Updated: Dec 16, 2019
When we started to get serious about breeding, several years ago, it soon became apparent that we would either need to buy another filing cabinet or find a way to manage our dog records, pedigrees, matings, health records, waiting lists, show results (and on and on and on...) in some sort of database.
Reasoning software would be cheaper than a filing cabinet – not to mention taking up less room - we went looking for what we assumed would be an easy thing to find. I mean, how hard is it to Google "dog breeder software"?
Well, as it turns out, the top 10 results on Google are quite an unhelpful mixed bag (only the truly desperate ever click on page 2, so that was never going to happen). Filter out all the boarding kennel stuff on page 1 and you're left with a database you can buy on CD (yes, seriously) from a site that hasn't been updated since 2015, a site bragging that your data is safer on your home computer than in the cloud (because what could possibly go wrong with that idea???) and a lovely cloud-based system that costs US $149 PER MONTH!!! if you want all the bells and whistles.
And then at number 5, we found an unobtrusive link to a system that described itself as " Web-based breeding and pedigree software for the passionate dog breeder. Manage the dogs in your kennel quickly and effortlessly! "
They had me at "effortlessly" and so began our introduction to DogBreederPro.
Because they offer a free trial for a month, we figured it was worth a try. I think we'd had it less than a week before we decided to sign up for the year. Better yet, it cost less for a year than the monthly fee of the other programs we looked out.
As one of their earliest customers, we struck a couple of bugs, but this is where DogBreederPro came into its own. Their online support is responsive and outstanding. Not only did they fix the problem immediately, but when we suggested a feature that we wished the system had, a month later they released a new version with the suggested feature installed.
This of course encouraged us, and quite a few of their other customers, to start sending in ideas about what the next new feature should be from things as simple as the layout to adding additional fields to adding whole new areas like accounting and wait listing. We assumed the builders were dog breeders who happened to work in software, but it turns out Netherlands-based designer, Timo Hansen, got involved when he built the first version way back in 2003, working as a freelance software developer.
Timo was approached by KUSA (Kennel Union of Southern Africa) to write some software for them.
In his discussions with KUSA, he came up with the idea of DogBreederPro and thought he could write something better than what was out there already. The first edition was a Windows application he gave away for free, but it was never updated to work with modern versions of Windows. So, in 2015 he sold his business and decided to start anew, but this time as a web-based application so it could be used on all devices. In 2017 his brother, Mauritz, joined the company, but they apparently resisted the temptation to rename their system DogBreederBro... What a wasted opportunity.
So what does it do? Well, naturally, it stores records of all our dogs, their pedigrees, photos, veterinary records. and show results, etc.
We only have to enter the data once. After than it appears in drop down lists so we can select a dog, allocate it to a pedigree, assign an owner from the contacts, list etc. This is very useful for lazy people who hate typing. Or are a really bad typist. Like me.
DogBreederPro tracks heats and calculates when a bitch's next season is due and puts an alert on the front page of our kennel site.
It doesn't just show us a pedigree. We can see all the siblings as well as a report that will tell us how often a dog appears in a pedigree.
DogBreederPro will calculate in-breeding coefficient and highlight multiple occurances of an ancestor.
It records matings and will tell us the due date as soon as we confirm the bitch is pregnant.
The DogBreeder Bros (sorry, I'm stuck on this now) are about to update the contact detail pages so we can click on a contact and see which dogs we've bred, own, etc, finances, calendar events, some reports across all our kennel (dog shows, litters, vaccinations, etc.). Imagine being able to run a report that tells us how many CC's a dog has won?
Improvements in the breeding section include progesterone testing, grouping individual matings into a mating cycle for a heat, a separate pregnancy section and in the medical records, the ability to manage vaccinations as group and also the ability to assign these to a litter in one go.
To say we love this software is an understatement. I remember the first time we used Xero, which describes itself as "beautiful accounting software". DogBreederPro has the same feel. It's clean, easy to figure out without any real computer expertise. If you can open a website and log onto your online banking, you can log onto this. If you do your entries online, you've already mastered a far more complex software. If you use Netflix or Lightbox or Spotify or Dropbox, then you'll understand how a subscription model works. If you use Xero or Gmail or Dropbox, you're already using the cloud.
You can find them at www.dogbreederpro.com if you want to check it out, but be warned, it's addictive. And effortless. Just like is says on Google.