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How to Become a Dog Breeder [Step-By-Step]

Being a dog breeder combines the best of both worlds: doing what you love while earning a profit.

The question is this: how to become a dog breeder?

Many aspiring breeders find themselves overwhelmed by the challenging process and extensive knowledge required to breed dogs.

Don’t worry about it! We’ll provide you with step-by-step instructions to help you embark on the exciting journey of becoming a dog breeder.

An Overview of Dog Breeding: A Primer

Like any animal breeder, dog breeders are people who intentionally mate dogs to produce puppies.

Now, the process can involve dogs from the same species to produce a purebred dog. Alternatively, breeders can mate two different varieties to strengthen a desired trait, such as coat color.

Regardless of the breeding purpose, a reputable dog breeder aims to produce healthy pups by selecting parents with desirable qualities.

Of course, the process isn’t that easy. You need to have in-depth knowledge about good breeding practices and meet the regulations of the American Kennel Club.

If you’re thinking about starting a dog breeding business, here’s what you can expect to do:

  • Conduct extensive research about the breed
  • Screen and select animals based on desired genetics
  • Conduct artificial insemination
  • Examine dogs for illnesses and injuries
  • Provide proper care and nutrition
  • Socialize and train newborn pups
  • Adhere to ethical practices and standards

How Much Do Dog Breeders Make?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, dog breeders make an average of $23,39 an hour or slightly above $48,000 annually.

Top earners can make an hourly wage between $28.96 and $35.38. That adds up to around $60,000-$73,000 per year.

Having said that, a dog breeder’s income can vary significantly depending on several factors. Those include dog species, U.S. states, and the breeder’s reputation.

What You’ll Need to Become a Dog Breeder [& Associated Costs]

Becoming a dog breeder can be a costly process. To enter this field, you need to provide dogs with a proper shelter, plenty of nutrition, and veterinary care.

Aside from that, you need to register the business. Here’s everything you need to start breeding dogs:

Education and Training

Most pet breeders can enter this career by learning on the job. You don’t need formal education or a specific degree. In some cases, academic courses, like genetics, can be helpful.

That’s especially true if you want to perform artificial insemination or work in a breeding facility.

You’ll find plenty of helpful courses at the American Kennel Club, which are mostly free. Earning an online diploma costs around $1,000.

Kennel Food and Supplies

The price of food and supplies will vary depending on the breed and the number of dogs you intend to raise.

However, generally, you can expect to pay around $600-$700 for a year’s supply of dog food.

Other expenses include leashes, collars, and toys, which can add up to $200 annually. Medical care costs between $700 and $2000 annually.

License and Registration

As you might know, dog breeders are subject to USDA licensing under certain circumstances, like having more than four female dogs.

Obtaining the necessary license can cost around $200. Registering your dog with the American Kennel Club costs between $50 and $100.

Other Expenses

Other expenses you should consider include the following:

  • Camera: A high-quality camera costs $1500-$3000. Our guide to the best cameras for pet photography can help you pick the most suitable device within your budget.
  • Small business website: Hosting and maintaining a website range from $2000 to $9000 annually.
  • Stud fees: The price paid for male dog owners to mate with a breeding female can be between $250 and $1000.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Dog Breeder?

You can expect to spend between $6,500 and $17,000 to become a dog breeder. Keep in mind that the former is a rough estimate if you own one female dog.

Of course, the more dogs you own, the more you’ll pay for food and other necessities.

Is it Hard to Become a Dog Breeder?

Becoming a dog breeder has its challenges. The job requires patience and commitment, as it can be time-consuming.

You need to not only gain knowledge and experience but also stay up-to-date with new regulations and scientific data.

Breeding dogs can also break the bank since the pets require great care. Don’t expect to make a lot of money at the beginning; the breeding process takes time.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Dog Breeder?

The time it takes to become a dog breeder varies depending on your knowledge, experience, resources, and goals.

It can take several months to a year to acquire the necessary education and training to become a breeder.

Aside from that, dogs typically go into heat at around six months. Some species can take 18-24 months. In that case, breeding your pets will take longer.

How to Become a Dog Breeder in 6 Simple Steps

Here are six simple steps to help you become a dog breeder:

Step 1: Decide on the Breed

There are more dog breeds than one could keep track of. Learning about all those species is not only overwhelming but also far-fetched.

For that reason, you should specialize in only one dog breed. That’s what most reputable dog breeders do.

Now, the process requires extensive research. You can start with a breed you’re interested in and have experience dealing with.

You can also consider the following factors to help you determine which species you should breed:

  • Personalities and temperament
  • Size and lifestyle
  • Food and exercise needs
  • Veterinary requirements
  • Breed-specific health issues
  • Geographic location
  • Market demand

Step 2: Become Knowledgeable

Once you’ve decided on one or two breeds to populate, it’s time for extensive research. You need to know basically everything about your chosen species.

Sure, earning an online diploma or enrolling in several courses will provide you with valuable information about breeding practices.

However, these programs generally don’t teach you about a specific species.

That’s when researching comes in handy. Familiarize yourself with the dog’s growing conditions and needs.

You can also volunteer at a breed-specific rescue group or shelter. That’ll help you gain hands-on experience.

Step 3: Create a Business Plan

While it’s tempting to start breeding dogs once you’ve settled on a species, without a plan, you’re likely to fail. Caring for a pet is a great deal of work, let alone numerous dogs.

Decide on the number of female dogs you’ll start with. The former will vary depending on your budget.

Estimate all the necessary expenses, including food, kennels, toys, grooming, vaccinations, and medical care. After figuring out the total cost, plan out the breeding schedule.

Of course, you should create a suitable, safe environment with an adequate space before purchasing the dogs.

Step 4: Obtain the Necessary License

To become a commercial dog breeder, you’ll most likely need to obtain a USDA license. That is, as long as you have more than four female dogs and intend to sell their offspring.

However, you don’t need a license in the following cases:

  • You have four or fewer breeding female dogs, regardless of whether you sell the puppies or not.
  • You breed dogs to maintain their bloodline or sell them for hunting or security—basically for any purpose other than pets.
  • You sell pet dogs only via face-to-face transactions and require the buyers to physically examine them.
  • You have numerous female dogs, but only four or fewer canines can get pregnant.

Step 5: Promote Your Business

Several ways can help you promote your business. You can set up a website to establish your presence online and sell your puppies.

Be sure to write a detailed description and be honest about your dogs. Of course, include a high-quality photo, your location, and contact information.

Aside from that, promote your business on various social media platforms. Consider hiring a social media manager since taking care of newborn puppies consumes a lot of time and effort.

You can also attend several dog events and shows near you and exchange business cards.

Step 6: Screen the Potential Buyers

All your breeding practices and advertising efforts can go in vain if you don’t ensure your pups’ new owners take good care of them.

That’s why learning about potential buyers is essential to becoming a responsible dog breeder.

You can ask questions to learn about their lifestyle, habits, and personalities to see if they’re a positive match for your dog.

Ask why they want to adopt a pet and whether or not they’ve owned a dog before.

Once you’ve ensured they’re responsible, prepare the contract. Use a documentation system to record and track contracts.

Reasons to Consider Becoming a Dog Breeder

Becoming a dog breeder comes with many perks, especially for all the dog lovers out there.

From surrounding yourself with cute puppies to potentially earning a profit, here are four reasons to consider this business:

  • Potential high income: Dogs are always in demand. Around 45% of U.S. households own pet dogs. Being the most popular animal in America, it’s not likely that dog breeders will go out of business anytime soon.
  • Breed improvement and preservation: By breeding dogs, especially the less populated species, you ensure the preservation of their bloodline. Not only that, but breeding animals with desirable traits produces puppies with good health and characteristics.
  • Flexibility: You can run your dog breeding business from home and maintain a great work/life balance.
  • Being around dogs: Dogs are a man’s best friend. Being a breeder most likely won’t feel like a job. You get to spend time surrounded by your fluffy friends, which can feel rewarding.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have some inquiries, check out these common questions aspiring dog breeders ask:

How Many Times Can You Breed a Dog?

The short answer is that it depends. Not all dog species have the same breeding cycle.

However, as a rule of thumb, you should breed the female every other heat cycle and stop when she is old, around 5-7. That means each dog only mates once a year, or 4-6 times a lifetime.

Is Dog Breeding Profitable?

Dog breeding can be profitable, especially when managed correctly.

If you breed in-demand puppies, manage the expenses, and have a good reputation, you can make a decent profit.

However, don’t expect over-the-top salaries. Top earners make slightly above $100,000.

Similar Gigs to Check Out

Check out these similar gigs if you’re looking for jobs that require similar skills to dog breeding.

  • How to Become a Dog Walker: Start with your social circle to gain experience, become a certified dog walker, build a client base, and create a business plan.
  • How to Become a Dog Trainer: Complete 300 hours of dog training and pass the Association of Professional Dog Trainers exam to become a certified dog trainer.
  • How to Become a Dog Groomer: Go to a grooming school, get an apprenticeship, buy the necessary tools, and obtain a permit to start your business.

Wrapping Up

Becoming a dog breeder is a fulfilling career, but it can be challenging. It requires careful planning and commitment.

From choosing a breed to advertising your business, following the steps outlined in this article can help you become a reputable dog breeder.

Share your thoughts in the comment section below, and if you found this guide informative, feel free to share it with others who might find it helpful.

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