Be it furry and cheerful, giant and loyal or small and protective, they come in all shapes and sizes. They have always been the stress-busting bundle of joy of your families, often the most sought after among pets. Yes, we’re talking about dogs, who have become synonymous to human companionship over the years.
Choosing the perfect breed for your family and apartment size has never been an easy task, but dog lovers across the country aren’t shying away from splurging that extra penny when it comes to getting that cute puppy they just saw in a television commercial, magazine or with their favourite celebrity. While toy, large and giant breeds have lately been the eye-candies, corgi, Alaskan malamute, English bulldog, Tibetan mastiff and King Charles spaniel have the topped the list of favourites.
What’s interesting is being able to find these expensive breeds at your neighbourhood pet store. An English bulldog pup, considered to be a novelty by many, can cost between Rs.120,000 and Rs.400,000, according to Deepen Sharma, director, Ohh My Dog, who have their stores and franchises in Mumbai and northern parts of the country. “The cost can further escalate depending on the pup’s lineage and pedigree. A show-quality imported pup can cost upto Rs.1.2 million-1.3 million,” he adds. One of the most finest German shepherd was imported for Rs.4 million in India.
The active, intelligent and dwarfish Pembroke Welsh corgi, popular as the royal companion of Queen Elizabeth has been among the most enquired breed for Captain Dhaval Bhatt who owns Mumbai-based pet shop, Posh Pets, which largely imports pets with dog licenses. “A corgi pup can cost around Rs.350,000-550,000 depending on its specific characteristics,” he says.
But these are only the smaller and medium sized breeds, and there are many dog lovers who love a hug from their big and friendly furry pals. Tibetan mastiffs and Alaskan malamutes are what people call a ‘pretty sight to behold’. Alaskan Malamute, the lavish lookalike of the blue-eyed Siberian husky, known for its strength and endurance can cost you Rs.200,000-400,000. The sturdy malamute is one of the oldest domesticated breeds in the world. This sled dog breed is claimed to be around for at least 2,000-3,000 years and has been a constant companion to the indigenous Mahlemut tribe of Alaska.
“These prices increase when we import them. Owing to the custom duties and licensing procedures, the Alaskan malamute can cost Rs.700,000-800,000. That is around 130% rise in the cost. However, when breeded within the country, breeders often end up hybriding malamutes with huskies,” explains Bhatt. The Tibetan mastiff, a primitive dog breed from Tibet, still used for guarding livestock and property there — can cost around Rs.1.5 million-2 million when imported, Bhatt adds.
In cities such as Bengaluru, King Charles spaniel, the sporty therapy toy breed has been trending and can be spotted easily. “It can cost between Rs.250,000 and Rs.400,000,” says Subin Kaloor, who owns the Bengaluru-based Heavy Petting.
A lot of pet buying trends in India has been influenced by media and advertisements. Like Sharma points out, although King Charles Spaniel is rare to find in India, it has been quite in demand due to its increasing popularity on social media.
Pet breeding is an enormous industry in the world, with the US and Europe leading the market. China too is popular, but it focuses on breeding to achieve peculiar characteristics like oversized dogs, while in the US, it is about obtaining the most perfect size according to the breed.
According to Kaloor, importing pups has been very popular in India as keeping exotic dog breeds has always been a fascination for the people, before its ban a few years ago. “As such, the Indian market can claim to have most of the global breeds available,” concludes Kaloor.