The world of dog breeding can be daunting, we’ve put together 14 quick points that everyone who’s considering breeding dogs should read. Breeding dogs is a complex and rewarding process that requires careful planning, attention to detail, and a deep understanding of canine genetics and behaviour. To ensure a successful breeding program, it’s important to start with a solid foundation of knowledge, including understanding the breed standard, selecting healthy and well-suited parents, and genetic testing to identify potential health issues. Additionally, it’s crucial to provide proper care and management of the dam and sire, including proper nutrition, exercise, and veterinary care. Once the puppies are born, proper socialisation and training are essential to help them develop into well-adjusted and well-behaved adult dogs.
Other important factors to consider include the costs associated with breeding, the time commitment required, and the potential risks and complications that can arise during breeding. By carefully considering these 14 points, breeders can increase their chances of success and help ensure the health and well-being of their dogs..
- Start with a solid foundation: Before you begin breeding dogs, it’s important to have a good understanding of canine genetics, anatomy, and physiology. Read books, attend seminars (or look for some on YouTube), and talk to experienced breeders to learn about the breed you’re interested in and the breeding process in general.
- Choose the right breed: Not all dogs or breeds are suitable for breeding, and some may have health or temperament issues that make them difficult to breed responsibly. Research the breed you’re interested in and talk to breed clubs, breeders, and vets to learn more about its characteristics and potential challenges. Research heat cycles and gestation periods.
- Find a reputable mentor: An experienced mentor can provide valuable guidance and support as you learn the ropes of dog breeding. Look for a mentor who is knowledgeable, ethical, and willing to share their expertise. You may also need to find a sire / stud dog for the litter on sites like TOP.dog or ChampDogs.co.uk.
- Learn about breeding ethics: Responsible breeding practices are essential for ensuring the health and well-being of dogs. Learn about breeding ethics, such as not breeding dogs that are too closely related, testing for genetic disorders, and prioritising the health and temperament of the dogs over profit.
- Plan for the future: Breeding dogs requires a long-term commitment to the dogs and their offspring. Make sure you have a plan in place for the dogs you breed, including finding suitable homes for them (e.g. advertising on dogs.ie, newspapers, shops, kennel clubs) , providing support and resources to new owners, and being prepared to take back dogs that may need to be re-homed in the future. Dog buying contacts are strongly encouraged.
- Consult with a vet: Your vet can provide valuable guidance and support throughout the breeding process. They can help you identify potential health issues, provide advice on nutrition and care, and ensure that the dogs are healthy and ready for breeding. You can find our lists of vets here.
- Obtain the necessary licenses: Depending on your location and how many puppies you will sell, you may need to register as a Registered Seller of Pets or a Dog Breeding Establishment. Research the guidelines for breeders.
- Understand the genetics of the breed: Knowing the genetic makeup of the breed you’re interested in can help you make informed decisions about which dogs to breed and how to breed them. This can include understanding the breed’s genetic health issues, temperament, and physical characteristics. Health testing is the keyword here to look into.
- Learn about breeding techniques: There are various breeding techniques, such as artificial insemination, natural breeding, and in vitro fertilisation. Research these techniques and consult with your vet to determine which method is best for your breeding program. AI is more prevalent in smaller breeds such as French Bulldogs, Pugs, Shih Tzus, etc.
- Plan for the puppies: Breeding dogs requires a lot of planning, especially when it comes to caring for the puppies. Make sure you have a plan in place for the puppies, including a safe and healthy environment, proper nutrition, and socialisation.
- Consider the costs: Breeding dogs can be expensive, so it’s important to factor in the costs of breeding, including the cost of the dam and sire, veterinary care, food, and supplies.
- Research the breed club: Many breed clubs have strict rules and regulations for breeding, so it’s important to research the breed club and understand their requirements before breeding. The IKC has a number of breed specific clubs.
- Consider the time commitment: Breeding dogs requires a significant time commitment, especially during whelping and the first few months of the puppies’ lives. Make sure you have the time and resources to devote to your breeding program.
- Plan for the unexpected: Despite careful planning, things can still go wrong during breeding. Be prepared and understand what can go wrong.
Why breed dogs
Breeding a dog can be a deeply rewarding experience for individuals who are passionate about canine companionship and responsible breeding practices. Many aspiring breeders choose this path to preserve and promote specific breed traits, temperament, and health characteristics they admire. By carefully selecting compatible and healthy parent dogs, breeders can influence the future generation’s genetic makeup and contribute positively to the breed’s overall well-being.
Witnessing the birth and nurturing of a litter can evoke a sense of fulfilment and joy, as breeders play an integral role in giving life to these adorable pups. Breeding can teach your children about raising animals and the circle of life.
Responsible breeding also enables the creation of loving homes for these puppies, where they will become cherished family members, forming lasting bonds with their new owners. Ultimately, the journey of dog breeding, while demanding and requiring dedication, can be deeply fulfilling for those who wholeheartedly commit to the betterment of their chosen breed.