Updated October 29, 2020

What Is a Dog Breeding Business?

How to start a dog breeding business requires careful consideration as the services the business provides can affect the health and well-being of the adult dogs involved in the breeding process and the puppies resulting from the breeding. Additionally, a dog breeding business is responsible for disease prevention among the dogs and the responsibility of maintaining the continuity of the breeds involved.  


Step 1. The first consideration in how to start a dog breeding business should be to determine your level of interest and commitment and whether you are in physical condition to handle the demands of caring for and handling dogs. 

Step 2. Questions to ask yourself before embarking on a dog breeding business include:

  • What is my reason for starting a dog breeding business?
  • Am I motivated enough to be successful?
  • Can I be my own boss?
  • What avenue should I take to ensure the business is profitable?
  • What is the market for the breeds I want to work with?
  • Is there a significant competition among breeders I should know about?
  • Can I make a difference in improving the breed?
  • Do I want to learn about the many inherited diseases that are specific to certain breeds?

Step 3. Decide which niche you want to pursue. There are different roles for dogs from family pets, comfort dogs for elderly patients, children who are hospitalized, and the visually impaired to security dogs, police dogs, rescue dogs, and border patrol dogs sniffing out contraband. 

Step 4. You will need to have a secure facility to ensure the dogs and the puppies are safe along with appropriate insurance. You must also buy female and male dogs. In the case of the males, you have the option of using another breeder's dog by paying a stud fee. Your facility must provide food to meet daily requirements, flea and tick control, and have each puppy tested and vaccinated. 

Step 5. Research or contact your state's offices that handle licenses and permits and what zoning requirements are applicable in your area. These need to be done before opening your business. In some states, registering as a kennel is a requirement. Contact the Small Business Administration for general information. 

Step 6. As you begin your dog breeding business, you should register your business and subsequent puppies with the American Kennel Club. 

Step 7. Have a contract drawn up that outlines the purchase agreement when a puppy is sold. 


When operating a dog breeding business, owners have the option of selling the puppies locally or they may expand into other regions or go national. 

It is possible to run a dog breeding business with just one person managing the operation from start to finish. 

Prices for puppies with no health or pedigree issues can range from $500 to $3,000 per puppy. 

An additional way to increase your business's revenue is by entering your dogs into shows where they'll be seen. If they win, it adds a level of prestige to your business and sends the message to potential buyers that you breed award-winning pups. 


Your business is responsible for the management, health, and safety of the canines at all times.

Starting a dog breeding business can be a substantial monetary investment. 

Prices for puppies depends on several factors such as the parent's pedigree, the health of the puppy, behavioral problems, and genetic health issues. 


  • I love dogs and would like to start my own breeding business. Is this a realistic goal?

A dog breeding business would be a good choice for those individuals who are knowledgeable about breeding dogs, birthing dogs and have the physical stamina to interact with adults and puppies during exercise and playtime. Individuals should also have an avid passion for the caring of dogs of all ages and breeds. It is a time-consuming job and one that requires a lot of patience and dedication to ensuring each dog's health. 

  • Are there any courses available to help me learn more about dog breeding?

Yes. You can take free courses or receive an official certificate - for a fee - from the American Kennel Club (AKC). 

  • What is a commercial breeder?

A business breeding 20 dogs or more in a 12-month timeframe is considered a commercial breeder. These businesses have state regulations to follow.

If you need help with starting a dog breeding business, you can post your legal need on UpCounsel's marketplace. UpCounsel accepts only the top 5 percent of lawyers to its site. Lawyers on UpCounsel come from law schools such as Harvard Law and Yale Law and average 14 years of legal experience, including work with or on behalf of companies like Google, Menlo Ventures, and Airbnb.