Animal breeder

An animal breeder studies the genetics, reproduction, nutrition, growth and development of domestic and farm animals.

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Animal breeders apply knowledge of genealogies and breed characteristics to the breeding of animals, with the aim of producing offspring with specific characteristics. This may require the knowledge and application of artificial insemination techniques. Most animal breeders will specialise in a particular species or breed of animal, for example dogs, cats, horses or cattle.

Work activities

  • Cleaning pens and cages, feeding, checking for health problems.
  • Applying artificial insemination techniques.
  • Selecting animals for breeding.
  • Keeping daily records of diets, weights and changes in behaviour.
  • Exhibiting animals at shows.
  • Consulting with farmers, vets and other animal specialists.

Work conditions

Travel: could feature within a working day when attending shows or visiting other farms/zoos.
Working hours: Generally operate on a shift basis as animals require care 24 hours a day.
Location: mostly based in rural environments; farms or zoos.

Entry requirements

Qualifications are not always necessary if working with domesticated animals such as cats and dogs, however a primary degree in zoology or veterinary science is required for work with larger, more exotic animals in zoos. Colleges and universities in Ireland, north and south, offer courses in animal breeding.

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