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Cycles, Progesterone, Breeding & Requirements  

Breeding Cycles

Female dogs generally go into heat every six months,

with their first heat typically between 8-12 months. The breeding cycle lasts 3 to 21 days, and females can get pregnant during this time, usually between days 10 and 12; however, some females ovulate as early as day three and as late as day 21 (this is rare). Progesterone testing helps to ensure mating occurs at the optimum time for conception to take place. If you are unsure when your female came into heat, you will want to do a progesterone test right away. For the mother's well-being, it is important that your female is fully mature before she is mated. As a large breed dog, BMDs take longer to mature both physically and mentally. Their bones can continue to develop into their 2nd year, so we recommend females not be used for breeding until they are close to or past 24 months of age. 


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Progesterone is the hormone produced by the female when she is ovulating. An analyzed blood test can tell you the ideal time to mate, do AI (artificial insemination) or TCI (trans-cervical insemination) to maximize the chances of pregnancy. If you are certain you noticed the first day of bleeding; then a progesterone test is done about day five. For those females that ovulate earlier in their heat, you want to test progesterone on day three. If you are unsure if you have a female that ovulates early, you should consider having a blood analysis done during the heat cycle before the one you intend to use for mating.


Whenever possible, you will want to find a clinic that can give you same-day progesterone results. Many vets will offer progesterone testing but send the blood sample away for analysis, and results are not returned until the next day. Typically, a Veterinarian Clinic or Hospital will also charge you $200 or more for testing. A fertility clinic like the K9 Fertility Center will cost you much less and have results within 1-2 hours. 

Progesterone Levels

Ideal progesterone levels are 19-31 nmol/L or 5.97-9.75 ng/mL. These numbers indicate ovulation has recently occurred. If your female’s progesterone reading is 32-64 nmol/L or 10.06-20.13 ng/mL, her eggs are matured, and mating should occur within two days for optimal fertility. Progesterone levels beyond these numbers can still result in pregnancy, but the window of opportunity is reduced, and at this point, the best option is TCI. 

 Artificial Breeding

Many concerns may lead to the request for assisted insemination, such as inability, difficulty, or unwillingness to copulate naturally to achieve a successful pregnancy, or you are ordering sperm from an out-of-state breeder. Assisted insemination can also be used to compensate for some causes of canine infertility. Most large breed dogs do not have issues obtaining natural mating. Sometimes, however, a female will not allow a male to mount or enter her even though she is at the correct progesterone level and demonstrating that she is ready to mate. She may even become aggressive toward the male. In these instances, for the protection of the stud and to create less stress on the female after one attempt at a natural tie, we proceed with one of the below options. The cost of AI or TCI will be placed on the female owner to cover. At this time, we prefer to use the K9 Fertility Center located next to Jordan Valley Hospital for Progesterone tests, AI, and TCI. You will pay a fraction of the cost for their services with no less attention, care, and knowledge. We are willing to meet you at any Vet Clinic or Fertility Center of your choice.


AI (artificial insemination)

 Insemination of semen taken from a male dog and placed into the vagina of a female during the most fertile time of her heat cycle. After the semen has been collected from the male, a tube is inserted into the female. A syringe is then used to gather the semen and then deposited into the exposed end of the tube. A blood test is taken before the procedure to confirm progesterone levels. If you are using AI as a last resort after not obtaining a natural tie and the female’s progesterone level comes back at 20 or higher, TCI or surgical insemination is your only option for a successful pregnancy.


TCI (trans-cervical insemination)

Trans-cervical insemination (TCI) is a procedure to place sperm directly into the uterus bypassing the cervix without surgery. The sperm is deposited into the uterus close to the eggs. This often can be more beneficial than AI if using frozen or chilled semen, seeing that much of the sperm may not make it to the cervix. An endoscope is placed into a catheter and then passed through the vagina and cervix. TCI is performed while the female is standing, usually on a raised table, then stabilized by a technician or with help from the owner. Afterward, the hind end of the female is elevated for approximately 15 minutes. A blood test is taken before the procedure to confirm progesterone levels. The success rate for TCI is around 90%. TCI can also results in larger litters, so if that is your objective, you should consider this procedure from the beginning.


Requirements & Fees

Stud fee is $1,500. with second pick of the litter if we choose to be decided by week five with a refundable deposit. At this time we only do artificial insemination to be performed at the K9 Facility Center in West Jordan, Utah. We cover the cost of the AI however you will be responsible for any progesterone tests that the clinic may require. Payment is due in full upon the first day of meeting for artificial insemination. If we chose the second pick of the litter as the stud fee, $1,000. will be returned to you upon delivery of the puppy. A stud contract will be provided to the female owner for review and signed before the first day of AI. Regardless of the number of heat cycles, all females must be 24 months of age and the owner must provide an AKC Pedigree, OFAs for hips and elbows, and proof of genetic testing for DM, SOD1B, and VWD1.


Want to learn more about genetic testing? Visit our health page.


If you are interested in having sperm from one of our dogs shipped to you, have questions regarding our requirements or want to view our stud contract, please


Page References

K9 Fertility Center


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