Artificial Insemination: A Way to Preserve and Promote Great Hounds and Bloodlines
by Dr. Treyton Jai Diggs, DVM
I recently wrote an article interviewing Richard “Dickie” Beyl. In that conversation he spoke of his great hound FC JR’S TJ. He then stated that if he had known about artificial insemination and freezing semen he would have definitely had TJ’S semen frozen. I have always wondered why our sport doesn’t take advantage of this technology/service more often. I know a lot of other hound sports utilize this service quite often i.e. coonhounds and bird dogs. So I figured that I would write an article that would hopefully educate, familiarize, and enlighten beaglers on artificial insemination.
Before I ponder into great depth of this article, I would like to say that artificial insemination is not an easy process in dogs and it takes a great deal of education and appropriate timing to be successful. So finding a veterinarian that has an interest in this science is going to be integral.
As much as I promote my fellow houndsmen to utilize this technology, I strongly recommend that the bitch be proven. When I say “proven” I mean a bitch that has successfully conceived at least once or twice recently and is a good mother to her pups. I often have clients that want to use artificial insemination in a maiden or problematic bitch. I have found, that despite the efforts and attempts in these bitches, artificial insemination is often unsuccessful. Another recommendation is to collect semen from your stud when he is young. I encounter houndsmen that want to freeze their studs semen but they wait until their hound is too old to give a quality semen specimen. It is a common finding for semen potency to decrease with age so collecting from your hound early increases the likelihood of obtaining quality specimens. From my experience it best to collect between the ages of 2-5 years. Of course, they can be collected later but semen quality begins to decrease and so does the stud’s libido. I typically recommend to my clients to collect semen in the breeding off season (any period where your male is not being used regularly to naturally service bitches). This is a lot less stressful on the stud owner, he or she doesn’t have to worry about trying to successfully breed a bitch and schedule a semen collection at the same time. It also increases the likelihood of achieving a successful breeding and obtaining a quality collection sample. By collecting in the breeding off season, this also decreases the chances that your hound will get reproductively stressed. I don’t typically recommend breeding a dog more than 3-4 times a week. Breeding more than this often affects semen concentration and quality, resulting in smaller litters or bitches that fail to conceive or “miss”.
You can view the remainder of this article starting on page 4 of our October issue.