Raphael Kithinji, a former financial analyst, turned his childhood love for dogs into a successful dog breeding business. He transformed his passion for dogs into a profitable venture over the years, earning recognition for his pedigree dogs and generating significant revenue.
Kithinji’s connection with his beloved dog Works sparked a lifelong passion for dogs. Following Works’ passing, Kithinji left his high-profile job as a financial analyst with the government in 2012 to dedicate himself to dog breeding.
In 2015, Kithinji faced a predicament when friends wanted to buy puppies from his first litter. With only six puppies and more than ten interested buyers, he contemplated his options. One friend offered to purchase a puppy for Sh20,000, inspiring Kithinji to consider selling the puppies as a business opportunity. To his surprise, all the puppies were sold at the offered price, setting the foundation for his dog breeding enterprise.
The turning point came later that year when three ranch owners visited Kithinji’s farm seeking pedigree dogs. Impressed by the quality of his German Shepherd puppies, they offered to pay Sh35,000 per puppy. This experience motivated Kithinji to build a reputable breeding business. Despite challenges in finding dogs with proper pedigree papers in Kenya, he persevered for three years, eventually acquiring five dogs with pedigree records from various locations in the country. This achievement helped elevate the quality of his breeding stock.
During the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, Kithinji diversified his business further by importing two Doberman and two Pinscher puppies from the US. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Kithinji’s business remained resilient and continued to flourish.
Kithinji believes that starting a dog breeding business offers several advantages, including a lack of seasonal fluctuations, the potential to start with minimal capital, and no formal training requirements. As of 2021, he owned 50 pedigree dogs of various breeds and has sold numerous puppies, earning a total of Sh16 million against an initial investment of Sh4.2 million. Kithinji envisions establishing a large-scale export enterprise that attracts international clients, and with his financial and IT background combined with his expertise in dog breeding, he is well-positioned to achieve this goal.