The aim of this study was to determinate the semen quality of frozen–thawed samples that were chilled for up to 2 days before freezing. The ejaculates (n = 18) from six dogs were collected, pooled and divided into six aliquots. The first aliquot (C, control) was frozen in liquid nitrogen using a conventional protocol to reach a final concentration of 100 × 106 spermatozoa/ml, 20% egg yolk and 5% glycerol. The remaining five aliquots were diluted with a chilled extender (Tris-glucose and 20% egg yolk) and cooled at 4°C as follows: R1, the semen was cooled for 1 h; R6, the semen was cooled for 6 h; R12, the semen was cooled for 12 h; R24, the semen was cooled for 24 h and R48, the semen was cooled for 48 h. After the chilling period, a second extender was added (Tris-glucose, 20% egg yolk, 10% glycerol and Equex at 1%) to reach a final composition similar to aliquot C, and then, the semen samples (R1, R6, R12, R24 and R48) were frozen in liquid nitrogen. The post-thaw sperm quality was assessed in 30 straws from each experimental group. After freezing–thawing, the total sperm motility (approximately 60–70%) in the semen chilled for up to 48 h did not show any differences from the samples frozen by the conventional cryopreservation method (63.2%). No significant differences were detected in the percentages of abnormal sperm cells among the fresh semen, the control group and the frozen samples after the different cooling times. Finally, the post-thaw percentages of damaged acrosomes showed a very uniform distribution, with mean values ranging between 7% and 10.5%. The results clearly demonstrated that cooling the semen up to 48 h before freezing did not produce a decrease in the semen quality when was compared with semen frozen by a traditional procedure.