Stud Dog Management


Male Breeding Soundness Exam

We offer comprehensive breeding soundness examinations for your stud dogs. This includes a complete physical examination with special attention to the testicles, penis, and prostate, as well as a complete semen evaluation. We review your male's prior breeding history, including litters produced and bitches that missed. Additional testing may include baseline labwork, prostatic and testicular ultrasounds, cultures, and genetic testing.

For questions related to breeding soundness exams, please speak to one of our reproduction technicians – Linn, Kirsten, or Scott.


Semen Collection and Evaluation

The manual collection of semen is a vital component of evaluating your stud dog. The libido of your dog and the quality of the semen sample is improved by the presence of a teaser bitch. You may bring your own teaser or we can provide one for him. We separately collect the different fractions of the ejaculate and utilize a computer-assisted sperm analysis (CASA) machine for thorough evaluation. Our phase contrast microscope and CASA software is state-of-the-art and incredibly precise, providing you with the most detailed information. You will receive a detailed report of your stud dog’s semen analysis.

Your male's semen quality should be evaluated in the month prior to an expected breeding. If he is used frequently, he should be manually collected and evaluated every six months, or any time a breeding does not take.

Options for Semen

Fresh semen

We collect your male, add semen extenders to enhance the motility and lifespan of the ejaculate, and use the sample for breeding immediately with a bitch.

Fresh-chilled semen

This method of collecting semen, adding extender, slowly cooling, and packaging the specimen for shipment has made long distance breeding possible. The stud dog is manually collected at our office when the owner of the bitch notifies you that their female has reached her fertile period. With fresh-chilled semen, it is the semen, not the bitch, that does the traveling. We can arrange same-day or overnight shipment within the continental United States Monday through Saturday. We recommend that stud dog owners have their dog's semen checked for its ability to withstand the chilling process. Please see semen shipping (below) for more information.


The purpose of freezing your dog's semen is to ensure his breeding availability. Frozen semen is used when a dog is no longer fertile, deceased, or unavailable due to a scheduling conflict. Please see semen cryopreservation (freezing) below for more information.


Semen Cryopreservation (Freezing)

Our hospital began working with International Canine Genetics in the early 1990s. We are a licensed freezing center and offer semen freezing once a month. Special arrangements can be made to mitigate scheduling conflicts. 

Consider freezing your dog's semen to:

  • Preserve his genetics for your own future breeding program
  • Provide stud service when your dog is not available (show/trial schedules, injury, illness)
  • Use as back-up for breeding involving winter shipping or difficult travel
  • Use for international breeding (Please contact us in advance for individual export regulations.)

The ideal time to collect your dog's semen for freezing is when he is between two and five years of age. The semen of older dogs may be successfully frozen, but often it is more sensitive to the extreme temperature changes in the process. We have successfully produced hundreds of puppies from frozen semen, many from semen frozen 20 or more years ago!!

How do I schedule an appointment?

Our freeze dates are typically the first Friday of every month with Dr. Gatlin. Please contact us below for further details.

  1. You may contact us at 508-875-7086 to speak with one of our reproductive technicians – Mary, Linn, Kirsten, or Scott. You may also schedule this appointment by contacting
  2. Once your appointment is scheduled, please remember to bring the following paperwork:
  • AKC registration
  • a copy of current rabies vaccine certificate
  • a negative brucellosis test (if not done here).
  1. Please arrive 15-20 minutes in advance to complete paperwork and run a brucellosis test, if necessary.

How do you know if the semen is good enough to freeze?

Immediately after collection, the semen is fully evaluated. We tell you if the concentration and motility are sufficient to continue the freezing process. Good quality semen at the time of collection is essential to ensure good semen at the time of thaw and insemination. The sample is then extended with buffers that protect the sperm cells during the controlled temperature drop over four hours to -196 C. The semen is packaged into straws. The number of straws to be stored is determined by the initial sperm count. One frozen straw from your dog’s collection is thawed and examined for post-thaw motility and quality.

If your dog has not been collected in the last 6 to 12 months, we do recommend a collection and evaluation appointment prior to the freeze date to assess the quality.

When do I know the results?

At the end of the day, we will call to inform you the number of straws stored, the post-thaw motility, and the number of breedings available from the collection. We will also email you a detailed copy of the final report.

Where is the semen stored?

After your dog’s semen is collected and frozen, it safely stored here until it is shipped to Kansas City, MO, where Zoetis Inc. maintains the largest canine semen storage bank in the world. We will help establish an account for your stud dog through Zoetis’s online portal system. You will be able to access all of your frozen semen information at Once this account is established, Zoetis will contact you regarding pricing and long-term storage information. When your semen is needed, you call them to arrange for your stored semen to be shipped to the inseminating veterinarian.


Semen Shipping

The method of collecting semen, adding extender, slowly cooling, and packaging the specimen for shipment has made long distance breeding possible. We ask that you arrange for same-day or overnight semen shipment within the continental United States Monday through Saturday. 

If your stud’s semen has not been chilled before, we do recommend a pre-shipment evaluation and chill check test, although this is not required. The "chill check" is done by collecting the dog's semen and putting it through the same chilling process as if it was being shipped. We evaluate its quality every 12 hours for 48 hours. This process enables us to determine if overnight shipping is adequate or if same-day service is required.

Please fill out our chilled semen shipment form so we have all the information in advance. You may also contact our office to speak with one of our reproductive technicians.

International semen shipments require significant planning due to strict regulations. It is the client’s responsibility to research specific destination country regulations. Please contact a staff member to discuss further. You and our reproductive liaisons will need to work together to make certain that all of the regulatory requirements are met for international shipments.


Brucella Testing

Canine brucellosis is a highly contagious infection caused by a bacteria, Brucella canis. Infected dogs develop problems including infertility, spontaneous abortions, stillborn puppies, and systemic illness. Treatment is incredibly difficult and often results in euthanasia. This disease is also zoonotic, which means it can also be spread to people. Due to these concerns, we require negative brucellosis testing on all dogs and bitches every 3 months. This test can be run by most veterinary laboratories, although we do offer in-house testing, if necessary.

Kirsten Hodges evaluating semen

Kirsten evaluating semen.