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Is Breeding Dogs a Good Business?

    In order to make money, people resort to ideas that may seem easy, simple and pleasant. Breeding dogs may appear as a goldmine for some people.

    Many individuals do in fact manage to turn breeding dogs into a job, but in most cases they are not ZKwP members. Neither are they registered as business owners. They pay no taxes, and have no idea about breeding dogs. The conditions they keep their animals in are barely satisfactory, but when no major abuse has been reported the authorities are helpless: there are no rules prohibiting one to keep animals or breed them. In most cases in such backyard kennels the dog is treated as an object: one that is supposed to bring profit. If it brings none - it must go! This problem is nicely illustrated by this newspaper advert: „Will sell elderly dogs cheap, or exchange for puppies (only female Yorkshire terriers, Puddles, Labs, Goldens and Amstaffs).”

    Unfortunately, kennels of this kind exist thanks to the people who, when looking for a puppy, are willing to pay less money for a more or less purebred dog. You are buying those puppies of dubious origin - from shady open market traders, people from the ads and secretly, from pet stores.

    The title of this article is: „Is Breeding Dogs a Good Business?”- Yes, it is! For backyard breeders! The higher the peg, the better conditions kennel dogs live in, the more valuable the animals, the more prizes they have won, the less money stays in our pocket.

    On the other hand, is it not understandable that pedigree dogs are expensive and that the breeders are not willing to sell their puppies cheap? Nobody can afford losing ever more and more money on their kennel. A breeder must invest incredible amounts of money into what they are doing, in order to provide the best living conditions for the dogs, professional healthcare, and good quality food and care products. Therefore, they would like to feel safe they will find people willing to buy the puppies from them quite soon. Only then the motivation for placing the peg ever higher appears, beginning with importing the best breeding stock dogs from the best kennels, to showing the most distinguished dogs on shows - sometimes in very remote countries.

    Please do not let the people who claim that a breed benefits from what dog traders are doing fool you! It is the breeders who are passionate about the breed who improve the quality of the breed's genetic stock. It is them who organize the network for its promotion, in the media and elsewhere. Traders benefit from the many-years' efforts of breeders and at the moment when the latter import interesting dogs from another country and an unknown breed becomes popular; they prey on the growing demand.

    A true dog lover does not mind the costs, but mates his or her bitches with the most valuable dogs, or imports frozen semen for the purpose; has his or her dogs carefully checked up, including psychologically, and presents the dogs at dog shows. All that costs enormous sums of money!

    At the moment when supply of animals which may look similar to the breed, but have no pedigree, overgrows the demand puppies find no wanting owners. The breed slowly dies out. It is no longer desirable for dog traders, since there are no clients buying pups and no profits, so why breed them? In such moments only few breeders, the most determined ones and most in love with the breed decide to have puppies. It is not a pleasant thing to find oneself wondering what to do with the growing up pups and where to find good homes for them - sometimes even for free.

    Why does that happen? Because backyard breeders are competition. When a breed becomes popular they offer "substitutes" in unlimited numbers, for half the price or even less. The quality of such „supplies” is another matter, since an average buyer does not know much anyway. Instead, they are happy that they purchased a doggie cheaper, a similar one to the Jones's champion dog.

    The cruel truth is quick to be faced with, since (although, as everywhere, there are exceptions) as even the best and most renowned kennels are not able to eliminate all the genetic faults of their stock, what with backyard mills then? Sibling mating, bitches giving birth twice a year as long as only their bodies can stand it, no healthcare, no proper socialization of pups - not to mention normal human contact - no deworming and vaccines, feeding with the cheapest dog food available, fleas, allergies... etc. are the conditions the dogs are exposed to there.
But what real profit does a proper, decent kennel make? Usually, the benefit from rearing one puppy litter of 6-7 is enough to sustain 5 to 7 animals for one year. The money will be eaten up by vet costs and shows - if we enter a dozen or so each year. If we manage to sell our puppies pretty soon (when they are 10-12 weeks old) some money will be left and we might consider ourselves lucky.

    People not familiar with the realities are often worried that buying a pedigree dog involves paying an exorbitant price and moreover, an obligation to sign complicated contracts. The reality is that no owner is obliged to enter any dog shows (in the case of any restrictive contracts I suggest you just not sign them).

    No wonder that an ambitious breeder wants the animals from their kennel be displayed. Breeding pedigree dogs only makes sense if there is a healthy competition between breeding kennels. Only through comparisons of different quality stock can we make decisions on how to improve the appearance or character of our dogs. Dog traders just do not care. They run their business usually based on unwanted and less „valuable” puppies which should actually never be bred. When we buy a puppy from a registered source we at least have minimum guarantee of the animal's quality and some control over the breeder, since they are bound by the regulations of the ZKwP and their standards.

    From my long practice as a breeder I have learnt that there are also situations where a potential buyer, having learnt from their mistakes, avoids backyard breeders, but is willing to buy a puppy from the nice lady in the neighborhood, who mated her charming purebred bitch "for health reasons" as she puts it. This nice lady claims she crossed her non-pedigree but purebred-looking bitch with her neighbors' pedigree male who unfortunately is not registered (due to the lack of time of course), and another litter of non-pedigree but almost purebred puppies will be born. One can only wish that some of these puppies will not end up in the hands of the backyard breeders - who are always looking for exactly such puppies!

    The lady will sell the puppies for half the price, but she will earn more than her half years' pension on that anyway. The buyer will be happy as well, having acquired good-looking, well-fed and cared for puppies for little money. In this case, everyone is generally satisfied - and the vicious circle closed.

Jadwiga Konkiel