The unseen and often ignored side of dog breeding – Friendicoes

The unseen and often ignored side of dog breeding


09 June 2023

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The unseen and often ignored side of dog breeding

It’s only too often that one encounters people proudly flaunting the lineage of their pedigree pets and the various hurdles they overcame to purchase this new pet. Driven by the allure of owning a ‘purebred’ pedigree dog – a status symbol equated with aesthetic appeal – this unending demand fuels an entire industry built purely on exploitation and cruelty.

Are people blissfully unaware of what goes on behind closed doors, or are they fully willing to participate in these unjust practices since the end justifies the means? While choosing between an exotic Chow Chow or an equally exotic Akita, do they grasp the implications of their decisions? If the numbers of purchases of pedigree pets in India are any indication, the answer is no.

As an animal welfare organisation, we at Friendicoes strongly feel it’s our prerogative to continue to raise awareness about these unscrupulous practices and to educate as many as we can about the true reason behind #AdoptDontShop, which is so much more than just a catchy hashtag. With some luck, we hope to encourage readers to make informed, ethically conscious decisions regarding pet parenthood.


The Reality of Breeding in India

In India, dog breeding is a largely unregulated business that, over the years, has grown into a multi-crore industry – all thanks to the rising demand from metro cities. With profit being their sole motive and priority, these breeders care little for the basic hygiene and health standards, let alone the happiness of the dogs in their possession. This is the harsh and cruel life that most of these breeder dogs, especially the females, are subjected to:

  • Living conditions: Most dogs are kept in constant isolation, never experiencing any real freedom to play, run, explore or even receive a little love or affection. Confined to cages that are rarely large enough to accommodate them, they suffer from extreme distress and even injuries.
  • Lack of veterinary care or sanitation: Very often, their cages are filled with their own faeces, and they are forced to survive in those conditions for weeks. They frequently suffer from untreated illnesses with little to no shelter from the elements since veterinary care is of almost no concern to a breeder. Remember, to them, these dogs are dispensable.
  • Lack of regard for their reproductive and psychological well-being: Female dogs are forced to reproduce repeatedly, having 3-4 litters a year without rest (significantly more than advised for their health). Over time and with age, their bodies are strained and tired and can no longer reproduce. At this point, they no longer hold any worth in the eyes of a breeder and are abandoned, dumped at shelters and, in some cases, cruelly killed. In other cases, female dogs are forced to procreate before they reach physical maturity, which results in weak offspring with high mortality rates. Even if they do survive puppyhood, which is unlikely, they’re most likely to suffer permanent health issues.
  • Lack of post-birth care: Even after producing so many litters, it’s rare for these mothers to have a chance to bond with their babies, and the psychological trauma they experience is undeniable. Most experts agree that newborn puppies need at least 90 days with their mother to grow into healthy adult dogs, and those separated at an early age are more prone to develop health and behavioural issues. Unsurprisingly, these breeders snatch puppies from their mothers prematurely without considering their individual needs.


You would think that depriving these dogs of a life worth living was cruel enough, but breeders don’t stop there. Next on their agenda is to cheat unassuming customers for a quick buck.

  • Inbreeding and genetic defects: Breeders’ fixation on maintaining pure bloodlines often results in widespread inbreeding. This inbreeding, in turn, leads to a host of known and unknown diseases and health issues that may not show at birth but develop throughout their lifespan and can even affect the breed as a whole (with regards to infertility, litter size, etc.). Common among these painful and sometimes life-threatening disabilities are hip dysplasia, blindness, deafness, heart defects, skin problems, and epilepsy.
  • Cross-breeding: On the flip side, some breeders want to sell exotic and unique dogs, often a cross between breeds (think Labradoodle or Cockapoo). With no research on genetic stability, these breeds are at risk of severe genetic entanglement issues. While people are concerned only with looks, dogs are forced to suffer the consequences of this genetic manipulation.

Of course, none of these potentially life-threatening concerns are conveyed to customers, who end up with walking medical bills instead of supposedly healthy dogs. This wouldn’t pose much of an issue if people who choose to buy ‘purebreds’ knew how to accept the consequences of their decisions. But for most, these genetic health conditions are deal-breakers and shelters like ours witness the misery of abandoned pets on the daily.

Undoubtedly, dog breeding is unethical, cruel and largely operated illegally. Any industry that survives based on a living being treated as a commodity to be manipulated for profit should be boycotted. While small-scale backyard breeders may claim to conduct ethical practices, they are as bad as large-scale operations since their ultimate goal remains the same. It’s the dogs who suffer silently.


Why else should you choose to adopt from a shelter?

  • Give our Indies a fighting chance: Countless Indie dogs are just waiting for a chance at a real life and family. In the face of foreign breed competition, most people wouldn’t even give them a second look. The breeding industry continues to take away the slim chance of them finding homes with good families and further contributes to the burden on shelters forced to take in so many abandoned pets. (if you’re interested in knowing about Indies, read more on what makes them such great pets here).
  • Shelters give it their all when it comes to the animals under their care: Animal shelters like Friendicoes require that dogs are given all recommended vaccinations, are spayed or neutered, and have been socialised well enough to become part of a human family. We screen families thoroughly to ensure they are ready for a lifetime commitment to an animal. And unlike breeders, shelters don’t exacerbate overpopulation by producing more animals. Even if you’re breed-conscious, for whatever reason, you could always consider visiting your local shelter to give an abandoned pet a new lease on life.


If you are considering adoption, we’d happily accommodate you at Friendicoes to determine which of our dogs could match you and your lifestyle. Reach out to us here to get your adoption journey started!