Dog breeding can create jobs for Nigerians, say entrepreneurs
Just as commercial poultry breeding, dog breeding has been considered by experts as a sustainable business with the potential to create job opportunities for the unemployed.
Dog breeding, some veterinarians claim, is becoming more rewarding because of escalating insecurity in the country and the need to secure homes and offices with cost-effective and dependable guards found in dogs.
Human guards could compromise security and even pose threats to office and home owners, but dogs won’t. Therefore, the use of dogs is becoming popular not only for protection, but also as loyal companions.
Various breeds of dogs include Alsatian, Doberman pinscher, German shepherd and Belgian malinois.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Divine Dignity Animalistic Konsult, Clement Oluwasola, told The Guardian that, “It is essential for someone who wants to go into commercial dog breeding to get best breeds that will serve the purposes of the buyers.”
Oluwasola said, “For youths who want dog breeding business with the aim of profit maximisation, I would not want them to underestimate the importance of purity of the breed line and the accuracy of the species.”
Steps in dog breeding business
There are several steps to be considered before one concludes on dog breeding. First, farmers and vets advise that one should get dogs from reliable sources to ensure pure breed lines. Secondly, marketing survey and plans should be put in place to ensure where to sell the dogs without troubles. Keeping puppies for more than three months because of inability to sell poses dangers to the business, as this increases the cost of production which may not be recouped by selling the puppies thereafter.
How to breed dogs
First of all, ensure you have a very good, pleasant and favourable environment to keep the dogs by making conducive cages for them. Constructing cages for the dogs is a must, but they could be let loose in a fenced environment. For convenience, male and female dogs should be separated, and dogs of different breeds should be housed differently. Access of male dogs to female ones should be restricted to avoid too early reproduction and cross-breeding. Males should be allowed access to females ready for mating.
Too early reproduction jeopardises the health of the dogs and fewer number of puppies could result from too early reproduction, which could also lead to high mortality rate. Cross-breeding distorts the purity of a breed, which might also affect marketability of puppies and hence, leading to poor pricing and reduced profit margin to the breeder.
Feeding and nutrition
Feeding dogs with nutritious feeds is one of the most important factors in successful dog breeding.
Bola Ayodele, a dog breeder, said, “From infancy, they need to be fed with breast milk, which could be supplemented. And after they are grown to maturity stage, they should be fed with their best meal which is bone, to keep them fit and strong.”
Clement, who spoke earlier, added that apart from food, adequate veterinary care would take care of not only vaccination programmes, but also infectious diseases. “We can’t get the best result from feeding them alone without veterinary care,” he said. He advised that only professional vet doctors should be patronised.
Need a licence to start dog breeding business?
Mr Mathew Oyeleke, a dog breeder in Ilorin, Kwara State, while sharing his experience with The Guardian, said, “You would not need a licence to start dog breeding. However, Oyeleke admitted, business name registration is essential if the breeder means a serious business.
Anybody with interest can breed dogs and earn a living. Also, personal development on how best to breed, cross-breed, feeding/nutrition and marketing should be uppermost in the skill sets of prospective breeders, as there is little room for mediocrity in the business, he argued.
A major reason for dog breeding is for profit maximisation, which is essential in reducing unemployment and poverty among youths. The essence of the business is to generate sustainable income while meeting the needs of the buyers. Such needs, again, include security of life and property; farm protection; police services and war against drug peddling and gunrunning activities.
Apart from breeding dogs for home, business and farm guards, they can be useful in different places like banks, detective services at air and seaports, among others.
People, especially the middle-class and rich Nigerians, keep dogs for companionship, which are usually referred to as pets. These classes of people are the targets when it comes to commercial dog breeding.
“I know some people who keep dogs as a matter of class and wealth, to the extent that they have a huge budget for their dogs yearly,” Clement said.
Economics of dog breeding
Owner of St. Mathew Concepts, Ilorin, Oyeleke, while briefing The Guardian on the economics of rearing and breeding dogs, said, “We have different species of dogs, for instance, Rottweiler, Doberman, Boer bull, Caucasian and mastiff.”
The prices of puppies depend on the breed, age and health of the dog. Some puppies are sold for N100,000, N80,000 or N70,000, depending on the purity of the breeds, he said.
The number of litters (puppies) also determines when a breeder would recoup the capital, but in all, Oyeleke said a breeder could break even in one year with a single pure breed dog. With five or more puppies, a farmer could generate income that some paid jobs could not give in a year.
Oyeleke said if a farmer breeds 50 puppies from five female dogs in a year, and sells each at the average of N50,000, such a farmer could smile to the bank with about N2.5 million or more, adding that the cost of feeding and veterinary services on the dogs should not be more than N500,000 per annum.
He, however, disclosed that diseases and infections, high cost of feeding and marketing difficulty are some of the challenges faced in dog breeding. Proliferation of mixed breeds by some unscrupulous elements, he added, has de-marketed the business, creating sales challenges for genuine entrepreneurs.
Olu Solomon, another breeder, affirmed that dog breeding, though demanding and requiring regular spending on feeding, medication and fortification, is a business that could profitably keep diligent people busy making a decent living.
He told The Guardian that two types of breeds are hot-cakes. German shepherd and Rottweiler, he explained, are two breeds with high demand by Nigerians.
“From my own experience, German Sheppard and Rottweiler puppies sell faster than others. Though other breeds also sell, but not like them,” he said.
If a farmer buys a puppy worth N25,000, and it feeds on rice, fish, and chicken legs, for instance, less than N6,000 should be enough in a month. And as it grows bigger, it eats more, costing averagely N6,000 to N7,000 monthly. But German Sheppard, he chipped in, does not really eat much, unlike other breeds of dogs.
Olu said number of puppies given birth to in a cycle “depends on the linage of the dogs; some can give birth to nine puppies or even more. I have come across one that gave birth to 15 puppies. But the problem is that, the higher the number of puppies, the higher the mortality rate. So, it is better at the average numbers of seven and eight puppies.”
Revealing the income generation potential of breeding dogs, Olu said, “I do sell puppies starting from five or six weeks. A German Sheppard puppy is around N25,000, depending on who the customer is. The German Sheppard has grades. There are some that are N30,000 upwards. So many people want good dogs, but ironically, they do not want to pay for the value.”
He, however, warned that “it is not advisable to cross dogs in the first heat period. So, starting from eight months upward, they reach the maturity stage. And some come of age at 11 to 12 months.”
Another collateral advantage of breeding dogs, Oyekunle and Olu, agreed, is that dogs for breeding serve dual purposes of generating income, and protecting lives and property of the investor.
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