Two terms to know. Semen and sperm.
Semen refers to the entire ejaculate, which contains both sperm and prostatic fluid.
Prostatic fluid is made from the prostate gland and this fluid is how sperm is
Sperm refers only to the DNA carrying "swimmers" they will swim up stream to the
egg to penetrate the egg.
A toy size dog will ejaculate around 300-400 million sperm per ejaculate to fertilize
2-6 eggs of a toy size bitch. Your stud can ejaculate 300-400 million sperm every
day for 5 days without a noticeable loss of semen quality or libido. Studies have
shown that if a dog is collected daily for 10 to 12 weeks there will a loss of
libido. Sperm quality and quantity will begin to decline after 5 to 7 days of daily
collections. But even one hour after an ejaculation, the stud will still produce
70 to 80% of the sperm in the first ejaculation. That's still quite a significant
number of sperms. Know that the stud is only responsible for the gender of the
puppies and not the size of the litter.
Why 400 million sperm to fertize 4 eggs?
While sperm are inded determined and driven, they are also easily distracted
by objects other than an egg. Just about everything will kill sperm from temperature
increase in the testes of a couple degrees over normal bady temperature lasting
2- minutes. This increase of temperature will not kill the manufacture plants in
the teses but will kill the sperm that is already there. Sperm will regenerate but it
takes up to 6 weeks or so for sperm producing abilities to be at full capacity.
Repeating the insult to the testicles over time can cause permanent sterility.
Some dogs that have been taken into sterility from blow drying getting ready for a spot
in the show ring.
Other cause of increase of temperature.
Fever caused by an illness or infection.
Usually the body has protective ways by attempts to save the sperm. The dog will drop
the testicles as far from the heat source as possible. This happens on a hot day. As
the body heats up the testicles will lower and lower in an attempt to remove themselves
from the body and cool themself.
A good hot bath will cause a body temperature to increase. Show dogs that have a long
week end with a couple of good hot baths and long blow drying the rear end may cause
your boy to miss when you breed him that week.
What to do. Keep water tepid and use your hand to hold the testicles while directing
the blow dryer away from the testicles for grooming.
Other killers of sperm.
Water will kill sperm. If there is water inside the syringe used for insemination
or inside the bag that collects the sperm will upset the saline/water content of the
sperm. Water will be pullled into the sperm cells and the cells will explode.
Even using water on the vulva of a bitch prior to breeding will kill some of the
What to do. Just don't use water before breeding.
Use a normal saline solution to clean and rinse your insemination equipment and
avoid use of water on the vulva or penis at time of breeding.
Lubricants such as K-Y Jelly will kill sperm. It's water based.
Latex will kill sperm. Any touching from a latex glove will casue the death of
sperm. Never use an soft latex catheter to do artificial insemination. This will
casue the death of thousand of sperm. Make sure you only use equipment that is
latex free. Read labels making sure your equipment is latex free. One of the
best storage/collection is the Playtex baby bottle inserts. They are clean and
Sperm are very determined in it's efforts to swin up stream to find a large smooth round object(egg). The problem is the sperm will try to penetrate just about any large round object on the way to the eggs. If you place a drop of sperm on a slide you will see them try to penetrate an air bubble.
How do millions of sperm get distracted on the way up stream?
They spend their lifespan trying to penetrate a random red blood cell or a nicely rounded piece of smooth cellular debris.
Some just take a wroung turn and end up in a small fold of vaginal tissue.