Vets hear unusual and kind of humorous anecdotes on a daily basis. A particularly interesting scenario is when a dog parent claims the dog has two sets of balls or when a neutered dog is believed to still have its balls intact.
My dog has two sets of balls – how is this possible? Dogs do not have two sets of balls. However, dogs have so-called bulbous glandis located at the base of the male dog sexual organ that is often misidentified as a second pair of balls.
This article will discuss the dog’s mysterious bulbus glandis – their anatomy, function, and appearance. We will also discuss why the bulbar glands are mistakenly considered to be a second pair of balls.
ARE DOGS SUPPOSED TO HAVE TWO SETS OF BALLS?
No, dogs are not supposed to have two sets of balls. And the truth is dogs do not have two sets of balls. They have only one set of balls located in the scrotal sac. When male pups are born, their testicles are still in the belly, and after birth, they start descending until reaching the final destination.
However, sometimes one or both testicles can get stuck on their way from the belly to the scrotal sac. In such cases, instead of one set of balls, a dog will have half a set or no set at all. Bottom line, under no circumstance can dogs have two sets of testicles.
THE BULBOURETHRAL GLANDS IN DOGS 101
The whole two-sets-of-balls confusion stems from the two bumps located at the base of the male dog sexual organ or the so-called bulbus glandis.
The overall presence and function of the bulbus glandis is quite mysterious and hard to understand. In fact, there are various misconceptions surrounding this gland, including:
Confusion number 1: Bulbus glandis vs. Bulbar glands
The bulbus glandis is not the same as the bulbar or bulbourethral glands. The bulbourethral glands, together with the seminal vesicles and prostate, are part of the accessory reproductive glands are vital for the formation and development of sperm.
Confusion number 2: It carries the name gland but does not have such a function
The bulbus glandis is not an actual gland but a specific type of erectile tissue with a vast network of blood vessels. It is a normal part of the male dog sexual organ structure in canid mammals and serves a critical function during mating.
The bulbus glandis is located at the base of the male dog sexual organ and consists of two bumps – one on each side. Under normal circumstances, the bulbus glandis is not visible. However, when a dog gets excited (sexually or otherwise, for example, during a belly rub), the blood vessels in the bulbus glandis flood with blood, resulting in swelling or enlargement.
The role of the bulbus glandis is to enable the coital tie – the locking between the male and the female during mating, which is critical for successful reproduction. Let’s make this part of the mating process a bit easier to understand.
During mating, the bulbus glandis swells and triggers the tie or lock, which keeps the male’s sexual organ inside the female’s genitalia. This locking occurs just before the male dog “discharges” and prevents the male from withdrawing before the process is completed.
The knot or tie is, in fact, enabled by two factors – the male’s bulbus glandis and the circular muscles in the female’s genitalia, which intermittently constrict around the bulbus glandis.
In domestic dogs, the tie lasts for about half an hour. However, it can last from several minutes up to a full hour.
Since the swelling of the bulbus glandis is associated with sexual activity, it is safe to assume that they can be visible only in intact males. However, this is not true. Even fixed or neutered males get swollen bulbus glandis. This leads to:
Confusion number 3: Enlarged bulbus glandis is possible in fixed dogs
The bulbus glandis gets enlarged or swollen whenever the dog is excited. The excitement can stem from sexual arousal or something as simple as seeing the favorite human approaching or hearing the sound of the dog food package being opened.
It should be noted that sexual arousal is possible in neutered dogs. Despite the absence of the actual balls or testicles, a neutered dog can get excited, have the entire male dog sexual organ and bulbus glandis swelled inside the penile sheath, or even hump.
Last but not least:
Confusion number 4: An enlarged bulbus glandis is not painful
Despite being classified as swelling, the enlargement of the bulbus glandis is not painful at all – it is perfectly normal and harmless. Simply put, a dog with visible bulbus glandis does not require medical intention and is not a cause for concern.
SUMMING UP: DOGS WITH TWO SETS OF BALLS
Okay, dogs cannot and do not have two sets of balls. Just like any other mammal, male dogs have two testicles (balls). The confusion with the two sets of balls stems from the presence of bulbar glands.
However, just because these bumps are perfectly normal does not mean that all bumps on your dog’s body are. If your dog has an unusual bump or swelling somewhere on its body, do not hesitate to call your trusted vet and schedule an appointment.
What are the two balls on my dog?
The two “extra” balls at the base of your dog’s sexual organ is the bulbus glandis. It is a normal anatomical and physiological part of the urogenital system. However, the bulbus glandis should not be confused with bulbourethral glands – one of the three accessory reproductive glands in dogs (seminal vesicles, prostate, bulbar glands).
Can a fixed male dog still have its balls?
No, this is not an option. A fixed or technically speaking neutered male has both of its testicles surgically removed. However, it is not uncommon for dog owners to get confused when they misidentify the bulbus glandis as testicles.
Why is my dog’s bulbus glandis swollen?
The bulbourethral glands are invisible from the outside in normal circumstances. However, they get enlarged, swollen, and strikingly apparent when the dog is sexually aroused or otherwise excited.
Is a swollen bulbus glandis bad for dogs?
No, a swollen bulbus glandis is neither bad nor painful for dogs. We often associate bumps and swellings with pain. Luckily, when it comes to the bulbus glandis, the enlargement is not painful at all. In fact, it is often occurring from happiness and excitement.