As the old saying goes, dogs are man’s best friend. This is evident in how dogs love their owners, and in some cases, are used to guard human property. It is this relationship that has made do breeding business very lucrative. Hence, let’s look at how to start a dog breeding and training business in Kenya.
Demand for pets is growing across the country. The majority of this demand is for both dogs and cats. With pets comes other opportunities such as dog walking.
Although dogs make good pets, they can be mischievous at times. Some bad habits that dogs develop include rowdy behavior, chewing on seats and shoes, and pretty much everything in the house. This is where training comes in. Hence creating an opportunity for dog training.
A dog trainer is responsible for training the dog on basic skills, depending on its breed.
Are you someone who loves dogs and is interested in starting a dog breeding and training business? This guide is just the right tool for you in achieving your mission.
Requirements for starting a dog breeding and training business.
You should have a passion for dogs to succeed in this business. This is because you will solely be dealing with dogs for a living. It is only logical to undertake a business that you like.
Breeding and training dogs involve activities such as cleaning and feeding them. Hence, you must not be afraid of getting your hands dirty while caring for the dogs.
The dog breeding and training business requires patience in all aspects. Dogs take time before they learn the commands. Therefore, you need to be ready to go all through the processes.
Another aspect of the business that requires patience is business growth. When starting, the business might not bring in as much income as you would anticipate. Therefore, you need to be patient as you wait for the business to pick up.
- Dog breeding knowledge
To run a successful breeding center, you must understand the basics of dog breeding. An important area that you must understand includes factors such as dog genetics.
Similar to human beings, dogs are affected by the genetics of their parents. You cannot breed dogs of different breeds blindly, as it will affect the health of the puppies.
Choose dog breeds that can produce healthy puppies in the case of mixed-breed dogs. In the case of purebred dogs, you can only choose purebred dog breeds, to provide quality purebred puppies.
As a dog breeder, you must also know how to deliver puppies during birth. Taking a dog to the vet every time for delivery will be a hefty business expense. Therefore, having this expertise will greatly assist in reduction of the business costs.
- Dog training knowledge
To start a dog training business, you must know the basic training skills. However, the more skills you have, the better. Business knowledge is a key necessity for all startups. There are various ways to gain knowledge such as attending formal training or through experience.
- Market research
Starting a dog breeding and training business requires intensive market research. It is the only to gain valuable information and identify existing market gaps. Some of the information you gain from the research include the type of dogs to train, the best location to set up a business, capital requirements, and the various regulatory compliance.
- Basic first aid skills
As a dog breeder and trainer, you require to have the basics of dog first aid skills. These help in cases of emergencies. However, do not worry if you do not have these skills initially since you will learn them with time.
How to start a dog breeding and training business in Kenya
Below are the steps to follow if you want to start a dog breeding and training center in Kenya.
1. Market research
The first step in all business models is to conduct adequate market research. Performing market research helps to understand the type of business you are venturing into. Some of the details to get during market research include;
- Types of dog breeds available in Kenya
- Marketable dog breeds,
- Business income
The performing market research also helps to identify the potential market gaps. This is what informs your business model and target market.
Below is a list of some of the most popular dog breeds in Kenya.
- German shepherd
- Labrador retriever
- Golden retriever
Different dogs have different traits and thus you must properly research to ensure you settle on the breed/breeds that you are most comfortable in.
2. Identify your market target
Identifying a target market makes your work easier by focusing on that specific area. When choosing a dog breed, you will be guided by your target market.
Different people want to keep dogs for different reasons. Therefore, you need to identify your target market early, to guide you in the process of choosing a dog breed.
As an example, if your target market is the police force or anyone looking for security dogs, the best breed to consider is the German shepherd.
However, if your target market is customers looking for ‘toy dogs’ for the sake of status, the best breeds to consider are Chihuahua or Pomeranian, or Maltese dogs.
Therefore, your target market greatly affects the business.
3. Building a Kennel
A kennel could be considered the dog’s house. Some of the factors to consider when building one include the type of dog breed, the number of dogs, and the availability of resources.
You also factor in that dogs are active animals. Therefore, they require a yard or compound to move around and play. Hence, the more the space, the higher the number of dogs you can breed and train.
The recommended exercise time for a dog is 5 minutes for every month of their age. For example, if a dog is 4 months old, it should have a minimum exercise period of 20 minutes per day.
4. Purchasing of puppies
This process comes in once you are sure of the type of dog breed you intend to breed and train. The cost of puppies varies depending on the age and breed. Hence, you should also factor this into the market research process.
You should also ensure to get a reliable supplier for your puppies depending on your location. Some of the factors to consider when getting a supplier is experience and certification.
On average, purchasing a 2-5-month-old puppy costs an average of 30,000 to 500,000 shillings.
Purchasing a rare colored dog or a champion dog breed can set you apart from your competitors.
5. Get the relevant documents
Documents act as proof of some of the customer demands. Hence, you should ensure they are all in order.
Some customers are very specific when it comes to purebreds. They might even ask for pictures of the puppy’s parents to ascertain the puppy’s origin.
Some of the documentation you need for your dog include:
- Dog’s medical and veterinary records
- The proof of registration
- The dogs’ vaccination records
6. Acquire the relevant licenses and permits for the dog business
As a dog breeding and training center, there are various licenses and permits that you require. Some of these include having a valid business permit from the local governing council. Other key licenses include health permits.
You can also register with an accredited body in the pet sector such as the East Africa Kennel Club (EAKC).
The EAKC is an internationally recognized purebred canine registry and governing body for East African countries. Since the body deals with the registry of purebred dog breeds, customers looking for dogs can ask them to source a specific pure breed dog type.
Therefore, if your business is registered with them, they can connect you with potential customers. However, to get registered with the EAKC, you must have papers proving that the dogs you are breeding are pure breed.
To get a dog certificate, you need to attach the dog’s vaccination certificate to the dog license application form. Once the documents have been verified, you will be issued the license.
7. Caring for the dogs
The better you care for your dogs, the more business you will get. Some of the caring activities include feeding them well, ensuring they are clean, and doing regular health checks.
Below are some of the caring needs depending on the size of the dog.
Due to their young and small size, puppies require extra care. This includes healthy feeding and regular vaccinations.
Some of the key vaccination requirements include the parvovirus vaccine that is administered at 6 weeks. After one month, the DHLP vaccine which is against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, and Parainfluenza is administered. The rabies vaccine is administered later on at 4 months.
Puppies are also prone to diseases like pneumonia during the cold season. Hence, you need to keep them warm. They also need patience when training them because they are slow to learn.
- Large breed dogs
Large breed dogs such as German shepherds have a high risk of suffering from hip dysplasia that affects hip joints and eventually leads to arthritis.
A hip score is used to determine the degree of hip dysplasia in dogs. It involves getting the hip x-ray of a dog and a panel of veterinary doctors analyzing the x-ray to determine the hip score. The hip x-ray goes for about 4,000 shillings while the hip-score analysis goes for 1,500 shillings per dog.
Since hip dysplasia is painful and untreatable, it is best to care for your dog to minimize the risk of occurrence.
· Pregnant dogs
Similar to pregnant mothers, pregnant dogs need a lot of care. You should have at least one prenatal visit to the vet during the pregnancy period.
They also require a warm and comfortable sleeping place. Finally, the diet is also a critical factor to consider. Hence, all these factors should be factored in the planning stage. The birthing place should also be warm and comfortable.
- General care
Dogs need to be regularly bathed to prevent stinky fur coats. You should also brush their fur to prevent tangles and knots from taking place. Just like you take care of long hair.
Small dogs are at times afraid of blow dryers. Therefore, dry their fur with towels if you notice this phobia.
Remember to take the dogs outside for regular exercise.
8. Market the business
Marketing is a key component in growing your business. Hence, you should focus your energy on acquiring and growing your customers. The more customers you have, the more the income. Some of the ways to market your business include advertising.
This could either happen online through various social media platforms. You can also do physical marketing through posters.
Costs and Income of the dog breeding and training business
Some of the key recurrent costs for this business are food costs. Quality puppy feeds cost between 1,000 –1,500 shillings daily.
The best time to sell a puppy is within 3 months. Rearing a puppy past this age will be an additional cost to you and thus you will have to sell it for a heftier price.
The value of the dog depends on age and breed. Trained puppies and dogs will cost more than untrained ones. While the dog without training costs Ksh 30,000- Ksh 60 000, a trained dog can cost as much as Ksh 150,000 depending on the breed.
Below is a breakdown of some of the costs you should factor in when starting a dog breeding and training business in Kenya.
- Dog food
- Annual dog license
- Dog leashes
From the breakdown, this business requires a substantial amount of capital. However, if done well, the returns are lucrative.
As Kenya’s economy grows, the demand for pets such as dogs is also increasing. Hence, above is the process of how to start a dog breeding and training business in Kenya.
To recap, the steps involved in starting a dog breeding and training center in Kenya include:
- Market research
- Identify your target market
- Build a well-structured kennel
- Buy a few puppies
- Acquire all relevant dog documentation
- Acquire all relevant licenses and permits
- Care for your dogs
- Market your business