What Does a Kennel Manager Do?

Learn About the Salary, Required Skills, & More

A day in the life of a kennel manager: Ensuring cages, runs and overall facility is cleaned on a regular basis, creating work schedules, ensuring the animals are groomed, fed, exercised and generally cared for

The Balance / Emilie Dunphy

Kennel managers are responsible for the daily operations of the kennel and care of the animals kept under their supervision. They must oversee the dogs (and sometime other animals) kept in their kennels to ensure that they are cared for properly.

Kennel Manager Duties & Responsibilities

The job generally requires the ability to perform the following duties:

  • Coordinating and overseeing operations for kennels that house dogs (and sometimes other animals)
  • Hiring, training, and supervising other kennel workers
  • Creating work schedules
  • Developing and enforcing kennel policies and procedures
  • Scheduling boarding appointments
  • Ensuring cages, runs, and the overall facility is cleaned on a regular basis
  • Ensuring the animals are groomed, fed, exercised, and generally cared for
  • Monitoring the behavior of boarded animals

In boarding kennels that operate as a part of a veterinary clinic, the kennel manager may be responsible for helping handle animals for procedures performed by the vet during their stay. Some kennels also may offer dog training services while dogs are being boarded, so managers may be involved with performing or supervising training activities.

Kennel Manager Salary

The salary that a kennel manager earns can vary based on the manager’s level of experience, the size of the kennel, and the type of kennel facility (whether it operates as part of a breeding, boarding, or veterinary operation). Experienced kennel managers working for top breeders or large boarding kennels can earn higher salaries.

  • Median Hourly Rate: $12.56
  • Top Hourly Rate: $16.95
  • Bottom Hourly Rate: $9.81

Source: PayScale, 2019

Education Requirements & Qualifications

No degree or formal training is usually required to secure a position as a kennel manager. However, most successful applicants have a solid background working with animals professionally before they advance to the position of kennel manager.

  • Education: Many kennel managers have a college degree in an animal-related field such as animal science or biology. These degrees can involve a variety of coursework in anatomy, physiology, behavior, veterinary science, production, and other relevant topics.
  • Experience: Useful prior experience may include work as a  veterinary technician, dog show handler, dog groomer, dog walker, or dog trainer. Taking a job as a kennel assistant and working up to a management role is also a frequent pathway to achieving a management position.

Kennel Manager Skills & Competencies

To be successful in this role, you’ll generally need the following skills and qualities:

  • Compassion: Kennel managers must be kind and caring when dealing with animals and their owners.
  • Interpersonal skills: Kennel managers must interact with owners as they drop off and pick up their pets and maintain a positive relationship with kennel staff.
  • Physical stamina: People in this role may need to be on their feet for long hours at a time or may need to crawl, bend, and lift to work with the animals.
  • Trustworthiness: Kennel managers must demonstrate that they can be trusted to care for for other peoples' animals.

Job Outlook

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that employment in the field of animal care and service workers will grow 22 percent through 2026, which is much faster than the overall employment growth of 7 percent for all occupations in the country.

Work Environment

Kennel managers can work in a variety of settings including boarding kennels, show dog breeding facilities, veterinary clinics, animal rescue facilities, and doggie daycares. A kennel manager may work for an established kennel or open their own facility.

As with any animal-related career, there is potential for injury while working with animals that have been brought into unfamiliar surroundings. Kennel workers must use caution when administering medication, feeding, and exercising boarded dogs to minimize the risk of bites or scratches.

Work Schedule

Kennel managers may be required to work irregular hours that can include evenings and weekends. They must also be available when “on call” for emergencies that might arise after hours or on holidays, and fill in when employees call in sick or must miss work. The kennel manager has the ultimate responsibility for making sure all duties are completed each day.

Comparing Similar Jobs

People who are interested in becoming kennel managers can also consider some related careers, listed here along with their median salaries:

  • Veterinary technician: $33,400
  • Veterinarian: $90,420
  • Farmers, ranchers, or and other agricultural manager: $69,620

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2017