Luxury Services: Do you know just how safe your home actually is? Everyone knows a family's security is priceless, but clients of Harrison K-9 Security Services are willing to pay up to $230,000 for a European Shepherd designed to ensure that protection.
Today, Harrison K-9 is selling more dogs than at any time in their 35-year history, but that number could be significantly larger if they could get dogs faster. "We supply dogs each year in the range of $40,000 to $230,000," said owner Harrison Prather. "Some German Shepherds can sell up to $2 to $3 million in Germany. These dogs are family dogs 100 percent of the time but they have an innate ability to determine if something is wrong."
With the state of the economy at its lowest since the Great Depression and foreclosures and unemployment on the rise, families today are taking greater security measures to protect their family's well being. "The wealthier people are by no means financially distraught with the economy but they are afraid of what is going on," Prather said. "The question is really what is your family's safety worth?"
All of Harrison K-9's European German Shepherds are put through rigorous training for the first three years of their life while living in Germany. Of course, the 1,000-year history of controlled breeding to create dogs of this size, intelligence and temperament is of utmost importance to Prather. These features also contribute to the dog's high cost, as well as, their exceptional lineage. "The dogs start training at just eight weeks and we continue to train them up until they are three years old, which is when we sell them," he said. "All of the dogs are raised in homes with children in Germany. The average life span for these dogs is 13 to 15 years. It's sort of like comparing a Mercedes with a Volkswagen. They take dog breeding in Europe very seriously."
The training of these dogs is twofold-all of the animals receive their initial training in Germany and then are brought to the United States to Aiken, South Carolina where they are exposed to Prather's proprietary touches, creating the final differentiating factor that makes these dogs well worth their cost. These special dogs cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Prather's supplier, which only picks the top two to three percent of the dogs he has access to, sells exclusively to Harrison K-9.
Who exactly is in the market for these exclusive protection dogs? "Our primary market is affluent business owners, perhaps a man who travels a lot with his family staying at home," Prather said. "A lot of our clients own planes and are high end businessmen, entertainers, professional athletes, government officials or well to do families who want high end or real deal security. The average client makes a lot of money. If they are living in a big house that everyone sees, they are not incognito and not living by moderate means so they are constantly being watched."
Prather trained police and military dogs from 1975 to 1986 and has since worked that training into a niche affluent market. "The major states we sell to are Texas, California and New York with larger crime rates," he said. "We have had some people buy one and then six months or a year later come back and buy a second. It's a strong market with repeat customers. Some people have bought as many as five K-9's for different estates and or other family members from me."
With a steady client base and return customers, Prather has certainly found a unique niche.
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