The objectives of this study were to evaluate the sperm nuclear decondensation capacity of ovulated and in vitro-matured (IVM) canine oocytes during different culture times and correlate this decondensation ability with the state of oocyte nuclear maturation in vitro and in vivo. Fresh ejaculates from three dogs were used for in vitro fertilization (IVF). Dog spermatozoa were cocultured with ovulated or IVM oocytes after each culture period (0, 48, 72 and 96 h) for 24 h. The nuclear stage of the oocytes and the appearance of the sperm nucleus were determined, and data were analysed with a chi-square test. The rates of decondensation and meiotic development in IVM oocytes increased up to 72 h of culture. In contrast, almost all in vivo-matured oocytes showed MII nuclear stage and sperm chromatin decondensation. The percentages of oocytes at MII stage were much lower (p < 0.05) in all IVM groups compared with ovulated oocytes; the rate of sperm chromatin decondensation was higher in ovulated oocytes than in those matured in vitro. Thus, IVM canine oocytes are able to decondense the sperm chromatin during IVF, and this ability increases with time. Nevertheless, sperm chromatin decondensation is less efficient than in ovulated oocytes and may not be completely synchronized with nuclear development as it occurs in vivo.