Here we discuss what is needed to become a successful dog breeder and establish your own breeding kennel.
Before you even start thinking about breeding dogs, you need to ask yourself: "Do I have everything that is required to start a breeding kennel?"
What do you need to have to start a breeding kennel?
The most important thing that every dog breeder needs to have is knowledge about the breed. By knowledge about the breed, we do not mean you read a book on the particular breed. We mean that you and your family grew up with that breed and have years of first-hand experience with the breed in question, as well as, its specific needs. Also, you need to have plenty of space to exercise the dogs and a rural setting or a farm with a large property is usually preferred. Breeding dogs in the city is not recommended, especially considering that there are restrictions in some places on how many dogs you can have in your household and you do not know how your neighbors will react to your dogs.
To start breeding, you need to own a quality bitch, in most cases more than one. She will be the foundation of your kennel. You need to have enough funds to pay for your veterinarian bills and general care for your dogs and puppies. If you think that taking care of one dog is expensive, then you should not start a breeding kennel. The bitch and the puppies need to be registered with a kennel club such as the AKC (American Kennel Club) or CKC (Canadian Kennel Club) to prove that they are up to the standards of the breed. You also need to register your kennel which will involve paying for the membership and abiding by the rules of the club. Being a member of a club gives you advantages since you will be able to connect easier to a network of other breeders and be notified of special news and events available to members only. In most cases, breeders will take their dogs to shows and other types of competitions such as agility and obedience. This is where they can prove the quality of their dogs and their temperaments and preserve the true essence of the breed. Each time your dog wins a show or competition, he or she will win points and titles. These points show the quality of your dogs and your dedication to the breed.
Taking a dog to a dog show costs money, especially if you need to hire professional handlers or try to reach some of the more prestigious shows such as the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. Some breeders/owners pay in the $80,000-$150,000 range to reach the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show with their dogs. Not only do their dogs have to be of the highest quality, but it also takes time and money to get there. This is why you will see that some dogs have more than one owner because they split the costs. Not being a member of any clubs just shows that you are not really interested in the breed and only care about producing and selling puppies.
Once the puppies are born, you have to be prepared to spend a lot of time with the mother and the puppies. In addition, each puppy needs to be health screened by a veterinarian, DNA profiled, and vaccinated. All of this costs money, so be prepared. You then have to decide which puppy to keep and which puppy will carry your breeding tradition. If you are unsure, then you can make contracts with the owners where it says that you are allowed to take their dogs to shows or competition whenever you wish to do so and thus earn points and promote your own kennel. You can then use that dog or bitch for breeding when the time is right.
Why do you want to start a breeding kennel?
You have to understand that breeding dogs is a very expensive and
time-consuming hobby. If you just want to breed dogs for profit and
ignore the consequences, you will soon find yourself labeled as a puppy
mill and lose your reputation. If you want to become a reputable breeder and produce litters with the goal of improving the breed and keeping a puppy or two from the litter with which you would continue your efforts, then you will make a lot of friends along the way. Reputable and responsible breeders make very little money. Usually, they lose money and this is why we call this a 'hobby' and not a business.
How to find top quality stud dogs or bitches?
First of all, you need to fully understand the breed standard to pick a champion stud for your bitch ot to pick a bitch that will be part of your kennel. The best way to do it is to go to dog shows or competitions yourself and make connections with other well-respected breeders in the field. See if you can meet with them privately and discuss your plans. You can also visit different official breed club websites for your country and ask them for breeder references or look through their directory of breeders.
Many reputable and experienced breeders are willing to help as long as they agree with your intentions and plans. They can even tutor you on how to become a better breeder. If you become successful, then they will also benefit from it since you bought your bitch from them or their stud was used to inseminate your female. Having a champion stud or a quality bitch ensures that the puppies will be healthy and true to the breed's standards. Not all puppies are going to be show dogs, but those that cannot be shown in the ring can make great companions if they are healthy and with good temperaments.
It is always advisable to buy your future bitch or dog when they are puppies so that they can properly adjust to the new environment, which means that you will have to wait for a little over 2 years before you can start breeding them. This is why dog breeding takes patience and cannot be forced. You can expect to have to invest a lot of time and money before you can start breeding your dogs and producing litters. Only at this point will you see any returns on your investments depending on how skilled of a breeder you are and how lucky you are that all of your puppies are healthy, as well as, that their mother does not have any complications.
How to find buyers for your puppies?
Before you start thinking about producing a litter, you need to have a waiting list of potential buyers for the puppies you are going to produce. These buyers need to be screened to make sure they will be able to take care of their dogs and not abandon them at some point in the future. Breeding dogs without any plans is irresponsible and can lead to overpopulation. Breeding without first finding buyers can leave you with puppies that you may not be able to sell or for which you cannot take proper care. Usually, such breeders either sell them to pet stores (always a bad idea since the buyers are not screened and you can be sure that the puppies will be mistreated) or to anyone that shows up at their front door for a low price.
Aside from you having to be a responsible breeder, you need to find responsible buyers who will not contribute to the overpopulation at the various shelters. You will want to stay in contact with those buyers well after they have taken their puppy/dog home to make sure everything is going well and assist them if they need some help or advice. Sometimes, you will need to be prepared to take a puppy/dog back if the buyer cannot take care of him/her anymore. You also need to have a well-written contract where all of your responsibilities and guarantees are outlined, as well as, the responsibilities of the future owners. Having a well-written contract can save you from having a lot of headaches in the future and protect your kennel's reputation. If you are unsure what goes into a contract, ask a reputable and experienced breeder to show you one that you can user as a template to construct your own.
Dog breeding is not for everyone and as you see now, requires a lot of patience and work. You need to be prepared to spend thousands of dollars to run a successful breeding kennel and to always set your goals when you breed. Dog breeding can be a very rewarding experience and will allow you to meet a lot of interesting people who share the same love for the breed as you do. It will allow you to make long-lasting relationships and many friends along the way.