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What is Breeding? - Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

Dogs have puppies. Cats have kittens. Humans have babies. All of these are examples of living things engaging in the process of breeding. In this lesson, you will learn what breeding is as well as some of the different types of breeding.

What Is Breeding?

Did you know that a baby...

  • alpaca is called a cria?
  • alligator is called a hatchling?
  • hen is called a pullet?
  • platypus is called a puggle?

Whatever the name, living things reproduce to create offspring, or babies, of the same kind. This process is known as breeding and it's responsible for the creation of new life from existing life.

For animals, breeding happens when two animals have a baby such as a dog having puppies or a sheep having lambs. Offspring can be born through live birth, which is how baby humans are born, or hatched from eggs, which is how chickens and some species of fish, snakes and other animals are born.

Adult sheep and baby lambs
sheep

For plants, breeding happens when male pollen is transferred to the female parts of the flower. The result is a seed that can be planted to make another plant.

When breeding happens in nature, the offspring produced is similar to its parents, but not exactly the same. Think about your parents. Are you exactly like them? You might have the same color hair or eyes, but you don't look exactly like them.

Other animals and plants experience the same thing. When two cats breed, the result isn't a shark. It's a cat like its parents. It might have different colored fur, but it's still a cat.

Just like you sometimes change your writing to improve the final draft, some people use breeding to try and improve animals and plants according to what they find desirable. But what happens if two different species of living things breed? And can humans affect the breeding of plants or animals? Continue reading to find out more about breeding!

Crossbreeding

Have you ever heard of a liger? How about a labradoodle? What about a geep? A liger is the combination of a lion and tiger, while a labradoodle is a combination of a Labrador retriever and a poodle. And you may think a geep is a new type of all-terrain vehicle, but it's actually the result of breeding a sheep and a goat.

These animals are created by crossbreeding, which occurs when two different breeds or species of living things breed. Although crossbreeding sometimes occurs in nature, most of the time it is the result of humans causing different species to breed together for the purpose of combining the desired traits of both.

For example, the cockapoo is a mix of a cocker spaniel and a poodle. The cockapoo sheds less hair, a trait of the poodle, but has a calm personality like the cocker spaniel.

crossbreeding

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