Artificial insemination has been successfully used in breeding of some animals, to include cattle. In recent years, it has started to gain popularity among purebred dog owners who want to breed their female but for some reason cannot do it successfully through natural breeding methods. Artificial insemination is a good way to further a breed with an exceptional male dog that may be separated from the female or that cannot breed for other reasons.
Artificial insemination involves collecting semen from a male dog, which may seem complicated, but is actually much easier than it sounds. It can be done at many veterinary clinics or even in the comfort of one’s home. Here are some things to know if you are interested in trying this with your dog.
Why it is done
Artificial insemination is often done when the owner of a female dog chooses a male that lives far away, making natural breeding burdensome and even impossible due to the timing of the female’s heat cycle. It saves money on shipping costs and reduces any health risks to the female through shipping, especially in extreme weather conditions. It can also be done if the male has been injured and is unable to breed a female naturally.
In many cases, artificial insemination is done because of behavioral problems in one or both dogs. The female may not be receptive to the male. She may become nervous and growl or attack him. The male may be inexperienced and may not be familiar with the process. If he was reprimanded in the past for mounting a female dog, he may refuse to breed once the time comes. In some cases, an excited male dog’s penis will become erect before entering the female’s vagina. In normal circumstances, the penis must become fully erect after penetration for best results.
In addition, the environment may be a problem for the male. Males are territorial and ideally should breed where they live. They could become aggressive if forced to go elsewhere, which is why the female should be brought to the male’s home for natural breeding.
Collecting the semen
Acquiring the semen from the male dog can be done easily if he is brought together with a female in heat. When he tries to breed the female, the owner redirects his penis into an artificial vagina instead. The penis is stimulated, and ejaculation occurs. If a dog in heat is not readily available, some owners use cotton swabs taken from the vagina of a dog in heat and use those to arouse the male.
Performing the insemination
There are three main types of insemination techniques used. The vaginal method involves filling a rod with semen and depositing into the female’s vagina all the way to the cervix opening. The rod is then withdrawn.
The surgical method involves injecting semen into the female’s uterus through a needle. It is a procedure similar to spaying a dog. This method has a high success rate. It allows vets to examine females with ovary or uterus problems. In addition, this method works well with toy breeds, which often have trouble conceiving.
The laparoscopic method is still relatively new but is gaining in popularity. It is less invasive than the surgical technique and is also faster. Through an incision in the female’s abdomen, a small telescope is inserted, and the semen is deposited in her uterus that way.
Benefits of artificial insemination
Many dog breeders prefer to use artificial insemination because it is convenient. It can be done quickly without having to interrupt the schedules of either dog. The dogs do not have to be near each other for a pregnancy to occur.
It also opens to the door to more stud dog choices. Distance is often a factor in determining what stud dog to use for a female. Artificial insemination eliminates this concern. The sperm can be shipped instead of the female dog, saving time and money for the female dog’s owner.
Artificial insemination also allows an excellent stud dog to continue his legacy, even after he has died. Sperm can be frozen and used at any time. It also allows breeding to occur without the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, in some cases. The female can still contract diseases from the male’s sperm, but the male cannot get any diseases from the female.
Disadvantages of artificial insemination
Inseminating a dog through unnatural means allows for more selective breeding, which may or may not be a good thing. Some breeders will choose a stud for just one or two desirable traits and end up with genetic defects or other undesirable characteristics.
Some breeders use artificial insemination to breed a vicious dog. Behavior is a trait that can be passed down to the puppies, so breeding a dog with this type of behavior is never recommended.
Using collected sperm is not as effective as natural breeding and conception. The success rate for inseminating a dog through artificial means is between 65 and 85 percent. In addition, smaller litters are to be expected.
Breed registries, such as the American Kennel Club (AKC) have specific rules about the use of fresh, chilled and frozen sperm in the breeding process. It may require DNA certification from the male’s owner before allowing the litter to be registered. In addition, there are much stricter requirements regarding the use of frozen sperm. Be aware of these rules and regulations if you are concerned about not being able to register your purebred litter.