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Indie dogs as pets?

Patch, Lucky, Rolly, Penny, Freckles, Pepper – have you always wanted to bring home one of the 101 Dalmations? Hasn’t the Vodafone pug made you go, “Aww, so cute!”? Have you seen a Labrador or St. Bernard at your friend’s place and instantly fallen in love? You’re a dog lover and you want a pedigree.

When asked, “Have you thought of getting an Indian dog?” a lot of these self-confessed dog lovers give back a blank stare. After prodding further, here are some reactions we got and this is how we would like to counter them.

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Picture Courtesy: Rajvi Mariwala

1)”Aren’t Indian dogs all strays?”

The strays you see on roads are only one of the many breeds of Indian dogs that exist in India. Indian Pariah dog, also called the INDog is the most primitive dog breed in India and a pure breed with no trace of genetic tweaking or modification.

Other popular dog breeds are Chippiparai, Mudhol/Caravan Hound, Rampur Hound, Rajapalayam, Kombai, Gaddi and Kanni. A lot of the Indian breed dogs are on the verge of extinction due to lack of demand for them. It’s an irony that we know intricate details of foreign breeds while we don’t even know about the existence of Indian breeds.

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Picture Courtesy: Rajvi Mariwala

2)”You are kidding, right? Indian dogs can’t be pets.”

Rajvi Mariwala, Canine Trainer and Founder of Citizen K9, tells us “Over the years, Indian breed dogs have not received the kind of domestic environment that their foreign counterparts receive. They are used to being on their own and this has become part of their genetics. This is not to say that they can be pets.

When training Indian dogs, I take a more care to get them to socialise. My dog, Taquila was the only surviving puppy of her litter. Her siblings and mother was killed. She faced a lot of trust issues initially. Now she lives with 5 cats and till recently we had another dog as well”.

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Picture Courtesy: Rajvi Mariwala

3)”They are so ugly”.

One glance at her and any person with a heart will fall in love with her – you will think. But many people think otherwise. It is often said,”Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”. Call it the colonial hangover or the impact of the media, our obsession with everything imported is seen in our choice of dogs as well.

In the end what matters is a loving, caring four-legged friend and when you have that your screwed sense of beauty would diminish. The more you see them you will be surprised at how beautiful Indian dogs are.

4)”If I get an Indian dog people will say, ‘Agar kutta kharidne ki aukaad nahi thi toh liya kyu’ (If you can’t afford a dog why did you get one?)

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Picture courtesy: Tejasvi Momaya

Walk across an upmarket locality and you would find the domestic help taking the dog for a walk. The owners might not really care about the dog. Even in a lot of the middle income homes, a dog is more of a show-piece to establish a social status, a snob appeal.

If you are looking for a mere accessory, then think again – Do you really want a dog?

5)”Give me one reason why do I choose an Indian breed dog over a foreign breed”.

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Picture Courtesy: Animals Matter To Me

You ask for one, we’ll give you many. Madhavi Tangela, Canine Trainer and Behaviourist who has very actively involved in rescuing injured, stray and abandoned dogs tells, “A dog is a dog in the end, it shouldn’t matter whether an Indian or a pedigree. But on an emotional note we should get home a Indian dog because they are ours. If we don’t care who will?. Then there are host of pluses about Indian dogs like they are made for the Indian climate whereas a foreign breed will come with their own set of health problems. Indian dogs are easier to maintain in terms of cost and time.

There’s also an ideological reason for choosing an Indian breed, by getting a foreign breed you are feeding into the inhuman practice of ‘puppy mill’. You’re doing your bit as an individual or family when you take home an Indian dog. You show them love and they will love you back abundantly”.

Hope you find your best friend soon. Woof!

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