Harry Su takes his love of dogs to a next level.
For most people, dog is considered as their loyal best friend. Not only as a pet, in certain cases dog also plays professional roles for their owner, like a therapist and a guardian. As for Harry Su, he brings his hobby of keeping dog to a whole different level. He is willing to splurge around Rp 50 million per month to take care of his 27 show-quality dogs, which are coming from across breeds namely Bichon Frise, Jack Russell Terrier and Doberman.
Harry, 54, is formally known as a reputable capital market analyst with over 27 years of experience. He is currently working as Managing Director Head of Equity Capital Markets at PT Samuel Sekuritas International. Aside from dealing with numbers and analysis, Harry runs a side-job business slash hobby as a dog breeder and a dog show enthusiast. He used to live with dog since he was a kid, but the journey as a breeder started in 1988. So far, he has experienced breeding various dog breeds, among others are Golden Retriever, Labrador and American Cocker Spaniel. Harry says the number of dogs he breeded reached its peak in 1996, when about 70 Golden Retriever dogs lived at his house and made him spent up to1.5 tonnes of dog foods in a month.
Harry also routinely participates in national and international dog shows since around 2000. Now, he always brings his eight Bichon Frise and two Jack Russell Terrier dogs to the shows. One of his dogs who always steals the spotlight during the show is Jazz, a 27 months old Bichon Frise. Throughout Jazz’ 16-month journey of competing at the show, the male dog has already won as many as 33 awards. Some of them are Asian Winner 2018, Indonesia Grand Champion and International Champion. Harry says such achievements are astonishing given Jazz’ young age.
“In my life, I have never had a dog who wins as much as Jazz,” says Harry.
Jazz was breeded in Spain. It took about two years queueing on the breeder’s waiting list before Harry eventually got a chance to own Jazz. In the meantime, he had to prove his capability and capacity in taking care of Bichon Frise. The breeder’s partner even came all the way from the United Kingdom to survey Harry’s house and the surrounding.
When Jazz and the four siblings were born, the breeder named them as the best litters he ever had. That means the puppies were born with ideal anatomical proportions that could make them potentially win as a champion in dog shows. The breeder finally decided to keep three puppies and let the other two went to other breeders. Harry was among the lucky ones to get Jazz, while another puppy went to Israel. Harry splurged at least €10,000 in bringing Jazz to Indonesia. Although the price seems a little too much for a dog, Harry says, “buying a dog is cheap, but taking care of it is way costly”.
For instance, Harry says he spent at least Rp 100 million to have Jazz running at a dog show in the Philippines. The money was allocated to pay $2,500 for a professional handler from Thailand excluding his accommodation, ticket and food. Not to mention ticket and accommodation for Jazz and Harry himself. However, Jazz' achievement was worth the money because he was awarded as Philippines Grand Champion—a title the dog will carry for a lifetime.
“I prefer to have a beautiful dog who is pleasant to be seen and makes me proud. It is costly indeed, but I am happy to splurge the money,” Harry explains, adding that it costs him more than Rp 1 billion only for Jazz last year.
However, Harry says he treats all his dogs equal with no special treatment for those running at dog shows. Yet, he confirms that show dog’s behaviors are slightly different from those of pet dog. Since show dog like Jazz has to perform in front of judges and audiences, the dog will have more composure and confidence in public. Their anatomical features also have to follow certain standards from Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) or World Canine Organization, such as having rectangular body which is greater than the height at the withers.
Harry counts owning and breeding dogs as an investment for his own happiness. He takes it on a par with stock investment in terms of risk and knowledge. He explains that in the early stage it is needed to prepare losing some money as a learning cost because breeder will not easily sell high-quality puppy to a beginner. Also, most breeders like to keep the high-quality puppy to produce other high-quality litters that result to higher value of sales.
To make sure the dog is worth the money and wait, Harry also needs to thoroughly research the breeder’s reputation and puppy’s bloodline. That way, he can get a dog who can potentially be a champion. Harry admits that having Jazz does make him proud. However, he considers himself as a successful breeder when Jazz’ puppies become champions. That means he has produced a locally breed champion, he says. For now, three ofJazz’ puppies named Jack, JLo and Tobiko have already been participating in dog shows and winning awards including Best Baby in Show, Best Puppy in Show and Best Junior in Show.
Harry also sells Jazz’ puppy starting from Rp 20 million for the pet quality and $10,000 for the show quality. So far, he also has sold his dogs to Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore and China. Although selling the puppy does not make him book any profit compared to the cost he has spent, Harry keeps on doing it for his own enjoyment.
“It is purely for fun, it is an expensive hobby,” he chuckles.