Understandably, the desire to mate is strong among most intact canines. It is an act in which potential sires and dams are usually more than eager to participate in. However, rare circumstances sometimes lead to situations in which natural mating cannot occur. The possible reasons for this are numerous, and vary from aggression between the intended sire and dam, to trying to preserve a strong bloodline from a sire who is too old to continue mating naturally. The solution in such situations is artificial insemination.
Artificial insemination is performed frequently with livestock, often because cattle are too large to mate naturally without risk of injury. However, it is usually left as a last resort among canines. The process involves three main steps: collection and preservation of semen, preparation of the female, and the actual act of insemination.
For collection, a female in heat is often used as a “teaser”, but once the female is mounted, care must be taken to ensure that the intended sire is, for lack of a better term, redirected into the appropriate collection device. Once the semen has been collected, it may be used immediately, chilled for up to 24 hours, or frozen for prolonged storage. It should be noted, however, that while chilling and freezing will help to preserve the semen, the chances of successful fertilization will still degrade over time.
For fertilization to occur, the female must be inseminated at the right time. Typically, attempts at insemination are performed approximately four days before ovulation, and continued every second day until two days after ovulation. Of course, determining the exact date of ovulation can be difficult. Blood tests can determine the date of ovulation by measuring the level of progesterone in the female. However, this method is often expensive and impractical. A far less accurate, but much more cost-effective method is to simply keep track of the female’s cycles to predict when she will next be in heat.
Finally the act of insemination is performed using a specially designed pipette. The male should not be present during this process. The female is held in an upright position, and the semen is deposited at the cervix.
Whether you are breeding German Shepherd puppies, Belgian Malinois puppies or Dutch Shepherd puppies, you should remember that artificial insemination should only be used as a last resort. The natural mating process offers much greater rates of success, and is always the preferred option of artificial insemination