Canine Reproduction

Techniques are:

  • Vaginal Insemination—semen is deposited into the cranial vagina using a rigid pipette
  • Surgical Insemination—frozen semen is implanted inside the uterus during a surgical procedure and placed closer to the site of fertilization.
  • Transcervical Insemination—intrauterine deposition of the semen by passing a catheter though the cervix

Please discuss with your reproductive veterinarian the best method to inseminate your bitch.

Timing insemination to ovulation improves chances for success. Accurate ovulation timing is essential because freezing and thawing semen decreases the life span of the sperm cells to 12-24 hours once thawed. Daily blood testing is recommended to identify the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, which determines the short fertile period of the bitch.

Consult your reproductive veterinarian prior to your bitch’s heat cycle because each reproductive veterinarian has a protocol for testing and inseminating using progesterone and luteinizing hormone (LH) levels. Generally the initial timing visit is 5-7 days from first vulvar discharge. Except for bitches with known short cycles, which is 3-5 days.

Note: most reproductive veterinarians require a base level for progesterone so they are able to detect the rise in progesterone levels, which identifies the bitch’s fertile period. Using progesterone levels, the reproductive veterinarian is able to approximate the LH surge.  The LH surge can be pinpointed using LH testing.  The LH surge indicates when to breed according to what type of semen (fresh chilled, frozen semen, or live cover) is used.

Your reproductive veterinarian will be key in identifying proper breeding dates and method based on the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge, progesterone levels, type of semen available and breeding method.

The recommendations below are just guidelines. Please consult with your reproductive veterinarian before scheduling an insemination:

  • Fresh Chilled semen: Transcervical insemination usually occurs on days 3 and 5 or days 4 and 6 after the LH surge. If only one insemination is used, timing is even more critical. If a single surgical insemination is desired, it should be performed on Day 5 or 6 post-LH surge.
  • Frozen semen: Transcervical Insemination: if multiple vaginal or transcervical inseminations are performed, they should be on days 4, 5 and 6 after the LH surge. For surgical or transcervical inseminations, if a single insemination is used, it should be on day 5 or 6 after the LH surge.

At the first ovulation timing visit the bitch should be brucellosis tested. Bitches should be healthy and not have any illness at the time of breeding. Studs also should be tested for brucellosis prior to live cover or semen collection.

Every breeding bitch should be in good health and known to be free of any genetic disease. Breeding dogs at a minimum should be free of hip dysplasia (PennHIP or OFA), heart murmurs, and be CERF certified for normal eyes. Depending on the specific breed additional health clearances may be needed.

We offer WITNESS® Relaxin to assess pregnancy status. Refer to our product information for additional details and contact your reproductive veterinarian to order.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4, for more information regarding our reproduction products and services.

Fresh Chilled Semen

Semen is collected from the stud dog by manual stimulation. The different parts or fractions of the ejaculation are collected separately, so that good quality sperm-rich semen is extended and processed for shipping.

In general, semen of better quality with higher sperm count is collected when the dog’s libido is high. Therefore, try to closely approximate a typical breeding situation for each stud: owners are encouraged to provide a bitch in season to use as a “teaser.” In addition, if the dog associates a particular item with breeding, such as a rug, table, breeding rack, etc., that item should be brought to the collection.

Click here to find a reproductive veterinarian from among our Zoetis Reproductive Network Veterinarians.

Records needed:

  • Stud’s individual registration papers
  • Positive identification such as a tattoo or microchip
  • A copy of the stud’s DNA Profile (required by AKC)
    • Note: If you do not have a DNA Profile on your dog, the collecting veterinarian will submit a cheek swab sample to the AKC so such a profile can be generated
    • Address of the Inseminating Vet, bitch owner and bitch’s information

Use the FRESH EXPRESS® Extender to extend the sperm rich fraction (SRF) of canine semen prior to insemination or chilled transport. The extender is included in our FRESH EXPRESS Kit.

By definition, fresh-chilled semen should be used within 3 to 7 days. However in situations where the stud dog has excellent quality semen it may be kept chilled for up to 10 to 14 days by using the Semen Separating Solution and the FRESH EXPRESS Extender. Please note: If you need to store semen longer, consider freezing the semen. Frozen semen can be stored indefinitely.

Factors that affect the quantity and quality

  • Age: In general a young mature dog (2 to 4 years of age) will have a higher sperm count and better quality semen than older dogs or young immature dogs.
  • General Health Status: An ill or stressed dog will rarely produce good quality semen. It can take as long as 3 to 6 months for the ejaculate to return to normal following recovery from illness. Certain drugs also affect sperm production.
  • Size: In general large dogs produce more sperm than small dogs. Toy breeds must have semen collected several times to store enough to breed one bitch, whereas a giant breed stud might produce enough semen in one ejaculate to inseminate 3 to 5 bitches. Remember that it is the number of sperm cells, not the volume that is important.
  • Disposition/Temperament: In general an experienced stud dog produces better quality semen than one who doesn’t fully understand what is expected of him. In addition, a dog that is accustomed to having people around and/or being handled while breeding will perform better when having semen collected.

Fresh chilled semen is generally intended for short-term storage, generally up to 48 hours. Semen from stud dogs with normal quality semen can be routinely cool-stored (4°to 5°C) for 3 to 5 days with retention of suitable motility. Stud dogs with excellent quality semen may be stored for up to 10 to 14 days, but we recommend having a test collection chilled and checked for longevity before a sample is stored and used for breeding.

Factors that affect the quantity and quality

  • FRESH EXPRESS® shipping box with Styrofoam® liner
  • Two chill packs - Place chill packs in freezer upon arrival, for at least 24 hours
  • Vial of FRESH EXPRESS® Semen Extender - Refer to instructions for storage details
  • Vial of Semen Separating Solution - Refer to instructions for storage details
  • FRESH EXPRESS® canine insemination syringe
  • Small Styrofoam® box with cardboard sleeve and plastic zipper bag
  • 15 mL orange capped centrifuge/sample tube
  • 12-inch insemination pipette
  • Semen Collection Evaluation and Insemination Form
  • FRESH EXPRESS® Extender Instructions
  • Semen Separating Solution Instructions
  • Collection/Insemination Record
  • Instructions for the inseminating veterinarian
  • AKC Application to register a litter resulting from artificial insemination using fresh extended semen

Please discuss insemination with your veterinarian. With precise ovulation timing using WITNESS LH to identify the luteinizing hormone (LH) surge along with progesterone testing, many veterinarians are utilizing a single insemination.  If precise ovulation timing is not practiced, two collections and inseminations per breeding are strongly recommended. This should allow you to effectively cover the fertile period of the bitch.

Note: Breeding with chilled, extended semen is not a solution for infertility. On the contrary, it will introduce variables not present when doing a natural breeding. Therefore, stud dogs and bitches with a history of infertility are not typically good candidates for FRESH EXPRESS® breedings.

Please contact Zoetis Animal Health customer service at 800.733.5500 for current prices and any specials.

6 pounds.

Breeding with FRESH EXPRESS® produces a conception rate in the range of 75 percent to 80 percent in actual clinical use with normal litter sizes in breeds ranging from toys to giants. This rate is close to the 80 percent to 85 percent achieved with natural service.

Reproductive veterinarians and breeders have achieved successful breedings when using semen within 48 hours of adding FRESH EXPRESS® Extender. If the extended semen must be used beyond 48 hours, you may wish to refer to this protocol.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding our canine reproductive products and services.

Frozen Semen

Consider freezing semen for these reasons:

  • Long Term Storage: To ensure breeding availability for future generations, you should have his semen frozen if he has qualities which are valuable.
  • For Breeding When the Stud is Not Available: Live breeding can be limited by the stud’s show or trial schedule, overbooking for the stud’s service, or other scheduling conflicts. The use of frozen semen allows availability during the bitch’s fertile time.
  • Long-Distance and International Breeding: Long-distance breeding eliminates the need to transport the bitch or stud dog and may be accomplished using semen that has been fresh-extended or frozen.

Semen is collected from the stud dog by manual stimulation; the different parts or fractions of the ejaculation are collected separately, so that good, quality, sperm-rich semen is frozen and stored.

In general, semen of better quality with higher sperm count is collected when the dog’s libido is high. Therefore, try to closely approximate a typical breeding situation for each stud: owners are encouraged to provide a bitch in season to use as a “teaser.” In addition, if the dog associates a particular item with breeding, such as a rug, table, breeding rack, etc., that item should be brought to the collection.

Click here to find a reproductive veterinarian from among our Zoetis-trained Freeze Center Veterinarians.

  • Stud’s individual registration papers
  • Positive identification such as a tattoo or microchip
  • A full-sized profile picture of your dog
  • Completed freezing paperwork: Zoetis Storage Contract, Telephone Release Form, Record of Collection Ownership (if necessary), which include signatures of all owners if different than on registration certificate
  • A copy of the stud’s DNA Profile (required by AKC)
    • Note: If you do not have a DNA Profile on your dog, the collecting veterinarian will submit a cheek swab sample to the AKC so such a profile can be generated

Record of semen collection and freezing, which includes stud dog owner(s) signatures, will be filed by collecting veterinarian with the appropriate registration organization.

The entire process takes 4 to 5 hours from the time of the collection. However, clients are only present for the first 15 to 45 minutes. Expect to spend a little more time during the first visit to take care of necessary paperwork.

Quantity of semen obtained is directly dependent on the dog’s sperm count. Quantity and quality of the semen produced in one ejaculation can vary, sometimes considerably from dog to dog and collection to collection.

Each Zoetis Freeze Center is independently owned and operated. Please contact your local Freeze Center to learn specific costs for collecting your stud dog or contact our Kansas City Storage Center.

Factors that affect the quantity and quality of semen include:

  • Age: In general a young mature dog (2 to 4 years of age) will have a higher sperm count and better quality semen than older dogs or young immature dogs.
  • Age:General Health Status: An ill or stressed dog will rarely produce good quality semen. It can take as long as 3 to 6 months for the ejaculate to return to normal following recovery from illness. Certain drugs also affect sperm production.
  • Age:Size: In general large dogs produce more sperm than small dogs. Toy breeds must have semen collected several times to store enough to breed one bitch, whereas a giant breed stud might produce enough semen in one ejaculate to inseminate 3 to 5 bitches. Remember that it is the quality and number of sperm cells, not the volume that is important.
  • Age:Disposition/Temperament: In general an experienced stud dog produces better quality semen than one who doesn’t fully understand what is expected of him. In addition, a dog that is accustomed to having people around and/or being handled while breeding will perform better when having semen collected.

The quantity of straws required depends upon the quality of the collection, including morphology and motility and the concentration of the sperm per mL. Zoetis Reproduction Services Representatives will discuss with you the semen evaluation recorded for specific collections, and you and your reproduction veterinarian can make a final decision regarding the number of straws per breeding.

A minimum of 100 million live progressively motile sperm are needed for each breeding unit. Larger breed dogs may require 150-200 million sperm per breeding unit to achieve optimal results. Please discuss with your reproductive veterinarian to advise breeding unit size.

Researchers have estimated that frozen bull semen will last more than 10,000 years, and it is presumed that canine semen has similar storage properties. Canine frozen semen that was collected in the late 80’s and then stored in our facilities has resulted in successful breedings as many as 28 years later.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding our canine reproductive products and services.

Zoetis Storage Center

Completed freezing paperwork: Zoetis Storage Contract, Telephone Release Form, Record of Collection Ownership (if necessary), which include signatures of all owners if different than on registration certificate.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding your dog’s frozen semen or shipment requirements.

We provide worry-free, state-of-the-art storage at our centrally located facility in Kansas City, MO. We are an AKC approved storage facility that maintains the semen of more than 4,000 stud dogs. The semen is stored in a liquid nitrogen bath at a temperature of -196°C, which keeps the semen viable for an indefinite period.

Our security sets the industry standard to provide our customers with the most secure canine semen storage facility in the world.  Safety of the canine collections is also a priority in transportation for breedings or storage. Click here to learn about the full scope of our security.

Semen is stored in 1,500-gallon liquid nitrogen tanks in our state-of-the-art facility in Kansas City, MO. Nitrogen levels in the tanks are constantly monitored and security measures include restricted access and a security guard monitoring the property. 

Contact Zoetis at 800.228.4305, Option 4, for pricing. Storage fees are paid one year in advance. Multi-dog storage discounts are available.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding either your dog’s frozen semen or your account.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding our Kansas City facility, your dog’s frozen semen and/or your account.

Shipment of Frozen Semen

Please discuss ovulation timing with your reproductive veterinarian. Zoetis requires both the stud dog and bitch owners to complete shipping forms before shipping canine frozen semen from our facility. We recommend you complete these forms prior to ovulation testing.

We require two business days for domestic shipments and four weeks for most international shipments. Planning ahead will ensure availability of shipping containers, allow for completion of proper paperwork, and eliminate urgent rush fees. Planning ahead also allows for proper ovulation timing procedures, which will increase the chance of successful breeding.

We ship our domestic shipments via FedEx priority overnight. The canine frozen semen will arrive at the clinic the next day.

Shipping fees vary depending upon destination. Zoetis has outlined the costs associated with shipping canine frozen semen on both the Domestic and International Forms.

The quantity of straws required depends upon the quality of the collection, including morphology and motility and the concentration of the sperm per mL. 

Zoetis Reproductive Services Representatives will discuss the semen evaluation recorded for specific collections with you. Then you and your reproductive veterinarian can make a final decision regarding the number of straws per breeding.

The importer is responsible for checking with the appropriate government agencies to obtain the proper requirements necessary for us to ship canine frozen semen into his or her country.

Complete this form in its entirety, sign (or obtain the appropriate signatures) and return by mail or by fax. We need a minimum of four full weeks’ notice upon receipt of the completed form to avoid the assessment of any rush fees. Shipping to Canada does not require additional paperwork and a minimum of two business days’ notice is required to avoid rush fees.

FedEx insures the contents of the vapor shipper for $250, which is included in the freight cost. Additional insurance is $2 dollars per $100 dollar value, which is added to the $250. Breeders can select this if they wish to insure the collection itself.  This extra insurance may be especially important if total collections are shipped.

FedEx Priority Alert has a higher status within FedEx, so greater care is assigned to the shipment. Priority Alert also guarantees the shipment will arrive on the date selected.

Yes. Zoetis will arrange a Saturday delivery, if requested; however, we recommend avoiding weekend shipments because if a situation arises with FedEx, our staff will not be available.
For a Saturday delivery to occur, Zoetis requires verification that the inseminating veterinarian is open on Saturday and the clinic’s Saturday hours of operation. Also, FedEx may not deliver to certain areas on Saturday or not within the required time.

Contact Zoetis by phone at 800.228.4305, Option 4. We are happy to answer any questions that you may have regarding either your dog’s frozen semen or your account with us.

All trademarks are the property of Zoetis Services LLC or a related company or a licensor unless otherwise noted. ©2017 Zoetis Services LLC. All Rights Reserved. CRS-00001 R1