Being a dog breeder is a commitment. You must care about what happens to each dog you breed and be sure a potential owner is willing and able to give the dog the best care and a loving home. In addition, irresponsible breeding practices lead to animal overpopulation as well as to dogs that aren't healthy. Responsible dog breeders are always working toward making breeds stronger and educating communities about issues related to pet ownership, such as immunization and spaying and neutering.

Here's how to become a dog breeder:

  1. Choose a breed and learn as much as you can about it. Read books and periodicals and do online research.
  2. Talk with other dog breeders to get guidance and advice.
  3. Check your state's laws regarding kennel registration. While most states don't require registration for less than four dogs, naming and registering your kennel with the American Kennel Club (AKC) is a good way to publicize your business.
  4. Consider getting a kennel permit, especially if you plan to keep some of the puppies.
  5. Obtain a female dog of the breed that hasn't been neutered, and make absolutely sure she has no physical problems or defects. These may very well show up in the puppies.
  6. Take your breeder dog to dog shows, like those run by the American Kennel Club, and try to win a championship. This can go a long way in finding a mate for her. But even if she doesn't make the championship, winning a few shows will still boost your chances of finding her a suitable mate. Also, puppies from champions and winners sell for a higher price.
  7. Check out any potential male dog to be sure his breed is authentic and he has no problems or defects. Deal only with an experienced dog breeder, who will know how to introduce the dogs for mating.
  8. Have your dog monitored by a veterinarian during pregnancy. Ask the vet for guidance regarding the pregnancy, birthing method, and care of the puppies.
  9. Make sure you have a place prepared for delivery, with some clean rags, a heating pad, a whelping box and the vet's emergency phone number.
  10. Enjoy the puppies, but not too much -- you're going to be giving them new homes soon enough.

Every step of the way, educate yourself and the people you work with about the responsibilities that come with dog breeding and with pet ownership.