Should You Breed Your Dog?

24 June 2019

Should You Breed Your Dog?

The idea of breeding your beloved dog may be appealing for a number of reasons. First, it could be a wonderful opportunity to have another version of the dog you love so much. Second, there is the potential to make some money by selling the puppies. Before you decide to breed your dog, there are a lot of things to consider.


First, there are the ethical factors. Take a moment to consider whether it is ethical for you to breed your dog. In purebred dogs especially, there are heightened risks for hereditary diseases. Purebred dogs are more likely to have hip dysplasia or eye problems, and breeding your dog could pass on those hereditary health issues to the next generation. Is it a good idea to pass on more health issues?

You should also consider the impact this process will have on your dog. If you have a female dog you are trying to breed, you need to consider that she will be going through a very long and difficult process. In some particular breeds, there is an increased risk of developing serious health issues during pregnancy, and during birth. Consider whether it is worth it to put your dog through this process.



According to the American Kennel Club, you should do extensive research on the dog you are intending to breed. This includes learning about the breed standard for your breed of dog. The official version of the perfect breed is a good standard to compare your dog to. This will give you a better sense of how to best breed your dog.  

Everyone thinks their dog is the best dog in the world. However, it is the goal of breeders to improve the breed generation by generation. In order to do this, take a step back from the emotions you feel about your dog and consider whether you really should breed them. Honestly take a look at the good and bad parts of your dog and determine whether it is still a good idea to breed. Will their assets outweigh their flaws and help improve their breed?  

When you have decided to breed your dog, you will need to find a suitable mate. The best mate for your dog is one that will improve their puppies’ bloodline and improve the breed overall. Take a look at the flaws that your dog has, and seek out a mate who does not expressly have those flaws. If your two breeding dogs complement each other, they will likely create a litter that is stronger and overall closer to the breed standard.

Beyond just their physical traits, your two breeding dogs should also have ideal temperaments. Temperament is hereditary in dogs, so you should be selective in finding a mate that has an even temperament, and one that is also closer to breed standard.



It is very important that you are aware of all of the genetic components involved in the breeding process. Genes passed down from the parents will determine everything about your puppies, including health, looks, and temperament. In order to breed successfully, you should not only consider the dogs’ looks but also the genetic factors that made them look the way they do.

Researching your breed’s potential genetic problems is absolutely crucial. Defects can happen in any breed and could cause quite serious health concerns. Here is a breakdown of genetics to help you better understand what you might be working with, courtesy of the American Kennel Club:

  • Dominant diseases require only one gene to be passed on, meaning only one parent has to have the disease in order for it to be passed on to the litter.
  • Recessive diseases require both parents to pass down the genetic mutation. If only one parent does, the litter will likely become carriers of that disease.
  • Polygenic disorders are hard to identify but can be caused by the combination of a number of genes.
  • Chromosomal anomalies, which are defects in chromosome number and structure, can also cause genetic diseases.

Breeding is a commitment

Beyond taking care of the dogs you intend to breed, you are also responsible for the puppies after they have been born. This requires making sure that they have the right kind of food and nutrients, they are warm and dry, and are properly hydrated. Once the mother has stopped feeding the puppies, the workload increases. They require extra feeding, personal grooming, training, and vet care.

Because it is a serious commitment, you need to have a contract signed between the owners of both dogs before proceeding. The contract should clearly state all of the responsibilities of both parties and what is expected of them. The owner of the male dog may also require payment of some kind. This could be in the form of cash payment, or the ability to get the first pick of the new litter.



Before you decide to breed your dog, you should consider all of the expenses. First, it is highly recommended that you do not breed a dog before she is 24 months old. This is to ensure that any potential medical issues have presented themselves. By 2 years old, most health issues will have appeared, and you will be able to figure out whether your dog is healthy enough to breed.

Because you must wait at least two years before you can breed, you will have two years’ worth of veterinarian bills, food and toy purchases. You will also need to pay for additional vet visits for physical examinations and testing prior to breeding. These tests include X-rays and eye exams. Your dog will also need to be brought up to date on all vaccinated and de-wormed if it is necessary. This process needs to be done with both dogs that are intended to be bred. This process is necessary because you, as the breeder, are responsible for assuring your buyers that their puppy will be in the best health possible.

Once you have the puppies, you will need to pay for extra food, supplies and medical care to treat them before they go to their new owners.


The breeding process

Dog pregnancy lasts for 63 days. Owners may recognize the signs of pregnancy, such as an increased appetite, weight and nipple size. You will need a veterinarian to confirm a pregnancy at 28 days by ultrasound or X-ray.

You will need to talk to your vet about the special food that your dog will need in order to have a healthy pregnancy. The mother should only increase her food intake as her body weight increases, which should be in the last five weeks of the pregnancy. Most well-fed dogs will not need to change their feeding schedules. Owners should make sure that they are feeding their dogs a well-balanced meal with high protein such as evaporated milk, eggs, meat or liver.  

When it is time for your dog to give birth, be sure to let her get comfortable in the area in which she will be birthing the puppies, which is called the whelping area. The ideal space for her to give birth is a dry, warm, draft-free space that is far from other dogs. Here are some supplies you may need for the birthing process:

  • Newspaper to line the area
  • Bath mats to allow puppies to walk around
  • Clean towels
  • Paper towels
  • Un-waxed dental floss for tying puppies’ umbilical cords
  • Heating pad to keep puppies warm
  • Scissors

When your dog stops eating and starts building a nest, that is a sign that she may soon give birth. When she is ready, her body temperature will drop and she will begin labor. She should be able to birth her puppies without much help. Puppies are born inside a sack, which the mother will tear off one by one. Make sure you count the placentas and make sure they match the number of puppies that have been born. Retaining a placenta can cause serious health problems for the mom.

Allow the mother to care for her puppies. She will feed and warm them, and will clean them once they have been born. If she does not do this, you will need to do it for her. You may have to cut the sack open and remove the puppy, taking all of the mucus out of their mouths and noses. You should then rub the puppy with a towel to get their circulation moving. If anything goes wrong, you should call your vet immediately.

When to call the vet

While most dogs should be able to give birth without much help, there are a few instances in which they will need medical attention. These situations include:

  • Extreme pain
  • Strong contractions for more than 45 minutes without delivery
  • Two hours between puppy deliveries
  • Collapsing
  • No signs of labor by the 64th day

Tips for first-time breeders:

According to the Pet Coach, here are some tips and tricks for first-time breeders:

  • Do not breed your dog unless you believe your dog is really special.
  • Wait until at least 24 months of age.
  • Take your dog to the vet before breeding for examinations and tests.
  • Ask yourself what you will do with the puppies if you cannot sell them.


Deciding to breed your dog is a very big deal. It is imperative that you do a lot of research beforehand to make sure that you know what you have to look forward to in the breeding process. Take a moment to consider whether it is the right decision for your family and your dog. If you believe it is, speak with your vet about the best way to prepare your dog.


Category: For Dog People

Schedule a Visit

Book an appointment with one of our highly-trained veterinarians today.