Dog breeding is a very lucrative business if properly planned and executed. Dogs are lovely creatures cherished by a lot of Nigerians. Dogs are also used for various purposes such as security and companion. Dogs are increasingly acquired by Nigerians for security purposes because they can alert the owner especially when an intruder entered the owner’s compound. They are readily eager to fight intruders fearlessly to protect their territory. Keeping dogs alongside security men has been the best practice because security men are humans and can slumber nor sleep therefore are not completely reliable but with dogs in addition the men can be alerted when the dogs signals intrusion. Many dogs are also kept for companionship due to their cute looking disposition. Toy dogs like Lhasa Apso, Pekingese, pugs etc are kept as indoor pets by many Nigerians. Elite Nigerians like to take their dogs on evening walks for exercise which can be boring when done alone. Most times these lovely dogs steer the lazy owner to move faster during walks.
Planning for the business
In this stage you have to decide on the breed to choose and your target market. Your personal preference is a very important factor here because it’s important to love the dog you keep in order to give the dog maximum attention. Keeping dogs can be a capital & labor intensive venture so the passion will help you not to see the work as so much task. So you decide the breed and choose you target buyers. In starting out I usually suggest you acquire the dogs gradually one by one or few at a time.
Buying the parent stock
Buying your preferred breed remains the greatest challenge because any mistake here can ruin or down grade the entire business. Most people buy the dogs when they are already adults or at 10 months when all the features of the breed are fully showing especially when the parents are not known but I will suggest that a proper investigation be carried out to ascertain the pedigree of the prospective parent stock. Buying puppies from a trusted source is a very good move because there is an opportunity to nurture the dog from puppy to adult stage. The emphasis here is having a pure breed to breed with because crossed breeds are very difficult to sell and can ruin your business. Someone might advice you to consult a veterinarian to be able to get a good breed but from my own experience some veterinarians are under pressure from their clients to sell their crossed dogs and in the bid to favour their clients might sell the wrong breed to you. So do your own research and find out the cardinal features of the breed to look out for but these features are hard to find in puppies some times.
Caring for the parent stock
Caring for dogs is same as caring for humans and more. More because they are animals confined by you and also dependent on you so everything he gets from you is only what he utilized. Immunization or vaccination of the parent stock either from puppy or as adult is unavoidable because you won’t like to lose your whole investment due to an infection that is preventable through vaccination. Proper feeding is also very important. It is advisable to get advice from a professional breeder or a veterinarian to help you to make choice of the most affordable and rich feeding alternatives to bring out the best from your parent stock.
Breeding the parent stock
The bitch (female dog) usually come on their first heat (sexual cycle or breeding cycle) when they are between 7 to 8 months of age but it’s not advisable to cross or mate them at that age to allow the reproductive system to develop properly. Second or third heat is usually acceptable to mate the bitch. You might want to source for a good stud or male to get the best puppies or you keep one as a breeding stud. During mating the male mounts the female and insert his penis into through the vulva of the female and after a few seconds the both will ‘tie’ and remain there for as long as 30 minutes or less. You can allow the mating to take place as frequently as 3 times or 4. It is not advisable to breed with multiple males. If all goes well the bitch gets pregnant carrying the fetuses (unborn puppies) for approximately 64 days after which she whelps (gives birth).
Taking care of the young puppies before selling
As soon as the bitch whelps you are advised to call you veterinarian for further advise but before that you have to allow the bitch to clean up the puppies which they do with their tongue and eat the placenta (fetal attachment to the womb). I as a veterinarian usually advise that the nursing bitch and her puppies be kept in a spacious room on an insulating material (old newspaper or carton) placed or spread on the floor for them to help prevent cold from the ground and help dry their urine as they are passed. Sometimes the puppies might need extra feeding with milk (i.e. 0-6 months baby milk) to supplement their mothers breast feeding especially when the teats (nipples) are few. Usually the puppies begin to open their eyes at 2 weeks of age and start eating their mothers food at about 4 weeks of age this is when you start feeding them with solid food and can puppy food is recommended at this stage. The first deworming is done at 2 weeks &/or 4 weeks. Depending on the location in Nigeria the first shot of the vaccines (DHLPP) is given at 4 weeks or 6 weeks the veterinarian will advise you appropriately.
Selling your puppies
When your puppies are getting to 4weeks you are preparing to send them out so you start your marketing at this time or before this time. Contact puppy vendors to inform them of the availability of the puppies and furnish them with their age, colors & sexes to equip them for an easy sale. Pricing your puppies properly will determine how fast it goes. Don’t try to find out how much the vendor sells your puppy be concerned about your own income or you might loose the vendors trust or patronage. Just investigate the going price and sell to vendors removing about 20% to motivate the vendor. It can also be okay if you decide to sell your puppies yourself. My piece of advice is sell off at all cost when the puppies are 6 weeks of age for economic reasons. The factors that will boost your sales is the pedigree of the parents and the apparent state of health of the puppies.
Networking for good buy
Inform your veterinary doctor or advertise your puppies on this website: www.fairvet .com/dogsale. This website is properly indexed by google search engine and rank among the best websites for dogs. Take advantage of this. Inform other dog sellers and listen to them to know the best price to sell.
Thank you and I hope you learnt something. Leave your comments to share your own opinion on this lets learn from you too.