Toy Dogs, the New Opportunity for Farmers in Kenya


Modernisation has come with many facets of living. The one animal that was once relegated to only guarding homes and hunting, is now viewed as a status symbol. This is especially common among young and the middle to upper class who are very status conscious. Dogs are now living indoors, being groomed and taken out for walks, and their food is being bought at the supermarket.

Let me share a funny story. My grandmother recently came from the village to visit us in Nairobi. She was beyond baffled when she saw a small, white, silky haired Maltese dog running around the house, and in some instances comfortably sitting on my laps as I stroked my fingers through its fur. As if that was not enough, she saw us washing the dog in warm water and dog shampoo! Her jaws dropped and she was left speechless. My grandmother, being a village dweller, is used to the dogs whose purpose is to guard the homestead, this was very strange to her. She even made this funny comment, “I would be damned to find myself taking care of a dog like a baby.” The reality is, dogs now compete for attention with children, and in some instances have replaced children!

Opportunity for Farmers

Status consciousness amid the widening inequality gap in Kenya has created a great market for dogs, especially the toy dogs.

Toy dogs, traditionally refers to a grouping of small and very small breeds of dog such as Bichon Frise, Bolognese, Chihuahua, Chinese Crested Dog, Japanese Spitz, Japanese Chin, Spaniel, Maltese, Pekingese, Poodle, Russkiy Toy, Shih Tzu, Spaniel, Terrier, among others.

Of all these, the Chihuahua, Maltese, Pomeranian, Australian terrier and Japanese Spitz are the common breeds in Kenya.

Some of the services that farmers venturing into this can offer include:

  1. Dog training services – obedience and aggressive training, potty training, guard dog training (Average Price: Ksh30,000)
  2. Dog breeding services – breed puppies and sell them after training (Average Price: Ksh10,000 – Ksh50,000)
  3. Dog boarding services – when dog owners want to travel they can leave their dogs with you (Average Price: Ksh500 per dog, per day)

How to Get Started

When starting a dog venture, one has to have a good understanding of various breeds. They ought to be up-to-date with breed trends, where the demand is, needs and lifestyle of the target market, where to market the products and most importantly, the legal requirements for a dog breeding business. Ensure you have all the dog’s Documents such as medical history and proof of registration.

How Much To Invest

Starting a dog venture in Kenya isn’t that complicated. If you’re short of starting capital, you can start off as purely a freelance dog trainer and in that case you will not require any monetary capital; just passion, sweat capital and a hustler’s attitude.

You can however consider venturing into the more lucrative dog breeding business which requires about Ksh100, 000 to Ksh150, 000 to start, with the following breakdown;

  • Kennels – Ksh10,000
  • Puppies – Ksh20,000 (Pure breed)
  • Dog food – Ksh10,000
  • Marketing – Ksh10,000
  • City Council Dog License – Ksh1,000 (Rate applicable in Nairobi City Only)
  • Miscellaneous – Ksh20,000

How Much To Expect

On average, an established trainer and breeder currently makes between Ksh100, 000 and Ksh500, 000 per month.


Joy Gichangi

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