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Animal Breeding Schools and Courses

Learn about training in the selection, breeding and reproduction of animals. Read about where you can find programs in this field, and get more info on coursework. Explore career options for those with a background in animal breeding.

What You Need to Know

Depending upon the specialty, animal breeding can be simple through on-the-job training or more progressive through animal science programs at agricultural schools. University programs can offer knowledge in breeding of animals used for consumption or recreational use, while more advanced degrees can offer opportunities for research and teaching.

Courses Animal genetics, reproduction, breeding physiology
Schools Land-grant colleges or agricultural universities
Career Fields Zoos, farms, government agencies, conservation programs

Where Can I Find Schools and Courses for Animal Breeding?

Schools that offer animal-breeding programs are typically land-grant colleges or universities that have an agriculture department. Livestock breeders often begin their education with a bachelor's degree in animal science or veterinary science. If you want to breed dogs or cats, no formal education is required; however, you could benefit from on-the-job training. An animal breeder must have knowledge of genetics, reproduction parameters, nutrition and animal health. Consider this brief list of schools that provide animal breeding courses:

  • Purdue Universiy (West Lafayette)
  • University of California Davis
  • University of Georgia (Athens)
  • University of Vermont (Burlington)
  • Colorado State University (Fort Collins)
  • University of Nebraska-Lincoln

What Courses Can I Take?

Coursework can go towards a degree program, such as a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. Animal genetics and breeding courses teach you how to genetically improve farm animals, and your studies will likely also cover the physiology of reproduction. Your main goal will be to learn how to select and mate animals. These topics might also be studied:

  • Mendelian genetics
  • Quantitative genetics
  • Populations
  • Breeding plans

What Other Courses Are Available to Me?

Certain courses may introduce you to software used for genomic-selection analysis and various strategies used with genomic selection. Some points discussed include the computational concepts of genomic selection and how statistics are used for manual breeding. Other courses may teach the following topics:

  • Genetic principles to improve efficiency in livestock
  • Animal physiology
  • Nutrition
  • Feeds and feeding
  • Beef cattle management
  • Livestock selection and evaluation

What Will This Prepare Me For?

Training in animal-breeding programs will prepare you to choose the proper bloodlines and characteristics of the animals in which you want to specialize. These animals can be meat and dairy animals, pets, horses, wild game and fish. You can learn how to breed and raise farm animals that are raised for their pelts, such as sheep, mink and alpacas. Some animal breeders produce pheasants, elk, deer and turkeys for consumption and recreational activities. Although animal breeders generally hold a bachelor's degree, graduate degrees in animal breeding can prepare you for research and teaching at the college level.