KATHMANDU: Along with the rapid rise in the number of nuclear families, the tendency to adopt a pet as a family member has also increased. And as most people choose dogs to be their trusted companions and security providers, the canine business is now
moving ahead sure-footedly.
Suresh Shah, managing director of Mt Everest Kennel Club, says, “The industry is witnessing a slow but sure growth. When we started the business around 15 years ago, all our dogs were imported. But currently, we fulfil 70 per cent of the demand through local breeding.”
Japanese Spitz, German Shepherd, Labrador, Dachshund, Dalmatian, Great Dane, Boxer, Pug, Rottweiler, Saint Bernard, et cetera are dog breeds available in the Nepali market. Among these, German Shepherds and Japanese Spitzs are most popular, biting off 70 per cent of the entire dog sales. There is also growing interest among clients for rare breeds like Saint Bernard, Great Dane, Pug and Rottweiler, which can
be purchased for prices ranging from Rs 30,000 to Rs 38,000. Similarly, German Shepherds cost between Rs 13,000 to Rs 15,000 and Japanese Spitz costs Rs 6,000. The minimum price for a pup starts at Rs 6,000 and goes up to Rs 38,000.
Suresh Karki, managing director of Mahanagar Animal Research Centre, says, “In general, clients spend between Rs 6,000 to Rs 15,000 to purchase a pet.” According to him, the pet industry has benefited from the changing attitudes of people.
He explains, “Traditionally, there was a concept that pets were owned only by upper-class families. However, these days, customers from the middle-class form a significant number of our clients, which is really encouraging.”
There are currently 35 pet stores in the valley, with four to five new ones being added each year. Although there is potential growth, Nepal still has to rely upon foreign countries for the supply of dog food, accessories, medicines and other essentials.
Informing that 14 to 15 tonnes of dog food is imported daily, Karki says, “A large amount of money is being spent on importing dog food and meeting pet requirements. While there are over 1,500 imported pet products in the market — mostly from India — not a single product is manufactured in Nepal. If we start manufacturing dog food and medicines within the country, we can generate employment as well as save on expenses.”
He also complains of lack of knowledge and awareness about caring, rearing, feeding and grooming dogs even though the trend of keeping pets has increased. He reveals that this lack of know-ledge is the major reason for some breeders and kennel clubs duping customers.
Agreeing with Karki, Shah says, “Pets are like new born babies and how they turn out depends on their handling and upbringing. Owners should compulsorily enrich themselves with knowledge of the breed besides training their pets and ensuring
regular check-ups.” Stating that the business is seasonal, he adds, “Summer is the best time for the business, while not much trading takes place during winter and the festive seasons. Our business is also directly proportional to the country’s economy, as
it increases and decreases in accordance with the per capita income.”
Him KC, founder member of Royal Kennel, states that there is fierce competition in the pet industry. “We have no clear dimension regarding animal rights or animal business. This lack of rules and regulations is causing both pets and their business to suffer,” KC says. He considers negligence in maintaining breed quality, lack of uniformity, high mortality rate of puppies, pet stores that open without meeting minimum requirements, uncertainty of production and difficulty in meeting demands as some hassles faced by those involved in the dog breeding industry.
Other players also suggest the government should introduce rules and regulations regarding animal rights and regulations for the pet business. They opine that if this industry is properly maintained and monitored by the state, unhealthy competition will be minimised and there will be an increase in revenue along with a higher sense of respons-ibility.