A Guide to Breeding Your Dog

AKC Breeder Resources

A Guide to Breeding Your Dog
Step One - Prepare Yourself for Breeding a Litter
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Breeding dogs has been a passion for people through many centuries. Part art, part science, and total devotion, breeding will show you all the best in the human-and-dog bond. It is exciting and challenging.

Breeding purebred dogs is also time consuming, expensive, and, occasionally, heartbreaking. If you go forward, your underlying purpose should be to improve the breed - not just increase its numbers.

Breeding a litter should begin with knowledge. Responsible breeders devote time to learning as much as they can about their breed, about canine health and training, and about AKC rules. How can you become an expert?

Study your breed standard. This is the official version of the "perfect" breed specimen and should be the starting place for any breeder. The AKC offers breed videos with real-life examples, and many parent clubs offer more detailed, illustrated versions of their standards for more in-depth research.

Attend dog events. Watch dogs in action and study the pedigrees of those you like. Ask questions of breeders involved in your breed. Research your breed by visiting the breed’s national parent club website. Find and attend a local club meeting to meet other breeders. 

Read, read, read! Your library and bookstore are invaluable sources of information about canine health and breeding. Some books, including the Complete Dog Book and American Kennel Club Dog Care and Training, are available in the AKC Store. The AKC Gazette and other dog magazines have informative articles about breeding as well.


Additional reading:

Advice from the Breeder: Considerations Before Breeding
By Mary M. Rodgers

Looking for a Book on Breeding? The AKC Library can help you find it.
By Theresa Shea, editor