If you've fallen in love with a particular breed of dog and you have the space, money and time, becoming a breeder may be a way for you to further develop your interest. But before you quit your day job, take a look at the following steps. Breeding dogs may not be a road to riches; but it can be a fulfilling activity if done right and with good intentions. Read on to learn more.
Decide if you want to keep the males, females or both. Each avenue has its advantages; sire owners don't have to care for mothers and puppies and won't incur the expense that comes with them; dam owners get to watch the birth of the puppies and care for them until they have found new homes. Owners of both sires and dams that can be bred together don't need to coordinate contracts, heat cycles and semen shipping.
Memorize the "Breed Standard" for your chosen breed. It should be as familiar to you as the ABCs. Go to dog shows and study the dogs who do well, and talk to the judges and find out what they're looking for.
Buy your breeding stock. The dog, or dogs, you choose to breed should be as close to the "Breed Standard" as you can afford to buy. If you buy mature dogs who have already won titles and have had all the required health tests, go on to Step 5. If you buy a puppy, continue to Step 4.
Show your breeding dogs. Collect as many titles as you can while you're waiting for the dogs to mature. Many people buy only from breeders who show their breeding stock. Your pup will be worth more if its parents are champions, and you'll get a better feel for what kind of mate will complement your dog through shows. Have your all of your pup's health certificates done in the 2 years before you breed while you're rounding the show circuit.
Select a mate that compliments your dog. If your bitch is on the tall end of the breed standard, select a breeding partner that is more average in height. If your dog has large feet, select a mate with small ones. Always be sure that all dogs are even tempered. Mates for dogs are advertised on the Internet and in dog magazines and newsletters.
Set the terms of the mating by means of a written contract. This should include a clause that explains what will happen if the bitch doesn't conceive the first time and what fees or pups are due to the owner of the sire.
Start checking your bitch's progesterone levels as soon as she shows any sign of coming into heat. She will need to be bred as soon as her hormone levels surge, indicating ovulation. Be sure the sire's owners are ready to ship the semen at a moment's notice.