Objective: The dog approaches the bitch and smells the vulva. The relationship which seems to exist between a special smell in the bitch and sexual arousal in the male dog was investigated. Methods: 12 male dogs and 25 bitches were studied. The bitches were divided into five equal groups, each representing 1 of the 5 phases of the estrous cycle. A vaginal swab that soaked in the bitches’ vaginal secretions was divided into two pieces: one was sent for estradiol and progesterone determination, and the other was smelt by the male dog. The responses of the intracorporéal pressure (IP) and the electromyographic activity of the bulbo- and ischiocavemosus (BC, IC) muscles of the male dog to the smelling of bitch’s vaginal odor were assessed. The pressure response was also determined 10 min and 1 h after either the nasal mucosa or the corporeal tissue was anesthetized. Results: Elevated IP was recorded in 12 of 12, 10 of 12 and 8 of 12 dogs smelling vaginal swabs of bitches in metestrus (p < 0.001),estrus (p < 0.001), and diestrus (p < 0.01), respectively. No pressure response occurred when the vaginal swab was smelt while the nasal mucosa or the corporeal tissue was anesthetized. The BC and IC muscles exhibited no response to smelling of the vaginal swab of bitches in any phase of the estrous cycle. The results were reproducible. Conclusions: The study showed that the IP increased with smelling of vaginal secretions containing high progesterone levels,whereas estradiol-17ß did not effect IP elevations. The higher the progesterone level, the greater the IP. The increased IP is not due to BC and IC muscle contraction. It is postulated that a reflex relationship exists between IP elevation and olfactory stimulation. This reflex response was reproducible and was not evoked when the two arms of the reflex were anesthetized. We call this reflex ‘olfactory-corporeal reflex’. This reflex seems to prime the male dog for sexual intercourse.

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