Is dog breeding a good business?
An increasing number of enterprising Filipinos are wading into dog breeding, hoping to cash in on the growing demand for pets in the country. Unfortunately, many of these dog breeders do not understand two very important things: 1) dogs; and 2) business.
Let me start off by stating something that will infuriate a lot of breeders: if you do dog breeding right, you’re not bound to make money out of it. (Or maybe you will, if you sell at super-inflated prices while cashing in on some marketing craze.) Personally, I do not believe that dog breeding should ever be a business. Again, I know I’ll get a lot of flak for that opinion but hey, I’m entitled to my own beliefs.
Having said that, let me just zero in on the business side of dog breeding for the purposes of this blog. In writing this, I wear the hat of a business person and completely detach from being a dog parent.
Many backyard breeders think that having puppies out of their pet is a neat and easy way to raise money — just find a mate for their female and in two months, puppies will be born. Someone even give dazzling estimates for their ROI (return on investment) – an awesome number, I must say, except that in many cases, they don’t do their mathematics right.
A backyard breeder once shared his computation with me. He says all he has to do is buy a bitch for P15,000, pay for stud fees worth P2,000 and voila – he gets five puppies which he will sell for P15,000 each, giving him P75,000. He figures he’ll spend P2,000 per dog on deworming and vaccinations (total:P10,000) and papers for P2,500. Deducting all these costs, he says he is ahead by P45,500. Not bad, eh?
Unfortunately, his math is faulty and takes a best-case scenario. For instance, he omits his costs for the upkeep of the bitch while it is pregnant and lactating. If computed, it means food costs would go up by some 30% over the gestation and lactation period. He omits costs for puppy food, which pups would begin to take by around the 4thor 5thweek of life. He omits veterinary costs (maybe because he doesn’t bother to take his dog to the vet) which usually comes with laboratory, xray and ultrasound fees. If these things are computed, that profit is whittled down. If he opts for premium products and goes to real vets, the costs could balloon quickly and eat into the profit he earlier thought he would get. (Note too that I am simply computing costs related to pregnancy, and not costs over the lifetime of the bitch.)
Let’s go to real numbers. In my case, my dam and her puppy are fed with Royal Canin’s Mother and Baby Dog dry and wet food. A small bag costs P1,200 for the dry food, while a can of the wet food costs P145 per can. They also take Puppy Protech, which costs P4,000 for one kilo. My incremental cost for dog food over a three-month period is over P10,000. (Remember that this is for a mini schnauzer, a small dog, which typically has a litter of 3-5 puppies).
An ordinary vet consultation costs P450, without any meds. Xray and ultrasound will cost around P600 each, while full blood work is around P1,800. Once the dam gives birth, she will also need a shot to ensure that she expels the placenta completely. Some will probably say that these are not needed, but as far as I’m concerned, these are standard procedures. Even for a home delivery with no veterinary intervention, vet fees related to the pregnancy and whelping usually reach P4,000. And that’s on the low side, assuming that everything has turned out perfectly well.
As you can see, the profit is not as big as my backyard breeder friend had originally thought it would be, and this is a best case scenario. What if the dam cannot give birth naturally, and needs to be operated on? The cheapest CS for a small dog that I’ve heard of is P15,000. In large veterinary hospitals, this could easily rise to P40,000.
Have I also mentioned that you have to keep an eye on the dam and the puppies round the clock at least on the first 10 days of life? Not all dams know how to take care of their puppies, and the breeder’s constant presence is key to the puppies’ survival in the critical first few days. That means taking a leave if you have work, or at least, having a caretaker (which translates to additional expenses) to help out in the hectic first few days.
Smart business people know that scenario planning is important, and that all businesses come with risks. Dog breeding, for instance, leaves many things to chance and is therefore fraught with risks. The rate of stillbirth and neonatal mortality among canines is high, with some studies putting this at 30-50%. Then, there are all the risks that come with raising a puppy in the Philippines, which includes a high incidence of parvo and distemper. End of the day, you can be left with just one or no pups for all the money you put out.
In short, what I am saying is that dog breeding is not a very lucrative business as it may seem to be. If you think you’d like to wade into it for a quick buck, please stay away and find something else with less risk and with better margins. This way, you don’t add to the ranks of backyard breeders and puppy millers contributing to pet overpopulation in the country.
Please don’t think of your dog as your means to big bucks. Instead, love your dog and enjoy her for the unconditional love and loyalty she’ll bring you.