One online dog breeders directory is soaring while others are tanking. I did a bit of research this month to find out why. The picture that emerged was interesting: While most are holding their spot in the market, some are in free fall and one is surging ahead. Want to know which ones and my guess at why? Then read on and I’ll show you.
Why is this Important?
Well if a dog breeders directory’s visitors are going elsewhere then they’re taking their wallets with them. As we all know, money follows eyeballs, and the dog breeder directory that draws the most viewers wins.
Breeder directories differ a lot in their average puppy pricing, their quality assurance (or lack of it), and the transparency of their operations. My research revealed which strategy was the winning formula in today’s market, and which were looking like going the way of the dinosaur.
Let’s go deeper.
Which Dog Breeders Directory is Holding Steady?
The ones that were holding steady on their share of the market were Puppyfind.com, AKC, and Nextdaypets.
Though minimal, these all have some standards in place:
- Puppyfind.com: Has breeder ratings generated by customers.
- AKC: Has breeders that are AKC registered and follow their code of conduct.
- Nextdaypets.com: Has scam protection through breeder ID verification.
Which Dog Breeder Directory is Losing Market Share?
- In the past six months the number of people visiting Puppyfinder.com plummeted by 50%! It is also the only one in the top six websites to have no governing standards whatsoever. A coincidence? I think not!
- Despite their marketing investment in retargeting ads, online traffic to Littlepuppiesonline.com also fell less sharply over the same period. It offers optional extra guarantees but these are not fully defined on the website.
Which Dog Breeder Directory is Showing Massive Growth?
Just one major player actually grew it’s market share in the last six months and that was Puppyspot.com. They saw a growth in site traffic of 12.6% over this period. This website also has the most stringent breeder standards of the big six, including AKC registration and veterinary oversight of their operations. And their puppies are the most expensive on the market.
To me the overall pattern is pretty clear…
It’s the directories that cater for the more price sensitive and least fussy end of the market that are losing visitors. The most startling decline was seen in Puppyfinder.com, also the only one out of the top six I looked at that had no breeder standards in place at all. Is that a coincidence? I think not.
Puppy buyers are demanding higher standards of breeder directories, and are voting with their attention online. The more assurance breeder directories (and individual breeders) offer the customer upfront, the more attractive customers are finding them. Which means more money for the dog breeders directory and more for their breeders.
Why is this Happening Now?
Clearly owners are increasingly buying on quality assurance, rather than price, these days. The humanization of animals is a major and growing trend in the western world. The implications are that buyers really will go out of their way not to buy from a puppy mill. Even for bargain priced puppies, if there are no assurances in place, conscientious buyers are likely to shop elsewhere and are happy to pay more. The other effect of this trend is that owners see their new puppy as part of the human family. Like expectant parents, they want all the assurance they can get that reduce the risk of adopting a pup that suffers from poor health or behaviour down the track.
The breeder standards that are currently out there around the companionship value of dogs are pretty rudimentary. They basically don’t go beyond helping owners avoid being scammed (with breeder ID verification or registration) or buying from a puppy mill (basic socialization and/or care standards in place). That’s it!
So presently most breeders and dog breeders directories are not doing as much as they could to enhance the experience of owning one of their puppies. Here’s my prediction: those that do will dominate and be rewarded handsomely by buyers (there is virtually no competition)! This is the new frontier in the way the world rears, buys and sells puppies. Get with the program or get left behind.
Critics can argue with me and say these new models demean the proud tradition of breeding primarily to “improve the breed”. Perhaps that’s true, but crying about how things should be instead of embracing how things are doesn’t do anyone any good. The changes affecting the dog breeders directory sector are permanent. Like it or not fundamental supply and demand is shifting, and many people’s respect for dog breeders has eroded. This upsets me as much as the next dog breeder, but the fact is that it’s a trend that is having a growing impact on dog breeding and needs to be noticed and accepted. This is how things are starting to roll. Dog breeders directories, and Kennel Clubs for that matter, that are not strong enough to get into the new ship are going to drown, but the great swimmers are going to sail very far. It’s a whole new world; build genuine companionship value into puppies and get ready for it. Maybe one day we’ll see dog show sections that reward the petability of our puppies…. Well, I can dream can’t I?