The history of modern day’s dog breeding started in the mid-19th century. However it hasn’t been long since Nepal got into commercial dog breeding. Even ten years ago, most of the exotic breeds were imported from India and Thailand. Serious dog lovers, even today insist on buying their pet from other countries to ensure that there is no cross breeding and there is a high emphasis on quality and conditions that would ensure the health and wellbeing of the pup as well as the mother.
Breeding centres in Nepal have over recent years been facing heavy backlash over the low standards of dog maintenance. Irresponsible breeding and low quality of nutrition and maintenance of the mother which makes the breeding industry here an ugly world. Talking with breeders and animal activists, WOW finds out where is the gap especially when you consider that the market for different breeds is on the rise.
Let’s start with the requirements of starting a professional dog breeding centre in Nepal; there are none. It was surprising to know that anyone can start a dog breeding centre in Nepal with a simple PAN registration. It does not matter if the breeder has prior knowledge of dog breeding or not. Once they register, the government never pays a visit to dog farms for inspection of the dogs and their condition.
Sneha Shrestha, a strong activist of community dogs says, “It is quite obvious for our government to be ignorant of dog farms since there is no specification of Animal Rights Welfare Act in Nepal”. In most countries, the government specifies the guidelines for breeding centres, the breeders and the breeding process of dogs.
We visited a few breeding centres in Kathmandu and it was pretty clear that there were no standard guidelines. The breeders build dog farms as per their economic capacity. Had there been a standard policy for dog farms, the breeding centres would have been established as per the legal guidelines specified by the government.
Univ Shrestha, co-owner of Kathmandu Dog Breeders points out, “Many immature breeders enter the market with the sole purpose of earning profit and treat dogs brutally”. She adds that some breeders do not feed dogs the required amount of food and they are kept together with pigs and other animals. All these things are happening right under the nose of the government and still officials have never batted an eye towards standardising the dog breeding policy in Nepal.
The breeders we visited said they were all against cross breeding of dogs and yet they agreed that it is highly prevalent. Govinda Bhandari, an engineer turned breeder of All Pets Shop says that he is firmly against cross breeding. He highlights the lack of records as a maintenance procedure in Nepal as the biggest barrier to cross breeding. It would be less unethical if it was conducted as per the clinical guidelines of genetic experts.
Suresh Shah, Owner, Mt. Everest Kennel Club says, “Since there is no institution in Nepal to record the parental history of a dog, the chances of dogs mating in the same parental line is high”. However, owners of Kathmandu breeders say that they have been in the dog breeding sector for so long that they are connected to most breeders in Kathmandu which is why they know the parental lineage of their dogs.
Sneha however is totally against the overall breeding centres in Nepal. Abiding by the slogan “Don’t breed or buy while street dogs die”, Sneha advocates that instead of breeding international breeds, people should opt for establishing dog adoption centres. She says that Nepali breeds can be as healthy and smart as international breeds if they are well trained and fed the proper diet. Breeding centres can take adoption centres to a professional level and even commercialise it while providing the proper love and care they deserve. She says, “There are one lakh street dogs inside the Kathmandu Valley that are seeking shelters. We have to encourage people to adopt these dogs more to save them from getting abused on the streets by cruel people.”
Highlighting the recent incident of Kavre where a dog was chained and flogged to death by two men, Sneha says that it was not the first case of animal abuse since 70% of the dogs she has rescued are victims of human violence. “People cut off dog tails for fun, throw them to make tiktok videos, and drive cars over them on purpose. Animal abusers in Nepal get bail by paying only Rs. 5000. Inhumane people like the two men in Kavre’s incident will keep exploiting dogs until an effective act of animal rights is executed in Nepal,” says Sneha.
Suresh says that the climate in Nepal favours the dog breeding process. He says, “If a proper set of guidelines is established to standardise dog breeding centres in Nepal, there is huge commercial potential for us to export dogs in the international market”.
Univ says she and her partner are ready to level up their breeding centre if the government provides them the subsidies or preferential loan. Govinda also believes that if the government supports them with dog insurance, a well-educated group of investors will not hesitate to invest in dog breeding farms and the standards of breeding centers will be uplifted.