It would seem that half of all Egyptians are dog breeders, if you go by the anecdotes. “Dog breeding in Egypt used to be any one with two dogs who could get them to breed,” said Mohamed Adel, co-founder of the Maera Kennel.
Maera Kennel specialises in both importing and breeding dogs, as well as providing hostel services for those who are going out of town and want to leave their dogs in good hands.
“We import dogs of the best quality who are registered [and have] pedigrees,” Adel said. “Their ancestors are known and their temperament is predictable, making it easier to have a dog who is a good companion rather than a burden.”
The Maera Kennel wants to bring dog breeding in Egypt up to international standards. When Adel founded the business in 2009 with his partners, Karim Sheta and Tarek Sheta, things were very different.
“We are all dog lovers and thought, why not do something we love and at the same time make a change and do something different,” he said. “With Egyptian-bred dogs you get the same high quality at a fraction of the price. Of course there are limitations since, for example, we don’t have vets with DNA testing and matching but you get quality that was previously unattainable in Egypt.”
The Maera Kennel’s facilities include a 1,200 square foot area for the dogs to exercise in.
“Our place is safe and well equipped,” Adel said. “You can be sure dogs will not be left alone to wander or get lost. Each dog gets its own room, though they get time to play together depending on temperament. They also get daily exercise and eat quality food. Some dogs get more exercise than others, depending on energy levels, like running on treadmills, or weight lifting with sleigh pulling.”
Adel said they import and breed dogs with competitions and shows in mind. “With our own breeding programme, we focus on guard dogs that are also companions,” he said. The kennel focuses on three breeds in particular: German shepherds, rottweilers and dogo argentinos.
“In Egypt some breeders do not pay attention to the small details that make a dog qualified for a show or a competition,” he said. “Details that come from genetic ability, such as sizes and dimensions of muzzle, ear, jaw, height ratio, etc. Instead we have overweight dogs or those who are supposed to be bred to work but are lazy and are not genetically adapted to do certain things. They are bred nonetheless, because everyone wants to make a profit.”
Maera certifies their dogs’ pedigrees with the Egyptian Kennel Federation, which keeps databases certified dogs, tracking their lineage five generations back.
In addition to showing dogs at the yearly shows that have been taking place in Egypt for a couple of years, “puppies born in Egypt can now have pedigrees, which means we can now take them abroad and compete,” Adel said. Egypt’s next competition is Horus 2014, slated for next April.
Adel gave the following advice to future dog owners and customers, “A dog is a companion and a responsibility. It is important to pick a puppy with the right qualities. I highly recommend aiming for something EKF registered. We have very good dogs in Egypt but you need to focus on genetics and the quality of the breeding programme.”