The dog business is slowly gaining popularity. I have got many inquiries on dog breeds, breeding and making money from the business. So what does it take to run the business?
Mugo Wambui, an established dog breeder shares with The Smart Harvest insights on dog breeding and business. For him, his passion for dogs started when he was young.
Growing up, when he went hunting with his friends who owned dogs, he was always regarded as a lower-class citizen and would only get intestines from the spoil.
He vowed to one day own many dogs. In 2012, he bought a German Shepherd puppy and now has 17 dogs of different breeds.
He has sold many puppies from the numerous litters that he has been getting over the years.
For those interested, he says, it is prudent to start small so as to learn the ropes along the way before expanding the venture so as to enjoy economies of scale.
To grow healthy, the puppies need nutritious, well-balanced food and clean water.
“How and what to feed these furry creatures is critical for their overall health and productivity. I feed my dogs on boiled chicken heads and broken rice and also supplement with commercial feeds once in a while for the vitamins and minerals,” Wambui says.
After feeding the puppy well, it gets into puberty and then maturity. She can then be served to give more puppies.
Breeding the dog when she is over 15 months is advisable since at this age she has fully matured physically and sexually.
Drops of blood where the dog is sleeping are a sure sign of heat. You can take the bitch for mating a few days and allow for mating as many times as possible to increase her chances of getting a large litter of up to 12 puppies.
Breeding early from six months to a year has its fair share of complications such as difficulties while giving birth which would call for caesarean section.
Pests and diseases
Pests and diseases on your dogs are detrimental to their overall growth and health.
Right from a young age, it is crucial to adopt a vaccination schedule and deworming. Parvovirus and rabies are fatal. To raise good quality puppies, Wambui says pedigree parents are a must.
He sources the parents from registered Kennel clubs in Nairobi and from friends who keep clean records about the genealogy of their dogs.
There are different breeds of dogs, but demand dictates which breeds one can venture into locally. In his kennel, Wambui has German Shepherd Dog (GSD), Boerboel, Pitbull, Russian Mountain, Terrier Maltese and Labrador breeds.
The prices of a puppy ranges from Sh30,000 to Sh150,000 depending on the breed, with GSDs ranking low and Russian Mountains topping the list. Like in any business, record keeping is key.
Each dog must have its own passport which has details such as its breed, date of birth, sex, vaccination records, deworming records and treatment records.
Hygiene in the kennels
Hygiene in the kennels compliments vaccination and deworming in keeping diseases at bay. Wambui ensures that the dogs are clean and live in a clean environment.
Training dogs on simple commands and socialising them helps them to be family-friendly and strong enough to better secure their family and property.
Wambui trains the dogs on obeying simple commands.
Exercising the dogs maintains their fitness and boosts their socialising skills.
“As a family, we walk the dogs every evening around the neighbourhood. This helps them exercise, reduce nervousness and boost their confidence,” says the breeder.
A proper marketing strategy of the puppies is paramount. After retaining a few puppies in each litter for future breeding, Wambui sells the rest to his circle of friends, neighbours and on social media.
At one time he sold a litter of 10 puppies to a security company each at Sh50,000. That’s how he bought his first car.
For anyone planning to venture into this lucrative business, Wambui has a word of caution: “Have passion, get it right on breeds, feed them right, spend time with your dogs, keep records and be versatile in your marketing.”
The start-up costs for a dog breeding business can be substantial, although they’re controllable. The amount one can make depends on the quality of the dogs and how many litters one breeds in a year.