What is Artificial Insemination?

Artificial insemination refers to the procedure of artificially introducing dog semen into the vagina or cervix of a female dog in order to bring about pregnancy. 

Artificial insemination (AI) has been widely used in cattle for decades, but only in recent years has it found a niche amongst dog breeders. It is most frequently carried out by experienced inseminators or by vets in practice. 

In the US, it is a useful way of decreasing the stress on parent stock who are separated by large geographical distances. In the UK, it is becoming popular as a way of widening the gene pool of breeds where low numbers of dogs exist in the country. 

Artificial Insemination Procedure in Dogs

First, semen is collected from the male dog. This is done by exposing the male to a female in heat. When he goes to mount her, his penis is diverted into a false vagina which collects the ejaculated semen. 

If a female in heat is not available, swabs which have previously collected pheromones from the vulva of a female in estrus, can be rubbed onto the rear of a female dog. This is usually sufficient to engage the male's interest. 

The semen is checked under a microscope to ensure healthy numbers of active sperm. The semen is either used straight away, chilled (used within 24 hours), or frozen in liquid nitrogen (viable for months to years). 

The female recipient must be in heat (which occurs roughly twice a year) and about to or recently ovulated. This stage of her reproductive cycle can be gauged from blood tests monitoring her progesterone levels or by looking at slides of her vaginal cytology. 

A plastic or glass straw containing the sperm is then introduced into her vagina, and the sperm released. More sophisticated methods of insemination involve passing  a fine endoscope into the vagina and using it to guide the straw through the cervix and into the womb. 

Efficacy of Artificial Insemination in Dogs

AI has been used in cattle for a long time and is highly successful. The success rate in dogs is lower, largely because canine semen is less stable when frozen. In addition, cattle that do not fall pregnant readily are usually culled from the herd, whereas this is not the case with breeding bitches. Therefore, there could be issues on the female side which mean she fails to conceive despite a viable straw of semen. 

Artificial Insemination Recovery in Dogs

With the usual forms of insemination, there is no recovery time, as the female is fully conscious. Some experts advise preventing her from squatting to pass urine for half an hour after insemination, to stop the semen being washed out of the vagina. 

Endoscopic placement of semen tubes is slightly more invasive and requires sedation. The welfare costs and benefits to the female should be considered before going ahead with this method. The UK Kennel Club uphold the right to decline to register the litter if they feel the female's welfare was compromised in any way. 

Cost of Artificial Insemination in Dogs

A typical stud fee for a one-to-one mating is $500 to $1,000. 

A straw of semen varies in price depending on the heritage and pedigree of the dog. For this reason, the cost is usually available "on request" from each specific breeder. 

Dog Artificial Insemination Considerations

Artificial insemination is becoming increasingly popular, but is not without controversy. There is some concern that it overlooks the natural mating process and could eventually select for dogs that don't know how to mate naturally. 

As the parents never actually meet, there are additional concerns about concealing that one of the dogs is aggressive. This matters because to some extent aggression can be genetic and passed on from parent to pup. Responsible breeding means only selecting dogs of exceptional conformation and character, to produce future generations. 

Also, AI does not eliminate the risk of cross infection from the male dog to the female. Conditions such as brucellosis can be transferred via the semen, although obviously the risk to the male of infection from the female is eliminated. 

Artificial Insemination Prevention in Dogs

AI becomes unnecessary when there is a good genetic diversity (unrelated individuals) living within easy travelling distance of each other. Also, the need for AI is reduced when female dogs are bred when fully in heat and about to ovulate. Many female dogs that are forcibly restrained for one-to-one mating, and become labelled as 'poor breeders' are not actually in full heat. 

Artificial Insemination Questions and Advice from Veterinary Professionals

German Shepherd
5 Years
Moderate condition
0 found helpful
Moderate condition

Has Symptoms

No pregnancy

My female has missed two litters, last cycle was a single stillborn pup, this time no conception. She was Artificially inseminated at progesterone levels of just over 10 and two days later at just over 14. Is this where her levels needed to be for successful fertilization?

My dog was not interested till the 17th day from the first day of her cycle. She had her first AI on the 17th as she still wasn’t letting him on her and then again on the 23rd day. She had 4 puppies

How many times do you need to inseminate a dog for her to get pregnant?? Thanks!

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Labrador Retriever
3 Years
Fair condition
0 found helpful
Fair condition

Has Symptoms

Late labour

we had our dog Artificially Inseminated on April 8th and she has not given birth yet. First we thought she is not pregnant but from a month her tummy is big and her nipples are big too. So can you tell me what is the pregnancy period if we use artificial insemination

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
April 8, 2018 was 84 days ago (up to July 1, 2018); gestation length in dogs doesn’t vary with artificial insemination, the same process occurs once insemination is completed. At 20 days past expectancy (normally 63 days give or take a day or two), you should visit your Veterinarian for an examination to determine if she is pregnant, if there is a hormonal condition (false pregnancy or similar) or if there was a different insemination date (didn’t take the insemination but was bred by a different dog naturally). Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM

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Chow Chow
Two Years
Fair condition
1 found helpful
Fair condition

is there anyone in the west country that can carry out the collection of semen and getting it delivered to the north of England as we can not find anyone,and it would be helpful if you knew some one

Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
Dr. Callum Turner, DVM
3320 Recommendations
Being from the UK myself (originally), I know of a few people dealing with horse semen collection, but I cannot think of anyone dealing with dogs especially in your area; many collection services will coordinate with a local Veterinarian or will travel to do a collection themselves. I would reach out to a few well known companies like UK Clone and BreedMyDog to see if they are able to offer services in your area. Regards Dr Callum Turner DVM www.ukclone.co.uk www.breedmydog.co.uk

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