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How do I Become a Dog Breeder?

By J. Beam
Updated Mar 02, 2024
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If you are considering becoming a dog breeder, it is not a decision to make lightly. There is a great deal of work and responsibility that come with breeding dogs. The choice likely stems from a love of dogs or at least affection for a certain breed, and while a loving disposition towards dogs is part of the job, becoming a successful and reputable breeder takes more than just a big heart.

The first step to becoming a dog breeder is to select a specific breed of dog to work with. A responsible dog chooses a purebred dog based on the knowledge he or she has learned about various breeds.

Once you have selected a breed, you need to learn all you can about it. Read books and talk to experts to gain as much knowledge as possible. You will want to use this knowledge to select your first female dog. In addition to learning as much as you can about the breed you have selected, you should also be garnering knowledge about caring for litters, registering your dogs, and other key aspects of being a dog breeder, such as selecting dogs.

Select a female from a good bloodline that you are able to verify. You’ll also want to have your dog checked over by a veterinarian. After you’ve chosen the female, be sure to continue to provide adequate veterinarian care and do not breed her before she is ready. The selection of a male dog to sire your first litter should be made with equal care.

Choose a sire for your first litter only after you have verified his bloodlines and health history. You can expect to pay a stud fee to the male’s owner regardless of conception. If you have elected to purchase both parents, be sure to select good dogs from different bloodlines.

There is a great deal of expense incurred with a first litter. The cost of veterinarian checks, shots, and other health care expenses and feeding the puppies once they are weaned and before they find their homes all adds up. If you are properly prepared, however, you will be able to recoup your expenses and clear a profit when it’s time to sell. By the time the puppies are ready to go, you should have a good idea of their worth. Obviously, as you gain experience and knowledge and your reputation grows, you will be able to command top prices for first rate dogs. Always be responsible in the sale of your puppies, and make sure that you know the person or family buying the dogs will be responsible dog owners.

The person willing to commit the time, energy, and initial money to becoming a dog breeder will often be rewarded both professionally and personally. It takes a great deal of knowledge, a love for dogs, and devotion to being responsible, but in the end it can be a great joy to provide loving families with pets of their own or to even be responsible for creating the next champion show dog.

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Discussion Comments
By anon990648 — On May 03, 2015

I hear over and over again about going to a shelter instead of a breeder. I would like to say that the world has changed a lot for dogs in the past 15 years or so and nowadays, any shelter that has puppies of any type does not seem to have any trouble at all in finding them homes.

I am not sure if the same is true for adult dogs, but seems to me that puppies (due to better education and availability of spay/neuter programs) have become a high-priority "item" in shelters nowadays.

By anon348926 — On Sep 21, 2013

I had rescued a five month old pup from the local humane society about a year ago and not too long ago I purchased my first purebred from a good breeder. The five month old rescue was potty trained, had good puppy manners and never jumped up on my boyfriend's older parents. My purebred pup was a completely different experience. The purebred chewed and was difficult to potty-train, refused to listen to commands up until recently, and still whines constantly in his kennel.

When you buy a purebred, you're paying for what you want, just like anything else out there. What you get out of it is a wonderful relationship between good friends, but the fact of the matter is, you're less likely to dump a dog that you've spent a lot of money on.

The main reasons why dogs are in shelters is because people can't afford them, because they weren't informed about the dog, and in worst case scenarios, they are abused. If you can afford a big expense like a purebred dog, then you'll be able to give it the care it needs. Not only that, but you know what health defects to expect and can expect to pay for them down the road. If you get a free puppy, or a $50 dog from the shelter you 'might' be saving a life. What if you can't cover the vet costs? What if you can't cover the items that get broken because of the dog? What if you can't control the dog and can't afford proper training? What if the dog gets terribly ill? What happens when he gets old, can you afford to really take care of it if it becomes disabled?

Now, I'm not saying it's a poor decision to rescue a dog. I'm not saying that at all. It all boils down to getting what you pay for. You spend a little on a dog without knowing anything about it. What saddens me is that shelter workers are usually volunteers and know very little about the specific breeds that might be mixed, or owning dogs all together, and can't give people the information they need to make an informed purchase. So, the uninformed consumer makes a purchase on a low-priced animal. Wonderful! Their son now has they puppy they wanted, except that now, the uninformed consumer has a new expense to pay. They didn't know the dog had to be wormed, get puppy shots, or even needed a special food it might need for an illness or allergy that developed.

All of a sudden, this low-cost dog is costing a lot more, and before you know it, their son stops taking care of it. Now they have twice the work and three times the cost. Now that the dog is getting older, it's having temperament issues that are causing it to act inappropriately with your living style. Realizing this wasn't a sound investment, they turn the dog in to a humane society and as an older dog, it has a lower chance of finding a home that would really take care of it. It's a sad story and it happens all the time.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that, the reason why dogs are in shelters aren’t because of good breeders. It's because of pure ignorance. Good breeders will make sure that if a dog isn't of breeding stock, they will get them fixed and find a home for them with a strict screening process. If they can't find a home, they keep the damn dog. Backyard breeders will hand out intact animals like crazy, not caring for the standard or those who are going to purchase the dogs, because they just want the money.

Those who give away dogs for free because they didn't expect the litter, couldn't afford it, or didn't want the dogs are just adding to the problem if they don't get them fixed before handing them out. If they are too young, instead of giving the dogs away, why don't you charge them for the cost of the spay/neuter so you know they can afford it when the time comes?

It's the useless dribble of saying things like 'it's the breeders fault that dogs die' is the reason why the problem isn't being fixed. You rarely find a purebred dog in a shelter, so if you can explain to me how it's the breeder’s fault, I would be amazed. You always find designer dogs, or mixed breeds, because these people didn't expect the cost and didn't expect the responsibility. Wouldn't that be the fault of pet owners and not breeders? Wouldn't that be the fault of ignorance and misinformation? So why are people always blaming the educated person, when they don't even understand why the dogs are there in the first place?

If every single dog owner who had an unexpected litter treated them like a purebred breeder treats their dogs, then shelters would be scrambling to find anything and everything they could to keep themselves in business.

And another little known fact about the USA. In the USA, we are importing homeless animals to keep up with the adoption demand. So, let that sit in your mind a bit before you naively throw blame around. Shelters are a business, just like hospitals. The only difference is they don't have a specialized product that only they offer and they don't have a certification stating that they could charge you more for their product, or they would.

By anon320441 — On Feb 18, 2013

I have two new puppies, one that I got from a shelter and the other is a purebred dog. Needless to say, I can see a huge difference in the two of them. It seems that my mutt is harder to train than my purebred. It is going on over a month and my mutt still is not potty trained. I had my purebred for about a week and she was potty trained.

I do not see why there are so many people who go on about animal shelters. It is true we do have an overgrown pet population. But most of the problem is owners who are not responsible. If you own a dog, or any animal, for that matter, and you are not prepared to take care of any babies that animal has, then get the animal fixed. Plain and simple.

But you will always have those people who get animals and never take them to a vet. The problem is not with the purebred over mutt. The problem is that people who own an animal because it looks cute and then find out there is work involved.

By anon318602 — On Feb 08, 2013

I am tired of people saying "adopt from a shelter!" There is a reason the dog is in there! You never know what you're getting half the time. It could be an aggressive dog mix for all you know! Or they could just be aggressive all around. And the dog could have a illness the shelter couldn't find.

You never know what you're getting from a shelter! Not all breeders are puppy mills! Most breeders love and care for dogs, they try to improve the breed and make it better and get all the health issues out of the breed.

Look at the Beagle. They have no health issues and lots of people breed them, but in the end, it's your choice. A shelter or a breeder?

By anon313882 — On Jan 14, 2013

There is no such thing as responsible breeding when 11,000 dogs die in shelters every single day.

By anon313881 — On Jan 14, 2013

Are you kidding me? There is no such thing as a "responsible breeder." Millions of dogs are euthanized due to lack of homes.

Go to a shelter or rescue and save a life. People who breed should have to volunteer a week of their lives in a shelter and walk the dogs to their death. Don't support breeders by "buying" a dog. Please adopt and save a life and help end this cycle of breeding dogs for profit while we kill millions that are already here.

By cloudel — On Oct 25, 2012

I'm not a dog breeder, but I did help raise a litter of nine puppies. At the time, I had their mother and two other grown dogs, as well.

I can tell you that having even one litter of puppies is expensive. They started eating solid food within a few weeks, and at six weeks, they all had to have their first round of vaccinations.

I didn't sell these puppies, because they were mixed breeds, and I was grateful that anyone wanted them for free. A breeder would definitely have to charge a good bit per puppy in order to recoup their losses. Of course, with most purebred dogs, people are willing to pay a good price.

By orangey03 — On Oct 24, 2012

@shell4life – I agree with you. I would also like to add that breeders should learn how to properly dock the tails of their breeds if they are going to do this themselves.

I bought a puppy from some dog breeders in Georgia that had its tail docked way too short. I didn't know this at the time, because the puppy hadn't grown into the tail. However, after he grew up, I could see that his little nub looked nothing like the five inch tail I had seen on these dogs in calendar photos.

By shell4life — On Oct 24, 2012

I saw an ad in the paper about Weimaraner puppies for sale, and my dad and I decided to buy one. He had always wanted a Weimaraner, and our mixed breed dog of fifteen years had passed away four months earlier, so we needed a companion.

The breeder only had two puppies left when we got there. Both were healthy, and the parents had a nice, large fenced-in area to live in, so he seemed like a good breeder. He provided us with the AKC papers, and we were happy.

You can pretty much tell if a person is a responsible breeder by how healthy and happy the dogs look. If they seem to neglect or mistreat their animals in any way, then you shouldn't buy from them.

Anyone wanting to become a breeder should really invest time and money into the care of their animals. No one really wants to buy from a third-rate breeder who can't take care of his litter.

By JackWhack — On Oct 23, 2012

I love puppies, but I don't think I have what it takes to become a dog breeder. I know that in every litter, at least one or two puppies often die not long after birth, and this would break my heart.

Also, I would hate to get rid of the puppies when it came time to sell them! I get really attached to dogs, and having to do that over and over again would just wreck me.

Also, even if a buyer seems to be a nice person, there is no real way to know how they will treat their animals. I would be too afraid I would sell a puppy to a person who would neglect or abuse it.

By anon279570 — On Jul 13, 2012

I am looking for a Schnocker hybrid cross between a Mini-Schnauzer and a Cocker Spaniel.

By anon273101 — On Jun 05, 2012

Can you breed dogs that live in the same habitat but are not related?

By anon139376 — On Jan 04, 2011

Great article. Becoming a breeder is not something to take lightly.

By GreenWeaver — On Jul 24, 2010

I bought my Pomeranian from a dog breeder, here in Florida. She showed me that my dog was a product of a championship line.

By sneakers41 — On Jul 24, 2010

Comfyshoes- I am sure this would also be great information for someone looking to enter the field of dog breeding. This breeder can offer insight as to how the industry works and best to care for the dogs in particular.

By comfyshoes — On Jul 24, 2010

Excellent article- I just want to add if you want additional information on top dog breeders in the United States, it is best to go the American Kennel Club.

Their web site offers a recommended breeder per breed along with the local club's name. It lists the breeder’s phone number and web site information.

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