Dogs come in all shapes, sizes and colours. Different dog breeds have different kinds of temperaments, exercise & grooming needs and are more suitable for a variety of different kinds of environments. So which dog breed is best for an Indian climate?
India is a country with tropical, hot weather for most of the year. Parts of the country get a seasonal monsoon and cold winters. Depending on where you are in India, humidity also tends to often be quite high. Therefore, it’s important to opt for dog breeds suitable for an Indian climate that can adjust easily to such conditions, else will have shorter life spans and will struggle to stay healthy – physically and mentally.
Why choosing the right breed is important?
A breed tells you so much about the dog’s natural state of being, which can be a very useful guide before deciding what dog to bring home. By opting for a dog whose basic needs fit in well with your lifestyle, will benefit you and the dog alike. Salukis for example, require ample space to run and a lot of daily exercise. If you live in a city apartment in India, with little space for a dog to run, this breed may not be the right choice for you.
Another example, St. Bernards are most comfortable in cold weather and are not suitable dog breeds for an Indian climate. India’s tropical, humid climate drains the energy of these dogs and to them, everyday life in the heat, is the equivalent of a human wearing a thick fur coat in peak summer. Would you enjoy a life like that? Therefore it’s important to choose the right breed when adding a dog to your family.
What to look for in a dog breed?
Given India’s extreme summer heat and humidity, it’s important to choose dog breeds best suited for an Indian climate. Breeds with short hair for example, will be able to cope better with the summer heats. If required, in winters they can be kept warm with winter coats or heated environments. Indian cities are also homes for a lot of infections and contagious diseases, therefore opting for dog breeds with stronger immunity is in your and the dog’s best interest.
Each dog breed also has unique characteristics – such as different grooming needs; a tendency to bark or not and variable exercise needs; therefore it is important to understand what dog would best suit your lifestyle before you take a decision.
Top dog breeds in India
Included below are some of the best dog breeds suitable for an Indian climate:
Native Indian dog breeds are lesser known, underrated dog breeds in India. Most suited for an Indian climate, they are extremely resilient to falling sick compared to foreign pedigrees that suffer from a myriad of health issues because of extremely unhealthy and inbreeding practices of illegal backyard breeders.
The best dog for an Indian climate, is definitely an ‘Indie’ dog, also known as the Indian pariah dog, stray dog, desi dog or mixed breed Indian dog. Native to India, therefore this breed qualifies as the most suitable dogs for an Indian climate.
Indie dogs are easy to train, protective of their families and are extremely devoted pets. With short hair, they also require the least amount of grooming. Since they don’t suffer from the downsides of in-breeding that causes health issues, they are very hardy, resilient breeds and therefore overall require a lot less maintenance than foreign breeds.
Amongst the variety of suitable native dogs for an Indian climate, the Rajapalayam is a southern Indian dog breed. Named after a town near the Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu, the breed is also known as the Polygar Hound or Indian Ghost Hound.
Known to be extremely affectionate, devoted and for their ability to work well as guard dogs, the Rajapalayam historically was a favourite companion, boar hunter and guard dog for the royalty and aristocracy in South India. More recently, for the past few decades, the Indian Army has also deployed Rajapalayam dogs at Indian borders.
4 min read –
Read about the best Indian dog breeds for home and benefits of adopting Indian dog breeds.
Over the years, foreign dog breeds brought to India have gained tremendous popularity. The increased demand has increased illegal and cruel breeding practices in India. While this article is centered on recommended dog breeds for an Indian climate, if you choose to opt for a foreign breed, please do not support cruel dog breeding practices.
Familiarise yourself with the Dog Breeding and Marketing Rules 2017, which require all breeders in India to be registered by law and backyard breeding and selling puppies without this, is illegal. You can read more about Indian breeding regulations here.
Arguably one of the most popular breeds in India and in many countries in the World, the Labrador or the Labrador Retriever, was bred to be a working dog breed and a friendly companion. They make good family pets, love food and do require a lot of regular exercise otherwise are prone to obesity and related health issues. To avoid supporting illegal backyard breeding practices for Labradors, you can also consider adopting a senior Labrador who has been retired from the Indian Army or Police forces. Mostly deployed as sniffer dogs, after Labradors reach a maturity of 6-8 years, they are retired from the Indian services and can be adopted by Indian citizens.
German Shepherds are loyal to a fault and one-person dogs. They will have one master who they are extremely devoted to. However, due to inbreeding, they are often subjected to weak spines and often lose mobility in their hind legs as they age. Similar to Labradors, retired German Shepherds from the Indian Army or Police can also be adopted by Indian citizens. Unlike Labradors, they are more suited for combat so often make better guard dogs.
It’s hard not to imagine the wonderful dog characters from the blockbuster, 101 Dalmations, when one thinks of Dalmations. They are as gallant, as they are goofy and are extremely social dogs. They need plenty of exercise so need homes with ample space to run.
Small bodies (sausage-shaped) and big personalities are iconic of Daschunds. Smart and always alert, with a big-dog loud bark, Dachshunds make surprisingly good watchdogs. While they are not built for long distance running, they can independently hunt prey. Stubborn, brave and loving, Dachshunds can make wonderful pets.
Small, apartment friendly breeds, beagles are often the masters in their homes. Beagles were originally bred for hunting due their extremely strong sense of smell. Personality-wise, they are often difficult to train because of their tendency to be less obedient. They require moderate levels of activity and their sense of curiosity for new smells often leads them astray as they wander off chasing new smells.
Loving and gentle, Cocker Spaniels love making their families happy. Beautiful to look at, they require a lot of grooming to maintain their coat. Traditionally a bird-retrieving breed, they make great companions in apartments and big houses alike. Having said that, Spaniels love company and don’t like being left alone.
If you are looking for a breed that is affectionate and protective, then look no further than a Rottweiler. They are extremely loving, but need to be socialised well during their younger years to ensure they are friendly with guests and strangers. While they are short haired, they shed frequently therefore grooming regularly is a must.
Friendly, loving and gentle, Great Danes are ‘gentle giants’ and the biggest thing about them isn’t their size, it’s their hearts. The famous ‘Scooby Doo’ cartoon character is modelled after a Great Dane. They require moderate exercise daily, soft and large beds to stretch out while sleeping.
Adopt don’t shop
If you are looking to add a furry friend to your family, do adopt, don’t shop. You can’t be a genuine dog lover and promote dog breeding at the same time. Dog breeding practices in India are cruel, unethical and illegal. If breeders don’t allow you to see the dog breeding conditions from where you are getting your puppy from – ask yourself, why.
Dogs are often stolen from pet parents and forced to breed in tiny cages where they live in their own faeces for their entire lives. When they can no longer breed any more puppies, they are abandoned on the streets. Puppies are born in such conditions, bathed before photos are taken and often given away when they are too young. Hundreds of puppies don’t survive this. Excessive in-breeding causes severe, often fatal health issues in such puppies as well that only come to light later in a dog’s life.
When you buy puppies from such breeders, you support this dog cruelty.
Adopt instead, from amongst the innumerable puppies and dogs, who need loving families and help save lives. Discover the joys of rescuing dogs who have been abandoned, whether young or old, pedigree or mixed breed. You never know, rescuing a dog, may rescue a part of you too.
Why an Indie is the best bet?
At VOSD Sanctuary and Hospital, we are home to hundreds of rescued dogs – mixed breeds; foreign and Indian pedigrees. We have witnessed over the years how the Indian Pariah dog is a hidden gem of dog breeds in India. They are so adaptable and extremely low maintenance when compared to the health and grooming issues that occur in foreign breeds. Rescued Indies are even deployed in the Indian Army, and loved so much in the West, that they often transported from India to USA and Europe!
Over 10 years of experience has taught us though, how the essence of a dog comes truly from the love that resides in their hearts and not their external body parts.
Read more about the rescued dogs at the VOSD Sanctuary and Hospital here. You will find stories of dogs like Gudiya, a pregnant shih tzu who was abandoned by breeders; a pedigree spaniel puppy called Shahrukh who was to be euthanized by breeders; and fierce and resilient Indie – Mama, who survived a horrific train accident, triple amputations and lives happily with us today.
Read more about how to adopt an Indie dog here.