How to Start a Breeding Kennel Business

A way of life, not a job.
A way of life, not a job. (Image: my small puppy image by amlet from

Though there is not a lot of money in raising dogs, and some breeders argue that there is little to none, it may be a viable way of life for someone who is passionate about dogs. This suits those who are dedicated to improving specific breeds more than it will people looking for a way to supplement their income. Those looking for a money maker will quickly become disillusioned.

Things You'll Need

  • Kennel building
  • Kennel management software or filing system
  • Quality dogs
  • Shovels

Make an informed decision on the breed of dog(s) you intend on breeding. Size, housing and exercise needs, temperament and local laws need to be taken into consideration long before you begin shopping for your first dogs. It is recommended to start small. Sticking to one breed and a limited number of that breed is a smart decision as it can become overwhelming very quickly.

Research the laws and regulations regarding dogs and kennels for your specific county. These need to be understood before any planning for dogs or building begins. Your local animal control office can help you with this. The office should have papers to give you with the rules and expectations listed for you.

Spend some time looking at kennel ideas in books, online and, perhaps, in person. If visiting in person, be certain to wear disposable booties to prevent spreading disease and never visit more than one on one day. Inform the kennel owners of your intentions and if you have visited other kennels and which those were. Be prepared to be turned down as many kennel owners will refuse to risk disease from other kennels coming in.

Prepare your kennel’s runs, food storage, water capabilities and waste disposal options. There are many options available in materials of fencing and flooring. Keep disease resistance and waste management at the forefront of your mind when making these choices.

Buy your dogs only from highly respected and knowledgeable breeders. Make sure they know your intentions upfront. If health certifications are recommended for your chosen breed, ensure that those have been done for the parents of your chosen dog/puppy before purchase. Buy the best quality you can afford. It is best to spend high and progress slowly than have to spend years building up the quality in your breeding program to acceptable standards later.

Invest in dog kennel management software. Keeping accurate records is vital. If the dogs are to be registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC), know that they can send surprise inspectors to your facility to inspect your dogs and your paperwork at any time.

Attend some dog seminars. Aside from dog reproduction seminars, you may find conformation seminars also useful in helping you understand dog conformation.

Tips & Warnings

  • Before thinking about how much money you can make, factor in the hours spent feeding, cleaning, grooming and otherwise tending to your dogs. Dividing that 'income' by 24 hours seven days a week, you will soon see your wages become very paltry. Add in veterinarian costs, dog food, wormers, advertising, general upkeep and other unexpected costs and you may find you are losing money.
  • Prepare to give up vacations.
  • Be studious on your health protocols. One illness can potentially wipe out your entire kennel.

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