With over 66 million dogs in the United States alone, man's best friends are truly the number one pet. If you love dogs and relish the idea of a hobby where you can care for them, perhaps becoming a dog breeder is worth exploring. Some first-time breeders enter the business thinking it's a good way to make a lot of money quickly, but they are usually disappointed. Becoming a successful dog breeder takes an up-front investment, as well as years of hard work. If your primary motivation for taking up dog breeding as a hobby is a love of dogs, chances are very good that you will be successful.
One of the first decisions is the selection of breed you will raise. Consider your location and personal environment; if you live in the city, perhaps small dog breeding is a good choice. If you live in a hot climate like Florida, selecting a breed with a heavy coat might not be a good idea. Sources of dog breeding information include the Internet, your local library, veterinarians, animal feed stores and other breeders. In fact, it's a great idea to find an experienced breeder who can act as your mentor. This mentor can be a valuable resource as you learn about dog handling, care and feeding, and whelping litters of pups.
Once you have made your choice of breed, it's time to select your first dogs. Take the following steps before making a purchase:
When you have finally arrived at the point where you will be purchasing your dam and sire, have them tested for health problems that may not appear until they're older. Also, be sure to obtain the health records of the parents, grandparents and siblings of each dog to assess genetic patterns of health.
Besides the costs of testing for health conditions and vaccinations, prepare to spend a fair amount of money on building, heating and insuring the facilities; food and basic supplies; and possibly kennel club registrations. The expenses of even a small breeding business are quite substantial.
Another great animal-related hobby is horseback riding.