Animal Breeder Career Information

If you enjoy working with animals, you might be interested in a career as an animal breeder. As an animal breeder, you have the opportunity to work with a wide variety of animals and a large part of your job will entail selecting and breeding animals.

Job Description

The most common animals that an animal breeder works with include:

  • Dogs
  • Cats
  • Domestic birds
  • Rabbits
  • Guinea pigs
  • Cattle
  • Horses
  • Sheep
  • Pigs
  • Chickens
  • Goats

You will need a working knowledge of both the techniques and equipment used in the process of artificial insemination. You also may be required to incubate eggs, and keep accurate records of when animals are in heat, how often they are fertile, the length of gestation, and the ways to determine a particular animal’s pedigree.

In addition, you may be responsible for taking care of these animals. If so, you’ll need to make sure they have the right amounts of food and water, keep track of their weight, clean their living area (pen, cage, yard, etc.), make sure the temperature of their living quarters is appropriate, check them for injuries and illnesses, and schedule vet appointments as needed. You could also be asked to take care of various pieces of equipment to make sure they are in good working order.

Education

Depending on the type of animals you are breeding, some education may be required. If you want to breed small animals like dogs, no formal education is necessary; however, you should become familiar with the necessary requirements to meet AKC (American Kennel Club) standards. Most of your training will come on the job, and you could benefit from finding an experienced breeder who would be willing to mentor you by taking you on as an apprentice.

On the other hand, if you are breeding larger animals like horses or cattle, you will probably need a four or even six year college degree in something like agricultural science, veterinary science, or zoology. You should also try to keep up with the latest advancements in the industry by taking continuing education classes, attending workshops, and reading the most up-to-date information you can find.

Pay

The amount of your pay will depends on where you work, the types of animals you breed, and the reason you are breeding these animals which can vary anywhere from creating champion show dogs to producing cattle with more lean meat. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistic's reports that full time animal breeders working in the field of animal science earned a median annual income just under $48,000 in 2006 while those employed as large animal veterinarians earned just over $61,000.

You might consider specializing in a certain type or breed of animal because the more specialized you are, the more you will be viewed as an expert, usually resulting in the ability to charge greater fees for your services.

No matter what types of animals you are working with, you should have a genuine concern for the well being of the animals under your care so that your career as an animal breeder is ultimately a rewarding and fulfilling one.