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Types of Mating

Natural Matings have the highest success for conception of all techniques available.  Using an inexperienced stud for natural matings often requires “Sex Education” using a calm, experienced bitch in prime estrus, ideally the bitch he is to mate. The education sessions should be quick, lasting no more than 5 minutes, and supervised 3-5 times daily to encourage mating behaviors such as mounting, thrusting, and (if possible) allowing mating.  While supervising, provide positive reinforcement only.  Generally, one successful mating is all the training a stud needs to become proficient at the task.

Each stud is different.  Some prefer no human intervention, while others do well with a handler applying upward pressure on the stud’s pelvis below the tail to ensure that the bulbus glandis is inside the bitch prior to engorgement.  Contractions from the vaginal muscles of the bitch maintain pressure behind the bulbus glandis, which is what maintains the erection.  When the bitch’s muscles relax, pressure is reduced, allowing the erection to end.

Outside ties occur when the bulbus glandis is able to engorge outside of the vagina of the brood, thus preventing a “tie”; the penis is able to slip out of the vagina. If an outside tie occurs, elevate the bitch’s hind end and feather the vagina when this occurs.  Repeat the mating in several hours in hopes of complete tie.

Studs that routinely have outside ties need to be evaluated for the following:

  • Pain – joint or spinal pain in the stud
  • Lack of libido 
  • Psychological – some young guide dogs studs have been so well-raised to not jump on people or furniture, that they are unsure of mounting the bitch.
  • Bulbus glandis diameter- the engorged bulbus glandis is too small in diameter (5 cm versus 5.6 cm in Labrador Retrievers) for the bitch’s vaginal tract even when she is contracting her vaginal muscles.  In this instance, vaginal or transcervical inseminations with fresh semen are necessary.  Studies at Guiding Eyes for the Blind on bulbus glandis diameter indicated sons from a stud with a small bulbus glandis (50 mm) had normal diameter bulbus glandis.

Chilled and Frozen Semen

Chilled Semen is an ideal way of using studs that are beyond driving distance.  The sperm-rich fraction only is collected into extender such as Fresh Express™, which is available from vendors such as Synbiotics.  After processing by slow cooling, it is shipped on ice to the bitch.  Insemination can be done vaginally or transcervically.

Frozen Semen is the preferred method of utilizing semen from dogs from other countries or at later time periods when the stud dog is no longer available.  Insemination can be done surgically, transcervically or, with some protocols, vaginally.  The results with transcervical insemination can be as high as 80% conception and average litter sizes of 6 puppies.  


Transcervical Insemination (TCI)

This insemination procedure was developed by Dr. Marion Wilson, BVMS, MVCS, MRCVS around 1992.  A vaginoscope is inserted into the vagina with the aid of a fiber-optic telescope in the shaft of the vaginoscope.  When the cervix is located in the anterior vagina, a catheter that is also in the shaft of the vaginoscope is used to manipulate the opening to the cervix (cervical os) and the catheter is passed into the uterus.  The semen (which can be fresh, chilled or frozen) is gently injected through the catheter into the uterus.  This procedure provides a very viable alternative to surgical insemination with no untoward side effects for the bitch.

When using frozen semen, sperm only lives about 12-24 hours after thawed, and it has poor ability to transverse the cervix. Intrauterine insemination increases the chance of conception.

Conception rates are as follows:

  • Vaginal – 30%, 
  • Intrauterine-  50% to 80%

There are 2 intrauterine methods:

  • Surgical- 1x, anesthesia
  • Transcervical- multiple times  

Trans Cervical Insemination video:

Play Video

The equipment required for this procedure and the equipment needed to store and handle frozen semen totals about $19,000 US Dollars as of 5/2006.  It does require staff training, which can be taught in about three days.  Guiding Eyes for the Blind (guidingeyes.org) has provided training to multiple schools around the world and can be contacted if training or more information is desired.

Semen Quality and Success With AI

Variables affecting semen quality and its relation to fertility in the dog: A retrospective study.

Tesi M1, Sabatini C2, Vannozzi I2, Di Petta G2, Panzani D2, Camillo F2, Rota A2.  Italy   https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29883842