In this study we have investigated the efficiency of in vitro maturation (IVM) as a basic way to study the development of canine oocytes after in vitro fertilization (IVF). We decided, therefore, to perform two-part experiments. Firstly, experiment I compared the effects of TCM199 without fetal bovine serum (FBS) with TCM199 supplemented with 5% FBS on the in vitro nuclear maturation rate of canine oocytes. For the efficiency of meiotic development to the metaphase II (MII) stage, we found that 4.7% (4/64) of all oocytes grown in TCM199 without FBS developed to the MII stage compared with only 1.7% (1/59) of those grown in TCM199 with 5% FBS for 48 h. Therefore, FBS did not increase in vitro nuclear maturation. In experiment II, the cleavage rate of canine oocytes used for IVF was investigated following heparin treatment. Canine oocytes were fertilized in four groups: Fert–TALP medium without heparin (Fert I) or Fert–TALP medium supplemented with 10, 20 or 30 µg/ml heparin (Fert II, Fert III, Fert IV, respectively). Oocytes that were grown for 24 h in Fert I following fertilization showed the highest rate of all of the groups, 6.5% (5/77) and developed to the early morula stage. Markedly, the oocytes cultured in Fert I for 24 h following insemination had a higher rate of embryonic development than other groups. We can assert that, unlike findings in other mammals, heparin treatment in canine IVF does not increase the efficiency of the fertilization rate and is therefore not an important factor.