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Most dog lovers will tell you that getting a dog home changed their lives. Canines are great companions: they spread joy and innocence in households, their love is unconditional and studies are now showing that they have certain health benefits for humans, too - humans respond to their pets with a lowered heart rate and lower levels of stress.

If you wish to adopt a dog for these reasons and more, then the first thing to consider is what kind of dog would be the right fit for your home and lifestyle. Dogs vary in size, personality and needs, and it is up to you to make sure it is the right fit for you.

The first point to consider is your home: how much room do you have to let the dog run around? Do you live with older people or young kids? Further, how much time can you dedicate to looking after your dog? Does your community allow dogs, or does it place restrictions on certain kinds of dogs?

It is also up to you to figure out what kind of dog temperament works for you. While every dog is an individual, pedigreed dogs are bred to have certain traits: some are better guard dogs, some are more active than others, some are gentler than others, and so on.

Equally important is your vet or breeder. Since we don’t have robust laws looking out for inhumane breeding practices, it is up to you to research reputable breeders who have a history of ethical behaviour. Endorsements by friends are usually accurate and a good place to start. If you are adopting a dog through a veterinary doctor or trusted breeder or friend, try to get a medical history for your pet's dog parents.

Before adopting a dog, make sure you get a complete idea of any conditions the breed is predisposed to so you can remain vigilant. If you are adopting a dog who is older than two or three months, get a copy of his or her deworming and vaccination records so far.

Going back to the first step of picking the right dog, read on know about the most popular dog breeds in India. We have grouped them by size to make the choice somewhat easier. There is also information on the temperament, house training, hair shedding and maintenance, and special considerations for each of these 20 breeds.

  1. Giant dog breed
  2. Large Breed Dogs
  3. Medium Breed Dogs
  4. Small Breeds
  5. Lhasa Apso: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Though there is no hard and fast rule, giant breeds are usually heavier than 50 kilograms. They are known for being calm and extremely loyal. They don’t require as much exercise as smaller dogs but they need much more food. Their lifespan is comparatively short, with the average age being 10 years. And they are prone to development issues.

Great Dane: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Great Dane: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Giant

Height and weight: Great Danes are two to three feet (36 inches) tall at the shoulder level. They weigh between 50 kilos to 90 kilos.

Energy level: Low to moderate

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: Giant dog breeds such as Danes, unfortunately, have a short life span. They are prone to developmental issues such as arthritis in dogs and hip dysplasia. They are also prone to bloating in dogs, which can be a life-threatening condition in which the stomach gets twisted and filled with air. Danes are also predisposed to get cardiomyopathy (enlargement of the heart) and thyroid problems in dogs.

Lifespan: 7-9 years

Appearance: Great Danes are quite tall - they are taller than most people when they stand on their hind legs. They can be brown, white with dark grey or black spots, or more rarely, black. Their muzzles and ears are long with large jowls with skin folds that seem to hang on either side of the mouth. Their legs are long but proportionate to their body.

Temperament: While Great Danes are massive, they are generally mild-mannered and don’t exhibit high amounts of energy. They are called "gentle giants" because of this. While they may look scary and intimidating, they are actually very good with children. They tend to be affectionate and sociable dogs. 

While they do not bark that often and are quite mellow, they can be strongly territorial and make good guard dogs. Given that they do not require large amounts of exercise, they are a good option if you are looking for a guard dog for a large property that will also be loyal and affectionate, and comparatively low maintenance.

Space requirement: Given their great size, Danes will not be suitable in an apartment environment with spatial constraints. Those living in farmhouses or independent houses with large amounts of space may find Danes suitable. That said, Great Danes don't require a lot of exercise so they may be suitable for city homes as well as larger properties in the suburbs.

Diet: To limit the possibility of bloat, ask your veterinarian about a diet suitable for Danes and also focus on giving your dog smaller and more frequent meals. Bloat is associated with larger meals that are wolfed down in a hurry, so keep the environment low stress when your dog is eating and try slowing down the rate at which he or she eats by using different types of bowls designed for slow feeding.

Other considerations: Remember that Danes are a bigger financial undertaking. It stands to reason that a bigger dog will require more food and additional equipment.

Further, while it is tempting to take your dog out for walks and exercise, hold off for around 18 months if you have a Dane. This is because bone and joint development take longer in giant breeds and excessive strain early on can cause stress fractures and disabilities.

St Bernard: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

St Bernard: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Giant

Height and weight: Up to 27 inches at the shoulder, and between 60 to 80 kilograms

Energy level: Low to moderate

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: St Bernards are prone to bloat, hypothyroidism, eye problems in dogs, bone cancer and cardiomyopathy. As with giant dogs, developmental issues are more commonplace than in smaller dogs. You must ensure that your dog isn’t overweight as this leads to issues such as arthritis. Hip and elbow dysplasia (when the bones of these joints don't fit each other properly) are also more common with Bernards.

Lifespan: 7-9 years

Appearance: Another great example of "gentle giants", St Bernards have large roundish faces, floppy ears, big eyes, luscious coat, imposing size, a waddling gait that evokes a sense of calm and a gentle demeanour. They are usually white with caramel or dark brown spots in their fur.

Temperament: They are known for being particularly good with children since they have a large amount of patience and are not known to snap. Having said that, early socialization with people, other animals, sounds and situations is always important and will ground your dog’s personality.

St. Bernards prefer being indoors in a cool, comfortable environment but they do require exercise to avoid obesity in dogs. Two to three walks a day, of 20-30 minute duration each, can ensure that your gentle giant stays fit.

Though, St Bernards can spend most of the day lying contently on the couch with the family they can also be full of energy when required.

Space requirement: Their sheer size may make them unsuitable for apartments and smaller dwellings since they can knock over furniture.

Other considerations: St Bernards do shed excessively, as well as drool and can track in a good amount of mud given the structure and size of their paws. It can be a challenge to keep your dwelling spotless with a Bernard around, so if this bothers you, then this dog may not be the right fit for you. To contain the shedding, regularly brush the coat to catch stray hair. Speak with your vet about grooming options as well. (Read more: How to bathe and groom your dog)

While many vets in India will breed St Bernards, a prospective owner should know that hotter climates are not suited to these dogs. They are prone to heat exhaustion and are much happier in cooler climates. Keep your dog indoors and make sure there is always ample water as well. Heat exhaustion can lead to serious medical issues.

Diet: Similar to Great Danes, St. Bernard’s are also prone to bloating. Make sure your dog is calm before he or she gets a meal as excitement is linked to bloating. Like all dogs, St Bernards need to be fed at least twice a day, with healthy snacks and treats in-between (albeit, the portion size for a Bernard needs to be considerably larger than a smaller dog). You can opt for dry packaged food, or give them cooked chicken, rice and vegetables like carrots, peas, potatoes and spinach from your kitchen. Ask your doctor if your dog needs any supplements with home-cooked meals.

Other considerations: In summary, while St Bernards' great size may intimidate intruders, these dogs are not usually kept as guard dogs as they enjoy a more sedentary life and bark rarely. They are a good option if you want a couch buddy and have sufficient space in your house. Be prepared for excessive shedding and higher costs in terms of food.

Limit excessive exercise and jumping until your dog is 18 months old as this will give the bones adequate time to develop. But once they are over this age limit, make sure you can take these furry friends out thrice a day every day.

Large Breed Dogs

Large breed dogs are popular with those who have more space in their house and also those who rely on their dogs for safety. Between 20-40 kilograms, large breed dogs usually require a great deal of exercise and can master a range of commands. They live longer than giant breeds but are not as mellow. Common health issues include hip dysplasia, obesity and development issues.

German Shepherds and Alsatians: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

German Shepherds and Alsatians: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Large

Height and weight: About two feet at the shoulders and between 35-45 kilograms

Energy level: High

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: Hip and elbow dysplasia, urinary tract issues, diabetes in dogs and bloat. German Shepherds are also prone to eye conditions like cataracts in dogs.

Lifespan: 9-13 years

Appearance: Shepherd dogs are medium-sized with pointy ears that look like they are always on alert, large eyes and long muzzles. They have long brown or black hair and muscular legs and abdomen. 

Temperament: German Shepherds, or Alsatians, are among the most popular pets in India, thanks to their fierce loyalty and sense of purpose.

They can be trained to be assistance dogs, hunters, be in security forces as bomb sniffers and they are also good at herding. At home, they are loving family dogs who double down as effective guard dogs given their territorial nature.

For many people, they tick all the boxes since they are good with children and offer protection to the house at the same time. They are highly intelligent animals who can master a range of tricks and behaviours with adequate training.

Space requirement: They are extremely high energy and require vigorous amounts of exercise daily including walks and playing fetch. A smaller dwelling that does not have a yard or space to run around in will make a Shepherd impatient and temperamental and can lead to behavioural issues.

Diet: Adult German Shepherds should ideally be given a meat-based diet twice a day, with vegetables like peas and carrots. If you are giving them dry food, make sure you give them the right portion size as per their weight (this is always given at the back of the food package). A vegetarian diet is not recommended for larger dogs. Consult your doctor about any supplements required for the bone health, digestion and heart health of your dog.

Other considerations: The breed is known to thrive when it is around family but can quickly grow anxious if left alone leading to behaviours such as excessive barking and nervous chewing and clawing. It is a good idea, then, to not leave your dog unattended and have a backup plan when you have to travel. 

As with all dogs, it is crucial to train and socialize your dog earlier on. This will make your dog more agreeable when guests are around and friendlier around people and children - since German Shepherds have been used for hunting, they are naturally a little suspicious and protective. Early socialization will mitigate these behaviours.

Shepherds are known to be excessive barkers if they are not adequately stimulated or anxious. Again, early training will teach your dog commands such as "Quiet" and help minimize these occurrences. 

Shepherds shed… a lot. It is a good idea to brush the coat often. 

In summary, while Shepherds are a wonderful addition to a family, note that they are high energy and demanding and will respond by barking and being agitated if their needs are not met. They are ideal if you have a larger space and enjoy a more active lifestyle.

Labradors and Golden Retrievers: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Labradors and Golden Retrievers: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Large

Height and weight: Up to two feet at the shoulders, and between 27 kilos and 32 kilos

Energy level: High

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: Eye conditions, bloat, hypothyroidism, kidney problems, ear infections in dogs

Lifespan: 10-13 years

Appearance: While they come in different colours - black and chocolate included - the luscious golden coat is perhaps most familiar. The triangular face with large eyes, comparatively small ears and long muzzle with the tongue hanging out is a familiar sight around the world.

Temperament: Why are Labrador Retrievers the most popular dog breed out there? Most people who adopt one will tell you that their affectionate and loving personality is second to none. Labradors are widely considered to be the ideal family pet because they can match the exuberance of children, go on long hikes and play frisbee or ball with the adults, and at the end of the day, cuddle with the family to make feel secure and loved.

Space requirement: Labradors are large animals with a high amount of energy. For this reason, those with more space are perhaps better suited to have this dog.

Diet: Labradors love meat and rice. They can eat home-cooked food, but be sure not to add onions, garlic and salt to their food. They can also eat some fruits like apples safely. However, don't give your dogs grapes, raisins or cherries as these are poisonous for dogs.

Other considerations: Labradors require a lot of exercise and play every day, failing which he or she may grow impatient and temperamental. Training earlier on may teach the dog to better manage expectations and learn the rules of fair play. 

It is important to not leave the dog unattended outdoors as Labradors can suffer from heat exhaustion and don’t fare too well if separated from their families for too long. 

Since it is likely that your first experience with a dog will be with a labrador, it is a good idea to think of the pitfalls. Like many dogs, labradors have the tendency to shed a lot of hair. This can get frustrating but is one of the realities of having a pet in the house. Vets recommend brushing your dog at least once a week as this collects any loose hair and reinvigorates the coat, at least for some time.

Further, Labradors are prone to certain health conditions, with bloat being the most harmful. Genetic conditions such as hip dysplasia, eye problems, skin conditions such as dermatitis and ear infections are also more frequently reported in Labradors.

If you are able to provide an environment that permits exuberance and exercise and are not bothered too much by shedding, the Labrador can be a beautiful addition to your family.

Rottweiler: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Rottweiler: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Large

Height and weight: Around 2 feet at the shoulders, between 40 and 60 kilos

Energy level: Moderate

Shedding: Moderate

Health conditions: Hip dysplasia, eye conditions, cardiomyopathy, bloat 

Lifespan: 9-11 years

Appearance: Rottweilers are large, muscular dogs that are distinguished by their strong hindlegs, large heads and shiny black and brown coat.

Temperament: They are extremely loyal to their families and formidable guard dogs. The latter has given a somewhat negative label to Rottweilers as they are considered overly aggressive and unpredictable. While they do have a more aloof personality and can be unwieldy without adequate socializing and training, with proper training you will end up with a highly intelligent dog that will be goofy with you and protective of you.

Rottweilers are known to have strong personalities: they are independent-minded but are still considered highly trainable. In fact, if done correctly with firmness and clarity, the dog can be taught a variety of commands and behaviours. However, make sure you train your dog early and are not ambiguous in your authority as this promotes a more rebellious streak in the dog. 

Somewhat surprisingly, Rottweilers don’t require high amounts of exercise and are content hanging around indoors. A brisk half an hour walk and one slower stroll in a day will keep off obesity. 

Rottweilers do have the tendency to shed and this is expressed more in hotter seasons. Regular brushing and grooming are known to cut down on unwanted shedding.

Diet: Like other larger dogs, rottweilers have the tendency to develop bloat, the deadly condition wherein the stomach twists and dilates. There is also a higher likelihood of hip dysplasia, and hypothyroidism as well. You will have to feed them twice a day, with healthy snacks in-between. The snacks could be boiled or baked sweet potato, parboiled pumpkin and carrots, and fruits like apples and bananas in moderation. Many dogs also love papaya. While it is safe for them to eat, make sure you give it in smaller quantities to avoid a stomach ache.

Dalmatian: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Dalmatian: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Large

Height and weight: Up to two feet, and between 15 and 30 kilograms

Energy level: Very high

Hair shedding: Very high

Health conditions: In addition to deafness in dogsDalmatians are also prone to urinary tract infections. This is because the structure of their tracts is distinct from other dogs and they produce uric acid which needs to be regularly flushed out. To this end, your dog should be on a special diet with limited amounts of purine (an organic compound found in red meat and other animal proteins), and should also have access to clean drinking water at all times. It is recommended to get routine urine tests done to prevent urolithiasis or urinary tract stones. 

Lifespan: 11-14 years

Appearance: Perhaps the most recognizable breed in the world, thanks to the distinctive black spots on a white coat, dalmatians are popular pets. However, there are some important points to consider before you adopt one.

Temperament: Trained to be coach dogs that trotted alongside regal carriages for miles, dalmatians have large amounts of energy and will need to exercise vigorously every day. Confining them in an enclosed space or tying them up for long periods will cause behavioural issues and your dog will become hard to look after.

While dalmatians have no issues with other pets and young children if socialized early, keep in mind that these are high energy and slightly large dogs that can knock over children and furniture. 

Space requirement: Dalmatians are not recommended if you live a more sedentary life or in an apartment with limited access to open spaces.

Diet: High energy dogs like Dalmatians require a balanced diet of healthy carbohydrates including rolled oats, potatoes, peas and rice as well as fruits like apples. They need lots of good quality protein; however, it is a good idea to limit foods that have a lot of purine. So while red meats should be limited, eggs, white fish and chicken should all be given to keep Dalmatians in the pink of health.

Other considerations: If yours is an active lifestyle filled with long walks and hikes, a dalmatian may be the perfect companion for you. Dalmatians are most at home in terrains that exercise their hind legs. 

Training a dalmatian will present its challenges. As with all dogs, start training at a young age, but be a little sterner and more blunt with your Dalmatian. Dalmatians can be stubborn and if the law of the land isn’t laid down strictly, they may be harder to handle in the future. 

Dalmatians do shed hair year-round and quite substantially. However, if you develop the routine of brushing their fur once a week, they won’t shed as much on your furniture and bedding. Brushing removes the loose hair from the coat after which you dispose of it directly into the trash.

Another important consideration: due to genetic reasons, there is a higher likelihood of Dalmatians being born hearing impaired or completely deaf. Discuss with your vet about these possibilities since deaf dogs can sometimes develop aggressive personalities.

Medium Breed Dogs

Medium breed dogs are by far the most common household pets. Their compact size lends them versatility: they can be very active and go on hikes with you and can also curl up in bed and be cuddly. Some of them can be used as guard dogs since they have loud, strong barks. They are more suitable for those living in houses that don't have as much free space. These dogs also tend to be good with children. 

Beagle: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Beagle: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: 12-15 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing around 8-12 kilos

Energy level: Moderate 

Hair shedding: Moderate

Health conditions: Eye conditions, deafness, intervertebral disk disease, epilepsy in dogs. Because of poor breeding practices, some beagles are susceptible to hip dysplasia. Other common issues include hyperthyroidism, diabetes and ear infections. Beagles are also known to gain weight as they age, so make sure your dog is on a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

Lifespan: 10-13 years

Appearance: Standing at around 12-15 inches when measured at the shoulder, beagles have floppy ears and squarish muzzle. They are heavy for their size and naturally muscular. They are usually white with brown spots all over their body.

Temperament: Beagles are popular medium breed dogs. They are well-liked for their friendly disposition and overall low maintenance.

Classified as hound dogs by the American Kennel Club (AKC), beagles were originally bred to hunt small game. Even now, if trained well, they are considered adept at hunting rabbits and birds. 

Given their proclivity to hunting, beagles have the tendency to follow scents to their source. Be careful when your dog is roaming around in the lawn or out for a walk; interesting stimuli may provoke them to run away.

Beagles require at least moderate amounts of exercise every day - around half an hour of running around will do. They can be a little challenging to train initially, but they are considered to be very bright.

Space requirements: Given their medium size, low weight and friendliness towards humans, they are considered good family pets. Living in an apartment is suitable to a Beagle as long as you go on a daily walk.

Other considerations: Their coat is short and smooth and they shed occasionally; more in the summertime. They don’t require much grooming because their fur does not have the tendency to get matted: a biweekly brushing is sufficient.

Border Collie: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Border Collie: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: Around 1.5 feet at the shoulder, and between 12-20 kilos

Energy level: Extremely high

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: Eye conditions, epilepsy, hip dysplasia. With so-called "purebred" dogs, there is unfortunately a likelihood of certain genetic diseases such as hip dysplasia, eye infections, epilepsy to name a few. If you decide to adopt a Collie, make sure it is from a reputed breeder who focuses on the health of the dogs over profits. 

Lifespan: 12 - 16 years

Appearance: With a luscious black and white coat, evenly spaced eyes and alert face, Border Collies are picture-perfect medium-sized dogs.

Temperament: When people talk about intelligent dogs, it’s not just an empty expression. Border Collies are specialized herding dogs and have historically been used in Scotland to herd sheep. They are known to be highly trainable dogs: they are not at all stubborn and have an innate knack for following cues and performing tasks.

Space requirements: While most people will adopt dogs based on the dog’s size and their dwelling; but don’t be fooled by the compactly proportioned Collie. These dogs need extremely high levels of activity and tasks each day to keep them occupied and fit. If you are not able to provide a lifestyle that includes ample exercise, the Collie is not for you. Further, it is a good idea to be living in a house that has ample open spaces since Collies enjoy exploring their area. It is also important to make sure that your border fence is intact since Collies have a bit of a reputation of escaping from houses if something catches their eye. 

Other considerations: Given Collies' high intelligence, you will need to have some patience with them as they learn more about their environment. While they are loving and affectionate, Collies are not considered lap dogs and may not be overly cuddly. Further, they may be a little circumspect of guests as well. Having said that, if Collies are socialized earlier in their lives, they will be much more affable and agreeable with other people. 

Collies have the tendency to shed a decent amount of hair, especially when it gets warmer. You will need to brush the dog daily when the shedding is especially bad to lower the likelihood of getting the hair in undesirable places.

English Cocker Spaniel: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

English Cocker Spaniel: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: 15-17 inches tall at the shoulder and around 12-15 kilos in weight

Energy level: Moderate 

Hair shedding: Moderate

Health conditions: Along with liver disease, hip dysplasia and hypothyroidism, Cocker Spaniels are prone to ear infections because of their long, droopy ears. Constant care must be taken to ensure that the ears are kept clean to diminish this possibility. Eye conditions, such as cataracts, cherry eye in dogs and glaucoma in dogs are also seen more commonly in Cocker Spaniels, as are hip and elbow dysplasia.

Lifespan: 12-14 years

Appearance: The Cocker Spaniel is a popular family dog. Its compact size, friendliness and energy levels make it a great companion, whether you want to relax at home or go out for a run. They either have golden brown hair or are black and white. Their distinguishing feature is long, droopy ears. Breeders also dock their tails, which is considered an inhumane practice.

Temperament: Traditionally, the Spaniel was trained as a hunting dog for small game such as birds. Given its past, the breed still requires regular exercise: not excessive but moderate amounts every day. Spaniels cannot be used as guard dogs as they are extremely friendly with humans and not overly territorial.

It is considered somewhat challenging to train a Cocker Spaniel, so it is recommended to start early as this helps contain more impulsive and disruptive behaviours.

Other considerations: Spaniels' coat is soft to the touch and of medium length and the curliness varies between dogs. Grooming will be required around once a month since the hair can get matted. While Cockers do shed, it is not an excessive amount. 

An important consideration before adopting a Cocker Spaniel is the fact that it is a very social breed and will not do well if left unattended too long. Make sure there is always someone to stay with the dog if you are travelling or not home.

Dachshund: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Dachshund: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: Around 10 inches tall at the shoulders, weighing 8 - 14 kilograms

Energy level: Low to moderate 

Hair shedding: Moderate

Health conditions: Back injuries, obesity, epilepsy. Given their anatomy, dachshunds are prone to back issues. Some modifications at home may be required such as stepping stools or ladders leading to sofas and beds so that they don’t exert themselves when trying to jump up. Also, when lifting a Dashchund, provide adequate back support so that the dog does not bend at an angle and hurt himself or herself.

Lifespan: 12 - 15 years

Appearance: Another breed that is instantly recognizable, Dachshund (meaning sausage or wiener dogs) are famous for their slender, pipe-like figure. They have short legs and a barrel-like body. They were originally bred for digging and hunting prey like badgers.

Temperament: Dachshunds make good family dogs because of how loyal they are. They are extremely attached to their families and can get possessive and snappy if they feel the owners are not giving them enough attention. Further, they do shed but moderately, and don’t require high amounts of activity to keep them occupied. They are also good watchdogs and will inform the neighbourhood by incessant barking if an intruder is in the area.

The challenge with dachshunds is that housetraining does not come easy, and it takes a sustained amount of effort on the part of the owner to toilet train them. 

They also have a surprisingly loud bark and a common complaint is that it is challenging sometimes to contain this behaviour. 

Dachshunds also have the tendency to gain weight fast which can lead to a host of issues. The trick is to maintain a constant regime of exercise and not overfeed them.

Space requirements: Dachshunds are beautiful dogs that require relatively little maintenance. If you are living in an apartment without much space, the dog would be a welcome addition to your life: as long as your neighbours don’t mind the occasional barking.

French Bulldog: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

French Bulldog: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: Up to one foot tall at the shoulders, around 7 to 12 kgs

Energy level: Moderate

Hair shedding: Low

Health conditions: Brachycephalic syndrome, eye conditions, heat sensitivity, hip dysplasia. Flat-faced (brachycephalic) dogs have the tendency to develop respiratory issues, given the constricted structure of their nasal passages. Frenchies will often pant and snort for air if they are stressed or after exercising. In Brachycephalic syndrome, airway constriction can lead to a shortage of breath and even lead to total lung collapse.

Lifespan: 10-13 years

Appearance: With their pointed, bat-like ears, flat, wrinkled faces, and protruding eyes, French bulldogs are easily distinguishable and a fancied family pet in India. A medium breed, Brachycephalic (flat-faced) dog, the Frenchie is favoured because of its compact size, comparatively low maintenance and its accommodating temperament. 

Temperament: Frenchies don’t require much stimulation: a half hour of exercise and walking a day is sufficient. They do have the tendency to get heat exhaustion so it is not a good idea to keep them outdoors too long. They are also not very effective as guard dogs since they do not bark much. 

They are known to be good with children and with early socialization and training can become an indispensable part of the family.

Space requirements: French Bulldogs are medium-sized and don't require much exercise. They are also extremely accommodating, so they can fit into life at a farmhouse just as easily as in a studio apartment in the city.

Other considerations: While Frenchies will not shed as much, they are known to drool excessively. It is important to ensure that you and your family wash your hands adequately after playing with the dog to prevent the spread of infections. 

In summary, a Frenchie is a good dog for even a first-time owner since it is compact, doesn’t require much exercise and is generally low-maintenance. 

Native Indian Dog (Indie or INDog): size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Native Indian Dog (Indie or INDog): size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: Around 1.5 feet tall and between 14 and 18 kilos

Energy level: High

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: Indies may get mange, dog allergies, eye and ear conditions. Having said this, it is widely believed that Indies are hardier than "imported" breeds, given their evolutionary advantage: they know Indian conditions the best and have evolved to survive in them. They have short coats and can handle themselves in hot climates. Anecdotally, they also have better immunity and fewer genetic issues than imported dogs. 

Lifespan: 10-14 years 

Appearance: With our love for foreign breeds and social status, we often overlook a wonderful dog right in our midst. The Indian pariah dog (or indie as we shall call it) is the street dog that is native to India. They usually live the life of a scavenger and face the challenge of surviving on our mean streets. The indie appears in many colours but the most commonly occurs is a light hue of brown. Our Indies can also be spotted, completely black or white, or have streaks running through them.

They vary by geography and local breeding practices can influence certain populations as well. Broadly, however, they are medium breed dogs with erect ears, prominent eyes and large muzzle.

Temperament: Indies are great to have as pets: they are intelligent dogs that are considered low maintenance. They are loyal to their families and can be good with children. If socialized and trained at a younger age, they are capable of learning a range of commands and respond well to house training. 

Indies do, however, require a good deal of exercise and can shed a good amount as well. You must get your dog dewormed and fully vaccinated, especially if he or she is a rescue dog.

Indies also don't aim to please as much as Labradors or Cocker Spaniels. So while training them, you may need to use treats more liberally and click training more strictly. Establish who's the boss early on, while training your pet to walk on a leash once he or she has received all the important vaccines.

Diet: Our Indies tend to be hardy and can eat home-cooked food or packaged foods. Whatever you decide to give your dog, make sure the meal is balanced, with lots of proteins. Check with your doctor for supplements. Never use onions, garlic, salt, sugar, grapes and raisins in your dogs' food.

Other considerations: Only lately have people started appreciating Indies as household pets: given the fact that they are hardier than their contemporaries and highly intelligent, they are extremely valuable additions to a household. They are fiercely loyal and tend to be territorial - this makes them decent guard dogs. Their bark tends to be loud, too.

You may need to be a little more patient while training and socialising your Indie dog - remember, they have not been bred to behave a specific way. So you will understand your dog's personality little by little. Do not be frustrated if Western methods of training don't produce results immediately.

Pug: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Pug: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Medium

Height and weight: Up to a foot tall at the shoulders, pugs weigh between 8 kilos and 12 kilos 

Energy level: Low to moderate 

Hair shedding: High

Health conditions: Because of their protruding eyes, eye conditions are always a cause of concern when it comes to pugs. Be attentive to any eye abnormalities such as the appearance of cataracts, sudden reddening and pawing at the eyes, and night blindness.
Being flat nose, they are also prone to brachycephalic syndrome and respiratory conditions.
Pugs are more likely to suffer from heat exhaustion and cannot withstand temperature extremes. 

Lifespan: 12-14 years

Appearance: Pugs make for great lap dogs. With their wrinkled faces, flat nose and distinctive brown coats with darker spots, pugs are instantly recognizable and well-loved. Blacks pugs are rarer.

Temperament: They are not particularly active: a half-hour walk daily is sufficient exercise. However, they will be playful with children and gladly follow you around the house as they are fiercely loyal and dependent on their human companions.

As with other dogs, training and socializing at a young age is important. This is because pugs are not the most easily trainable dogs and are more free-willed. 

Space requirements: They are small in size and comparatively low maintenance: good for those with smaller spaces and for first-time dog owners.

Other considerations: Pugs are known for their smaller coats and smooth hair, but they still shed a lot. This can be a problem for those with allergies and those who prefer a greater deal of cleanliness in the house. One way around this is to brush the dog more often to catch stray hair.

Small Breeds

Small, or toy, dog breeds are usually under five kilos and make for good indoor pets. They are usually low maintenance and tend to be more independent, so you can leave them alone for reasonable amounts of time. They can alert owners about intruders since they are quick to bark. While this can be an advantage, it is important to train them at a young age so that it doesn't become an annoyance.

Pomeranian: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Pomeranian: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Small 

Height and weight: 20 cms to the shoulder and around 2 kilograms

Energy level: Low

Hair shedding: Low

Health conditions: Eye conditions, tracheal collapse, hypoglycemia. Since these are mostly indoor dogs with a generous coat, heatstroke can be an issue. Always keep enough water in your dog’s bowl and leave a fan running if you leave your house. 

Lifespan: 11-15 years

Appearance: Pomeranians are one of the first breeds that come to mind when you think "furball". Barely around two kilograms in weight, this toy breed has long wavy fur that envelops most of its body including the face. It has beady eyes, tiny, erect ears and a squashed muzzle.

Temperament: Somewhat surprisingly, they are not considered bad guard dogs because of how much they bark: if they see someone unfamiliar they will keep barking until restrained and reassured by their owner.

Short walks and play-times are enough to keep these dogs happy and busy during the day. If you are unable to go on walks daily, in-house play time is needed and appreciated by the dog.

Another reason that Pomeranians make good family dogs is that they don’t shed too much. They are also comparatively low maintenance since they don’t require too much food and are content being left alone for short amounts of time.

For a first-time dog family, they are a good choice. A small caveat is children in the house: while Pomeranians are friendly, children may roughhouse and hurt the Pomeranians due to their diminutive size.

Space requirements: Pomeranians are a good fit for those who live in apartments and have low demands in terms of activity.

Other considerations: Getting your dog trained in the early stages is crucial if you want to have a stress-free relationship. Pomeranians can be impulsive and may charge at dogs much bigger than themselves, so commands such as "Stay" can go a long way.

One of their strengths can quickly become an issue as well: the incessant barking will test anyone’s patience. Controlling this behaviour from the get-go is important.

Lhasa Apso: size, weight, qualities, diet, lifespan

Size: Small

Height and weight: Between 26-28 cms tall and 5-7 kilograms in weight

Energy level: Low

Hair shedding: Low

Health conditions: Eye problems, hip dysplasia, intervertebral disk disease. 

Lifespan: 12-14 years

Appearance: These are truly regal looking dogs with dense, wavy fur covering the body. The face is almost completely covered and the hair falls down like a curtain across the body, the small curved tail emerging like a fountain at the back. Bear in mind that it is not easy to maintain this look… you will end spending a lot of time grooming and brushing your dog’s hair to prevent it from matting. So while these are eye-catching dogs, they are also a big investment and commitment.

Temperament: Lhasas are interesting in terms of temperament: they are fiercely loyal and will go to extremes to protect their family and homes. At the same time, they can be a little aloof and independent: they like doing their own thing and don’t mind being left home alone for short periods of time. They are also wary and reserved around strangers, so socialize them when they are young if you want them to be a little more affable. 

They don’t need excessive amounts of exercise: a daily brisk walk is fine or some play time. They can be a little impatient with children if they roughhouse with them so keep an eye out for mishaps.

Space requirements: Lhasas are small dogs with low to moderate levels of energy. They can live in smaller homes as well as larger spaces.

Other considerations: While Lhasa Apsos are low maintenance in terms of exercise and attention, you will have to go out of your way to ensure that they are well-groomed.

Given their temperament and the fact that they are a little tricky to train, they might not be the best idea if you have little experience with dogs.

Remember that Lhasas don’t usually love children as they can mistrust them. Households with infants and toddlers may not be the perfect environment for them. The layered personality of Lhasas suggests the intelligence and complexity of our canine companions.

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