The Mating act

After selecting the parents and estimating the time of ovulation, the owner presents the bitch to the dog to be served. For health reasons, it is best to check ahead of time to make sure that neither dog has any genital lesions. This reduces the risk of transmission of venereal diseases (namely canine herpes virus). Preventive prophylaxis (regular washing of the sheath, clean floors) and regular serological tests are preferable to last minute antiseptics, which are often spermicidal and so prevent fertilization.

 Mating begins with a brief courting and sniffing phase that excites both dogs. Erection, caused by the rigidity of the penis and the flow of blood into erectile tissues, then allows intromission of the penis, which causes vaginal contractions in the bitch. These contractions help the sperm to ascend the productive tract, help maintain erection, and cause the tie during ejaculation. This phase should last at least five minutes, but may last more than a half hour if the bitch’s movements maintain the constriction around the erectile bulbs.

 In most cases if the timing is right, the dogs will get along very well by themselves and need not be disturbed. Discreet observation from a distance (or by video camera) is all that is required to verify mutual acceptance and that the tie has occurred. Note that even if the tie does not occur, mating may be successful, although litter size is often reduced. 

In spite of advancements made in determining the time of ovulation, it is still wise to systematically provide for a second mating 48 hours after the first. If the bitch’s ovulation has been correctly determined, mote than two matings should not be necessary.

Although there is less risk of superfecundation (fertilization by more than one male) in bitches than in queens (female cats), it is recommended that the bitch be isolated from other males until all signs of oestrus have disappeared. Superfecundation (mating during pregnancy that results in fertilization) does not occur in dogs.

( with permission copied from the Royal Canin Encyclopaedia/Aniwa publishing)