As Indian dogs and cats originate from the Indian region, they are well acclimated to surviving in the tropics.
It’s heartening to see many people opting for Desi pets these days. But that doesn’t change the fact that there are others who prefer foreign breeds. There are many positives of adopting an indie.
As Indian dogs and cats originate from the Indian region, they are well acclimated to surviving in the tropics. Dogs like Saint Bernards, German Shepherds, Golden Retrievers, Poodles and even the most common Labradors are all acclimatised to snowy habitats. Kidney and liver failure, severe ear infections in some breeds, heart ailments and tumours contribute to their suffering and early death in the tropics. The distress that a caring owner is put through is immense too.
The Spotted Cat aka Indian Billi is the most common cat found here. The Maine Coon, Himalayan Cat, Mumbai Cat, Persians, Rusty-Spotted Cat, Sand Cat, etc. are commonly seen breeds in India. While exotic cat breeds can adjust to the weather, if let free to roam, they are often stolen.
The main reason why foreign breeds are preferred by Indian households is they look different from our Desi breeds. But when foreigners look at our Indian dogs, they see the most elegant, sleek dogs, with eloquently expressive eyes and faces! Interestingly, in India too, there is a new surge of interest in our old breeds.
Desi breeds are primarily sighthounds. That’s the only reason you don’t see them with the Police or Military, where picking up scents is key. The Indian Army uses breeds like Chippiparai and Rajapalayam as guard dogs. Sighthounds chase their prey with pinpoint accuracy, run fast and don’t get tired. They are important as guard dogs. Indian breeds may look submissive, but they hold their ground well when needed. Breeds like Combai have been known to take on leopards and tigers to defend their owners. Their intelligence is as highly evolved as any foreign breed. They can be trained well, are obedient, highly alert and agile. Their survival on the streets is solely because of their ingenuity and smartness.
Anyone who has any interaction with our Desi breeds will vouch for their loyalty and friendliness. During their evolution process, they were amongst humans in forest areas and have evolved with a collective mentality so that they integrate easily into families; they are very gentle with infants. Ultimately, the main factor that decides the behaviour of any dog is the love and training it receives. Just like a child!
The writer is an animal activist and member of PFA, Thiruvananthapuram