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Canine Frozen Semen

Frequently asked questions:


What are the indications to have dog semen frozen for future use?

  • Sudden sickness, sterility or even death of your champion.
  • Stud dogs sold to another country.
  • With some breeds, the stud dog is only allowed to breed a limited number of bitches in his entire lifetime. In such instances, once the stud dog has deceased can his genotype be accurately determined with regards to how he produced and with which bitches (pedigree and type) he “clicked with.”
  • Stud dogs that have long deceased can now be reintroduced into the population but then with more certainty..
  • A canine semen bank can be an ideal solution to help preserve a breed. Famous stud dogs of the past known to be outstanding producers can be reintroduced into the population to have their desired characteristics reutilized.

Why is liquid nitrogen used to preserve dog semen?

By using liquid nitrogen (temperature of -180 °C), is it possible to prevent the breakdown of biological matter (dog semen). This makes it possible to preserve dog semen for years and years to come.

How long can dog semen be preserved in liquid nitrogen?

This question cannot yet be scientifically be answered at the moment. The freezing of dog semen started more than 20 years ago. Semen samples more than 20 years old have been unthawed and examined which revealed that the semen was still viable and healthy. With this semen, bitches have been inseminated giving birth to live and healthy puppies.

Can the semen of every dog be frozen for future useage?

Unfortunately this is not the case. Before the semen of the stud dog is to be frozen, it is first critically examined. The concentration, motility and percentage of abnormal cells are examined. During the freezing process some sperm cells will also die. Therefore only semen of good quality can be used to be frozen in liquid nitrogen. If the semen of the stud dog in question is not of good quality, we will strongly advise the owner of the stud dog not to have the semen frozen. One week after the semen has been frozen, one straw is taken out of the liquid nitrogen tank and examined (concentration, motility and percentage of abnormal sperm cells). With this method an indication can be made as to how the semen has reacted to the freezing process and this can help make a indication of the fertility and conception rate.

What is the conception rate when using frozen semen?

In Sweden a study was done by Prof C. Linde-Forsberg (Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Swedish University of Agricultural Science, Uppsula Sweden) i which the conception rate and the litter size were examined with the use of fresh, chilled and frozen semen using vaginal as well as transcervical insemination. 

The results are as follows (from 2041 inseminations):

Semen Type              conception % with vaginal insemination              conception % with transervisal insemination










Semen Type             Average litter size % vaginal insemination           Average litter size % transcervical insemination


5.8 +/- 2.8 pups

6.5 +/- pups


5.8 +/- 3.0 pups

6.4 +/- pups


4.7 +/- 2.6 pups

5.0 +/- pups


Reference: Professor C. Linde –Forsberg. Intra-Uterine Insemination in the Dog Using the Scandinavian Trans-Cervical Catheter and a Comparison with other Methods. Sciences, Uppsala, Sweden. Publisher: Recent Advances in Small Animal Reproduction P. W. Concannon, G. England and J. Verstegen (Eds.). 02.02.2001. International Veterinary Information Service (, Ithaca, New York, USA.


Semen extenders

Semen extenders contain substances that help the conception..

Semen extenders contain a unique composition which is as follows:

  • Helps maintain the pH
  • Provides a nutritional supplement for the sperm cells
  • Helps prevent the growth of bacteria
  • Helps protect the sperm cells against cold shock.

Semen extenders contain the following ingredients:

  1. Buffers to help protect the sperm cells against the temperature fluctuations during the freezing and thaw period
  2. Egg yolk and sugars which aid as a nutritional supplement.
  3. Antibiotics and antioxidants

Semen storage

Canine semen is stored in 0.5 ml plastic straws which are resistant against deterioration from liquid nitrogen. Every straw contains the following information:

  • Name of the stud dog
  • Breed
  • Registration number
  • Date of sampling
  • Veterinary clinic where the freezing process has taken place

How many straws are needed per insemination?

It is advised that for every insemination 150 x 10^6 “live” sperm cells are brought directly into the uterus. This is based on the maximum capacity of the uterus. The volume of every straw is 100 x 10^6 sperm cells. Therefore a maximum of approximately three straws can be used per insemination.


It is possible on average to inseminate 2 – 3 bitches with frozen semen from one semen collection.