Over the years countless Kennels have come and gone. The average life span for a breeder in this business is 2-3 years.. although many are completely out of breeding before then. What seems to be the cause? What separates the ones that last from the ones that pop up only to disappear a few years later.
Why do Most Kennels Fail?
There are many reasons a business can fail, but when it comes to dog breeding the answer is often simple: Most kennels that fail have a few things in common: wrong intentions and a lack of real knowledge that is passed down through mentorship. Most respected kennel clubs have mentorship programs, some even require a mentor prior to showing or breeding. Not so with The American Bully-anyone, anywhere that owns 2 dogs can decide to become a breeder.
Why is Having A Mentor Important?
What do Larry Page, Steve Jobs and every Shark Tank mogul have in common? They’ve all received guidance from mentors. Yes – even the famously individually-minded Apple Founder got by with a little help, advice and support from time to time. No matter whom you are, where you’ve come from, or what you have achieved, a good mentor is an invaluable asset in business… When it comes to dog breeding, having someone who’s seen it all- Issues with Co-Owns, Contracts, Health Issues, Birth complications etc.. will not only help, but can prevent some pretty avoidable legal and financial issues and might even save the life of one of your dogs.
Newly established kennels get caught up with the excitement and potential finanical gain that they either see on social media or hear about from other breeders. What they fail to understand is the time and work involved in having a successful setup.
What most need to understand is that the few who manage to turn a profit have years and years invested into their yards. What you’re not seeing is the struggle, the loss of money it took to gain the knowledge to properly produce quality dogs: the time away from family traveling to different shows, the sleepless nights whelping litters, the heartbreak of losing puppies, the devastation of investing several thousand into a litter only to find out it didn’t take, or even worse the bitch didn’t make it. The frustration from customers who expected a puppy that wasn’t delivered. The arguments with a spouse over your love for these dogs the list could go on.. This isn’t for the faint of heart.
Having knowledge and the ability to use that knowledge is two different things. True knowledge and understanding of genetics, business, cost, care etc. comes from real life experience, mentorship and studying. Knowledge you gain through these sources not only save you financially but prevent unfavorable outcomes. As a breeder you’re working with live breathing animals and your actions can cause suffering. It’s important we regain these old fashion practices to secure our breeds long term survivability. The system that’s currently established is causing great instability in our future growth and public image.
Olin Stephens of Grindhouse Bullies states “Over the years I’ve personally mentored many upcoming breeders and to this day I still guide and support them in their breeding programs. The learning process is never ending- even for all those expert breeders out there, every day is an opportunity to improve and expand your knowledge. It’s your duty to share what you’ve learned and help educate others. Align yourself with individuals that have the proper mindset to grow and develop your skill as much as their own. Not every outcome will be a success story when greed and ego takes hold- failure is not far behind. The beginner is just as easily victim to this as established kennels/breeders.”
It’s important to remain humble and always seek to improve yourself and others.
Lack of Quality Breeding Stock
They call them Foundation Males & Females for a reason. If you’re not building on a solid foundation it won’t last. You NEED QUALITY BREEDING STOCK. Without it, you’ll be spending generation after generation correcting faults.
Lack of Quality Females
From Texas Size Bullies owner “Females in my opinion, separate the men from the boys.” There is some debate as to the exact amount a female passes on to her offspring. Some say 60%, others say that with genetics it should be closer to 50%. “I’m not quite sure what the scientists decided on, I only know what I’ve seen with my own eyes (in more than one breed) and in my opinion females are as, if not more important than the males.”
“I see so many breedings where mediocre bitches get paired with the Top Studs and the breeder thinks it’s the hottest breeding ever. Very few kennels have Top bitches to pair with a Top Stud to produce consistent litters time after time.”
– Texas Size Bullies
Improper Use of Finances
Improper use of finances is a large factor that contributes to kennel failure. When it comes to finances you must apply basic business practices, incorrect spending can put a strain on any kennel or business. You must take the time to not only research general breeding practices but also invest time in planning a proper business model, calculating risk and choose to act appropriately. Never think you can buy a kennel and be an over night breeder buy reading a couple articles online and be truly successful. With financial stress and inexperience you’ll see improper evaluations on breedings and stud fees. People need to understand you need to properly establish yourself before expecting a large return.
Lack of Advertising/Promotion
Invest in your program, don’t be cheap either. You NEED TO ADVERTISE. It doesn’t matter if you have the baddest dog on the planet if no one gets to see it. Every successful business markets their product. With the rise of social media you can reach several hundred thousand people overnight. Our average weekly reach is just over million people. You can Advertise in a magazine, have a professional HD Video created, promote on Facebook, Google +, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest.. the possibilities are endless. You’ll need a following if you expect to sell your pups at a decent price. We can help with building a following.
Check our Advertising Rates
Patrick Volpe, a successful breeder, show host and one of the first involved in the shorty bull breed posted a “breeder timeline” which was pretty entertaining, and astonishingly accurate. Although he was a little generous with the lifespan of the average breeder if you ask us. Anyhow, here’s the post:
“What’s the average career of a dog breeder now a days? I say 4.
Year One: Buy your stock. Make friends. Join cliques.
Year Two: Breed your stock Win a few shows and make some titles. Sell your stock and make a bunch of Co-Owns
Year Three: Your stock hits the rings. Now your the shit and know more then everyone. Win some, Lose some But know it ALL
Year Four: All your co-owns fucked you. Half your stock needs replacement. Dogs are dying. Done spent your life savings so can’t even afford vets or shows. Find a new hustle in the world or the undeniable post of “ALL DOGS MUST GO, For Sale but Not on Sale so come correct!”
Lack of Vision
How often do you see posts of blood from a female in heat followed by “Looking For Stud”? Then deciding from a thread full of posts from thirsty Stud owners and then taking the cheapest offer.
Nothing says “I have no Vision for my program” better than a last minute post while a female is in heat just starting the search for a Stud. And nothing says “I’ll breed with anything for a dollar” than posts from 100’s of Stud owners on a post without knowing anything about the female needing a Stud. Any legitimate breeder with a Top Stud won’t auction their Stud off cheap because they don’t want to devalue their line to make a couple bucks.
You need Contracts for EVERYTHING. Everyone is on the same page until money starts to come in, and money makes people act funny. If you don’t have Contracts in place for Stud Service, Co-Owns, Puppies For Sale etc.. You are setting yourself up for failure.
The bully world is full of drama. As your kennel progresses people will talk down about you and your program. You’ll hear several people bitch online that your stock isn’t good enough, and that anyone who is serious should spend more on foundation dogs for their program. On the flip side of the coin- if you spend money and invest in quality dogs other breeders will say “anyone can buy a top dog” and boast online their dogs are “produced, not bought” If you’re on the right track others will get jealous, and jealousy breeds envy.
Remember this quote “people want to see you do well, but never better than them.” In the bully world, most won’t even want you to do well.
No one ever became a breeder without starting with a dog or dogs that they didn’t produce, and anyone that views you as a threat will bitch and complain.. especially if you’re selling pups at higher prices than them. You can’t please everyone, block it out.. it’s just noise. Follow your vision.
If you argue and use foul language and go back and forth with other breeders slinging insults it reflects poorly on you and your kennel.
Be a Good Sport
If you’re competing in Confirmation Shows-eventually you will lose. Congratulate the winner and don’t bitch and whine or complain about Judges, the Registry etc.. It makes you look childish, and it will turn away customers. Whether the outcome was in your favor or not, thank the registry, the judges and your competitors.
Lastly I will discuss claims and drama that will poison and destroy even the most established kennel. Never speak or repeat the words of another with out fully understanding the facts. If other breeders are talking about you, unless you’re doing something unethical or wrong.. it’s usually a good thing. Avoid getting sucked into online drama at all costs.
Getting caught up in drama online will put a strain on your time and the energy you should be putting into your program. Hopefully we’ve highlighted the leading causes of kennel failure and shed some light on some of the growing problems within our community.