Your puppy is the cutest of them all, and you need at least one litter before they are spayed/neutered. Right!?! What most pet owners don’t realize is that there is a lot more that goes into properly breeding a pet than simply looks & attitude. Let’s dig a little bit deeper.


Pedigree & Genetics

Footnote 1

Knowing where your furry friend came from is EXTREMELY important when considering breeding! Knowing your dog’s pedigree will tell you if there are any genetic abnormalities that can be passed down to offspring, such as hip dysplasia, cancer, heart disease, etc. You should also know the pedigree of the breeding partner. Will this breeding pair strengthen each other’s weaknesses or complement strong genetics?

Along with knowing the pedigree of your breeding pair, you should consider genetic testing. Every breed of dog has recommended tests that should be performed before breeding. To find out more about what tests are specifically recommended for your dog’s breed, the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals has compiled an extensive list. Genetic testing is rather expensive, so be sure to have a financial plan along with knowing which tests your vet clinic may offer.



It is important to consider your dog’s personality when considering breeding. Even though a dog’s temperament can vary depending on the environment, genetics do play a very important role. Certain traits to consider are whether they are a good representation of their breed, friendly or reserved with strangers, tolerant of other pets, calm or energetic, and if they have anxiety and/or stress.


Health & Planning

When was their last vet exam? Both dogs in the breeding pair should be up to date on all core vaccines, genetic testing, wellness exams, and be able to pass temperament and body condition scoring. Other recommended tests would be a parasite screening, brucellosis, and a progesterone blood test for females only to ensure proper time frame for breeding.

Footnote 2

Last but not least, you need to have a plan when the whelping begins. Things to plan for are emergency C-section, proper housing for mother and puppies, first puppy exams, vaccines and deworming, along with proper nutrition for weaning.


Before breeding your dog, it’s very important to investigate all avenues regarding your pet’s health. The AKC website also has many resources to guide responsible dog breeding. There is a lot more involved to responsible breeding than what you may think and the goal is to improve the health and stability of each breed.


1  Picture taken from Wikimedia Commons. License Attribution 2.5 Generic (CC BY 2.5). No changes made.

2  Picture taken from and used under their Creative Commons license. No changes made.

Article written by: Nicole