How to Start a Dog Breeding Business in Ontario: Step-by-Step Guide + Funding Options

According to the Canadian Animal Health Institute, there are over 7.7 million dogs in Canada, with over 1.4 million households owning at least one dog. In Ontario alone, there are an estimated 1.6 million dogs, making it a prime location for a dog breeding business.

One of the main advantages of starting a dog breeding business is the potential for high demand. With so many dog owners in the province, there is a steady market for well-bred and healthy puppies.

Additionally, Ontario has a robust economy and a high standard of living, which can make it easier to sell puppies at a premium price.

However, there are also challenges to starting a dog breeding business. The province has strict regulations around animal welfare and breeding, including licensing requirements, regular inspections, and mandatory record-keeping. Breed-specific legislation is also in place in some areas, which can restrict the breeding of certain breeds of dogs.

Despite these challenges, starting a dog breeding business can be a rewarding and profitable endeavor for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to ensure that their breeding program is in compliance with all regulations and provides top-quality care for their dogs.

In this article, we will discuss the steps you need to take:

Research and Education

Research and education are crucial for starting a new dog breeding business. Breeding dogs is a complex process that requires extensive knowledge of genetics, animal health, and ethical breeding practices.

Here’s how you can research and educate yourself:

  • Research dog breeds: Start by researching different dog breeds to determine which breed you want to specialize in breeding. Consider factors such as temperament, size, and health issues. This will help you narrow down your focus and develop a deeper understanding of your chosen breed.
  • Learn about breeding techniques: Once you have chosen a breed, it is important to educate yourself on breeding techniques. This includes understanding the basics of genetics, breeding methods such as natural breeding or artificial insemination, and how to care for pregnant dogs and newborn puppies.
  • Study breeding laws and regulations: In Ontario, dog breeders are required to follow certain laws and regulations. Research these laws and regulations to ensure that you are operating legally and ethically. This includes understanding the Animal Care and Protection Act and the Dog Owners’ Liability Act.
  • Learn about dog health: It is important to understand the health issues that are common in your chosen breed, as well as how to care for and prevent these issues. This includes understanding the basics of dog nutrition, exercise, and preventative healthcare.
  • Get a Mentor: Getting a mentor is one of the best things you can do as a fledgling breeder. While it is better to find a mentor in your preferred breed, any breeder in your area or province is a great resource to have.

Obtain a Breeder’s License

In Canada, you do not need a permit to breed dogs if you keep numbers low and applicable to your location. You will find that, in most cities and rural communities, the maximum number of dogs is 3 dogs per household.

To obtain a breeder’s license:

  • Contact your local municipality or regional government: Each municipality or regional government has its own requirements for obtaining a kennel permit. Contact your local government to determine what the specific requirements are in your area.
  • Obtain the application: Once you have determined what the requirements are for obtaining a kennel permit in your area, you will need to obtain the application form. This form may be available online or from your local government office.
  • Complete the application: The application will require you to provide information about your breeding program, including the number and breeds of dogs that you plan to breed, your breeding methods, and your kennel or breeding facility.
  • Submit the application: Once you have completed the application, you will need to submit it to your local government office along with any supporting documentation that is required.
  • Schedule an inspection: Your local government will schedule an inspection of your kennel or breeding facility to ensure that it meets the requirements set out in the local bylaws and regulations.
  • Receive your kennel permit: If your kennel or breeding facility passes the inspection, you will receive your kennel permit. This permit is valid for one year and must be renewed annually.

Choose a Breed

Choosing the right breed is crucial for a new dog breeding business. The success of the business will depend largely on the demand for the breed and the breeder’s ability to produce healthy, well-tempered dogs that meet the expectations of potential buyers.

To choose the right breed:

  • Research Breeds: The first step is to research different dog breeds and their characteristics. You can use online resources such as breed websites, dog breeding forums, and books to learn about different breeds’ temperaments, sizes, activity levels, grooming requirements, and health issues.
  • Identify the market: It’s essential to identify your target market and what they’re looking for in a dog. Consider factors such as lifestyle, living conditions, and specific needs of your potential customers.
  • Consider your resources: You should also consider your resources, such as space, time, and finances. Some breeds require more space, time, and financial investment than others.
  • Consider health and genetic issues: Research the breed’s common health and genetic issues, and choose a breed that has fewer health concerns or that you feel comfortable managing.
  • Consult with experts: Consult with veterinarians, experienced breeders, and other professionals in the industry to gain insights into the breeding process, health issues, and other considerations.
  • Visit dog shows: Attending dog shows is an excellent way to meet breeders and learn more about different breeds’ characteristics and standards.
  • Visit reputable breeders: Visit reputable breeders to see the breed in person and understand what it takes to breed and raise the breed successfully.
  • Consider your passion: Choose a breed that you’re passionate about and that you enjoy working with. Passion for the breed will help you remain committed and motivated to your business.

Create a Kennel or Breeding Facility

Having a proper kennel or breeding facility is crucial for the success of a new dog breeding business.

It ensures the health and safety of the dogs, establishes the business as professional and reputable, helps to ensure regulatory compliance, allows for better organization and efficiency, and can be an effective marketing tool.

Here’s how you can establish a proper breeding facility:

  • Develop a business plan: Develop a business plan that outlines your goals, market, expenses, revenue projections, and financing needs.
  • Choose a location: Choose a location that’s zoned for a kennel or breeding facility and meets your needs. Consider factors such as size, accessibility, drainage, and proximity to veterinary services.
  • Design the facility: Design the facility to meet the needs of the dogs, staff, and customers. Consider factors such as ventilation, lighting, flooring, sanitation, and noise reduction
  • Purchase equipment and supplies: Purchase equipment and supplies that meet your facility’s needs, such as kennels, crates, bedding, food, and water bowls.
  • Hire staff: Hire staff with experience in animal care, customer service, and facility management. Ensure that they’re trained in animal welfare, health, and safety protocols.
  • Develop animal welfare policies: Develop animal welfare policies that address the health, safety, and well-being of the dogs. This may include protocols for feeding, exercise, socialization, veterinary care, and breeding practices.
  • Monitor and evaluate performance: Monitor and evaluate your facility’s performance regularly to ensure that it meets your goals, customer needs, and regulatory requirements.

Find Suitable Breeding Stock

Finding suitable breeding stock is crucial for a new dog breeding business. Breeding dogs with desirable traits, good health, and temperament is key to producing high-quality puppies and building a reputable breeding program.

To find a suitable breeding stock:


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    • Research breeders: The first step is to research breeders in your area. You can use online resources such as breeder directories, breed club websites, and online forums to find reputable breeders.
    • Check breeder credentials: Once you’ve identified potential breeders, check their credentials. Look for breeders who are registered with the Canadian Kennel Club (CKC) or other reputable breed registries. Check if they follow ethical breeding practices and comply with local and federal regulations.
    • Visit breeders: Visiting breeders is an excellent way to see the breeding stock in person and assess their health and temperament. You can also ask questions about the breed and breeding practices.
    • Check breeding stock health: Ensure that the breeding stock you choose is healthy and free from any genetic or hereditary health issues. Request health clearances such as hip, elbow, and eye certifications and ask to see veterinary records.
    • Assess breeding stock temperament: It’s essential to choose breeding stock with a good temperament. Observe the dogs’ behavior and ensure they’re socialized and have good temperaments.
    • Review breeding contracts: Ensure that the breeding contract specifies the terms and conditions of the breeding arrangement, including stud fees, litter size, and responsibilities.
    • Follow CKC regulations: Ensure that you comply with CKC regulations regarding breeding practices, registration, and health testing.
    • Establish a good relationship with breeders: Building a good relationship with breeders is essential for future breedings and referrals. Ensure that you communicate effectively and maintain a good working relationship.

    Establish a Breeding Program

    Establishing a breeding program is critical for a new dog breeding business. A breeding program provides a clear and structured plan for producing high-quality puppies with desirable traits, good health, and temperament.

    Here’s how you can establish a breeding program:

    • Define breeding goals: The first step is to define your breeding goals. Consider the breed’s standards and traits you want to emphasize, such as health, temperament, conformation, and working ability.
    • Assess breeding stock: Assess your breeding stock’s health, temperament, and conformation to ensure they meet the breed standard and your breeding goals.
    • Choose suitable mates: Choose suitable mates that complement your breeding stock’s strengths and improve any weaknesses. Consider health, temperament, conformation, and genetic diversity.
    • Follow a breeding plan: Follow a breeding plan that considers the timing, frequency, and number of breedings. Consider the health of the breeding stock, the demand for puppies, and the availability of suitable mates.
    • Monitor pregnancy and whelping: Monitor pregnancy and whelping closely to ensure the health of the dam and the puppies. Consult with veterinarians and other experienced breeders to ensure the best possible outcome.
    • Socialize puppies: Socialize and train puppies from an early age to ensure they’re well-adjusted and have good temperaments.

    Market and Sell Puppies

    It is important to market your new dog breeding business in order to attract potential customers and establish your brand in the market.

    By highlighting your breeding standards, the traits of your breeding stock, and the quality of your puppies, you can attract customers who are looking for high-quality dogs.

    Here’s how you can market your new dog breeding business:

    • Create a website: Develop a professional website to showcase your breeding program and the puppies you have available. Include high-quality photos and detailed descriptions of each puppy, as well as information about their breed and temperament.
    • Use social media: Promote your puppies on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Post regular updates about your breeding program, share pictures and videos of your puppies and engage with your followers.
    • Attend dog shows and events: Attend dog shows and other events related to your breed. This will give you an opportunity to meet potential buyers in person and showcase your puppies.
    • Advertise online: Use online classifieds and puppy listing websites to reach a wider audience. Be sure to include plenty of pictures and detailed descriptions of your puppies.
    • Provide excellent customer service: Build a strong reputation by providing excellent customer service. Be responsive to inquiries, provide accurate information about your puppies, and be available to answer questions and address concerns.
    • Offer health guarantees and contracts: Provide potential buyers with health guarantees and contracts that outline your responsibilities and theirs. This will help build trust with your customers and ensure that your puppies are well cared for.
    • Build relationships with your customers: Stay in touch with your customers after they have purchased a puppy from you. This will help you build a loyal customer base and may lead to repeat business and referrals.

    Maintain Records

    Maintaining accurate records is critical for a new dog breeding business. It helps to ensure that you are breeding dogs responsibly, meeting legal and ethical requirements, and producing high-quality puppies.

    Here’s how to maintain records:

    • Keep a record of each dog’s health: Create a file for each dog in your breeding program and keep track of their health records, including vaccinations, check-ups, and any illnesses they have had.
    • Track breeding history: Keep a record of each breeding, including the date, the sire and dam, the number of puppies born, and any complications or issues that arose during the process.
    • Record puppy information: Create a file for each puppy that includes their birth date, gender, weight, and any other relevant information. Keep track of which puppies have been sold and to whom. Additionally, create breading guidelines.
    • Document expenses: Keep track of all expenses related to your breeding program, including food, veterinary bills, and equipment. This will help you stay on top of your finances and ensure that you are making a profit.
    • Maintain business records: Keep all of your business-related records in one place, including tax documents, invoices, and contracts.
    • Regularly review your records: Regularly review your records to ensure that they are accurate and up-to-date. This will help you identify any issues or areas where you can improve your breeding program.


    Starting a dog breeding business can be a fulfilling and profitable venture, but it requires careful planning and adherence to animal welfare laws and regulations.

    By investing in high-quality breeding stock, providing proper care for your dogs, and keeping accurate records, you can build a reputation as a responsible and ethical breeder.

    It is also important to stay up-to-date on changes to animal welfare laws and best practices in breeding and care. By doing so, you can ensure that your breeding program continues to meet or exceed industry standards.

    Remember that as a dog breeder, you have a responsibility to prioritize the health and well-being of your dogs and their puppies. With dedication, hard work, and a commitment to quality, you can build a successful and rewarding dog breeding business in Ontario.

    Resources for Dog Breeding Businesses in Ontario

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