Skip to content

The Copulatory Tie In Dog Breeding

↯ Key takeaway points

  • Copulatory tie is a normal stage in dog breeding when two dogs are locked together while mating.
  • The dogs' rear ends are turned to each other, and they can remain stuck for as little as 5 minutes or as long as 30 minutes.
  • The tie is meant to keep the semen secured inside the female dog and does not strictly require pregnancy.
  • Male dogs do not feel much pain during copulatory ties, but female dogs can experience discomfort, especially virgin dams.
  • Problems or unusual things encountered during the copulatory tie process should be handled with care, and the breeder should not generally intervene unless necessary.
Breeding Business is passionate about all sorts of domesticated pets. They have written dozens of articles across the web.
Zoo and wildlife doctor in veterinary medicine passionate about animal welfare and preventive medicine.
Published on
Thursday 20 July 2017
Last updated on
Tuesday 23 May 2023
The Copulatory Tie In Dog Breeding
This page may contain affiliate links. We may receive a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

When involved in dog breeding, there is a time when things need to happen. By things, I mean intercourse so the male dog can impregnate the female dog. Unlike many other animals, dogs have what we call the copulatory tie when they mate. And if you have never seen it, it is scary because they both turn their rear end on each other.

This act is called the tie, and many new or occasional breeders do get anxious at witnessing the act. They don’t know whether the copulatory tie in dogs is painful or not, and some don’t even know how long they should expect both dogs to get stuck.

This article demystifies the copulatory tie when breeding two dogs, so keep on reading and relax, it’s not that crazy of a deal!

What is a tie in dog breeding?

The copulatory tie is one of the stages occurring during the mating of two dogs where the two dogs are locked together due to the expansion of the male’s bulbus glandis, an organ that keeps him tied up with the female. Don’t panic – this is a perfectly normal thing to happen between two dogs that are mating.

[pullquote-right]Virtually all canine matings require no intervention from the breeder whatsoever.[/pullquote-right]

The copulatory tie is a natural occurrence during the mating process of dogs. It occurs when the male dog’s bulbus glandis expands, causing the two dogs to be temporarily locked together. Don’t worry, this is completely normal during dog mating.

In dogs, the mating process differs from humans. Here’s how it happens:

  1. Mounting – The male dog, also known as the stud, will mount the female dog, called a bitch, when she displays a behavior called “flagging.” This is when she raises her rear-end, indicating she’s ready to mate.
  2. Locating the Vulva – Sometimes, the male dog may have difficulty finding the female dog’s vulva. You can help guide him if necessary.
  3. Ejaculating – As the male dog begins to hump the female, he will release prostatic fluid and his own sperm.
  4. Copulatory Tie – Eventually, you will notice that the two dogs become locked together at their rear ends. This is known as the copulatory tie. It’s important not to separate them yourself. The purpose of the tie is to ensure the semen remains inside the female, increasing the chances of pregnancy.
  5. Separation – After a while, the dogs will naturally release from each other, and the mating process is complete. Do not try to separate them manually. At this point, the sperm has been safely deposited inside the female.

The copulatory tie is primarily designed to secure the semen inside the female dog, maximizing the likelihood of pregnancy. However, it’s worth noting that a tie is not a strict requirement for successful breeding, as slip mating can also result in pregnancy

How long do dogs stay stuck together?

Dogs can engage in a mating tie where they are physically connected from their rear ends. The duration of this tie can vary widely, typically lasting between 5 to 30 minutes. Factors such as the individual dogs involved and their breed can influence how quickly the tie occurs. Some dogs may become anxious, which can prolong the mating tie, while others remain calm and separate quickly.

In rare cases, dogs may remain tied for up to an hour, which can be uncomfortable for them, especially if they are inexperienced. On average, dogs spend around 10 to 20 minutes in a mating tie, with the longest recorded time being around 13 to 14 minutes.

The duration of the mating tie depends on how long the male dog ejaculates sperm into the female. Patience is necessary during this time. The dogs will remain connected until the bulbus glandis, a structure in the male’s reproductive system, returns to its normal size

Is the tie painful for either dog?

Dog Coitus and Tie
The male starts by mounting the female. Once the male’s penis bulb gets engorged, both dogs become locked in what is called the coitus tie.

How much discomfort or pain is felt by both dogs really depends on a few criteria:

  1. First Time — if it is a first-time breeding for the dog, then chances are it will be a bit painful
  2. Position — dogs with little breeding experience don’t know what position suits them best
  3. Stress — when mating, inexperienced dogs can feel discomfort resulting in stress that makes them move more than they should

Male dogs usually don’t feel much pain during copulatory ties unless it is their first or second time. However, there’s a case in which the male can suffer from real pain. The swelling of their “bulb” can be a new experience to them, and they might suddenly try to dismount from the female in anxiety, which can be painful to them since the male’s engorged penis is too big to come out. This is why you shouldn’t separate them at all during this mating tie so as not to hurt both the bulb and the penis of the stud.

Female dogs tend to get a little more pain out of a tie, especially if they are a virgin dam. In such situations, comforting the female can help if she starts to get anxious. Still, do not attempt to break them apart because it will hurt both the female and the male dog even more. This is because the female dog’s vaginal passage becomes a narrow path in this process, which makes it very uncomfortable if you try to separate them during a mating tie. Virgin females will also have a narrower vagina, so it will be more hurting for them to bear.

How to tell if the coitus goes wrong?

Let’s set the record straight: most canine matings do not require any interference from the breeder. Even if one of the dogs is in pain, it’s best to let the mating process unfold naturally and only step in under specific circumstances.

It’s important to note that first-time mating for a dog can be stressful and cause anxiety. To help them feel at ease, it’s crucial to be present, show reassurance, and avoid displaying worry or panic. Instead, demonstrate affection, stay close to your dog if they’re comfortable with it, and gently stroke them to alleviate any stress they may feel.

During the copulatory tie process, you may encounter certain issues. Here are some problems you may come across and how to handle them:

Female Dog Panic

If you see the female dog or the bitch cry, whimper, or scream when mating this can be a sign that she is hurt by the process. As we mentioned above, try to calm her down because she might hurt the male even more and ruin the coitus process altogether. Usually, the male dog just stands there until the “bulb” has settled down to size, but he might get hurt if the female dog moves abruptly due to a sudden rush of panic.


Male Dog Panic

Often, once the female is panicking and hurting the male, he will, in turn, become distressed because of the sudden severe pain he is experiencing. Generally, dogs would simply run away but because the copulatory tie locks them together, they cannot move, adding even more panic to the whole situation.

Before this escalates further, as the dog breeder you must reassure your dog, and the other breeder should soothe his dog, too. This is as far as your intervention should go during this process.

Falling Asleep

You might sometimes see the two dogs as if they are sleeping while they are locked together – this is also perfectly normal because they are simply relaxed and may not be actually sleeping. In these situations, avoid coming close and disturbing them, having them so relaxed that they can even close their eyes is the perfect scenario for a breeder, and for the dogs themselves.

Slip Mating

The coitus may not happen at all if the stud withdraws his penis from the female before his bulb enlarges. This is also known as slip mating, and it usually happens if the bitch is not fully ready for mating yet and move as soon as the stud penetrates her. In such scenarios, just try again on the morrow or the day after that.

Contrary to popular belief, slip mating can still impregnate a bitch if the stud became successful in releasing the semen into the female then withdrawing his penis afterwards. This is because the first ejaculation of the male dog usually has the most semen and sperm in it.

Be wary, that in some cases, the stud’s penis may have enlarged right after he pulls out from the bitch, so you should catch the seminal fluid in a container to keep everything clean.

11 comments on “The Copulatory Tie In Dog Breeding”

  1. Reda Morris

    Can a male dog breed at 4 months old?

    1. Cassandra

      It depends if the males balls have dropped!

  2. Emilia

    I had a friend who wished she were a dog because of the “tie” male and female dogs have when they mate. I’m sure this girl’s boyfriend was a “slam, bam, thank you ma’am” type!

  3. Tim

    Is there such thing as allowing the male and female to tie up too many times?

  4. Debbie

    Is slip ties genetic?

  5. Darline

    How many times do pomeranians have to tie in order to get pregnant?

    1. solona

      Only one time at the right time 🙂

  6. Abbey

    Hello I’m currently breeding my dog and yesterday was the first day of her being on heat so he had her meet the male. He mounted her and she pulled forward ever so slight and he ejaculated out of her. But he now doesn’t seem interested. Is there a possibility he will try again

    1. Linsey

      Yes! The male also has to get used to the female more!

  7. Diana

    my dogs tied (I am unsure how long they were tied)and once they released my female has quite alot of discharge (watery, slightly pink) Not experienced this before. Should I be concerened?

  8. Trisha

    Hello okay so I have both a male and female both whom we care for and love very much and have been waiting for our girl to come into her 3rd heat (you can say we’ve planned it this way) just to ensure that she and her both are mature enough to master successfully and for our girl to raise her pups successfully afterwards. We did intervene Bc it was his and her first and she did start to panic and comforted them both while slowly rearranging them into the copulatory tie to ensure a successful breeding. They were both very calm after we intervened and even seemed to almost fall asleep they were so relaxed. But anyways what I’d like to know and I have tried researching it is what is the clearish liquid that leaks out of our female afterwards? I timed the tie and it lasted 30 min on the dot. I just need to know for sure that it wasn’t all of his semen that came out…although I know the male produces a lubricant like substance while mating and I also know the males semen should be a pearly white color. I just need to know if this sounds like a successful breed to you? & what was the liquidy stuff that came out of her instantly after he was able to pull out of her.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *