Learning how to start breeding dogs as a business is just like starting any other business: you’ve got to grasp what pillars you should focus on. Here at Breeding Business, we firmly think that a dog breeding business is an activity walking on three legs, all extremely important:
- The Dogs—first and foremost, the dogs are our priority and they should be yours, they come first
- The Breeding—this is what you make with your dogs, they are your paint, breeding is the Art of painting masterpieces
- The Business—naturally, you want a financial reward for the quality dogs your produce, it also allows you to keep on bettering your dogs and your breeding
Most dog breeders will go and focus on the dogs principally, if not exclusively. This is why, whenever you ask them if they make a profit, they tell you “of course not” and they cannot even fathom the idea of being bad at business. They will tell you, without any doubt: you cannot make money with dog breeding if you are doing it well. So we found it! We found the only business on Earth where profit is not possible! Hmmm, allow us to strongly disagree with these people.
By saying you want to produce genetically-healthy dogs but also become a great salesperson and sell them for more money than most people do (because you can!), they would almost think worse about you than about multinationals.
This is why dog breeding for beginners can be hard and many will give up. In a way, those who give up shouldn’t even start in the first place. A lot of new breeders don’t realize that breeding dogs means caring for newborn puppies, visit the vet even more, and spending a hell of a lot more money than when you just have a single pet at home. We’ve got some tips on how to stop losing money when breeding dogs.
This was not meant to be a post here but my fingers could not stop so I am going to give you those five steps that until now, kept you away from your dream to turn your passion for dogs into a profitable and responsible business.
We hope you like this little infographic, we made it for our Facebook Page and I decided to add it here as well!
Plan Your Dog Breeding Business
Like for any endeavor, or any project for that matter, you need to sit down and have a cup of coffee because you’re going to be at this table for quite some time. Brainstorming. This is exactly what you are going to do, and then, you will have to answer some basic questions, not with your heart, but with your head.
- Why am I in this for? The passion for dogs? The money? Something else?
- Am I willing to be my own boss? Can I be motivated to give my all every single day for the next few years?
- Am I going to stay motivated if the business does not go as planned and times get rough?
- How am I going to make money? Trendy dogs? But what is going to happen when the trend dies down?
- Is there a market for my favorite breed? Is there a huge competition?
- How can I improve the breed? What are the inherited diseases specific to this breed?
Well, you get the spirit, there are thousands of questions you will need to ask yourself and then answer, in all honesty. If you are happy with this, then, go ahead and write a dog breeding business plan, or at least, an executive summary.
Even if you do not need external funds, writing your own business plan will help you understand what are your objectives, if they are financially realistic and how you will get there. We have an ebook on how to write your own dog breeding business plan, that you can buy separately from The Dog Breeder’s Handbook.
Setup & Start Your Breeding Business
Once you are clear with your breeding plan, it is time for the action to start. You need to confirm the breed you want to work with and find your founding dogs, meet breeders, start building your dog spaces at home, buy the beddings, kennel disinfectants and buy all the supplies you will need.
What about your vet? You need to find the right vet for you, sometimes it is not the closest one, or the cheapest one. Your vet must become your best friend, he or she will look after all your dogs for the next years. You quickly want to have your vet’s mobile on speed dial, just in case of an emergency.
Once the dogs and the kennel are taken care of, it is time to set up your legal structure and register your company so you are licensed as a dog breeder. Bad news, it means you need to keep your books up to date! Accounting is never a pleasure but it has to be done… Rules vary depending on which country you are from but usually, for such small businesses, the requirements are minor in terms of annual formalities.
Run & Manage Your Dogs And Litters
Now settled in, you need to start managing your dogs, get to know them and get them to be known too. Sign up at some local clubs and attend dog events to meet other breeders and find some perfect match for one of your next litters. That’s how to start a kennel. A lot of work and networking.
Have a clear routine in terms of feeding and exercising, you need to keep your dogs healthy. Regularly check them up yourself or bring them to the vet for routine tests but also to clear them from genetic conditions and common diseases. Don’t forget that each new litter must offer an improvement compared to the previous ones, and it is your duty to make that happen. You must have the knowledge, the assurance and, did I mention the knowledge?
If you are a full-time breeder, you may want to invest in several bitches as you should never breed a bitch back to back. Simply try to find, without rushing yourself, great specimens from other bloodlines. Sometimes it will be a puppy but other times it may be an adult dog or a champion! You need to get the “eye” of the breeder and know your current dogs’ strengths and weaknesses to find complementary partners.
Become a REPUTABLE Dog Breeder!
Dogs, as good as they are, do not build your reputation by themselves. You must show your great work to the world, and there are various ways of doing it.
Online, on Facebook obviously, we even wrote an article giving you all the reasons why you should be promoting your dog breeding business on Facebook, but also on message boards, also called forums. You must get your breeder website up and running if it is not already the case, as everybody will check your name and your dogs out online before contacting you. Even your neighbor would. No need to design a piece of art, but people must be able to find you if they search for you, it is as simple as that.
Offline, too. And you have to take the train, the bus, the car or whatever you need to take, to bring yourself and your best dogs to attend the relevant dog events. Depending on your breed and your preferences, it could be conformation shows, agility, flyball, racing, swimming, herding, or any other dog sport.
A dog attending these events, even without winning, will bring you a lot of attention from other breeders and potential buyers. Small-scale events, happening in your town or not too far, are great for those who do not want to take a long flight just for an event they know they will not win.
The idea here is just to meet and greet people from the industry, introduce yourself, get contacts and keep on networking. If you have a litter and another breeder you know has a request, he will forward the client to you. And if you need a favour or advice, you will find attentive and knowledgeable ears. No need to turn up with 500 business cards, but just be friendly and chat with people, give them your website address and your email, add them on Facebook, visit their kennel and stay in touch.
Sell Your Puppies, With a Profit
Here you are, the last step. Now you’ve spent so much time, money and effort, you must achieve with a high! Promote your litter before you have it, try to build a waiting list so your value increases and your stress decreases!
Use all the channels you can to let the world know you have amazing puppies coming up: Facebook, classified ads, friends, online forums, dog breed club, former clients, other breeders and anybody you have the email of!
The more requests you have, the more the price will rise so spend day and night reaching out to people to promote your litter. Don’t harass or spam but be present, be visible, be known.
Once you’ve sold all your pups, make sure you do keep in touch with the owners. Add them on Facebook and follow up regularly, ask for pictures and for references. This way you can show potential prospects how happy your customers are, even months and years after they got their little pooch!
Looking For More Information?
Perhaps you need some guidance to go through all these steps in even more details, and you perhaps need help with aspects not even discussed here? Don’t stress, you can get our very popular ebook, The Dog Breeder’s Handbook, and have a dog breeding guide that deals with everything about how to start your own dog breeding business.
This is not a puppy mill guide, it is a real dog breeding guide and as modern as modernity can be. We cover all aspects of dog breeding businesses and kennels in 2016.
This is NOT a get-rich-quick scheme, it takes time and knowledge. We’ll explain you the canine genetics behind the different breeding styles, how to find the right match for an upcoming breeding, how to shine during local dog shows, and how to leverage the Internet and Social Medias to propel your kennel way ahead of the others.