Mashudu Netsianda, senior reporter
SINCE time immemorial, the dog has been known to be man’s best friend.
Naturally, humans fall in love with dogs for different reasons, depending on their varying skills and characteristics.
Some of these pets are smart and protective, so some people are willing to part with hundreds of dollars to own their chosen breed.
Security companies and businessmen mainly opt for German Shepherds for their noble character, loyalty, curiosity and high intelligence.
Boerboels and Rottweilers are generally valued for their large size, obedience, and territorial nature.
Due to the demand for different breeds, many entrepreneurial people have now turned dog breeding into a viable business that generates thousands of US dollars.
Among the rising generation of these entrepreneurs are two enterprising Dube brothers, Baron (44) and Sifelani (41) from Esigodini in the province of South Matabeleland.
They succeeded in breaking the monopoly of dog breeding, largely dominated by veterinary and security societies.
The two brothers, while operating separately, have established themselves as quality dog ââbreeders, which include Rottweilers, German Shepherds and Boerboels, fox-type dog breeds, and crossbreeds of British Bulldog and Boerboels.
Baron, father of 14 children, has been involved in dog breeding in his locality since 2010.
He owns 11 Boerboel breed dogs and sells the puppies to private individuals, mainly commercial farmers in Kwekwe in the Midlands.
Of the 11 Boerboel breed dogs, three of them are females. He said that a female dog, if she gets a good meal, can produce quality puppies that can earn her up to US $ 7,000 per year.
âDepending on the grade, a single puppy can fetch up to US $ 400 for a purebred puppy. My market are commercial farmers in Kwekwe. They buy puppies primarily for the protection of the house. I specialize in Boerboels because they are very economical in terms of food consumption, âhe said.
âOf course my dogs produce 20 puppies and when they mature in eight weeks I sell them. “
The dogs give birth three times a year.
Baron says he spends nearly US $ 700 a month on dog food and dog vaccines.
âI always make sure the dogs are well fed and well cared for. I also dive the dogs once a month, âhe said.
Baron says he was inspired by his father who used to keep many dogs for domestic purposes in their home in Filabusi.
âWhen I grew up my father had a strong passion for dogs and kept many dogs. When I was old enough to start my own house, I decided to get into commercial dog breeding, âhe said.
âDog breeding is good business. Naturally, I am in cattle breeding and mining, but lately I have realized that dog breeding is actually the activity that generates the most money for me.
Baron stated that the common breed that is marketable in Zimbabwe is a Boerboel.
He said it is popular because it is easily accessible in neighboring South Africa.
âWe have a Zimbabwean breed commonly known as the Rhodesian Ridgeback or lion greyhound, but it is expensive and now rare. Unlike other dogs, he is very courageous and is able to fight a lion. In South Africa they sell them for R15,000 per puppy, so importing them is expensive, âhe said.
“In Zimbabwe most local breeders prefer the Boerboel because it is affordable, especially for people with properties to defend as it is a vicious dog with a scary physique.”
Baron says he feeds his dogs dog meal and sawdust. However, when it comes to food, Boerboels can even eat isitshwala unlike other breeds that require expensive food like German Shepherds who only eat raw meat.
Baron said that due to the increase in burglary and theft cases, breeds such as Boerboel and German Shepherds are in demand as security dogs.
Baron’s younger brother, Sifelani, who specializes in fox-like pedigree dogs, says he was inspired by his brother to venture into dog breeding. He converted his backyard into a dog breeding space in the township of Habane, Esigodini.
âI was staying with my brother in 2010 and he was doing dog breeding and that really inspired me. When I got married, I decided to go into dog breeding full time. Dog breeding is fast and profitable, unlike cattle breeding, because a dog gives birth three times a year, âhe said. âWith a dog breeding business, you can survive as long as you have a market. My market is in Bulawayo. I specialize in the Fox breed because it is quite vicious and I am known around Esigodini for raising the most vicious dogs.
Sifelani said dogs need to be constantly vaccinated against diseases such as rabies.
âWhen my business was just starting out, my puppies died every time a bitch gave birth. At one point, I lost 10 puppies after succumbing to parvo. It is important to keep the puppies in a healthy environment and the kennels must be constantly disinfected, âhe said.
âI am now experienced in dog breeding, so I do the injections and vaccinations myself. You need a healthy environment and a good diet, and vaccinations and injections are expensive. “
On average, Sifelani said he makes around US $ 2,000 a good month depending on the quality of the breed. If the quality is low, he is forced to reduce the price. Usually, Fox puppies are priced at US $ 200 each.- @mashnets