I continue to struggle with “cost” being used as a factor for why purebred dogs are declining in numbers when the Pet Care Industry continues to show growth in sales year upon year, touting itself as being recession proof. From the 2016 Pet Care Industry Analysis I’m reading the following and thinking that “cost” is not the issue we want to think it is: “The pet industry continues to prove itself nearly recession proof… Consumers may be cutting expenses in other areas of their household budgets, but they are still opening their wallets for their furry friends…Since 1988, pet ownership has expanded from 56% of households to 62%. That’s 71.4 million homes! Often one animal just isn’t enough: some 46% of all households own more than one pet.” Spending exceeds $60 BILLLION on pet products and services and this my friends does not include the “cost” of the pet.
So, if more households own more pets than ever before, how is it that the purebred dog continues to decline in numbers across most of our breeds when dogs are the most popular pet? Obviously, we haven’t priced ourselves out of the market as some believe, nor is the public skimping on spending on their pets, instead I would propose that we have not marketed our purebreds with the same ferocity nor the same expertise as that which has been employed by those promoting the mixed and designer mixed breeds, be they breeders or shelters. While we, as responsible breeders and purebred owners, continue to spend our dollars to do health certifications, to prove merit through show/performance events, and to contribute funding to canine health research, have the other dog markets been free to spend their dollars selling their dogs and puppies to the public, thus outpacing us to the point of a decline in purebred numbers? Are they selling their mixed breeds at the expense of the very health issues we are dedicated to controlling through our research and testing?
Perhaps we need to realize that we should go back to basics and recreate a more positive image for our purebreds and our breeders…we need to ensure that responsible breeders are completely separated from the vile puppy mill breeder and we need to sell why buying a purebred puppy is like buying a favorite brand of soap – you know what you’re getting and you know you’re going to like it (when it’s grown up)! Our general public is very brand conscious, yet we are not branding our dogs, nor are we marketing our brand (breed) to the same degree as the generic dogs now favored by the public. While this may not be the whole answer as to what needs to be done, it is food for thought and a place to start our effort to restore the purebred to it’s rightful place in the pet market.
Oh… PS: Maybe we should start putting a trademark on our breed names to stop others from using our breed’s name when describing a generic dog, why should it be OK to use Golden Retriever mix or Beagle mix when describing the dog in the same place where things like”Adopt don’t Shop” are said? If breed doesn’t matter why use it? Just smiling at the irony there!
Want to know more about where people spent money on pets click here: Pet Industry Market Size .
Sally Gift, Mesa AZ