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Reaping big from dog rearing with less than Sh100,000

By By LILLIAN KIARIE | November 26th 2013


KENYA: He accidentally ventured in to the dog rearing and training business 2007. This was in Gatundu District. Philip Wainaina, conceived the idea after completing high school with no money to pursue further studies.

“I was lonely and poor. I noticed that our dog, dubbed Tusker followed me wherever I went. As insecurity was high in the village and people reared dogs to guard their homesteads, I started training Tusker and he shocked me with his intelligence,” says Wainaina.

Six years down the line, Wainaina has now relocated to Thika, where he owns a dog-training firm dubbed ‘Wainaina’s Redemption’. He trains dogs and sells them to security firms, schools and companies. Each carnivore goes for as much as Sh120, 000.

In a month, he sell at least 10 dogs. With the average cost of one trained mature dog going for Sh50, 000, he can pocket Sh500, 000 a month. While starting a dog breeding business requires less capital than other ventures, there are some key pointers one should take note of.

You ought have interest in the project and love dogs.  There is also need to do proper research of the breed that suits your needs and to build a well-structured kennel.

Dog breeds can be large, medium and small breeds.

Dog breeds

The most popular breeds in Kenya are the German Shepherd, Rottweiler, English Springer Spaniel and Labrador Retriever.  Lately the little ‘toy dogs’ such as the Maltese, Chihuaha and Pomeranian are coming into the market  When starting a dog-breeding venture; don’t just judge a dog by its looks.

Be updated on breed trends and conduct a feasibility study on the environment, location, lifestyle of your target market and importantly, the legal requirements for a dog breeding business.

There is also the need to ensure you have a file of the veterinary records of your dogs, especially the shots its already had and the dog’s registration paper.

Have all the dog’s documents, which include medical history, proof of registration, and other items up-to-date at all times. This is required for customers who expect proof of pedigree and some even ask for a picture and records of the mother.

Getting a rare colour like white and silver-grey or a champion breed sets you apart from the rest of the sellers.

Hilary Lisimba, co-founder Dogs Kenya Ltd says that a businessman needs space to bring up dogs as they have a lot of energy and would love to move around the house and compound. “ Dogs are also prone to many diseases so they should be vaccinated and properly taken care of,” he says.

Large breed dogs mostly used for security such as the German Shepherd are prone to a disease called hip dysplasia affecting the hip joints.  It affects the normal range of movement of the hip joints and eventually causes arthritis.

This very painful condition has no cure thus it is risky to buy a dog that has not been hip scored. The Kenya Veterinary Board estimates that most dog breeders estimate the hip x-ray to cost around Sh4,000 per dog after which a panel of veterinary doctors ‘hip score’ or  study the x-ray report at a cost of Sh1,500 per dog.

Further, Lisimba adds that a dog must have a complete vaccination certificate a vaccination card attached to the request, to qualify for a license from the City Council.

“The first vaccine known as parvovirus vaccination is taken when the puppy is six weeks. After a month, the dog should be vaccinated again for DHLP, later on, rabies and distemper vaccinations follow,” he says.

Great deals

On average, the vaccine costs Sh500 no matter the age, sex or breeding status. In Nairobi, the City Council dog licenses expire annually and should thus be renewed.  You can easily do this through a dog’s vet, most of whom renew them for a small fee, while others do it for free.

For immigrants, you can check to see if your embassy will get the licenses renewed and if you are a paid up member of the East Africa Kennel Club you can drop the fee and vet records there.

It normally takes a week or thereabouts for the City Council to process them.  Dogs require good care while pregnant. There is need for at least one pre-natal visit to the veterinarian. A new breeder should learn of the birthing process ahead of time and prepare properly for the event.

Ensure you keep the dog healthy while it’s pregnant. Organise a comfortable spot for the birth to take place and ensure it is warm.

To avoid conflict with law enforcers while out with your dog, have its license attached to the collar and also always carry a receipt from the council.

As you start to take keen interest in this venture, beware that puppies are prone to many conditions. “Like kids, puppies suffer from pneumonia. Some can be slow learners, be uneasy when teething and require a lot of coaching on ‘potty training’-peeing,” Lisimba says.

Lisimba explains that most dogs do not like dog food but prefer to eat the food the common person is eating.

Most dogs have loads of energy and it is crucial to exercise them by either taking them for a walk or playing with them. Ensure you bath them regularly as they tend to stink if left without care. “Fluffy toy dogs should be rinsed with towels like small kids as they have a phobia for dryers and blow-dryers,” says Lisimba.

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