Why Do Most Kennels Fail?
There’s no denying that domesticating dogs is one of mankind’s best accomplishments. Pets, partners, and confidants, dogs occupy a very special place in the heart of mankind, and a special place at the side of millions of happy humans.
We pamper our dogs, love on them, treat them like human family members (sometimes better) and allow them into our homes and hearts in billions of places around the globe. Indeed, dogs are now a part of who we are as humans, as inseparable from the human condition as breathing.
American Bullies are no different of course and, many would say, are one of the best dog breeds around. Loyal, intelligent, patient and fantastic with children, an American Bully can be a wonderful companion and friend.
But here’s the thing; as flowery as everything above may sound, if you’re thinking about opening an American Bully kennel as a business because you think they’re simply the best thing ever, think again; owning a kennel is an intense, full-time job and many fail before they even get off the ground.
Yes, there are successful kennels, and successful kennel owners, but they are the exception rather than the rule.
In this article, Why Do Most American Bully Kennels Fail, we’ll take a closer look at this interesting conundrum, and find out why man’s best friend doesn’t always translate into man’s best business. Enjoy.
What is the Main Reason Most Kennels Fail?
Here’s a fact that might be a hard pill to swallow; starting a kennel for American Bullies is something anyone with a female and male American Bully can do, kennel clubs, experience, knowledge and budgets be damned.
With practically all other dog breeds a would-be kennel owner would need to go through a respected kennel club before starting a kennel.
Even more, in some cases, nascent kennel owners would need to go through a mentorship program before being allowed to start a kennel, learning from someone with years of valuable experience in the process.
This person or persons would thus have deep knowledge and several years of experience in how to run a kennel, and know the reality of day-to-day kennel operations enough that they could avoid the pitfalls of kennel ownership.
All of that experience, time and training would be a huge boon when opening a kennel, most would agree, but with American Bullies it’s not necessary.
As we said, anyone with a male and female can start a kennel but, without the years of experience and knowledge, they would be at a great disadvantage.
In short, the main reason most kennels fail is due to the lack of experience, knowledge and insight on the part of the kennel owner(s). There are other reasons to be sure, all of which we will talk about shortly, but they are really all peripheral.
Mentorship is the Key To Kennel Success
Unfortunately, many don’t take advantage of this precious resource
Take a close look at some of the most respected, wealthy people on the planet and you know what you’ll see; they have a mentor in their lives (or had one) who guided them when they were younger and helped them achieve greatness.
Of course, you don’t have to be the richest person on the planet to take advantage of having a mentor. In fact, in many industries, they are practically a necessity.
The experienced doctor who trains interns in a hospital is a mentor, as is the plumber who’s been in business for 30 years showing his son the intricacies of the plumbing business.
Chiropractors and carpenters can be mentors if they train those new to the industry, as can a virtuoso piano player when they take a newly discovered talent under their wing.
In the kennel industry, it’s the very same thing. Anyone who has been in the industry for years and gained experience, insight, and knowledge can, and should, pass it down to the next generation of kennel owners, if only that they may succeed and keep the breed going.
Having a mentor would give the aspiring kennel owner a number of specific benefits, advantages and insights, including;
- What are Co-Owns and how to use them
- How important it is to use Contracts
- Health issues that can arise in a kennel, and how to solve them
- Complications of whelping and what to do about them
- Legal insights that you might not know or hear about from anyone else
- Financial advice gleaned from years in the industry
It’s so important to have a mentor, and be able to learn from someone who’s already been successful, that starting a kennel without it is, for all intents and purposes, a bad idea, at least financially but likely physically and mentally as well.
The Life of a Kennel Owner is Not Glamorous
Many people, maybe the person reading this article right now, become kennel owners because they truly love dogs and especially American Bullies. They find them to be a wonderful, lovable breed and, for that reason, believe that raising them for profit would be a great idea.
After all, the old saying goes “Do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” certainly seems to fit this situation. It follows that, if you love the American Bully breed, having a business related to them would be something you love and thus would never be work.
But owning and running a kennel most certainly is.
In fact, it’s a lot of work, and dedication, and time, and patience and weathering the occasional failure too.
Owning a kennel means pouring your heart and soul into something that isn’t guaranteed, not by a long shot. There will be sleepless nights whelping a new litter and tending to the mother, and those are the good nights.
Some nights you’ll be devastated to find that some (or all) of the pups are dead, others you’ll be stressed and angry that your investment in breeding a new litter has somehow failed and you’ve lost several thousand dollars.
At the end of the day, some kennel owners find themselves so stretched to the limit that it starts to cause marital discord, especially if either spouse isn’t involved in the kennel.
Trying to convince someone that you love them while spending all your time loving on American Bully pups can be a difficult conversation for anyone, we think you’ll agree.
Even children can be affected or, more precisely, neglected, when the family owns a kennel, because it truly does take up a vast quantity of your time.
In short, another reason that most kennels fail is that the work, and the stress, and the heartbreak involved in being a kennel owner can be too much for many people, who get out of the business to save their marriage or their sanity.
Running a Kennel Takes a Large Investment of Both Money and Time
It takes quite an investment of money to start an American Bully kennel, or a kennel for any other dog breed for that matter, and so a large start-up fund will definitely be needed.
This is not a business you want to start underfunded, because of all of the expenses of running a kennel, traveling to shows, whelping puppies and many more just to name a few.
More than that, however, it takes a well-thought-out business plan, a few months (at least) of planning and preparation, quite a bit of initial research and enough funds to weather the various financial storms you might encounter.
The fact is, as a brachycephalic breed, American Bullies need a lot more expert veterinary care than other breeds of dog, care that can cost thousands of dollars. Some of the types and costs or veterinary care that you will likely need include;
- Artificial insemination of females because many can’t get pregnant the ‘old fashioned’ way- $800.00 to 2000.00 on average
- Purchasing frozen semen if you want pups from a specific stud dog- $1500.00 to $5000.00 on average C-section whelping because many American Bully females can’t whelp naturally- $2500.00 to $5000.00 on average
- Genetic Testing to make sure that the sperm being used is of good quality and quantity- $500.00 to $1500.00 on average
Remember, these are just a few of the veterinary services you will probably need, and there may be more. Also, keep in mind that these aren’t the only expenses you’ll have.
As with any business, and a kennel is a business no matter how much you love American Bullies, the day-to-day expenses you’ll encounter can add up quickly, including personnel, space, advertising and marketing, insurance, phones, a website, an IT expert and several more.
Suffice to say that many kennels fail because of the simple fact that they don’t have enough cash to keep the business afloat until it can start to turn a profit and become successful. That makes underfunding another big reason why most American Bully kennels, and dog kennels in general, fail.
Insufficient Advertising and Poor (or No) Marketing
Any business, whether it’s a bakery, a dentist office or an American Bully kennel, must somehow inform the public that they exist, including what services they provide, when they provide them, and where to find them.
These are the twin tasks of advertising and marketing and they are vital if you want to run a successful kennel.
The good news is that there’s a plethora of marketing and advertising options today, including email, social media, YouTube, SMS text messaging, websites, blogs and more.
The bad news is that, unless you’re a marketing and advertising expert, or have someone in your circle of friends and family who is, both will cost you one of two things; time or money.
Some would-be kennel owners spend a lot of money on marketing and advertising and don’t get a lot in return because they don’t know what works best. Others try to do everything on their own and end up spinning their wheels and getting nowhere, with nothing to show for their efforts.
In either case, if few or no potential clients know about a kennel it will not be around for long, making advertising and marketing a key to success just like any other business.
Failure to Take Advantage of Co-Ownerships (Co-Owns) and Contracts
As in any business, there are certain things you must do to be successful, like taking advantage of certain aspects of the industry that will help your American Bully kennel to survive and thrive.
One of these is Co-Ownership of some or all of your dogs, and the other is contracts that specifically spell out what services will be provided for what fees, when they need to be paid and to whom.
Co-owns are a must because they basically split the risk between you and a 2nd owner, cutting many of your expenses in half including veterinary care and stud fees.
Yes, if all goes well, your potential profits are halved, but when things go wrong your losses will be cut in half also, which could possibly keep your doors open and your kennel running.
Then there are Contracts. Printed, signed and sealed, a successful kennel will use contracts for every single business dealing in which they engage, including the aforementioned co-owns as well as Stud Services, Selling the pups and any other business dealing.
Money makes people do funny things, especially if (and when) things go badly. If you’ve signed contracts with all of the providers that you’re working with, your kennel will be much better protected from any unscrupulous person you encounter in the industry.
Unfortunately, many kennel startups fail to use either one of these business-saving practices, putting their kennel, livelihood and even the lives of their dogs on the line.
Failure to use co-owns and contracts is the last of the big reasons why many kennels fail.
This article wasn’t written to scare or discourage anyone who truly dreams of owning and running a successful American Bully kennel, or any dog breed kennel.
For the right people, with the right knowledge and the right motives, owning a kennel can be extremely satisfying and joy-inducing. This article is simply to advise on the challenges that you will face if you decide that it’s what you want to do with your money and time.
We hope you enjoyed the article and that it answered your questions and enlightened you too. If you have more questions, need advice or would like to leave a comment, please do so in the space below, and thanks for visiting Bullyblood!