June 23, 2023

5 Steps to Build Your Dog Breed Community Before You Have Puppies

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5 Steps to Build Your Dog Breed Community Before You Have Puppies

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Whether you’re a dog breeder or simply passionate about your dog breed, laying the groundwork for a thriving community will not only benefit you but also provide valuable resources and support to those who share your love for the breed.

It probably doesn’t surprise you that in 2023, engaging a loyal community is critical to the success of any business. In order to sell your offer, you need an audience… but what if I told you that you can begin building your audience BEFORE you even have a product or service to sell? This is especially true in the dog world.

Serving your community is the first step towards building your dog focused audience. Your credibility will increase, you’ll build relationships with potential clients, you’ll better understand your ideal puppy homes, and you’ll be able to place your puppies in the right homes.

In this post, we are sharing some practical strategies for building an audience from scratch, even if you don’t have any puppies to place yet. If you’re someone who has a dream or a vision of breeding therapy dogs, or you want to help improve a breed of dogs or you know that someday you want to leap into the dog breeding world, this is where you should start. And if you’re someone who’s struggling to sell your program or connect with your audience, this will also benefit you.

You can become a trusted source and focus on your community before you ever even plan a litter or have any offers to sell.

Step 1: Choose Your Dog Breed or Service

Let’s start at the beginning. Have you selected a dog breed you want to focus on? What are the traits, temperament and specific characteristics of dogs that you are most attracted too? What purpose do you wish to achieve with your dogs? Which breed fulfills these needs and fits into your lifestyle the best? Have you researched the dog communities surrounding the breed or breeds you are interested in?

Just because you haven’t had any puppies yet doesn’t mean you can’t start making moves… but first, you need to identify your target market to ensure you build the audience that will be perfectly positioned to love your puppies and program when you DO launch.

Here are 3 tips to choosing the ideal dog breed for your program:

  • Identify what your goals are for your program: Do you want to preserve a breed? Nurture a working line breed? Produce therapy prospect puppies?
  • Do your dog breed research: Research the breed, history, characteristics, health and community of the dog breed you are interested in.  
  • Network with the breed community: Reach out in a polite manner to other owners, breeders and advocates of the breed you are interested in. Be a student, ask for mentorship and interact with the breed in different settings.

Remember, choosing the right dog breed is a personal decision, and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Take your time, conduct thorough research, and remain open to different possibilities. Ultimately, finding a breed that complements your lifestyle and brings you joy and companionship is key to fostering a program you will feel passionate about long-term.

Step 2: Identify Your Ideal Client/Puppy Home

Let’s start with the basics. You know you want to raise puppies for a purpose (snuggling puppies in your yoga leggings, here you come!) but you’re not ready yet. Perhaps you still need to decide which breed aligns with your program needs best, create your website to showcase what you do, or you’re still educating yourself about ethical dog breeding to ensure you’re ready for the responsibility. 

Just because you haven’t had any puppies yet doesn’t mean you can’t start making moves… but first, you need to identify your target market to ensure you build the audience that will be perfectly positioned to love your puppies and program when you DO launch.

Here are 3 tips to identifying your ideal client/puppy home:

  • Identify your clients’ pain points: Identify the pain points or problems that your potential customers face and how your dogs and puppies can solve those problems.
  •   Conduct market research: Research the breed, the industry, and the purpose you’re entering to identify trends, customer needs, and the competition. This will give you a better understanding of the market and the potential customers you can target.
  • Create customer profiles: Create profiles of your ideal puppy home, your ideal client, including demographic information such as age, gender, income, education, location, and lifestyle.

 Step 3: Become A Trusted Dog Breed Source

Once you’ve identified your target dog niche, start showing up and talking about the dogs you love before you ever have a litter, provide dog training or offer any other dog-related services in your desired field. For example, if you know you want to start a breeding program, begin sharing your adult dogs and behind-the-scenes dog content now before you ever have a litter.

I often see people asking for advertising advice once their first litter of puppies is 6-8 weeks old. And I’m like …people don’t know how to find you, and they don’t like, know or trust you yet. Start building your platform, and talking about what matters to you even if nobody listens. Choose a social media platform and or website platform and start showing up.

Even though it may seem like nobody is listening to you (YET), by creating content and sharing it consistently, you are building credibility and a community. So become a trusted source on whatever platform you feel comfortable on, and don’t overthink your content.

 Just begin sharing NOW, before you have anything to sell, and see how loyal your audience will become!

Step 4: Take your audience on a journey with you

People love being a part of a journey and hearing about what you’re passionate about. Like we discussed in step 3, you just need to START. Are you searching for a dog breed? Take them on that search with you. Have you started a breeding program, but haven’t had puppies yet? That’s fine. Share about your current dogs personalities.

Make it funny. Talk about their quirks, what they like to do, and what makes them special. People want to feel like they “Know” your dogs. Take your audience on your journey with you. (This is something I need to do better at.)

Show off their skills, classes, awards, health testing etc. You can educate why health testing is so important before breeding, talk about heat cycles, the pregnancy, your goals for the litter. Take your audience on your journey with you. (This is something I need to do better at.)

Step 5: Start Growing an Email List

Let’s face it, most dog people aren’t techy. That’s me raising my hand. Similarly, most entrepreneurs start building lists later, but they all end up regretting not doing so earlier.

Let’s think about it. We don’t own our social media platforms. They are simply borrowed space, and can be shut down or hacked at any moment. Email lists and our private websites are the only part of our internet presence that belongs to us. We have all seen huge dog groups, Instagram accounts, and Facebook pages disappear. Years of work poof gone. Don’t let this happen to you.

Start building a list so you can communicate with your community, even if Meta shuts down tomorrow.


So before you create a logo, register a business, or source a website, focus on growing your email list. You do not need a website to start your list. There are many platforms available where you can make a simple landing page and start your email list with opt-ins. You can start your email list with freebie content opt-ins such as: Five At-Home Dog Training Exercises, 25 Grocery List Ideas for your Raw Fed Dog Diet, and Weekly Puppy Growth Updates.

When you don’t have anything to sell or a business yet, your email list is the perfect place to share your journey, offer additional content you don’t share on social media, and start building relationships.

This way, when you DO have something to offer, your email list will already know, like, and trust you. They will be way more likely to be interested in your product, or adopting a puppy from your program.

Additional Ways You Can Serve Your Community

  1. Identify Your Niche: We know it’s redundant, but always start here first. Define the specific focus of your dog breed community, whether it’s targeting owners, enthusiasts, or potential puppy buyers. This clarity will help tailor your efforts effectively.
  2. Engaging Content Creation: Start producing and sharing valuable content related to your chosen dog breed. Share informative blog posts, captivating videos, beautiful photos, and engaging social media updates. Providing interesting facts, training tips, health information, or breed-specific insights will attract and engage your target audience.
  3. Establish an Online Home: Set up social media accounts, create a dedicated website, or start a blog to serve as the central hub of your community. Regularly update and interact with your audience, responding to comments and fostering conversations. Utilize relevant hashtags and join dog-related groups or forums to expand your reach.
  4. Educational Resources: Develop and share educational resources about your dog breed. Create breed guides, care manuals, or training materials that can be accessed for free or offered as incentives to collect email addresses and grow your subscriber base.
  5. Network and Partnerships: Collaborate with other dog breeders, dog-related businesses, or influential individuals in the dog community. Forming partnerships and networking will help you reach a wider audience and establish your dog breed community as a go-to resource.


Moral of the story, Dear dog people? It’s time to START! Start identifying your ideal dog breed… research your potential puppy homes…start becoming a trusted source… start content posting… and start growing an email list.

Don’t hesitate to put in the work today to create a brighter tomorrow for yourself. Your future self will thank you for taking imperfect action. By starting early, engaging with your audience, and completing tasks, you’re laying the groundwork for future success.

You do not want to be the dog breeder, trying to place 8 week old puppies on their personal FB Page. Or the pet sitter with no audience. Embrace the idea that taking imperfect action is more valuable than waiting for everything to be perfect, as it allows you to move forward, make improvements, and reach your goals.

There is a better way to honor your dogs, and your program. And it starts with building a community and showing up. Done is better then perfect. You Got this!

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