How to breed puppies (free printable checklist)
If you want to breed puppies but you’re just not sure if it’s going to be too hard, never fear. I’ve got all the information you’ll need to successfully breed and sell your first litter of puppies. And you can print my puppy breeding checklist for free! Check it out.
We decided to breed our golden retriever puppy right before her second birthday. Since we were new at the breeding thing as well, we didn’t quite know what to expect. But in the end, we were pleasantly surprised. It wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be and the pay off is pretty sweet. We made $11,400! You can check out my other blog post about how much it costs to breed a puppy. Here’s what we did and hopefully it can help you.
Before the puppies are born
Usually the decision to breed puppies is about 2 years in the making when you buy your own puppy. If you want to get top dollar for your litter, you’ll want to make sure your dog is a pure bred and registered with the American Kennel Club (AKC). In addition, you can get your dog’s hips and eyes checked to ensure to your buyers that your dog will produce healthy puppies. Just make sure you do all of that before your dog goes into heat. You can’t check hips and eyes when your dog is pregnant or nursing.
Next, you’ll need to find a stud to mate with your dog. We paid $700 and the stud just hung out in our backyard all week. Some owners aren’t that flexible though. Just make sure you try to mate your dog with a stud within 5-10 days of when your dog goes into heat. The fertility window is small. Also, make sure the stud is AKC registered and take lots of pictures so you can show potential buyers. And for heaven’s sake, don’t let your dog wander the neighborhood when she is in heat. Dogs can get pregnant with multiple breeds in one litter.
Then, watch for signs of pregnancy (englarged nipples, weight gain, swollen belly, tired). Calculate 63 days from the first date your dog mated. Your dog could have puppies 63 days after the first time they mated or 63 days after the last time they mated or anytime in between. In the mean time, make or buy a whelping box. Your dogs will literally spend their entire first four weeks in this box. It’s pretty important.
Don’t forget to start feeding your dog puppy chow. She needs all the nutrients she can get to deliver and nurse a litter of puppies. Also, buy colored collars and a gram scale for the puppies. You’ll want to know which puppy is which the moment they deliver and you want to weigh them regularly to make sure all of them are gaining weight.
While the puppies are being born
When mom is about to deliver, keep a close eye on her. She’ll try to find a place in the house to deliver. Sometimes she’s chew a lot to manage the pain. You may need to help mom when she starts to deliver but for the most part, mom does the work. She will clean the puppies herself so don’t rush the puppy to the bathroom to wash him off. Don’t forget about putting a collar on each of the puppies as they are born. Then write down the order that they were born and their weight.
Check out this video we took of when all of our puppies were born:
Keep the area where the puppies are born at least at room temperature if not warmer. Place the puppies on a warming pad if necessary. Our puppies were born in the middle of the summer and it was sweltering hot. We had to move them into the house because they were overheating. Puppies cannot regulate their own body temperature so make sure they aren’t too hot or cold.
Keep an eye on the puppies the first few nights to make sure they don’t get smothered. It helps to have a whelping box that has a slight lip all around it so that they don’t get smothered when mom lays down.
After the puppies are born
Right away after you breed puppies, you’ll want to register them with AKC within first couple of days. That way there won’t be any delays in getting your paperwork. Next, you’ll need the puppies to get their dew claws removed the second or third day of life. If you wait too long, it will be too late and you’ll have to wait until they are six months old. I would recommend a vet removing the dew claws. We removed them ourselves and we did it wrong. Some of the dew claws grew back and we had to sell those puppies for less.
Here’s some other tips for after the puppies are born:
- Continue feeding mom unlimited water and puppy chow until she is done nursing
- Avoid Parvo by keeping puppies away from other dogs or places where dogs might have been
- List your puppies for sale and price them right. If you list them too high, they will take forever to sell.
- Give puppies dewormer at 2, 4, 6 and 8 weeks
- Start feeding puppies wet puppy chow and water at 3-4 weeks
- Transition puppies to playpen in the backyard around 4 weeks
- Take puppies to the vet at 6 weeks for a well-check, dewormer and first set of shots
- Around 8 weeks, begin sending puppies to their new owners. Just make sure they are eating regular puppy chow and drinking water
We were totally stressed out about weaning our dog off her puppies before they went to their new owners. We kept her separated from her puppies and that was a bad idea. Just let mom wean herself off her puppies naturally. It’s okay if they occasionally nurse off mom. As long as they are eating puppy chow, they should be fine.
Print your free “How to breed puppies” checklist
In case you can’t remember everything above, I’ve created a little puppy-breeding checklist that you can print out and hang on the wall at home. Just click on the link below. I offer this printable for FREE to all visitors of my blog, but if you’d like to show your support, feel free to buy me a taco 🌮.
Click here for your free “How to breed puppies” printable checklist
Breeding puppies is definitely a commitment but it is such a rewarding experience. We loved having those cute little pups for eight weeks and we will definitely do it again. Let me know if you have any other suggestions on how to successfully breed a litter of puppies. Leave your comments below.
Related link: 10 job ideas for kids to earn a little extra money