News Newsinterview with mr Reza Farzadi

interview with mr Reza Farzadi

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It is not just about the business; we actually care and prioritize dog welfare
As we are not only care about our business and deeply consider the health and well-being of dogs, if a person will not be able to give a dog the attention, care and lifestyle they deserve, we will kindly inform them and refuse to sell. 
Mr Farzadi, would you please provide a personal biography for Kabook Readers?
I’m Reza Farzadi, The head of Pet Box Kennel; I’ve been breeding dogs since 2002 and have started my business as a dog importer since 2004. I entered this business out of passion and since I realized I don’t have a space for keeping a dog, I’ve decided to create this space outdoor and started with Great Dane dog breed in a small place called pension. I had a pack of 40 dogs which then I registered to market. There have been a few years since this profession or industry has grown in Iran and many investors became interested in that. And despite the current economic condition in Iran, this is one of the few businesses that have a great potential to grow even more. 
What was your main occupation before you enter this business?
My profession was hardware and I was a networking engineer in the Ministry of Commerce up to 2010. Our company which called Nasim was handling the design, performance and maintenance. I have worked in this domain for three years and then in 2010, I’ve decided to focus on dog husbandry as my second profession. The Pet Box Kennel that you see today, has been established for 5 years and is the result of years of my experience in this field. With only investing 1 million tomans and in a space of 400 meters, I set up the first dog kennel with the help of Mr. Majid Moghaddam and then we borrowed some shelves and started the business. Our business continued up to 2004, till I regretted breeding dogs and entered in network marketing. While I was there I got to know Hadi which lead to starting the business again. After 3 years, I got to cooperate with Mohamad Samadi and established this kennel in 2011. At the beginning, it was just a wasteland which we replaced the soil and refined the water. Dog breeding can be a profitable job, but only if you are interested. 
Is dog breeding in Iran is based on fundamental principles or all the good dogs are imported?
Each industry must start from one point. The dog breeding industry has been firmly established in Iran, but about five years ago, the industry became the subject of emulation and all the dogs were purchased based on what was heard and seen. But now, customers that want to buy dogs, are fully aware and informed. For example, although I do not agree that Husky dog breed is not suitable for Iran’s climate, but it is not really that usable. On the other hand, the other breeds such as Golden Retriever, Border Collie, Malinois or German Shepherd has been more popular and people that wants to choose and buy, have a good information about them. I also saw people that search for the identification of the father and even possible illnesses. There may be only a 15-20 percent of the buyers that have not enough information. Currently, so many breeds imported from top kennels of the world to Iran and our reputable breeders offered great puppies to the market, so I do not agree that only imported dogs are good.  Also, by focusing more on this industry, we will even be able to export to countries such as Saudi Arabia, Dubai and Kuwait that are interested in best dog breeds.  
Does Iran Veterinary Organization have any standards for breeding dogs? If so, did you set up Pet Box kennel based on these standards?
Unfortunately, unlike the standards that exist in my mind or the international guidelines, our country was not in favor of creating a place for boarding dogs or breeding them until several years ago and reacted negatively to the idea. There are so many books on crocodile breeding, ornamental birds, laying chickens or cattle housing, and there are also good drugs for this category, but sadly there is none for dogs. In the Jihad book, dogs are referred to as a pet, but as it has been a neglected issue; there is no guideline for that. Hopefully, with establishing good boarding kennels, we shift the attitude towards these animals. Dog is a multipurpose animal that can be used in military, medicine, rescue and even drug discovery, but in a meeting about buying a several pack of German Shephard dog for search and rescue, the head of crisis management office said that they purchased some devices for 2 billion tomans, which works like a rescue dog and find alive people under rubble. However, the percentage of error was higher than the actual rescue dog and cost even more. 
What are the kennels and breeders problems in Iran?
Unfortunately, there are a lot of problems. First of all, dog feeding is not possible to be done without guidelines. Basically, if you want to feed the dogs based on principles, there may be some problems. Usually, the large kennels use the meat and poultry wastes which has been sold illegally as smuggled goods. These wastes should be completely eliminated, but instead shipped inappropriately and brought to our kennels, and if we use the dried and canned food based on global nutrition guidelines, we have to pay an enormous price for that. Dogs are considered luxury in the eyes of the government and no subsidy is associated with these animals. Therefore, required supplies, accessories and food for the kennels are purchased at high price; on the other hand, there is no support or supervision from government’s organizations on these kennels as it should be. For example if you want to get an operational license for a cattle house or poultry farm, several types of license will be granted which ministry of agriculture Jihad will issue, such as rural license for employment growth in small rural environments and industrial one for larger environments that need more supervision. Also, related to this, loans with low interests will be provided. Referring to the dog breeding, not only these licenses will not be granted, but when it comes to applying for one, we are required to comply with standards that are not applicable to any land. For example, it should be noted that the aforementioned land, must be a thousand meters away from residential area, which unfortunately we will face with some problems for supplying water and electricity. 
Has anyone ever been able to get an operating license for dog boarding kennel in Iran?
The first person that successfully obtained a license was the well-known Koroush Ebrahimi. After that, several people in different counties were able to do that. 
What is the benefit of having this license?
The license actually represents the official permission for working in the dog breeding domain, and the standards that need to be observed are mentioned in that. Basically, breeding dogs is totally different from breeding other animals, but unfortunately it has not been included in the license. All who follow dog breeding in Iran are based on their experience and personal interest.
So there is no written rule about boarding kennel in Iran?
No, unfortunately, you will not find any written standards in this domain, neither from Jihad, nor from Iran veterinary Organization. 
How many breeds of dogs are you working on currently?
I work on almost 27 breeds of dogs, which is in opposition to the universal standards. In my opinion, when there is a strong demand in the market and high sale potential, we can work on several breeds which will naturally be more interesting for customers who have the right to choose. For example, if I only work on two specific breeds, it is recommended to visitors to only choose between these two. 

Is it true that it’s much easier for visiting customers to check a few showcases of breed, but it will be hard for you to go with several breeds?
Yes, it is true. As the business grows more, you will face with more problems and challenges. For example, work that needs to be done in the kennel with 200 intact dogs is 10 times more than a kennel with 20. 
How many intact dogs do you have?
We have about a pack of 200 intact dogs, and we are trying to make a team with minimum weaknesses. For example, we have a veterinarian settled in our complex. About nutrition, we try to consider the best for dogs and even If some brands may be short on dry food in the current situation, we foresaw it and already stored them.  It’s not like we don’t use the poultry wastes, but we will compensate the deficiency with yoghurt, bread and cereals. Therefore, I can safely say that none of our dogs is malnutrition. We provided separate environments for dogs of different sizes and even miniature dogs. However, every kennel has its own weaknesses and ours is not impeccable either, but visitors are pleased, as they can see a set of breeds together. 
Which breed is the best seller in your kennel?
German Shephard which is known with different names such as Shepell or Shian lou, was always a best seller in Iran. There are also a lot of movies about this breed which made that very popular among people. I consider German Shepherd as the most versatile breed; they can be trained to be a guard, body guard, rescue dog, drug finder, guide and child care provider. But of course in the next few years, German Shepherd is supposed to replace with the other breeds, such as Golden Retriever! It has been a couple of years since I was working on Golden breed. At the beginning, there was a lot of resistance for buying that, but now it became better. This is a popular European breed which unlike the appearance, it is very clever, emotional and careful. It is a lousy guard dog, however we can call them attentive. In the small breed, I can mention the Pomeranian as it is pretty popular these days which is also the most expensive and the best seller dog in Iran for the past few years. Two of the most popular type of this dog is fox face and teddy bear face. 
Everyone instinctively loves animals, but some of the buyers don’t know what to look for. Do you guide your customers and give suggestions?
Before selling, we spend an hour consulting with our customers, either in person or on the phone. Mostly, I try to convince the customers not to buy and ask them to have this impression that they are adopting a kid from the orphanage. Just as a kid can be inconvenient, a dog can also be troublesome. When you bring a dog to your home or garden, you should be ready for some problems. Usually, we introduce different breeds to our customers, but unfortunately some of our colleagues use different names to attract more customers. For example, it is said that chow chow mini can only grow up to 10 kilos, but it is not true. The chow chow is a medium-sized dog that is not suitable for 60-70 meters apartment. We help our customers and make this impression that they are accompanied by a consultant for buying, training, treatment and nutrition. We recommend dogs based on our customers keeping space. If we get this feeling that someone in the house is against keeping the dog, we invite and consult with the person, and if we can’t persuade that individual, we refuse to sell as both the dog and the person going to get hurt. Also, if the customer doesn’t have a proper condition for keeping the dog, we will friendly inform the person and refuse to sell, as it is not just about the business; we actually care and prioritize dog welfare. 
Currently, one of the biggest problems of kennels is supplying food for dogs, as dry foods is limited in the market. How you face with this problem? Do you have a solution?
Unfortunately, the Iran’s market is unpredictable, but unlike the kennels of the world that does not invest heavily and make plans based on their income, we try to look forward having recession in mind, so we store our dry food. Hopefully, the authorities will take some measures and consider kennels as a producer, so we can export to the whole world. There was a time that I was active in Facebook and had some connections with foreign pages which led to selling and importing foreign currency. It is worth mentioning that in Germany, a high price is paid for dog breeding and china is simply the leader of the market. Meanwhile, if we are supported by the government, we can export this product to the world. It is true that dogs are sensitive and living creatures, but it’s my business and as I produce them, it is actually a product that I offer to the market. 
How do you provide the vaccine for the dogs at the moment?
Currently, several legal companies import dog vaccines to Iran, but unfortunately there is a big argument over buying them. In fact, the world top brands have no representative in Iran and high-grade vaccines are smuggled to the country and since we are not aware of the cycle, we are often infected with a viral disease, but unfortunately we have no choice but to buy it. Nutrition wise, there are several manufacturers in the market, but since the raw materials for preparing dog food are difficult to find, they cannot compete with foreign products, which unfortunately increase the tendency to supply dry food from foreign brands, although it costs way more. 
Do you accept veterinary organization or Jihad visiting your kennel without appointment?
This happens almost once a year. We work based on a system so we are always prepared and we believe that we are on the right process, so there are no worries about these visits. 
Did your dogs win any title in world championships?
Yes, we do have dogs that won a title, but not in world class. For example, Alabai won a title in Russia and two of our German Shepherds, won the title in turkey. Also Rottweilers has very famous fathers and grandfathers for these competitions. I do not believe in titles, as judgment is driven by personal taste and perspective. For example, if we want to score 100 dogs that participate in a competition in Nurnberg Germany, we score them 90-100 as they have all the required standards. Currently, there are good breeds in Iran, but I do not focus on their names, because besides dogs whose fathers breed goes back to countries such as Russia or Germany and their puppy has been raised in Iran, there are also dogs with unknown breed which have been bought from kennels and given birth. And although we don’t know anything about their breed till we have the DNA results and genealogy, bu it is worth mentioning that there are dogs with strong bloodline in Iran. 
How does the sewage purification perform in this complex?
All the sewage systems in Iran are traditional which the wastes are emptied directly into the wells. So we dug up a place for all these wastes that goes right into the sewage.
If someone asks for a trained dog, will you provide for them?
We established this kennel in a way so that we can also train dogs here. After the construction of this place, I realized that the breeding and training is two completely different tasks and if we want to train a dog based on the new methods of the world, these two cannot easily be in one place, as the type of nutrition and the place that we keep them is totally different from where we keep our breeding dogs. Trainers usually keep dogs more hungry so they will be light for their trainings and because the breeding environment is kind of noisy, dogs will be distracted which cause some problems for training. Currently, dog training is left out to our professional collages outside the complex. Mr. Jamshid Nouri, Siamak Rouhani, Keymanesh, Majid Azimi, Karbasi, Morteza Bahadori, Ms. Shabnam, Hamid Rahnama, Eskandari are some of the reputable trainers in different provinces and as this moment there are group training classes for dogs and their owners. Also, Mr. Eskandari held free classes at crisis management office for search and rescue, so in case of earthquake in Tehran, these people  and their dogs would be able to act on their own and help people under rubble. 
Do you believe in reforming a dog breed with mixing two different ones?
Most of the dogs are the mix of several breeds, and it has been seen that even up to nine breeds have been mixed based on principles. I’m not in favor of this, and although they are mixed breeds in our kennel, but they were all belonged to the same family. For example, Pomsky is a cross between a Pomeranian and a husky which result to a medium sized husky. Also, there is a mix of chow chow, which is lazy and doesn’t socialize well with their owner, mostly like Persian cat, and husky which is an active and energetic dog, the mix of these two results in a cute dog which looks a lot like Shiba inu and Akita. We made this mix for the first time in Iran which became really popular. Interestingly enough, it had some opponents too. When I first posted its picture, I received over 200 negative comments, but about 50 percent of the comments changed after my explanation. There is also a mix of Pug and Poodle which is called Puggle. And I have to say that actually most of the dogs are a cross breed. Doberman is a royal breed which Mr. Doberman mixed and if we look at the history of this breed, there is no chance of finding a similarity between the old and the new Doberman. What is most important is that mixing resolves the flaws of each breed. 
So your goal is to only eliminate the breed’s flaws and not financial matters?
Yes, exactly. 
Do you retire the intact dogs from breeding?
Most of the time, we help our dogs to rest. If you look at our old female dogs, you realize that it has been about 6 years that we don’t get puppies from them and in fact they are retired or we neutered the old dogs and gave them away for free to take natural cycle. Also, we mate the dogs once a year and try not to push them.
Why don’t you work on Saluki breed which is Persian?
I’ve heard that it was registered in the name of Egypt. Regarding this breed, it should be noted that Mr. Jamalian had a pack of 30 Salukis in his kennel, but this breed is not popular in Iran’s market. We have not yet reached the point where we could export the dogs. Maybe Iraqis or some embassies would buy, but we are not like Russia, Poland or Germany to be able to correspond and export. Dogs only leave Iran as a passenger, which is one of the biggest problems for dog breeding. 
Did you follow up on this?
Yes, the follow up is done. There are some tariffs about the arrival and departure of the dog and as it is not a commercial commodity, it can only exit and enter by travelers and in accordance with laws of the country of destination. Import is prohibited commercially and it is only possible in the form of a passenger. Otherwise, it will be deported to the country of origin. 
In your opinion, how much initial capital is required for building a kennel?
You can start with 10 to 15 million tomans, but if you want to start a real kennel, you need at least 500 million tomans.
You along with most of the breeders are fully aware of the time and place of the exhibitions held in Iran, but breeders are greatly missed as no animal is allowed to enter the area. What else is the reason for your absence?
The problem is that there are lots of issues in our guild, including the fact that we still do not have a guild and it is only a name, but we are trying to form a group or organization. One of the reasons of postponement is the lack of solidarity among the activists in this field. When a group of people are gathering together and making decisions and face with big disagreements and they don’t come to any conclusion, so no government organization can accept this group as a guild. Unfortunately, as there is no supervision, each member of this group makes rules for themselves and acts accordingly. Regarding the exhibition, considering the experiences I have from the year 2008, exhibition have been held for many years, and in 80 percent of them, breeders were less active which can be explained by the lack of financial ability. Breeders can be seen more in exhibition commercial-wise, but 80 percent of the time when they are present, there is no positive manner towards them. For example, the organizer invites all the centers, but someone unrelated may not be happy with this. There was a young man in Isfahan who had acquired about 40 pages of licenses for 2nd exhibition, but the one who had objection, was someone other than the people who issued the licenses. I’m not against holding exhibitions, festivals or competitions, but the experience has shown that there will be disruptions due to the lack of unity between the activists in this guild. The only exhibition that was held without any problems was the one that held in Shahr-e Aftab, which still there were some objections from the parliament’s representatives based on promoting western culture. 
You have been in contact with Hami Gostar Heyvanat company since the last few years. What is your point of view about the exhibition? And please tell us your opinion about Kabook Magazine. 
It’s been a few years that I witnessed the successful presence of this company. Those attending the exhibition are the regular attendees which indicate their satisfaction. You are well-known as the organizer of the exhibitions and they can be a good place for presenting breeders and kennels. About Kabook Magazine, I have to say that it is an inspirational and a high quality magazine that I have to congratulate its team. Hopefully, with good plans the circulation of this magazine will increase. Some topics such as principles of keeping a dog or other pets, tips for choosing a pet and experienced breeders seems good to consider, or interviewing people who are generally satisfied with their pets to share their experience. Perhaps their conversation will encourage others to do something or disregard an action. For example, all of our families are Muslims, and dogs were always a taboo in this culture. I remember a day when Dr. Al-Dawood brought a team from Imam Ja’afar Al-Sadiq University and one of the clerics opened the door with his cloak, but when he was leaving he came to this understanding that if dogs are properly vaccinated, they are not impure. So for this magazine to be even more interesting, I recommend true stories. 
Do you have any criticism that you need to share?
As this industry has a lot of potential for employment, we should be seen more. Currently, our kennel has 15 employees. It is necessary that authorities care for breeders and provide them with at least the minimum utilities.