Semen evaluation can be useful at all stages of a dog’s stud career. We assess the fertility of young dogs before they are offered at stud and use it to investigate apparently reduced fertility in established stud dogs. We also routinely examine semen quality before chilling, freezing and insemination.
Generally semen collection from a stud dog is relatively easy. It does help if he is used to people handling him when breeding a bitch. Ideally an in-season bitch is available. This is not always essential although it can result in a better quality sample. As well as recording the volume of semen produced, we evaluate the sample under a microscope for concentration, quality, motility and speed of progression of the sperm.
We also note any evidence of reproductive disease such as testicular degeneration or the progressive problems of the prostate often found in the older stud. Most dogs produce good quality semen by one year of age and are at the height of their fertility by 2 to 3 years. Fertility is often reduced in later life.
If frozen semen is to be stored for use long into the future it is therefore best collected when the dog is young. If bitches fail to get pregnant when mated by a previously fertile stud dog, consider having his sperm quality checked, especially if he has missed more than two or three bitches.