Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

Australian Shepherd Health & Genetics Institute

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Artificial Insemination


Artificial insemination (AI) can eliminate the need to ship dogs and the risk of sexually transmitted diseases.  Shouldn’t it become standard breeding practice? 

It may or may not limit doggy STD transmission, depending on the technique used and whether the disease organism can persist in collected semen.  While these diseases exist, the most common can be tested for ahead of time and avoided that way.

AI is an excellent tool for achieving a desired breeding without having to go to the expense and risk of shipping dogs.  But it should not be used for every litter.  If a dog or bitch is never bred naturally you have no idea whether it is or isn’t reproductively fit.  An animal that cannot or will not mate should not be used for breeding.  You cannot know that without having done at least one natural breeding.

 Another risk with AI breeding in regard to males, especially if semen is stored, is the potential overuse of that particular stud.  Even the best of dogs is not without a few bad genes which can become widespread if that sire is heavily used.  In addition, popular sires are the greatest contributors to loss of genetic diversity and increased inbreeding within a breed. When semen is stored from such sires, its use has the potential to increase the negative impacts.

If you have a young male who is a good prospect, go ahead and collect him because younger dogs make better donors.  If he doesn’t measure up you don’t have to keep or use the semen.  If he meets his potential then you will be able to take advantage of his genes beyond his breeding years.  Just don’t overdo it.