find the female’s cervix and go passed the cervix to put the sperm right where it needs to go. They were extremely busy and they asked me to collect from the stud dog. So I did that, and the stud dog owner was there, she absolutely would not collect her stud. So I did, and he gave me maybe .5 of an ml and deflated or lost his erection. It could have been because of the crazy busy atmosphere or that he didn’t know me.. etc. But I hurried and got one of the ladies that worked there because it was crazy thick and I know that that’s enough. The vet did the transcervical insemination with just that small amount, and we had 7 puppies 60 days later. I have had 6 puppy litters from only .25 of an ml. So volume is not an end-all indicator of success. Timing is more important.

How do I ship canine sperm?

  1. You need the appropriate transport kit. You can get it off Amazon, here is the link – Amazon Semen Transport kit

2. You need to buy the appropriate semen extender. Here is the link – Dog Semen Extender

Images of how to artificially inseminate a dog.