Dog breeders oversee the production and day-to-day care of dogs. They maintain the health and welfare of dogs.
Dog breeders typically do the following:
- Select dogs for breeding and semen specimen, apply knowledge of dogs, genealogies, traits and desired offspring characteristics
- Support animal health by keeping areas clean, neat and properly sanitised
- Monitor puppies’ health, administer vaccines and injections, and take detailed notes on progress against wellness, behavioural and breeding goals
- Advise dog owners regarding sanitary measures, feeding, general care, medical conditions and treatment options
- Treat minor injuries and ailments, contact veterinarians to get treatments for dogs with serious conditions
- Organise purchases and sales of dogs to homes and research facilities, consider factors such as cost, transportation requirements and desired uses
While no college degree is necessary to start a career as a dog breeder, some breeders do have animal-related or business-related degrees. Degrees in areas such as animal science, reproduction, or biology may prove useful. Coursework for these degrees may include studying topics in anatomy, physiology, genetics, nutrition, reproduction, behavior, and production. Courses in marketing, advertising, communication, and technology are also beneficial for those who are running their own business ventures.
ISCO skill level
ISCO skill level is defined as a function of the complexity and range of tasks and duties to be performed in an occupation. It is measured on a scale from 1 to 4, with 1 the lowest level and 4 the highest, by considering:
- the nature of the work performed in an occupation in relation to the characteristic tasks and duties
- the level of formal education required for competent performance of the tasks and duties involved and
- the amount of informal on-the-job training and/or previous experience in a related occupation required for competent performance of these tasks and duties.
Dog breeder is a Skill level 2 occupation.
Dog breeder career path
These occupations, although different, require a lot of knowledge and skills similar to dog breeder.
Long term prospects
These occupations require some skills and knowledge of dog breeder. They also require other skills and knowledge, but at a higher ISCO skill level, meaning these occupations are accessible from a position of dog breeder with a significant experience and/or extensive training.
Essential knowledge and skills
This knowledge should be acquired through learning to fulfill the role of dog breeder.
- Signs of animal illness: Physical, behavioural and environmental signs of health and ill health in various animals.
- Animal nutrition: Aspects of how different animal species are fed and provided water. Different types of animal food, the quality criteria for animal food and methods to feed and give water to animals.
- Animal welfare legislation: The legal boundaries, codes of professional conduct, national and EU regulatory frameworks and legal procedures of working with animals and living organisms, ensuring their welfare and health.
- Health and safety regulations: Necessary health, safety, hygiene and environmental standards and legislation rules in the sector of particular activity.
Essential skills and competences
These skills are necessary for the role of dog breeder.
- Control animal movement: Direct, control or restrain some or part of an animal’s, or a group of animals’, movement.
- Manage animal biosecurity: Plan and use appropriate biosafety measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure effective overall biosecurity. Maintain and follow biosecurity procedures and infection control when working with animals, including recognising potential health issues and taking appropriate action, communicating site hygiene control measures and biosecurity procedures, as well as reporting to others.
- Provide nutrition to animals: Provide food and water to animals. This includes preparing food and water for animals and reporting any changes in the animal feeding or drinking habits.
- Assist in transportation of animals: Assist with the transportation of animals, including the loading and unloading of animals, the preparation of the transport vehicle, and maintaining the wellbeing of the animal throughout the transport process.
- Provide first aid to animals: Administer emergency treatment to prevent deterioration of the condition, suffering and pain until veterinary assistance can be sought. Basic emergency treatment needs to be done by non-veterinarians prior to first-aid provided by a veterinarian. Non-veterinarians providing emergency treatment are expected to seek treatment by a veterinarian as soon as possible.
- Maintain professional records: Produce and maintain records of work performed.
- Create animal records: Create animal records according to industry relevant information and using appropriate record keeping systems.
- Maintain animal accommodation: Make sure animal enclosures such as habitats, terrariums, cages or kennels are in the appropriate and hygienic condition. Clean the enclosure and provide new bedding material if called for.
- Manage animal hygiene: Plan and use appropriate hygiene measures to prevent transmission of diseases and ensure an effective overall hygiene. Maintain and follow hygiene procedures and regulations when working with animals, communicate site hygiene controls and protocols to others. Manage the safe disposal of waste according to destination and local regulations.
- Care for juvenile animals: Assess the needs of the offspring and juvenile animals. Take appropriate action without delay in case of problems with the health of the offspring or juvenile.
- Dispose of dead animals: Dispose of dead animals which are not considered a source of meat. Bury or cremate the animal based on the wishes of the owners or on other criteria.
- Monitor the welfare of animals: Monitor animals’ physical condition and behaviour and report any concerns or unexpected changes, including signs of health or ill-health, appearance, condition of the animals’ accommodation, intake of food and water and environmental conditions.
- Operate farm equipment: Supervise the smooth running of farm equipment which can include high pressure cleaning equipment, heating or air conditioning and monitor the temperature of premises. Make sure tractors and other vehicles are running smoothly. Interpret instructions given by computer programs and report simple operations.
- Manage dog breeding: Manage a suitable environment for dog breeding. Select and prepare the appropriate habitats for specific kinds of dogs. Monitor the dog’s growth and health and ensure correct feeding. Identify when the dogs are ready for trade, training or other purposes.
- Assist animal birth: Assist in animal births, and care for newborn livestock.
- Administer specific drugs to facilitate breeding: Administer specific drugs for synchronisation of breeding cycles to animals in accordance with veterinary and owner instructions. This includes the safe use and storage of drugs and equipment and record keeping.
- Administer treatment to animals: Administer animal medical interventions, including the treatments performed, medicines used, and assessments of the state of health.
Optional knowledge and skills
This knowledge is sometimes, but not always, required for the role of dog breeder. However, mastering this knowledge allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Animal welfare: Universally recognized animal welfare needs as applied to species, situation and occupation. These are:
- need for a suitable environment
- need for a suitable diet
- need to be able to exhibit normal behaviour patterns
- need to be housed with, or apart, from other animals
- need to be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease.
- Animal training: Animal responses to specific conditions or stimuli. Animal behaviour, ethology, learning theory, training methods, equipment, as well as communicating and working with animals and humans.
- Computerised feeding systems: The functioning of computered controlled systems that provide animal feeding.
- Animal behaviour: The natural behavioural patterns of animals, i.e. how normal and abnormal behaviour might be expressed according to species, environment, human-animal interaction and occupation.
Optional skills and competences
These skills and competences are sometimes, but not always, required for the role of dog breeder. However, mastering these skills and competences allows you to have more opportunities for career development.
- Assess management of animals: Evaluate the management of a wide range of animals including the care, welfare and housing environment of animals in a zoo, wildlife park, stable, farm or animal research facility.
- Advise customers on appropriate pet care: Provide information to customers on how to feed and care for pets, appropriate food choices, vaccination needs, etc.
- Advise on animal purchase: Advise clients and customers on the purchase of animals.
- Provide advice on pet training: Provide suitable customer advice on how to train pets such as cats and dogs; explain training procedures and the use of accessories.
- Maintain welfare of animals during transportation: Keep the health and welfare of animals during transportation, including frequent monitoring for signs of stress and symptoms of ill health.
- Assess animal’s condition: Inspect the animal for any external signs of parasites, disease or injury. Use this information to determine own actions and report your findings to owners.
- Train animals: Train animals to facilitate their routine husbandry, for treatment, and/or public demonstrations.
- Implement exercise activities for animals: Provide exercise opportunities that are suitable for respective animals and meet their particular physical requirements.
- Work with veterinarians: Consult veterinarians and assist them in the examination and nursing of animals.
- Assess animal behaviour: Observe and evaluate the behaviour of animals in order to work with them safely and recognise deviations from normal behaviour that signal compromised health and welfare.
- Advise on animal welfare: Prepare and provide information to individuals or groups of people on how to promote the health and well-being of animals, and how risks to animal health and welfare may be reduced. Provide recommendations for corrective actions.
- Promote animal welfare: Promote good practice and work with compassion to sustain and promote high standards of animal welfare at all times by adapting personal behaviour and managing environmental factors.
ISCO group and title
5164 – Pet groomers and animal care workers
- Dog breeder – ESCO
- Animal Career Profile for a Dog Breeder – Liveabout.com
- Featured image: Photo by Dayvison de Oliveira Silva