A person who intentionally mates dogs to produce puppies is referred to as a dog breeder. Line breeding is the planned breeding of dogs with their relatives. This is done to strengthen the appearance of specific desired traits in offspring. Line breeding is differentiated from inbreeding by excluding pairings between parents and offspring, and between full siblings. Outcrossing is the planned breeding between two unrelated dogs, used to increase genetic diversity in a breed and decrease genetic issues or abnormalities inherited from line breeding or inbreeding.

Gestation in a dog is 63 days in length, if measured from the day of ovulation. Since it is difficult to determine the exact date of ovulation, errors are often made in calculating gestation period. Canine sperm can live for 10 to 11 days in the fallopian tubes so if a female is bred 10 days before the oocytes (ovum) can be fertilized, she will appear to have a gestation length of 70 days. If she is bred on the day the oocytes can be fertilized, her gestation length will appear to be 60 days long.