Alex Nkwanga, 32, never thought that breeding dogs would turn out to be his career. “In 2000, I went to visit Nairobi, Kenya for a dog show.
BY SAMUEL LUTWAMA
Alex Nkwanga, 32, never thought that breeding dogs would turn out to be his career. “In 2000, I went to visit Nairobi, Kenya for a dog show. While there, I bought my first German shepherd puppy at Shs600, 000. I reckoned that having bought that dog expensively, I could as well earn a living through doing the same in Uganda. “I lived with this dog for quite a long time before it passed away. However, I had mated it with another shepherd breed hence the birth of six puppies. With those, I started Savannah Dog Breeder,” Nkwanga recalls.
To widen his knowledge in the field of breeding dogs, he outsourced breeders worldwide. His passion caught the attention of other breeders outside the country, who sponsored him to attend various dog shows in and outside Uganda. That was motivation as far as pursuing his childhood hobby was concerned.
“I came to realise that most of the German shepherds in Uganda at the time were not of good breed, perhaps due to irresponsible inbreeding. I took the situation to my advantage to set up a professional breeding Kennel in Kimbejja village in Kireka, Namugongo Road,” he says. Nkwanga adds that he prides himself in being one the pioneers of setting up the culture of breeding and adding value to dogs in Uganda. Nkwanga, a marketer by profession, says that since starting the business of breeding dogs, his financial status has been transformed.
DIVERSIFYING HIS SERVICES
“Through my innovativeness, I have been able to spread business territory from dog breeding, to dog training, dog hostel services, pet shipments, Savannah Dog Security services and Savannah poultry farm,” he says. These, according to him, have turned his life around. “I have been able to construct a beautiful house in Namugongo worth millions of money and provide employment to other people. I have professionals too in the administrative department,” he says.
Mutabazi Kenneth, a marketing manager at the Savannah Security Services, gave up a lucrative job in Standard Chartered Bank to venture into the world of dogs. Nkwanga says he is driven by challenges. “They inspire and motivate me. Security is a diverse profession and it offers challenges that have got to be met head-on,” he says In the same way, Nkwanga reveals that if you treat dogs with love and tender care, they pay back in the same kind through providing good security and companionship.
“Many people are seeking our dogs to guard their properties, especially in areas where human guards have been found wanting in terms of service delivery and trust. You cannot easily bribe a dog, but man has always been a victim of the same vice,” he says. Nkwanga says his company was legalised by the Government to open up a security firm at the beginning of 2012. He confesses that he has been overwhelmed by the demand for dogs.
FEEDING AND TRAINING
Nkwanga says: “All the dogs at the breed kennel are fed on posho, rice and meat and the boarding ones with customised food since they spend a short time in the breeding kennel,” He adds that since dogs are carnivorous, meat is an essential item on their daily menu, but stresses that they shpould be fed depending on their sizes, “Although Savannah Dog Breeders has been on the market for a short time, we are being overwhelmed by demand,” he says.
Nkwanga adds that he uses dogs and not human beings because they are loyal and incorruptible. He adds that dogs are taken through various drills to equip them with the necessary skills for providing security services. These, for instance include, the poison escape training using food poisoning and scent discrimination.
Nkwanga admits that in future, dogs will take over jobs which are predominately being done by men. With the huge demand already on the market, he says his gun free security company will become international. “My dream is to transform Savannah Dog Security services into a reliable security services,” adds.
GOING BEYOND BORDERS
Nkwanga says besides the local market, his dogs are also on demand in other countries. “We now have acquired contacts in Juba, Southern Sudan, Kenya and South Africa. We are soon opening another office in Israel with Anubis Security, an Isreali company,” he says, adding: “They visited our website, saw what we are doing and picked interest in us.
He boasts that what makes his company stand out is that they are very committed to service delivery. Though he beams with hope for the dog business, he says of late, many dog trainers have come on board, but most of them are unprofessional. This has affected the quality of dogs on the market.
Nonetheless, he points out that some of the business premises in Kampala have been taken over by his well—trained dogs. “One of our dogs can do an excellent job of four human guards,” he says
Minting money from dog services