How To Be an Ethical Dog Breeder


petBreeding dogs is a serious endeavor. There are so many horror stories about puppy mills and dog breeders gone wrong. All it takes is one bad breeder to really give a bad name to the entire industry. As a dog breeder you want to take all the necessary steps that you need to, to ensure that your business is not one of “those” businesses that wind up on the local news.

There are steps that you should take to insure that you are moving forward in an ethical manner not only to cement your place in the industry but to protect the dogs that you are breeding. There are several steps that you must take to ensure an ethical operation.

Codes of Ethics

Some breed groups have published their own code of ethics to insure that the breeders have guidelines to follow. You can use the code of ethics that is published by many of the breed group organizations. Each group uses different terms but it all comes back to the same thing. It is imperative if you are going to breed dogs than you need to be sure that you are taking the right steps to protect the dogs. For example you can see the Siberian Husky Club’s ethics code here.

Number 1

The first thing you can do is to get in the right mindset. An ethical breeder is a breeder that is concerned with the well being of the dogs above all else. You have to view the dogs, each and everyone as an extended family member.

Ask yourself regularly if you would want your children to be treated the way you treat your dogs.

Preparing Before Mating

Before you ever decide to breed your dogs you should be sure that each puppy will have a home. This is responsible breeding. You have to be sure that once the puppies are born that they will have a good responsible owner.

One of the ways that you can do this is by putting out feelers and asking for a deposit for anyone that is interested in purchasing a puppy. Taking deposits in advance (non refundable deposits) will help potential owners to follow through with their commitments.

Making sure that there will be homes for the puppies before the dam is bred will insure that you are not left with puppies that there are no homes for.

Vet Care

While it should not have to be mentioned to understand how to ethically breed dogs it will have to be addressed. Before the breeding it is imperative that both sire and dam are checked out by the vet. It is also imperative that the dam is seen regularly during her pregnancy (as regular as your vet recommends).

All around good health is important. This includes mental health. Dogs are physically ready to breed usually after about a year of age but they are not emotionally mature. If you own the dam do not breed her until she is at least 2.

Make sure you have given the appropriate worming and flea treatments to your dam and also the puppies.  Most breeders use commerical chemical flea treatments and I did this for many years until I found out about dogs having seizures because of it, and I do advise you to take a look at this link which explains the dangers of frontline plus.  Be warned that treating fleas naturally can be very difficult in high flea areas and you must also take caution not to use certain natural treatments which are harmful too.  This page from the same site has useful info on the best natural flea treatments for dogs

Puppy Care

Socialize the puppies individually from their litter mates each day so that you reduce the chance of a puppy being returned because of poor socialization skills! Get them to the vet and have them checked out and get their first set of shots.

Promise a Home

An ethical breeder will offer to take a puppy back if the situation does not work out for a buyer. An ethical breeder will also offer to take a puppy back if any of the genetic abnormalities show up.

Irresponsible Breeding

As an ethical dog breeder you can add a clause to your purchase contract that requires that your purchaser spay’s or neuters the puppy to ensure that the puppy is not used in an irresponsible breeding scenario.


Being an ethical breeder will give you and your business a huge advantage over other breeders and you will know you are doing the right thing by the wonderful creatures you help to bring into this world.