Mate Select

Breeding Considerations

Making balanced breeding decisions

Dog breeders today have a number of different considerations to make when choosing which dogs to use for breeding, these include:

• Temperament

• Conformation

• Health test results or results from screening schemes

• Genetic diversity

• General health of the sire and dam

Responsible breeders will consider the health of their puppies to be a priority, increasing the probability that healthy puppies will go on to live long and happy lives. Any breeding decisions should always be well balanced and take into consideration the qualities and compatibility of both the sire and dam that you are considering.


Dogs have different dispositions and different personalities and when choosing two dogs to mate together, both should both have a good temperament. The temperament of the potential parents will be a good guide to predicting the temperament of any potential puppies. If a dog shows any suspect temperament, such as aggression, then it should not be bred from.


The conformation of a dog refers to its overall structure and appearance. Dogs come in many different shapes and sizes. Having such varied conformation is one of the many fascinating things about dogs. However, ensuring that a dog is bred to have moderate, and not exaggerated, conformation is important. Regardless of what each dog looks like, it should be able to lead a happy and healthy life and be able to breathe, walk, hear and see freely without discomfort. Some exaggerated conformations can lead to health problems, such as skin infections, eye problems or breathing difficulties. A dog's health and welfare should always be the most important consideration in any breeding decisions, with good conformation being one of many important factors that should be carefully considered.

To discover if there are any conformational issues in your chosen breed, please visit .

Health Screening

Breeders are able to test their breeding stock for known inherited diseases before their dogs are bred from. Testing all potential breeding stock, where relevant, allows breeders to avoid producing, or reduce the risk of producing, clinically affected puppies. Making informed decisions from health test results enable breeders to adapt their breeding programmes and reduce the risk of the diseases appearing in future generations.

To discover which health tests or screening schemes are relevant to your breed, please visit .

Genetic Diversity

Inbreeding, put simply, is the mating of related individuals – those individuals with common ancestors. High levels of inbreeding can impact the health of individual dogs, as it increases the chances of a dog being at risk for both known and unknown inherited disorders. It could also have an impact on the breed as a whole, for example, a reduction in litter size and fertility.

To help reduce the degree of inbreeding, the Kennel Club have produced a free online resource to help breeders make an informed decision before choosing a breeding pair. To access our inbreeding co-efficient calculators, please visit .

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