NUMBER 1 - Don’t test if you are on a tight budget.
It will be more cost effective to run a full set of blood tests, then receive multiple matings to cover the biggest possible window of fertility. Multiple matings may require multiple trips to the stud costing time and fuel. It may also result in the stud being over used and by not identifying the optimal time to mate could result in a smaller litter, if any at all.
It’s more efficient to spend money up front on identifying ovulation and need only one mating.
NUMBER 2 - Don’t test if you want to guess when she's ready, by doing just one test.
Blood testing doesn’t predict when she’s going to ovulate, it only identifies whether she has ovulated or not. Be prepared to run on average three tests to pinpoint the optimal time to breed.
You should I start from day 6 - 9 of season, day 1 being first day of blood, unless the season is silent/dry or previous history suggests otherwise.
NUMBER 3 - Don’t test if you’re not prepared to take the advice that’s given, regarding the results of the test.
There’s little purpose running the test and ignoring the results. If you need to retest because the numbers are too low, then retest as advised! Don't get disappointed if the result is too high and you’ve gone past day 9 of season, take it as a lesson to start testing earlier.
When sharing your results, make sure that all parties are all talking the same language! There are two scales of results:
NUMBER 4 - Don’t test if you haven’t prepared and planned.
Vets aren’t particularly helpful when it comes to breeding. You need to have the discussions regarding asking for a blood draw only appointment in advance. This can be conducted by a vet nurse negating the need to see the vet and incur consultation fee, as your dog is not ill and you do not need their assessment. This is pertinent if you plan to use your own independent Laboratory, particularly for same day results.
You’ll need to pre-order your kits from (if they provide them) from the Lab to take with you and it’s always good to keep the stud own in the loop!
If you want to do things right…
You should learn what the results mean and how a female cycle progresses. Independent testing of the stud will ensure no conflict of interest regarding the results. Only 1.2ml is needed of whole blood to the fill line of a microtube suitable for testing, the quality of blood is better before food. The tube should be white or clear topped, its fine that the blood clots and the tube should have no gel separator as it can lower the results.
If you want to know the full load down on efficient blood testing then register for the FREE 1 pager on “Everything you need to know about Progesterone Testing”.
1. A.I stands for artificial insemination, this is the technique of collecting from the male and artificially inseminating the female by directly placing the semen inside the vagina (trans-vaginal). Semen placed through the cervix (trans-cervical) should only carried-out by a vet with the use of an endoscope.
2. The male is collected by imitating that he is locked onto a female which causes a tie, is not the equivalent of human foreplay and shouldn’t be collected in such a way!
3. A.I is not more successful than a natural mating if the female hasn’t been ovulation tested. It doesn't matter how the semen ‘arrives’ if the eggs aren’t mature for conception. The experience can be significantly less stressful for all involved (and quicker!). If ovulation has been detected through testing, A.I generally increases the chances of conception, as less of the sample is ‘lost’ in transition making it more efficient.
4. Females can react differently when it comes to mating, particularly if a nervous maiden or dominant bitch. A.I reduces the stress of the actual act of the mating and having a male on their back. Removing such anxieties and frustrations, reduces stress levels and supports improved conception rates.
5. A.I is ideal for nervous or injured males. Some stud dogs may no longer able to mount due to age or acquired injuries to back or shoulders plus any issues with significant size differences. A.I is an ideal alternative. The same applies for a nervous or extremely ‘polite’ male, particularly if they live with the female needing to be covered. They're not always comfortable or confident enough to insist on a mating or a sufficient tie, alternatives such as A.I relieves this pressure.
6. The mating pair should remain separated until the point of the A.I is required, leaving the couple together can result in him becoming stressed, his collection being unnecessary lost or general upset between the mating pair. The separation ensures the stud remains super keen, is easier to collect and typically produces a better sample.
7. The Kennel Club now approve trans-vaginal artificial insemination, full details is listed on their website. It should no longer frowned upon with any pedigree breed.
8. The male collection can be assessed with a microscope before insemination. Checking for the overall semene quality by looking at the volume produced, concentration, morphology, motility and abnormality rate to confirm is the sample is of very good, good, poor or very poor quality. The older the dog the more abnormalities typically present or the lack of prostate fluid. This can be improved with the use of various semen ‘performance’ extenders (solutions).
9. Male collections can be split to cover more than one mating or more than one bitch, providing more flexibility for potential mating clashes or to help cover the optimal window of fertility.
10. The male collection can be chilled and shipped worldwide, most semen extenders last between 3 to 5 days, with some now up to 10 days giving greater options. Shipping chilled can often be cheaper and quicker than traveling with a female. A trained person will be required to reheat the semen, analyse and inseminate when necessary.
If you want to hear more facts, figures and advice about your dog's becoming parents register below.
All the documents regarding the legalisation and guidance can be found at www.cfsg.org.uk specifically “d. Dog Breeding Guidance Revised 30.11”.
The notes are collated with my interpretation and understanding from a webinar Trevor Cooper hosted with PetPlan Insurance in January 2019. If you are in any doubt to whether you should not apply for license related to your dog activity then please contact your local council.
The Animal Welfare (Licensing of Animals) (England) Regulations 2018 came into force 1st October 2018, this is the same act that previously enforced compulsory microchipping and the regulation of tail docking.
Each local authority is responsible for enforcing within its council. The main two points that may have most relevance to you is:
The information in this document specifically refers to a ‘Dog Breeding’ licence as you are most likely to be a Home or Hobby breeder. You would be considered ‘in scope’ if you:
“Either or both of the following:-
(a) Breeding three or more litters of puppies in any 12 month period;
(b) Breeding dogs and advertising a business of selling dogs”
Point (a) is pretty easy to identify, if you have bred 3 litters you would need evidence that you kept all the puppies or that you gifted them all. This is pretty unlikely! Point (b) there is no simple ‘business test’ but factors to be considered as ‘advertising a business’, indicating commercial activity are:
You would be considered out of scope for a Dog Breeding Licence if:
For hobby breeders to be considered 'out of scope' for the licence should be able to clearly evidence a lack of profit (not income) resulting in less than £1,000 supporting your claim that you had no ‘intent’ to make a profit.
If you breed 3 or more litters a year, make over £1,000 profit or suggest an online presence as a business by advertising frequently and possibly having a professional website, you may need a Dog Breeding License.
Contact your local council if you are in any doubt.
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I'm Sara otherwise known as 'Canine Family Planner' who founded HomeScan Breeder Services a premium pet-care business in 2014. I am an experienced and educated breeder, who specialises in domestic animal reproduction. I bred my first litter 20 years ago whilst in my teens and tend to breed annually. Breeding is pretty much in my DNA – a way of my life if you will! I've started this blog to share some of my knowledge and if possible help out a few like minded animal owners!