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What You Need to Know to Run a Successful Dog Breeding Business

Dogs at the Kenya Society for the Protection and Care of Animals (KSPCA) in Bamburi, Mombasa County. [Kelvin Karani, Standard]

The dog trade is slowly gaining popularity. I have received many inquiries about dog breeds, breeding and business income. So what does it take to run the business?

Mugo Wambui, an established dog breeder, shares information about dog breeding and business with The Smart Harvest. 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 considered a lower class citizen and only received intestines from the loot.

He vowed to own many dogs one day. In 2012, he bought a German Shepherd puppy and now owns 17 dogs of different breeds.

He has sold many puppies from the many litters he has had over the years.

start small

For those interested, he says, it’s prudent to start small in order to learn the ropes before expanding the business to take advantage of economies of scale.

To grow up healthy, puppies need a nutritious, balanced diet and clean water.

“How and what to feed these furry creatures is critical to their overall health and productivity. I feed my dogs boiled chicken heads and broken rice and also occasionally supplement with commercial foods for vitamins and minerals,” says Wambui.

After feeding the puppy well, it reaches puberty and then maturity. It can then be used to give more puppies.

It is advisable to breed the dog when he is over 15 months old, because at this age he has fully matured both physically and sexually.

Drops of blood where the dog sleeps are a sure sign of heat. You can take the female dog to mate for a few days and allow her to mate as many times as possible to increase her chances of having a large litter of up to 12 puppies.

Early mating from six months to a year has its fair share of complications such as difficulties in childbirth that would require a C-section.

Pests and diseases

Parasites and diseases in your dogs harm their overall growth and health.

From an early age, it is crucial to adopt a vaccination and deworming schedule. Parvovirus and rabies are deadly. To raise good quality puppies, Wambui says pedigree parents are essential.

He finds parents through registered dog clubs in Nairobi and from friends who keep clean records of their dogs’ pedigree.

There are different breeds of dogs, but demand dictates which breeds one can venture into locally. In his kennel, Wambui has German Shepherd (GSD), Boerboel, Pitbull, Russian Mountain, Maltese Terrier and Labrador breeds.

Prices for a puppy range from Sh30,000 to Sh150,000 depending on the breed, with GSDs ranking at the bottom and rollercoasters at the top of the list. As with any business, record keeping is essential.

Each dog must have its own passport containing details such as its breed, date of birth, sex, vaccination, deworming and treatment records.

Hygiene in kennels

Hygiene in kennels complements vaccination and deworming to ward off disease. Wambui ensures that the dogs are clean and live in a clean environment.

Training dogs on simple commands and socializing them helps them to be family friendly and strong enough to better secure their family and property.

Wambui trains dogs to obey simple commands.

Exercising dogs maintains their fitness and builds their socialization skills.

“As a family, we walk the dogs every evening in the neighborhood. This helps them exercise, reduce nervousness and build confidence,” says the breeder.

A good puppy marketing strategy is paramount. After keeping a few puppies in each litter for future breeding, Wambui sells the rest to her circle of friends, neighbors and on social media.

At one point he sold a litter of 10 puppies to a security company each for 50,000 shillings. This is how he bought his first car.

For anyone considering venturing into this lucrative business, Wambui has a word of warning: “Have passion, choose the right breeds, feed them right, spend time with your dogs, hold registers and be versatile in your marketing”.

The costs of starting a dog breeding business can be significant, although they are controllable. The amount one can earn depends on the quality of the dogs and the number of litters one raises per year.

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