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How to Become a Certified Dog Breeder: Step-by-Step Guide

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

breeder and owner holding the miniature schnauzer dog

If your love for dogs has led you to consider becoming a dog breeder, you should know that there is a lot involved in this venture.

For starters, dog breeding at its core is a business. Next, there is the expertise required to become a good breeder. Lastly, there are certifications that you might need to enhance your knowledge and skills to prove that you know your stuff.

This article will discuss everything you need to know about becoming a certified dog breeder.

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Do Your Research

Regardless of the breed you are looking to raise, there will always be a market for it. Nonetheless, you will have to conduct research to find one that has high demand if you want to run a profitable business.

For example, smaller pet dogs such as Poodles and Chihuahuas are incredibly popular, especially among women. On the other hand, larger breeds, such as Dobermans, Rottweilers, Pit Bulls, and German Shepherds also enjoy a fair market share due to their effectiveness as guard dogs.

The key to becoming a profitable breeder is to identify your target market first so that you can focus your efforts on one breed. Remember, the quality of your dogs is what matters, not the variety.

dog feeding puppies
Image Credit: Pixabay

What Challenges Come with Breeding Dogs?

As with any other venture, dog breeding is not devoid of challenges. The following are the most common ones:


Breeding quality dogs can get costly due to the need for veterinary care and genetic testing. Vet care is necessary to ensure that your pups are in perfect condition. On the other hand, genetic testing involves taking your stock for thorough medical evaluations to ensure that they do not have congenital and hereditary disorders.

Genetic tests, therefore, are not only crucial for raising the quality of your breed but also for proving your authenticity as a breeder. Customers today will ask for genetic test results before purchasing a dog.

goldern retriever puppies eating
Image Credit: jagdprinzessin, Pixabay

No Guarantees

Even with the best practices, there is no guarantee that you will have customers. It takes time and effort to build a solid reputation. Therefore, you must be comfortable with risk-taking. Additionally, you must be content with the idea of not having a steady monthly income at the beginning. This is because you cannot breed your female multiple times a year. If you decide to have a larger litter for that purpose, then be prepared for increased running costs.

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Legal Requirements for Becoming a Certified Dog Breeder

If you are breeding dogs with the purpose of selling, it means you are running a business. As such, you should register your practice as a business to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Some breeders choose to register their practice as sole proprietorships, while others opt to form a limited liability company (LLC). The advantage of going with the latter is that you get to enjoy several legal and tax protections. This is why experts often advise dog breeders to register their practices as LLCs or corporations.

This typically involves the following:

Protecting and Trademarking Your Intellectual Property

Trademarking your intellectual property prevents other breeders from profiting from your creations or name. Start with filing for the protection of your name and logo with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

eurasier puppies in a basket
Image Credit: Judi Neumeyer, Unsplash

Looking for the Necessary Legal Documents

For starters, you do not need any professional certification to become a dog breeder. All you need is a passion for dogs and breeding knowledge and skills.

However, when it comes to the business aspect of it, you will need some documents. For starters, you will need to apply for a dog-breeding license from the local authorities. The minimum requirement for this is having at least six female dogs capable of breeding in your facility. This means that the animals should be more than 6 months old.

If your registration is successful, you will be given a license that you are supposed to display prominently on your premises. Some of the information on the license might include the name of your establishment, address, and the maximum number of female dogs you can have at the establishment.

The next step is to register your business with the government. However, since the specific laws regarding business registration vary between states, you will need to head over to your local Departments of Commerce and Licensing to enquire about the documents you need to run a dog breeding business.

Nevertheless, most jurisdictions ask for the following documents:
  • Business License
  • Certificate of Incorporation
  • Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
  • A non-disclosure Agreement (NDA)
  • Apostille
  • Operating Agreement
  • Employment Agreement
  • Company by-laws
  • Insurance policy

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Choose Your Location for Dog Breeding

When most breeders start their dog-breeding business, they tend to do it from their homes. While this should not be a problem as long as you have lots of space, you will need to check whether any laws in your area could prevent you from doing so.

Most places have laws regarding the kind of businesses you can run in residential areas, with some outrightly prohibiting home-based commercial activities. Therefore, before you apply for a dog breeder’s business license, ensure that you will have no location problems.

Skills You Need to Be a Good Certified Dog Breeder

There are skills every breeder needs to run a successful breeding business. For starters, you should be familiar with proper breeding practices. This means that you should be able to select the best dogs for producing the outcome that you want.

Additionally, you need to know how to birth dogs and be skilled at it. This will allow you to cut the costs of taking your dogs to a vet for birthing.

Fortunately, the American Kennel Club offers a host of courses to help you get better at breeding dogs.

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Dog breeding can be a lucrative business when done right. However, it takes time to build the necessary skills and experience needed to become a successful certified dog breeder. While you do not need any certification, it is best if you take some courses to help you hone your craft. Most importantly, ensure that you obtain the necessary licenses to avoid getting into trouble with the law.

Featured Image Credit to: LanKS, Shutterstock

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