In Dog World, A.I. Does Not Mean Artificial Intelligence

Connie with her champion chihuahua RockyMany years ago, when I first entered the dog show world, my friend asked me to join her at an owner-handler meeting. The club honored and promoted those involved with the industry. Since I was brand new to the show world, I had no idea what to expect.

As I sat and listened, they talked in great depth about the subject of A.I. To me, that term referred to artificial intelligence – like something in relation to computer software. There was even a Steven Spielberg with Haley Joel Osment and Jude Law of the same name a few years ago about a robotic child. But in regards to dogs, I had no clue as to what they were talking about. But I was in for an eye-opening discussion.

A.I. refers to “artificial insemination” I would soon learn.  The people at the meeting were all dog breeders, (except for me) and had been for most of their lives. They had tremendous experience and knowledge about the subject. Of course, I had none. They discussed the pros and cons.

A.I. is used for inexperienced young dogs and is also less stressful for the females. It is used for breeds such as the bulldog because natural breeding is almost impossible. The French Bull Dog is a breed that has been so man-made it truly cannot breed naturally. Semen can be frozen and shipped anywhere, which makes it easier to breed dogs long distance. I also found out that when breeding show dogs, breeders often attempt no less than three times to insure that the bitch becomes pregnant. There is much science to this.

There are also veterinary offices that will collect and freeze canine sperm for future use. This will help continue his line for future generations.

My first reaction to all this talk was “Really! All this trouble to make puppies?” I wondered if it was worth the time, effort and expense?  Of course, to be fair, I was a newbie then and did not understand the value of continuing the best lines of a purebred dog. Today I know many breeders, and I realize the pain and devotion they go through to produce beautiful healthy animals. By carefully preserving the conformation and temperament of their animals they are the best representation of what we stride for. I support the excellent dedicated pedigree dog breeders. These dogs do not end up in shelters because all good breeders will take an unwanted dog back at anytime and find it a forever home.

A. I. helps breeders to achieve their goals.

The subject of artificial insemination is important for a personal reason as well. My beautiful Grand Champion Rocky will be seven years old this July. He comes from some of the best lines of Chihuahuas worldwide.  I am debating whether to have his sperm frozen for future generations.  I’m not sure. What do you think dear reader?

To learn more about artificial insemination, check out these resources:


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