Costs of owning a kennel - German Shepherd Dog Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Costs of owning a kennel

Itís been a life-long dream of mine to do what I can to improve the breed by becoming a breeder, or failing that, just a boarding kennel.
Unfortunately the only way of ever accomplishing that is if the hobby somewhat pays for itself. I know you canít make money breeding properly but is there a chance of breaking even?
This plan is only in the works and wonít be in place for the next decade or two (or however long it takes to pay for a suitable property), but itís fun to plan.
I know itís region specific but could someone shed some light on the actual costs of health testing?
Iíd like to get an idea of how much work it will take to keep afloat with the titling/health aspect of it. I realize I still have a lot to learn regarding every other aspect of it but Iím just trying to reverse engineer the economic viability of my little dream assuming the property and facilities are paid for
I wouldn't be above working in conjuction with an already established breeder with a good working line and just mainly housing and facilitating the breeding, but I'd like to be associated with a high quality line to be proud of.
Iím looking at 10+ acre properties so a few can be devoted to my own kennel and the rest to be rented to other clubs complete with training equipment.
Any input or suggestions are welcome!
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 01:25 PM
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From my perspective as an accountant and GSD handler/owner/trainer;

Boarding Kennel = Chance at breaking-even

Breeding Kennel = Expensive Passion

Any real breeders please correct my math if you find an error.


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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-03-2010, 02:19 PM
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I know someone with a boarding kennel and as far as I know it is her job (not something "on the side") so she must do more than break even since she has several of her own dogs that are in various training/competiton. I think she also has a little shop, hosts training classes, and is a dog food distributor.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 12:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by W.Oliver View Post
From my perspective as an accountant and GSD handler/owner/trainer;

Boarding Kennel = Chance at breaking-even

Breeding Kennel = Expensive Passion

Any real breeders please correct my math if you find an error.
Actually there are at least a few "breeding kennels" that are full time operations so they must be more than breaking even as I know in at least a couple of instances that the folks are not independently wealthy. These are mostly in the conformation GSD area.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 10:51 AM
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It depends on where your boarding kennel, ( better if you offer training as well), is located as far as whether you have a chance of breaking even. If you are located close to a highly populated area, and know how to run a business, there is much more than just a chance to break even, it can be quite lucrative. If you get lucky, and find a place in an area close to a where there is a planned community, you can buy property before it appreciates. This is an approach the retail company I used to work for took. They would build in an area planned for development and the business would simply grow with the community. I was lucky to do the same thing where my kennel is. I purchased it before there was a rather spectacular growth spurt in the surrounding area . Of course, it is easier and cheaper to find big pieces of property , ( in my area you also must have the proper land zoning ), further away from populated areas but the problem is, then you donít have customers. People do not want to drive, so, you certainly have to consider that when you purchase kennel property. In most cases, larger pieces close to existing population centers are simply out of range as far as price goes.

As for breeding. If I figured out all the costs of simply breeding and caring for my dogs, i.e. Vets charges, food, etc, I am pretty certain, over the years, I have not made much. Certainly there are years I make money selling a litter or two but then you have the years where you are taking care of older dogs or you have a big Vet emergency that can cost thousands. The big cost events also seem to come in waves, one right after the other. Of course, it also depends on how much you care about your dogs. If you are someone who will simply dispose of the ones you are done with, well yeah, I guess you can make a few bucks. The more you control expenses, the greater potential for profit.

I think if you are considering owning a boarding and breeding kennel it is easier to do it with family. A husband/wife, partner etc. Doing it alone can be very challenging and finding people you can trust to care for the dogs, (if you want to go away), can be downright impossible. This is particularly true if you have an aggressive breed like GSDs who may not accept people other than their owner caring for them. The excitement level in the kennel gets dangerous when people other than the owner, (or someone the dogs will really listen to), are caring for the dogs. There is a management requirement to housing large numbers of dogs. Meaning, the dogs cannot be allowed to work themselves into a frenzy. If there is no one on the property who understands that and who can take charge and keep things at a calmer level, it can be very dangerous for the dogs. Frankly, most people who want to work at kennels are either teenagers or people that are ....lets say....difficult to trust. So, like I said, that part can be very challenging and IMO, is the biggest negative about running a kennel.

Also, it definitely pays to be both a dog person and someone who understands business. The people I know who are only one of those things are not as successful. Running a dog kennel is more about people than it may seem, so, you have to have a handle on that aspect as well. You have to know how to attract and keep customers, manage finances and also manage and train the people who work for you. So, like I said, having some business experience is a big plus. I used money I made at another job to purchase and build my kennel and ran two businesses at the same time. That required a large amount of energy and commitment and now, running just the kennel, still requires a certain energy level.

One last point, Animal Rights groups are now an almost monthly annoyance. The laws and regulations they are constantly pushing require a great deal of time to fight. This part requires that you become acquainted with your local politicians, stay informed and participate in groups designed to protect your rights as a kennel owner, business person and dog breeder. The later is really under attack and will most likely continue. This is because so many breeders are simply lazy when it comes to fighting for their rights. IMO, it will only get worse in the years ahead because the general public is being duped by big money AR groups who are experts at manipulating their emotions. Unfortunately, even dog people are helping to tighten the noose around the necks of breeders with their constant attacks on each other, preaching and accusations concerning "puppy mills" etc.

I am not even going to comment on the improving the breed stuff. So many claim they have been doing that and look at the mess that exists today. Find the best breeding dogs available and try to maintain what you have. The improvement stuff is WAY overrated.


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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 08-04-2010, 01:18 PM Thread Starter
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These are some excellent points I wasnít aware of, thank you

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As for breeding. If I figured out all the costs of simply breeding and caring for my dogs, i.e. Vets charges, food, etc, I am pretty certain, over the years, I have not made much. Certainly there are years I make money selling a litter or two but then you have the years where you are taking care of older dogs or you have a big Vet emergency that can cost thousands. The big cost events also seem to come in waves, one right after the other. Of course, it also depends on how much you care about your dogs. If you are someone who will simply dispose of the ones you are done with, well yeah, I guess you can make a few bucks. The more you control expenses, the greater potential for profit.
Iím OK with all of the costs and could never dispose of a dog (In fact Iím usually the one peopleís pets are disposed TO.) So I need to take all of the costs into consideration. The only thing keeping me from expanding the zoo at the moment is the size of the house. If I have acres of property, who know what kind of trouble I will get myself into. I need to know my limits; right now we just have two dogs so I donít really keep track of costs.
As a workaround for having to dispose of any dogs, I was thinking of co-owning the bitches and also because Iíd be worried about losing one of my own pets. I know accidents can happen during breeding so Iíd rather not be as attached.

Quote:
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I am not even going to comment on the improving the breed stuff. So many claim they have been doing that and look at the mess that exists today. Find the best breeding dogs available and try to maintain what you have. The improvement stuff is WAY overrated.
I guess I meant that more in the sense of longevity. I havenít found that breeders really track their dogs once theyíre paid for.
I feel that purchasers should report back each year regarding the health of their dogs. Confirmation is very subjective so there isnít much point in tackling that but there is a lot that can be done in terms of following up with the health and longevity of offspring. From what Iíve gathered, x-rays can be obtained fairly inexpensively so I canít understand why breeders donít do it more often, how is it acceptable to just go for one x-ray at 18 months and call it a day?
I have found that a lot of breeders think they have spectacular breeding stock if their dog is deemed a champion by a few judges and looks good on an x-ray at 2 and breed away.
Half of the reason I bought from my breeder is that she ďclaimsĒ many of her dogs have lived to 15 and she offered a 5 year replacement guarantee. There is no way Iíd ever return Jax even if I had to carry him around the house but itís nice to know if I were to lose him at an early age I wouldnít have to spend more money for another puppy.
Iíd love to be able to promise to a family that their dog has a very high chance of living past 15 and live their entire life with good hips (not just to 18 mos) AND have evidence to back that up.
Am I in dreamland?
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