While choosing a dog breed, many of us simply just refuse to consider any of our very own Indian breeds as many a time Pedigree dogs are seen as a status symbol. What we should carefully consider before getting a dog, is whether or not, he’ll be at ease with the oppressively warm Indian weather.
The sun shines relentlessly over the Indian subcontinent in summer. Breeds hailing from cold countries find this temperature a torture. Dr Sachin Nagare, a vet in Vasai, says, “During the summer season, in every vet’s clinic, many dogs are treated for heat related diseases. Some even suffer strokes because of the heat.”
Breeds unsuitable for warm climate…
Dr Vijay M Patil, another vet from Vasai, from his professional experience has found that the Afghan Hound, St Bernard and Tibetan Mastiff are most unsuited to Indian climate. He explains, “These breeds if kept in India, cannot enjoy life both quantitatively and qualitatively because of climatic conditions. Dogs who would have lived for 12 to 13 years if they were in their native cold countries, develop metabolic and tropical diseases in India, besides finding the heat extremely uncomfortable.” Even if you think that keeping the air conditioner on will make the temperature for your pet favourable, you may be wrong. Dr Vijay reasons, citing an example, “A St Bernard is at ease between 0oC to 8oC. It is tough to be in the same room with the dog in such a low temperature. Also, when the dog will go for walks, he will be unable to be in air conditioned ambience.” A dog may also lose appetite as he finds the heat bothersome. He may opt to sleep on his belly, spreading out his hind legs instead because of the heat, because of which arthritis may develop because of the unnatural posture. Apart from the dog breeds mentioned by Dr Vijay, other canine species unsuited to Indian climate include: Malamute, Tibetan Terrier, Siberian Husky, Shih Tzu, Lhasa Apso, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Bulldog, Irish Setter, Rottweiler and Mastiff. Dogs who are enormous in size, like a Tibetan Mastiff and St Bernard, may find it tough to exercise in the heat, which may give rise to behavioural and health problems. These dogs need proper nutrition. Another theory is that dog breeds with faces which are pushed in like the Pug, Bulldog and Boxer find it tough to breathe in oppressively hot conditions. Dogs with a thick coat of fur may also find the Indian heat sweltering. The American Eskimo Dog is absolutely not meant for India.
Pawfect breeds for India…
The breeds best suited to Indian climate are obviously the dogs who have been bred on Indian soil since time immemorial. Dr Vijay explains, “Indian dog breeds have genetically altered their makeup over the decades to get acclimatised to the Indian climate.” The Indian street dog is the fittest of all breeds to bear with Indian weather conditions. Gautam Hegde, script writer from Mumbai and a pet parent to a stray Indian dog named Zoey, says, “My dog seems to possess powerful immunity and a strong digestive system. Strays at times may be given the food which humans eat. Also, they don’t get affected much by the weather, unlike foreign breeds.” Surely strays are very friendly and vigilant canines. They seldom suffer from genetic illnesses like hip dysplasia as their breed has survived the litmus test of the survival of the fittest. Strays can live up to 15 years. Unfortunately, they roam about in the streets, eating from garbage. We could give them a loving home instead of breeds who suffer miserably because of the Indian weather.” India is a gigantic nation with varied climatic conditions. A dog who has lived and thrived in the cold Himalayas may find it tough to cope with the temperature of the humid South Indian plains. So, it’s best to allow dog breeds to be raised at their native places.
More Indian Pedigree dogs to choose from
The following dog breeds have flourished for years in India:
• Bawa Bakharwal Dog who is native of Jammu & Kashmir.
• Bully Kutta Guard Dog who is originated from Punjab and Sindh.
• Chippiparai who is mainly found around the Periyar Lake.
• Combai or Bear Hound found in South India.
• Gaddi Kutta found in the Western Himalayas.
• Indian Spitz introduced by the British and have developed the strength to endure the country’s sultry weather.
• Kaikadi, who gets his name from a nomadic tribe in Maharashtra with the same name.
• Kanni found in Tamil Nadu.
• Kumaon Mastiff who is originated from Uttarakhand.
• Mahratta Greyhound, endemic to Maharashtra.
• Mudhol Hound, commonly found in the Deccan plateau.
• Rajapalayam of South India.
• Rampur Greyhound who has originated from Rampur in North India.
• Sinhala Hound from Sri Lanka who is also found in South India.
• Vanjari Hound who is native to Maharashtra.