"Do the government officers really have so much time to pose as puppy buyers? Do they
really do that?" I asked the home
breeder who produced good quality puppies for sale to feed and clothe
his family as his salary as a condominium guard was less
than a thousand dollars a month.
"I can't imagine the government
officers handcuffing and escorting a mom-and -pop operator to jail for
selling puppies from the home."
The home breeder furrowed his forehead and flicked off
the dirt from his puppies. He was wasting
his breadth on an ignoramus.
"Is the AVA so over-staffed? Is home breeding and
subsequent selling of dogs an offence? Must the
home breeder sell furtively since he could not advertise
in the newspapers?"
"A pet shop licence costs $300 per
year," the home breeder
elaborated. "If home breeders are allowed to
flourish, the AVA would lose their licensing revenue and
would not be able to
"The tight pet shop regulations stifle any home start ups
and are at odds with the
politicians announcement to encourage enterpreneurship," I said.
"How about selling puppies over the internet? Would
the AVA officers pounce on the internet Seller at the
click of a mouse?"
The home breeder wrinkled his eye brows. He did not know
what I was talking about. He was selling puppies and not
"By mouse, I mean the thing used to connect the internet surfer
to the computer" I explained. "Surely,
you don't need a pet shop licence to sell puppies on a web page?"
I continued, "Your son has graduated from the Polytechnic and should
be able to help out."
His son was not that keen to help the father. He had too many
activities with friends. Besides he did not have a digital
camera to take digital images which are an essential
component of the internet marketing of puppies. Anyway, he would have to enlist for National
The home breeder was in his late forties. His generation
avoided the technological advances of the internet. The
concept of a virtual pet shop was alien.
It was too much to learn a new technique and too costly.
Singapore's webmasters cost too much and the small
operators, though providing cheap internet services are seldom in business
It was hard for the older breeder to consider the internet marketing of
puppies as a long term business strategy.
"Why not put up a picture of your Beagles over the internet?" I asked
the breeder. " A picture is worth a thousand words. The
sadder the Beagles look, the more attractive they are to Beagle
lovers." His four puppies really looked glum and that meant
The pictures were put on the internet.
He got a prospective Buyer within 7 days. The Buyer
liked one of his Beagles because it had more white colour than the
others he saw at the pet shops.
There was one condition. The
breeder had to keep the Beagle
for four weeks on behalf of the Buyer as his child was studying for her
Primary School Leaving Examinations (PSLE). The PSLE is a very
important turning point in a 12-year-old as getting excellent grades mean going
to the top schools such as Raffles Institution and Raffles Girls School.
A puppy would distract her from her studies.
The Internet Beagle was to be
a surprise present from a doting father.
"No," the breeder replied. "I don't mind keeping for one week.
Puppies sometimes do get infected and die. I don't want the problems."
A keen Buyer who was ready to put his money down. A successful
internet contact. But now, we have an inflexible Seller.
So close to closing a sale and yet so far. Would the Beagle die
The Internet Beagle would make a happy surprise from a
father for a PSLE daughter. He would be much loved and would go to a
Every breeder wants good homes for their puppies as they
see them as their own children. This buyer, from his background, would
be able to provide a very good and loving home.
The Buyer had nobody to care for the puppy for the next four weeks.
Now, we have to walk away from a deal. What should I suggest?
Mind my own business?
Yet, I know this Beagle would get a good home after talking to the
Buyer. He was a professor in the Business University. I knew
that the Beagle would have a good home. It was unlikely that the
puppy would be abandoned to the humane shelter after one
year as the professor had done his research and read up
a lot on Beagles. He would be much loved by the PSLE girl and family
There was only one solution. I
checked his health. He was fine. I agreed to look after him for the
PSLE girl. The Beagle had no health problems. Two siblings at the pet
shop and the breeder developed kennel cough. The disease was not
serious and they did recover. Their growth rate was slowed. For
this Beagle, he did not cough as there were no other puppies infecting
him with the kennel cough germs. He
chewed up things and dug holes in the garden of my house. When the PSLE were
completed, he met the PSLE girl and went to a home full of love.
All Singapore breeders think that a website is not
cost-effective. Nobody will visit a
puppy-for-sale website to justify its set up. Besides, there is
a demand from pet shop operators for their puppies.
Singapore's dog breeders have no problem selling their puppies to the
pet shops and therefore have no desire to incur more costs in
maintaining a website. However, the prices they get for their high
quality puppies are lower than what they can get from
Internet prospects prefer to check the websites at their own convenience
and time to qualify the
available before going to see them. The good Buyers are foreigners
who want a certain colour and breed and will be prepared to pay a
premium for such quality. Without the website, it is not possible
to reach such Buyers.
puppy selling market is intensely competitive as are all retail
businesses in a developed Singapore. Rampant price under-cutting
is common but will not sustain the profitability of the breeder's business in the long
term. Puppy-selling regulations introduced regularly to protect
the interest of the public and the welfare of animals jack up costs.
Instead of thinking ways and means to contain and cut costs, building a
website to display your top quality puppies regularly is
mandatory for survival in the long term.
Internet marketing is one avenue to generate more business if
you have products in demand and if you breed top quality puppies. There is less reliance on the
price-sensitive Singaporean Buyer and pet shop operators who
invariably presses down your puppy prices.
The website enables the Singapore canine breeder
to globalise without having to spend money to set up brick and mortar
shops overseas. It is beyond the scope of this article to explain
how a website can generate more business or build up the brand name of
UPDATE ON ABOVE BEAGLE PUPPY
The Internet Beagle is 6 years old in 2009