• English Bulldog Breeding - Chapter 4: Artificial Insemination

    English Bulldogs require artificial insemination to breed them safely. You should never attempt to have a bulldog breed naturally. It is dangerous for both male and female bulldogs, and I will explain more about this subject in Chapter 6: Can Bulldogs Breed Naturally?

    The dam's heat cycle lasts about 3 weeks on average, but can be shorter or longer depending on the dog. The first week she may bleed quite a bit, and become grumpy.

    So when exactly is she ready to be bred? There are many different ways of knowing when it's time to do artificial insemination.

    The first way is by doing it on the 'average' dog heat cycle and when they 'usually' are in their estrus part of their heat cycle. So many breed on days 9, 11 & 13 and hope for the best. Using this method your odds are very high that you will not get your bulldog pregnant.

    Another way is to do progesterone testing. This method the vet will take a blood sample and you will get the reading the next day to see if your mama is ready. This test can add up very quickly if you have to do many repeat tests, but it is a pretty accurate method to make sure you have a successful breeding. On average, you will probably need about 3 tests done.

    We personally decided to use canine cytology after many failed attempts at breeding, (using the day 9, 11 & 13 method) and throwing away thousands of dollars in stud fees. In this method we could find out if our mama was ready the very same day. The vet will take a sample of cells from the walls of the vagina. He will roll the sample onto a microscope slide and view the cells to see which stage of the heat cycle the mama is in. This method is not as accurate as the progesterone testing because the cells can sometimes fool you. However, it is less expensive than the progesterone test, and you get an answer the same day. See the canine cytology information below for more information.

    Progesterone testing + surgical implant is the last way I know about. In this method, the semen is implanted directly into the cervix in a surgical procedure. This method is the one with the highest chance of pregnancy.

    When the time has been determined to do the artificial insemination, it is time to collect the semen. Many people choose to have their vet do the collection. Mainly because if the male is not seasoned and used to doing this job it can be a very confusing process.

    Make sure you vet uses a laytex free bag, pipet, and syringe for collection, and that all items are sterile. If the male does not cooperate quickly, a new collection bag should be used after each try. If your items are not sterile, you could give your dam an infection instead of puppies. Again, use ONLY laytex free items. Sterile and laytex free!

    Artificial Insemination should NEVER be tried without proper training from your vet, or another breeder with plenty of experience!!! You could seriously damage your male's genitalia or give your female a bad infection if you do not know what you are doing.

    The average cost of doing the Artificial Insemination is approximately $100 per insemination.

    Between tests, insemination and stud fees, the breeding alone can cost you more than $1,000 (unless you own both male and female bulldogs and do not have to pay stud fees).

    Canine Cytology ~ The female reproductive cycle
    Female cells as seen through a microscope during a reproductive heat cycle
    This information and photos below are from an great informational website, Click Here to check it out.


    Anestrus is the time in which your bulldog heat cycle is in remission. At the very beginning of her heat cycle you will see Intermediate and parabasal cells. See example of an Anestrus vaginal smear below.




    Proestrus is the next stage, and you can see the cells are much more prominent and serum concentrations of estrogen rise during proestrus, leading to capillary breakage and leakage of red blood cells through uterine epithelium, as well as proliferation of the vaginal epithelium.

    Red blood cells and bacteria will likely be present in the smear. Proestrus can last for several weeks in some cases. I have had proestrus only last 5 days and also had it last 15 days. See examples of a proestrus vaginal smear below.



    Estrus is when your dam is ready to be bred. You will notice the cells look like corn flakes, they are no longer smooth and round, but sharp edged. The nucleus of the cell either is no longer there, or is not visible usually. Sometimes you can still see the nucleus even during estrus so do not let the cells fool you. See picture below.



    In this photo below you can actually see a sperm swimming along the cells.


    Disestrus can come on quickly, and this is when the female is "coming out of heat". Usually this happens in 24 hours. It is futile to breed once in disestrus. See image below.



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