Do you have a passion for dogs and you seriously consider turning this passion into a business? While breeding dogs can seem like a rather simple thing to do, there are quite a few aspects you need to have in mind. Starting an activity as a dog breeder will mean investing resources at first and having a good dose of patience.
Results in this activity branch don’t come overnight. Also, you will have to earn the trust of clients by providing great quality puppies and breeding your dogs in a responsible manner. This can mean hard work and costs you have to cover without expecting a quick profit. But, if you make it, this is the kind of business that can be very rewarding.
So, if you are interested in becoming a professional dog breeder, here are some of the best tips to help you get started. The following pieces of information should be acquired by all new breeders, as they can pave your path toward success.
Decide on breeding a breed or two
Responsible breeders will focus on breeding one dog breed or, in case they accumulated a considerable amount of experience, a very small number of dog breeds. As you are about to find out, breeding dogs is an activity that will require a lot of time and effort. Thus, breeding several breeds at once can be a daunting task.
Not to mention that you should learn as much as possible about the dog breed you are about to breed. Each dog breed has its own requirements and health risks you need to consider. While there aren’t any organized courses about dog breeds, you can educate yourself by reading reliable materials about the dog breed you’re interested in. The AKC and other organizations, like official clubs of a particular dog breed, can provide valid and valuable information.
The secret to becoming a successful dog breeder is knowing how to keep your dogs healthy and in great condition. And this can be achieved only by knowing the breed inside out, so you will know how to properly care for your dogs and their pups.
Allow the female to reach maturity before breeding her for the first time
While many people consider that a dog is fully matured once it reaches the age of 1 year, you should know that this is a false assumption. A female dog should be allowed to fully mature from all points of view before having the first litter of pups. This is due to the fact that each dog breed reaches maturity differently. Smaller dog breed takes longer to mature than large dog breed.
So, once you got your first female, don’t rush into breeding. Allow the dog to reach maturity and have it checked by a vet periodically. At the age of 24 months or 2 years, have her health fully assessed and ask the vet to provide health certifications for your dog. This will give you and your future clients the certainty that the dog is healthy and will provide healthy pups as well.
Be selective when it comes to stud dogs and talk with long-time breeders about the process
Believe it or not, dog breeding is not something that comes naturally. You can’t just breed your female with whatever stud comes your way. The female may not accept a male and the breeding process will be very difficult, with potential risks for your female. A stud can get aggressive if the female refuses him, so you need to consider this aspect as well.
Also, it is worth checking out the history of a dog stud, looking back a few generations, and the pups that stud produced. Taking a close look at its temperament, physical aspect, and health condition are also very important if you’re interested in producing healthy and well-balanced dogs. To find the ideal mate for your female, you should start looking for one in an early manner, well before your female enters the heat period.
Even if you found the perfect stud, you should have a back-up plan as well. This means that you should find a second stud to replace your first option, in case it becomes unavailable for the breeding process. Ideally, you should talk with breeders that are in the business for a while, as they can provide valuable recommendations. There are always situations that can’t be foreseen and aspects that can only be found along the way, so talking with an experienced breeder is always a good thing.
Make sure you have a contract ready before using the stud
When you’re interested in a stud, it’s not like you can take it and mate it with your female. You should come up with a specific contract that includes all the terms and obligations of this process. The contract will stand as proof that you used a particular stud for obtaining a litter of pups, plus it will keep your female on the safe side.
In order for the mating process to be successful, it is recommended for the female to be on the male’s territory. This is why you need to have a contract in which the owner of the male guarantees the safe-keeping of your female during mating. Also, it will stand as evidence that you paid the stud fees required, according to the case.
As you can see, a stud contract is very important, as it can save you from a lot of trouble. Just make sure to make it detailed and appropriate for your case.
Create a sale contract as well
Putting together a contract for sale is also something you need to take care in an early manner. This way, you will have time to revise it and check if anything is missing. Providing a contract of this kind to your clients will show them that you are a reliable dog breeder that cares for quality.
If you know a few dog breeders, ask them if they are willing to show you their sale contracts. Seeing how these things are done by someone that has been in this activity niche for a while is a good way to avoid errors and missing important aspects.
You will need to advertise your future litter before breeding occurs
You should not wait to advertise your litter until the puppies are born. This can be rather late, as it is difficult to find clients for your pups. If the puppies don’t leave to their new families when the time is right, they will grow older and it will be harder to find forever homes for them. Most people are looking for small puppies when they want a new companion.
So, as soon as you found the dog stud or studs and everything is set with the owners of the studs, you should start advertising your future litter. Besides publishing ads in the appropriate places, also consider coming up with a website. Providing important information about future parents, like pedigree, AKC registration, and health certificates, and photos of the dogs, are all essential for capturing the attention of potential clients.
Also, uploading photos of the puppies, once they are born, can also be made on the website. These days, many people look for puppies online, so a website can be extremely helpful for your business. Making a pre-order form available on your website is also recommended, so people can book a puppy in a timely manner.
Long-time breeders have waiting lists for their puppies because many people prefer waiting for a puppy once they know that the quality is outstanding. Also, this is how responsible breeders proceed, breeding their dogs with regard to their health and well-being, not during every heat season.
Test the progesterone of your female before breeding it
The heat cycle of a female dog last for approximately two weeks. But this doesn’t mean that you can breed the dog anytime during these weeks. If you want to ensure the success of the breeding process, you should test the levels of progesterone of your female. The results of such tests will let you know when it’s best to breed your female.
Because this testing involves blood, it should be performed by a vet. There are in-house tests, but they aren’t as accurate as the ones performed by vets. The first test should be performed between the 5th and 7th day after the pro-oestrus started. The beginning of the pro-oestrus is marked by vulval swelling and bleeding. The test should be repeated every two or three days, depending on what the results indicate, until ovulation is detected.
Feed high-quality food to your pregnant female
The diet of a pregnant female is very important, as it determines the health of the female and developing puppies. The pregnancy itself will drain the female of energy, so you need to make sure that it gets all the nutrients it needs.
Besides high-quality food, you should also make sure it gets daily exercising. Keeping the female in great shape, even if it means to take it out for a slow-paced walk, will help it during whelping.
Prepare a special place for the female and the pups
Once the pups will come into the world, both the female and the puppies should have a cozy, intimate, and quiet place for the first weeks. Thus, it would be great to start preparing a box or container for them, packed with towels. Allow the female to whelp the pups into this box, as it is easier to manage the situation this way and everybody will feel safe. Just make sure to replace towels that are dirty and wet.
You could use newspapers underneath the towels, to make sure that the box is not getting damaged by the placenta of the pups. Also, make sure the box is large enough to accommodate the female and pups alike. So, pick one adequate to the size of your dogs. And do have in handy a set of replacement towels or blankets.
Have your female checked by the vet before whelping
Besides keeping an eye on the pregnancy, having your female checked by a vet will allow you to know how many pups to expect. With the help of the veterinarian, you can approximate due date. According to the due date, you can have an ultrasound check or X-ray to see how many puppies will your female deliver. Of course, the number can be an approximation, as it is possible for one or two puppies to hide behind others on the X-rays.
Getting ready for the whelping moment
While most females know what they have to do during whelping, you should be there to assist them. In some cases, like when the female has difficulties whelping, you may even need the presence of the vet. So, have the phone number of the vet in handy, just in case things don’t go according to plan.
You will also need a few supplies ready for the moment. A stethoscope, thermometers, and latex gloves are a must. Make sure to have a hemostat, disinfectant, and bulb syringe in handy as well. The veterinarian will instruct you on how to use each of them.
You should have a chart ready as well, where you will write down the details regarding each puppy. Weigh each puppy and write down the value in this chart, together with color and sex. You can use this chart to further monitor the evolution of each puppy. Making sure they gain weight and develop properly is very important. Any abnormal value can indicate a problem, which needs to be addressed quickly in the case of young puppies.
Have a special budget set on the side
You will need to have some money put on the side for emergencies if they occur. Besides this, you will need to vaccinate your puppies and take them to vet exams as well, which will also require some funds. So, make sure you have this aspect covered, to avoid any surprises.
So, it is not an easy task to bring puppies into the world and, implicit, breed dogs. This activity requires time, effort, dedication, and proper resources. But, if you are determined to make things work and you love your dogs, it is not mission impossible. Proper research and patience will also help you out, just make sure to do things in a responsible manner.
Got some questions? Or some suggestions? That’s why we’ve got a comments section on this blog! You can feel free to leave a comment or two down below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible!
Kate Washington is a Marketing Specialist for Charlotte Dog Club, a site thatsellssmallpuppies. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Animal Behavior but is interested in anything dog-related and understands that having a happy life alongside your companion is more than training it for obedience.