Meiosis relies on the SPO11 endonuclease to generate the recombinogenic DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) required for homologous chromosome synapsis and segregation. The number of meiotic DSBs needs to be sufficient to allow chromosomes to search for and find their homologs, but not excessive to the point of causing genome instability. Here we report that meiotic DSB frequency in mouse spermatocytes is regulated by the mammal-specific gene Tex19.1. We show that the chromosome asynapsis previously reported in Tex19.1-/- spermatocytes is preceded by reduced numbers of recombination foci in leptotene and zygotene. Tex19.1 is required for the generation of normal levels of Spo11-dependent DNA damage during leptotene, but not for upstream events such as MEI4 foci formation or accumulation of H3K4me3 at recombination hotspots. Furthermore, we show that mice carrying mutations in the E3 ubiquitin ligase UBR2, a TEX19.1-interacting partner, phenocopy the Tex19.1-/- recombination defects. These data show that Tex19.1 and Ubr2 are required for mouse spermatocytes to generate sufficient meiotic DSBs to ensure that homology search is consistently successful, and reveal a hitherto unknown genetic pathway regulating meiotic DSB frequency in mammals.