Starting a dog breeding business can be a very lucrative business with the number of families that own a dog increasing every year. With that in mind, it is not a surprise to learn that many dog lovers decide to go this route.
And while love for dogs is a prerequisite for starting a dog breeding business, don’t expect this endeavor to be easy just because you love dogs. It’s also going to take a lot of effort, knowledge and preparation to make your business successful.
So, let’s take a look at some basic steps you must take to start your own dog breeding business.
Learn All About Dog Breeding
Before you start the business, learn as much as you can about the concept of dog breeding. This article from American Kennel Club is a good starting point but feel free to read more on the topic so you can get into the business with the necessary knowledge.
You must know about good breeding practices, how to take care of pregnant dogs, how to manage labor and care for new puppies. If you don’t have any experience in this, it would be best to hire someone to help you until you get a hang of it.
It is also important to learn about responsible breeding. Irresponsible breeding of dogs is not only unethical, but it can also lead to lawsuits and it may force you to close your business. Stick to responsible practices and learn how to avoid the mistakes that may cost you dearly. As a matter of fact, our very first podcast episode with an article discusses irresponsible dog breeding if you are interested.
Knowledge of dog genetics is essential if you want your dogs to produce quality offspring with good characteristics from both parents. This can also help you avoid certain hereditary conditions.
Dog training experience, pet first-aid knowledge and interpersonal skills are all necessary to make your new business successful.
Answer Some Basic Questions
There are a few basic questions that you need to consider even before you write your business plan and start thinking about the more important things.
What Dog Breed Do You Want to Sell?
Choose a quality dog breed that is popular and in high demand. Also, pay attention to other dog breeders in your area and avoid those breeds that are already sold by a reputable breeder.
According to the American Kennel Club, these are the most popular dog breeds:
- Labrador Retrievers
- Golden Retrievers
- German Shepherds
- French Bulldogs
- Yorkshire Terriers
Who Is the Target Market?
On the most basic level, a dog breeding business will market dogs to anyone who’s looking to become a dog owner. However, some dog breeding businesses may have compact target markets.
For example, your dog breeding business may focus on show dogs and your target market will be dog lovers who want to compete and own a show dog. You can also focus on working dogs or breeds that are used for hunting.
How Will You Name Your Business?
It is very important to choose a good name for your business. You can find a detailed guide on this website and try their dog breeding business name generator to get some ideas.
Before you choose the business name, you should also check if that particular name is available in your state and whether the web domain for that name is free. Having a domain name that matches your business name is important for marketing reasons, so choose another name if the web domain for your first choice is already taken.
Plan Your Dog Breeding Business
After you define your business and your target market, you should first do thorough market research and plan your business properly. This is a competitive industry and you need to know what to expect when you go into it, which is why a clear business plan is necessary.
Calculate the Costs to Starting a Dog Breeding Business
Before you start your dog breeding business, you need to know how much capital you need. In general, the costs of starting this type of business can be substantial but you can do it on a limited budget if you already own dogs that you plan to breed. It is important to put together a dog breeding business plan.
If you plan to start a small operation, you can probably do it for around $5,000. This is best achieved by starting with one female dog that you can breed in your home. Meanwhile, larger businesses that include many dogs can cost between $15,000 and $25,000.
Some of the common expenses for a dog breeding business include:
- Breeding stock
- Renting the facilities or property renovations
- Kennels, equipment and supplies
- Dog and puppy food
- Licensing and insurance fees
- Launching a website and other marketing/advertising costs
Calculate Potential Profits
It is important to know what you can expect in terms of profits so you can play your future investments to grow your business. The profit you can make depends on the price that you charge for each puppy and the number of litters you have per year.
Most breeders charge between $500 and $3,000 for a puppy. The price can vary depending on the pedigree of the parents and the health and behavior of the puppy. Responsible breeders don’t breed dogs with genetic health issues or behavioral problems and they are ready to cover the potential costs of having a dog with such issues.
Before you get to work, you have to deal with the legal side of your business.
Form a Business Entity
The first step is to form a legal/business entity. This refers to how your business will be organized to operate. You can choose one of four primary legal entities – sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation and limited liability company (LLC).
Each of these entities has certain pros and cons related to costs, liability exposure and administrative requirements, so think carefully what suits you the most.
Obtain Business Licenses and Permits
Having the necessary licenses and permits is crucial and you can be fined or even have to close your business if you fail to obtain them.
Commercial dog breeders in the US have to get their licenses through the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), under the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). In addition to this, most states have their own licensing requirements and they require dog breeders to obtain a sales tax permit.
And, speaking of taxes, don’t forget to register for a variety of state and federal taxes. Before you can do this, you need to apply for an Employer Identification Number (EIN).
Open Your Dog Breeding Business Bank Account
You will have a lot of expenses and, hopefully, plenty of income once your dog breeding business gets going. To keep your personal assets protected, it is important to open and use business dedicated bank accounts and credit cards.
For example, if you don’t separate your personal and business accounts, your personal assets can be in jeopardy if your business ends up being sued for any reason. In addition to this, having a business credit card and learning how to build business credit can help you find other ways of financing your business, higher lines of credit and better interest rates.
In the end, accounting and tax filing will be much easier if you have a dedicated bank account for your business.
Build Your Brand
Once you are done with all the necessary preparation, it is time to get to work. In addition to following responsible and ethical breeding practices, you will also need to work on building your brand by investing time and resources into your marketing campaign and by building a presence on the Internet and social media.
The most important thing here is to create a website for your business. This can be done rather easily with open-source software like WordPress, Squarespace, or Wix but you can also hire a professional to help you out. If you are not that handy with computers, a basic website would cost you between $500 and $1,000.
Additionally, you want to get the word out about your business. This can be done by joining local breed-specific clubs but you also need to build your media presence and participate in online groups about the breed that you are selling.
Starting your own dog breeding business is a serious endeavor that takes a lot of knowledge and effort. You need to know all about responsible breeding practices, dog genetics, dog training, first-aid for pets, etc.
In addition to this, you also have to be well-prepared to handle the business side of your dog breeding service and know how to build your brand in your local breed-specific groups and establish a reputable online presence.