The prohibition on dog breeds in India: A new caste system?

Many pet owners are incensed at the new prohibition on several dog breeds in India, which they see as “unwarranted.” The federal government has written to the states requesting that they prohibit the sale, importation, and breeding of some dog breeds that are deemed “dangerous,” but are they really?

Breeds including Rottweilers, Pitbulls, Mastiffs, and many more have been categorized by the government as dangerous. They are held responsible for attacks and the ban is allegedly an attempt to stop the growing number of dog attacks that are recorded in India.

Dog attacks were recorded as much as 4.35 lakh in Maharashtra, 4.04 lakh in Tamil Nadu, and 2.41 lakh in Gujarat in the previous year. The number of dog attacks in the nation increased in 2023 compared to 2022, raising the issue of how many of these incidents were caused by the 23 prohibited breeds.

Reports from several nations have shown that the Labrador Retriever, a well-liked dog breed worldwide recognized for its lively personality, tops the pack when it comes to dog bite statistics. Even when India is taken into account, assaults by German Shepherds and Rottweilers reach the headlines right away, but attacks by other friendlier breeds like Labradors, Golden Retrievers, Beagles, and so on are never publicized.

A resident in Bengaluru claims, “My three-year-old daughter was bitten on the face by a Labrador.” As pet owners with a Rottweiler at home, we have never had any tiny mishap, either involving our dog or our kids playing with it. But we were unprepared for the Labrador’s attack.”

The core issue with breeds
The problem with breeds—or any dog, really—is the pet owner. Among the terms one might see in the breed criteria for any of the prohibited breeds are “loyal,” “intelligent,” and “affectionate.” Then why, one would wonder, are they linked to attacks? Lack of socialization and training is the cause.

Pet owners overlook this factor, and according to experts (such as Robert Cabral, a professional trainer), socialization and training provide structure for dogs in a manner comparable to that of raising children. Dogs sometimes have a tendency to hunt smaller creatures because they have a strong prey drive, but this can be controlled with the right training. The fundamentals—sit, stand, and lay down—are fine, but spend more time teaching your dogs great recall skills and the “leave it” command rather than making the effort to teach them tricks.

Noorie Naseer, a conscientious pet parent, asserts, “Prohibiting certain breeds in India won’t solve dog-related issues. The most important things are to train and socialize dogs and to be good dog owners. It is preferable to educate pet owners and enforce regulations rather than outlawing certain breeds. It is wiser to consider an individual’s behavior rather than a breed.

“Many breeds in this prohibited list of dogs have good qualities and make great companions when given the right care,” she continues. The best approach to make our neighborhoods safer for everyone—including dogs—is to encourage responsible ownership.

According to Noorie, her 11-year-old Rottweiler hasn’t created any problems or shown any aggressive behavior so far. “He gets along well with kids, other dogs, and many of my rescued cats even consider him a foster father.” In our family and the whole community, he is the most adored dog.