If you're thinking about becoming a dog or cat breeder, you might start by becoming familiar with some dog and cat breeders key terms. From understanding the heat cycle, to knowing breed standards, or learning the difference between a hybrid or pedigree, and show versus pet quality, you'll find there are many key terms you'll use quite often if you choose to enter the field of dog and cat breeding.
Estrus, or heat
Female dogs and cats both go into an estrus, or heat cycle, a time when they are fertile and ready to reproduce. Both physical and behavioral changes become apparent in both dogs and cats when this begins. As a dog or cat breeder, you should familiarize yourself with what the heat cycle is and the telltale signs in both types of animals.
Pure or mixed breed
Both dogs and cats can be either purebred or of mixed breed. Purebred dogs and cats have ancestors that were of the same breed, while mixed breed, as the name implies, are offspring of different breeds. Pedigree often refers to purebred dogs, while bloodline means cats that come from the same breed.
Breed standards for dogs and cats refer to guidelines that establish the general appearance and temperament of specific breeds. These descriptions are set by recognized breed clubs. Dog and cat breeders are expected to maintain the breed standard of the dogs and cats they are breeding.
Show versus pet quality
Generally, dog breeders can breed two types of dogs, show or pet quality. Show dogs are bred to maintain the physical and temperamental breed standard. Pet quality dogs usually have a physical trait that does not allow them to meet breed standards.
Both dogs and cats must be weaned from their mothers before they can be sold. This means they must be gradually removed from receiving their mother's milk and begin to be fed solid food.
If you wish to become a successful and respected dog or cat breeder, you won't want to fit the definition of a backyard breeder. This term refers to breeders who ignore breed standards and the health of their dogs and cats while mixing breeds and paying no attention to the genetic history of their animals.