Having a dog in the house is great. Dogs are good company, motivators for exercise, bring down stress levels, and they can truly be the best friend you could ask for.
However, not all dog breeds are the same in terms of their requirements in space, food, exercise, and climate. It isn’t as easy as picking the cutest one and bringing it home.
If only more people knew that, though.
Getting a dog just because it’s an international pure breed is a huge mistake people make, and very often. Not every breed is suited for the city’s humid climate, lack of space, and pollution.
Here are four breeds that really don’t belong in Mumbai.
St Bernards are the dogs that fish out lost travelers from under feet of snow, with a small barrel of brandy around their necks to provide warmth to the frozen person. They are Swiss mountain dogs, bred specifically to withstand sub-zero temperatures.
Exposing them to the constant heat of Mumbai ravages their systems, leading to a loss of appetite, weight, and overall health. They get easily overheated and short of breath, and the humidity causes frequent rashes.
St. Bernards suffer pretty much constantly, from trying to stay cool to dealing with a lack of space. They often do not grow to their full size, and have dull coats due to malnourishment.
Well-meaning people keep them in air-conditioned rooms, trim their fur, and do their best to keep them comfortable, but so many more toss them out once they realise they can’t afford the food and power bills a St. Bernard racks up.
The very name of this breed should be a no-brainer. Yes, Huskies are stunning dogs with their piercing blue eyes and black-white-gray fur, but they were never meant for the harsh Indian heat.
Huskies are conditioned to temperatures at and below minus 20 degrees. Bring them to Mumbai, which is 30 degrees or more in the summer, and the dogs’ double coats turn into saunas.
And no, shaving their fur doesn’t help; it just leads to sunburns as they then have no protection from direct sunlight.
This will certainly be news for Indians, as pugs are among the most popular breeds in Indian households. Due to breeding, the modern pug has changed so much over time that it’s developed acute health issues.
Its squat face provides no protection to the protruding eyes, leading to frequent infections. The flat nose leads to shortness of breath and weak lungs, both completely wrong for Mumbai’s humidity and pollution.
In fact, exposing pugs to heat and humidity for prolonged periods of time leads to a load of respiratory problems.
With a short snout similar to pugs, in addition to a large chest and powerful body, bulldogs also tend to frequently suffer from breathlessness and other respiratory ailments.
They also require high-protein diets. Just chicken and rice won’t cut it, let alone the standard Indian kutte ka khaana of a bowl of milk and bread or roti. Lack of nutrition, humid climate, and lack of space for exercise leads to lethargy, skin conditions, and even psychological issues for these dogs.
An international pedigree dog is a magnificent status symbol, of course, but at what cost?
Recurring health issues, veterinary and food bills, and non-stop caregiving are never a problem for people who genuinely care for dogs and are committed to looking after them.
But the amount of pure-bred dogs abandoned every day shows the nasty truth; people buy pedigree dogs for appearances sake, realise they can’t handle them, and toss them out.