How to Become an Animal Breeder

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Animal breeding is a branch of animal science that focuses on genetic analysis to mate many different animals to create viable and useful offspring. Animal breeders are trained workers that breed animals for a variety of purposes.


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What does an animal breeder do?

Animal breeders use their solid knowledge of animal science and genetics to choose and breed animals to produce offspring with desirable characteristics and traits. Some animal breeders breed livestock and other large animals, while others breed dogs, cats and other household pets. Animal breeders that focus on cattle and horses usually breed through artificial insemination to ensure better results. Some animal breeders focus on breeding purebred animals and others concentrate on crossbreeding to produce valuable traits in offspring. Animal breeders keep detailed records including the weight, size, physical health, and number of offspring produced by each animal. They also record the traits of the offspring. Some animal breeders raise and breed their own animals and others work for many different farmers.

What kind of training does an animal breeder need?

The training for animal breeders depends on what type of breeding they do. For livestock and other large or expensive animal breeders, a bachelor or graduate degree in animal science, animal husbandry, or other related field is often required. For those who raise and breed small animals or pets, an associate degree or related training in animal science is recommended. Animal breeders complete courses is areas such as animal anatomy and physiology, genetics, animal diseases, animal characteristics and traits, and animal breeding. Many aspiring animal breeders observe experience breeders to gain practical experience. Animal breeders must stay up to date on technological and veterinary advances and often read journals and other publications on animal breeding.

What are the prospects for a career as an animal breeder?

Employment of animal breeders is projected to grow more slowly than average, increasing 3% from 2006 to 2016 (1). Job growth will result from commercial farmers continuing to improve their animals.

Job prospects are expected to be fair. Some job openings will occur from the need to replace animal breeders that retire, transfer, or leave the field for other reasons.

How much do animal breeders make?

As of October 2009, the average annual salary for animal breeders is $42,000; average annual animal breeder salaries vary greatly on education, experience, location, and employer (2).

A career as an animal breeder is a great choice for people with a strong interest in breeding a variety of animals. Animal breeders must be able to effectively handle many different animals and adapt to animal behaviors. Detail orientation, patience, motivation, and ability to make animals comfortable are necessary characteristics. Animal breeders must also have excellent communication because they deal with many different people such as farmers and customers who wish to purchase their animals. They must also be able to work in less desirable conditions and act quickly in emergency situations.

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