If you are interested in breeding, you are probably trying to decide on whether what type of breed you will get into and whether you should breed purebred dogs or mixed breeds.
While there are pros and cons of both, generally, I promote purebred dog breeding. The main reason for this is because you are working toward breed preservation and are guided by rules and breed clubs that help ensure the health and well being of your dogs and the puppies you produce.
So, for this article, we are going to look into the basics of breeding purebred dogs and how to do so. It should be emphasized that there are a large number of factors that go into breeding, which are covered throughout this website.
This article is used to help guide you to the start up with breeding and I strongly recommend that you read through the CupidDogs for more in-depth advice on your breeding program.
Choosing a Breed
You are interested in breeding purebred dogs, but do you know what breed you are going to breed? More than likely, you already know this well before you even started researching but if you haven’t, here are a few things to consider.
#1 Your Lifestyle
First, really consider your lifestyle before you select a dog breed. Are you active? Do you have a lot of extra time for training and activities? Do you have space for a large number of dogs?
When you first start out, do not start with a large number of dogs and I recommend never really growing into huge numbers. It can be very easy to overextend yourself when dogs become available or you keep back your own puppies for your breeding program.
Right from the beginning, know the limits of your home, schedule and own abilities and stay focused on that number.
With all that in mind, choose a breed that will fit into your lifestyle. If you love being active, get an active breed. Enjoy quiet days at home with a lapdog, then a definite companion breed is probably the best option.
Have a small home; don’t choose a giant breed that will make it seem even smaller.
Part of breeding purebred dogs is having a breed that you love and enjoy spending your time with. In all things, but especially breeding, loving what you do…and who you do it with…will ensure the most success.
#2 Your Activity
This ties back to your lifestyle but when you choose a breed, you want to decide on the activities you will do with them. Some breeds are very low maintenance and don’t require much more than basic training.
You can do other activities such as conformation showing or obedience rallies but that will depend completely on what your goals are as a breeder.
However, there are breeds that require work to do. For instance, some lines of Labrador Retrievers are still working dogs through and through.
They thrive when they are out in the field and when they aren’t, they can become unruly and destructive. Purchasing a Labrador Retriever from hunting lines is almost a guarantee that you are going to need to do some activity such as field trialing, hunt training or, if you don’t want to get into the hunting aspect, agility or obedience.
Other breeds that need to work are Malinois, Border Collies, Weimaraner, and a lot of other breeds. In fact, don’t base size on activity needs with a breed.
There are many small breeds that require a job to do to be happy and there are many large breeds that are just as happy lazing around the house.
There is a huge list of activities that you can do with your purebred dog for titles but the most common are:
Also known as a dog show, conformation is an event where purebred dogs are judged against their breed standard by a judge. The dog who most closely conforms to their breed standard will win the competition and Best in Show. This is a very popular dog sport that breeders become involved in.
There are many levels to obedience titling but basically, dogs go to a competition and are graded by their ability to perform tasks and commands working with their owners/handler.
Similar to obedience competitions, the dog works with his owner to complete a variety of freestyle exercises and commands. It is known as doodling.
I’m sure that you are aware of what agility is but it is a competition where your dog runs an obstacle course. This is a great activity for your high energy dogs but even low energy breeds can enjoy it.
These are only four activities you can do with your purebred dogs. They have titles that help raise your kennel and dog above other dogs out there.
Regardless of which breed you choose; you should try to spend time on one of these activities as titled dogs show that they are doing more than just hanging out in a kennel.
#3 Your Interes
Finally, it comes down to your own interest. I have already mentioned this but choose a dog breed you like.
I suggest narrowing it down to a group of ten breeds that you really like and then spend time visiting breeders and dog events to meet them and the people in that breed. You will quickly begin to dwindle down that list as well as possibly add a few to it.
The more you network and get out to know the breeds, the more you’ll be able to find a breed that you not only love but want to continue the preservation of.
Usually, people find the breed well before they even think about breeding so, at this point, you may have a breed already selected that you want to invest your time, money and sweat into.
Finding a Mentor
While you are busy finding a breed that you want to work in, I recommend that you find a breeder that you want to work with. Usually, the breeder you purchase your foundation dogs from will often become a mentor to you…however, not always.
Although we offer a lot of help and advice on here, having a mentor is invaluable, especially if that mentor lives close to you. They are there for emergencies and to also help you navigate through the world of breeding purebred dogs.
When you are looking for a mentor, you want to find one who has similar values to you.
If you can find a mentor in the breed you are breeding, then all the better, however, this isn’t always the case, especially if you are invested in a rare breed.
What you want to find is someone with years of experience in dog breeding. The more experience, the more you will learn.
In addition, find a mentor who is open to new innovations in the dog world. Everything is changing and good breeders change with the times as science and experience allows. If you have a mentor who is stuck in the past and not making many changes, then it might be best to find a different mentor.
It is also good to try to find a mentor who lives close to you. This can help with those middle of the night emergencies.
However, that is not always necessary. I’ve had mentors around the globe from Brazil to Germany and parts beyond. Each of them offered advice and while they couldn’t come and physically help me, they offered lots of help with tips and even accessing dogs over photos and videos.
And that is another way that having a great mentor will encourage your success as a breeder for purebred dogs. They can help you select quality puppies for your program. Again, this is better if the mentor is involved in your breed but if they are a handler in conformation, they will often known the breeds very well to give you an excellent critique.
Although you can start a breeding program without a mentor, it is definitely an invaluable resource that I recommend everyone have.
How To Create a Breeding Plan for your Purebred Dogs
Okay, you have a mentor, you know the breed you want to get involved in and you are ready to get your dogs. Yes and no.
First, before you do anything else, take the time to create a breeding plan. This is not something that stays solid. It will change as your program develops and as your goals change.
And that is a breeding plan in a nutshell. It is a plan that answers one simple question: What are your breeding goals?
Generally, breeding goals are reflective of your breed. For instance, I am not going to choose a breeding goal such as creating high demand gun dogs if I am breeding Shih Tzus. Instead, if I was breeding Shih Tzu’s, I would be focusing on temperament and health with my companion dogs.
When we are looking at a breeding plan, we want to look at a few things overall:
What is my goal with my dogs?
For many breeders, the breeding plan is to create a dog that conforms so closely to the breed standard that they are an ideal representative of the breed.
This often ties into conformation and dog shows, however, even working dogs should meet the breed standard. However, while you should always keep an eye on that conformation, you can have different breeding goals for your dogs.
For instance, I want to produce healthy mastiffs with excellent bone and movement. I want my dogs to be big and athletic. Mastiffs are a working breed and they should be healthy enough to work with the size that you want to see in a mastiff. Figure out what goal you are breeding for.
What do I need to fulfill those goals ?
Yes, you will need the dogs but there are other things. Want to produce a top dog, you are going to need to put in the time for dog shows, training and everything in between.
What kind of budget do I have?
Dog breeding isn’t cheap and I’m not talking about the initial investment of your dogs, which can be a very large investment depending on the breed and the lines. You need to look at your budget for vet care, daily care and also for the extras that you’ll need for breeding dogs. On average, before you even begin to breed, you will be looking at spending roughly 5000 dollars on one dog just to get him or her ready for breeding.
Are there breeders who have the same goals?
Often, when you are creating a breeding plan, it is good to look for other breeders who are pursuing the same goals that you are. You can work together to improve your lines and to build on it.
What are the lines I want to bring in?
Finally, really look at the lines that you want to bring in. While you may have your own stud dogs, you’ll also want to use outside studs and get outside females brought in. This helps build on your plans and ensures that your dogs continue to improve as your breeding program builds.
Once you have a breeding plan figured out, it is time to start working toward those goals. Remember that you want to constantly evolve your plan as you go along and your business builds.
Selecting Your Purebred Dogs
Okay, you have a plan, you may have a mentor and you have some idea of where you are going. Now all you need is your dogs. Obviously, if you are planning on breeding purebred dogs, you need to purchase dogs that have full registration in a kennel club for your country.
If you aren’t sure what that is, the kennel club is a governing body for purebred dogs. They keep track of pedigrees and will send out registration papers for puppies when you file them. Although the rules are different in every country, in Canada, where I reside, a dog is not purebred unless he or she has papers through the Canadian Kennel Club.
Apart from selecting your foundation dogs, you will want to really focus on the traits you desire in your purebred dogs.
Very few people start with exactly what their breeding goals is, however, choosing foundation dogs from health tested, and champion parents will ensure that you are starting on the right foot.
Male or Female?
Why is this a question? Wouldn’t you just get two? Honestly, the answer is that most people rarely start with one of each for many reasons.
- 1They want to get from multiple breeders or lines. Litters are rarely available at one time so you may have a bit of a wait to get a male and a female.
- 2You want to see how one dog develops before investing in a second.
- 3The expense of purchasing two at once can be quite high, not only with the overall cost of the puppies but also their vet care, training and those initial expenses.
With these in consideration, you may be asking yourself, so should I get a male or a female? The answer is really what you are looking for. However, I recommend that you get a female first. Outside stud dogs can be hired to produce your first litter when the time comes and you can expand on your own foundation line by keeping a puppy.
With males, it can be difficult to get him hired by reputable and established breeders. He will need to be set apart from stud dogs that they currently have, which isn’t always impossible but it means you need to be out there showcasing him at dog shows and such.
In addition, keeping a puppy back from a stud service in leu of payment means that any puppy is directly related to your male, preventing you from breeding back to him.
If you are aiming for a high quality, reputable breeding program, then you will need to put in the same work with your female, however, it is often easier to hire a stud than to get hired.
For those reasons, if you can’t purchase a male and female, I recommend starting with a female.
Breeding Purebred Dogs
Now that you have your purebred foundation dogs, you may be wondering what you should do.
When it comes down to it, obviously breeding purebred dogs is not the same as breeding any other dog. There is really no special care that you take, unless it is a breed with breeding challenges.
Often, when breeding purebreds, breeders enlist the help of a vet to determine the ideal time to breed using progesterone. This helps them pinpoint the exact due date range that they can expect puppies.
Many breeders of purebred dogs will also get an ultrasound done at 30 days and an x-ray done after day 50 to determine if there is a pregnancy and then how many puppies to expect. For breeds that don’t free whelp, c-sections are scheduled to ensure that you don’t lose any puppies.
In the end, breeding purebred dogs is all about the time and dedication that you put into preserving an established breed. There is a lot of enjoyment in not only breeding dogs that adhere to the breed standard but also improve upon it.