A retrospective research design was adopted to identify the breeding management practices of pet dogs and the constraints faced by pet owners in breeding management of pet dogs. The study was conducted purposively in Bengaluru district of Karnataka with the total sample size of 240 pet dog owners selected randomly. The results revealed that, majority (54.16%) of the owners neutered their dogs whereas 45.84 per cent kept their dogs intact for breeding. Among the respondents who owned breeding dogs, cent per cent preferred natural method of breeding by taking female dogs to male dogs place (99.00%), bred for one time (42.73%) and did not notice any breeding problems in their dogs (97.27%). Among the respondents who possessed female breeding dogs, cent per cent had awareness on heat/oestrous symptoms in their dogs. Pertaining to taking dogs for pregnancy diagnosis, majority (73.85%) of the owners took their dogs for pregnancy diagnosis and preferred both physical examination by the veterinarian and ultrasound scanning (58.46%) for pregnancy diagnosis. Majority (58.46%) of the owners weaned puppies at less than 4 weeks of age. Majority (63.08%) of the owners expressed lack of information on high quality pedigree males for natural service as the major breeding constraint. Therefore, there is urgent need to enhance the knowledge of the dog owners regarding scientific breeding practices of pet dogs by effective dissemination of the information based on the prioritization of the information needs of the dog owners.
India is the fastest growing economic country in the world and adopting western life style leading to more of nuclear families, which eventually increases the adoption of companion animals. This change in socio-cultural values of humans resulted in change of attitudes towards companion animal ownership, with higher expectations and demands for greater and timely information for management of these companion animals (Basarajappa, 2013). Indian household dog population is increasing by 26 per cent every year and about 17 per cent of the households own a pet dog (Sudarshan et al., 2006). Presently, India’s dog population is 11.672 million. Out of them, 9.494 million and 2.177 million are present in rural and urban areas, respectively. Among all states in India, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka stand first (11, 13,031), second (10, 77,856) and third (10, 28,869) in dog population respectively (Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics, 2012). Innovation in veterinary care and a better understanding of canine nutrition management through each phase of dog’s life cycle such as growth, maintenance, reproduction, lactation and senility have helped in contributing to welfare and a longer life expectancy for dogs (Vijayakumar et al., 2004). Pet owners are becoming increasingly more knowledgeable when it comes to pet care. As a result, they have number of enquiries towards veterinarians than ever before and are expecting a greater personal involvement in the care and treatment of their pets. Most of the pet dog owners resort to unscientific management practices, because of convenience. In this background, it was felt that in the present scenario there is a need for understanding the breeding management practices adopted by the dog owners which are necessary to identify the strength and weaknesses of the dog rearing system and to formulate suitable intervention policies. Hence, the present study was designed to identify the breeding management practices adopted by pet dog owners and also the constraints faced by them towards breeding management.
Materials and Methods
Adopting ex-post facto research design, the present study was conducted on breeding management practices of pet dogs in Bengaluru district of Karnataka purposively because of considerably high density of pet dog population and pet practitioners. Two hundred and forty pet dog owners were selected randomly from Bengaluru district of which 110 dog owners were involved in breeding activities. Among 110 dog owners, 65 respondents possessed female breeding dogs and 45 respondents possessed male breeding dogs. The interview schedule was developed in consultation with the experts’ suggestions to find out the breeding management practices adopted by pet dog owners and also constraints faced by them in breeding management. The data collected were statistically analysed for frequency and percentage and finally, the rankings were given based on it.
Results and Discussion
Breeding Management Practices of Pet Dogs
The distribution of pet dog owners on different breeding management practices was depicted in the Table 1. The results revealed that, 45.84 per cent of the respondents were breeding their dogs out of which 44.17 per cent were purposively bred and 1.67 per cent was accidently bred. Not paying enough attention towards dogs could be possible reason for the dogs to get accidently bred. The results are not line with the findings of Slater et al. (2008), who disclosed that, majority of the dogs were accidently bred. Among the 240 members under study, 54.16 per cent of the respondents neutered their dogs to avoid risk of pregnancy, fighting and to minimize susceptibility of dogs and prevention of reproductive organ diseases whereas 45.84 per cent kept their dogs intact for breeding to get economic returns from the sale of puppies. The findings are in accordance with the findings of Rohlf et al. (2010) who reported that majority of the dogs were neutered followed by intact. However number of neutered dogs are not in conformity with the findings of Hsu et al. (2003) who opined that, majority of the dogs were intact followed by neutered.
Table 1: Breeding management practices of pet dogs
|S. No.||Breeding Management Practices||Category||Respondents, n=240|
|1||Breeding status of dogs||i) Bred||110||45.84|
|2||Neutered status of dogs||ii) Not bred||130||54.16|
Cent per cent of the respondents preferred natural method of breeding (Table 2) as they perceived natural service as more successful than artificial insemination, availability of pedigreed male dogs for natural service, lack of knowledge regarding artificial insemination and non-availability of artificial insemination service facilities. It was evident from the Table 2 that, 99 per cent of the respondents preferred taking female dogs to male dog’s place to provide advantageous environment to male dog who is the performer. About 42.73 per cent of the respondents bred one time followed by two times (25.45%), three times (14.55%), four times (7.27%), five times (5.45%), six times (2.73%) and eight times (1.82%). Age of the dog (young and middle age) could be the possible reason for these findings. The present study observations are in partial accordance with the findings of Slater et al. (2008) who revealed that most of the owners bred one time followed by two to three times and more than three times. Majority (97.27%) of the respondents did not notice any breeding problems in their dogs and 2.73 per cent of the respondents did notice breeding problems in their dogs as they were unaware of the diseases/condition from which their dogs suffered.
Table 2: Breeding management practices in breeding dogs
|S. No.||Breeding management in breeding dogs||Category||Respondents, n=110|
|1||Method preferred for breeding||i) Natural method||110||100|
|ii) Artificial insemination||0||0|
|2||Preferred place of taking dogs for mating||i) Male dog to female dog’s place||0||0|
|ii) Female dog to male dog’s place||109||99|
|iii) Assisted mating||0||0|
|iv) Taking both to veterinary centre||1||1|
|3||Number of times bred||i) One time||47||42.73|
|ii) Two times||28||25.45|
|iii) Three times||16||14.55|
|iv) Four times||8||7.27|
|v) Five times||6||5.45|
|vi) Six times||3||2.73|
|vii) Eight times||2||1.82|
|4||Breeding problems||i) Yes||3||2.73|
|a) Disease/condition Unknown||3||2.73|
The data furnished in Table 3 revealed that, cent per cent of the respondents were aware of heat/oestrous symptoms in their dogs as they availed frequent advices from pet practitioners for breeding management and some also had previous experience in breeding of dogs. These results are similar with the earlier findings of Weng et al. (2006), Basarajappa (2013) and Bhadesiya and Raval (2014). Majority (73.85%) of the owners took dogs for pregnancy diagnosis to confirm the pregnancy, to know approximate number of puppies, to detect any abnormalities in puppies and to confirm date of parturition so that they can make the required preparation at the right time. The results revealed that, majority (58.46%) of the respondents preferred both physical examination by the veterinarian and ultrasound scanning as they considered the veterinarian as the most reliable source along with ultrasound scanning which would provide accurate diagnosis and confirmation of pregnancy.
On perusal of Table 3, it showed that, majority (58.46%) of the owner’s weaned puppies at the age less than 4 weeks followed by 4 to 6 weeks (40.00%) and 6 to 8 weeks (1.54%). Pet owners weaned puppies at less than 4 weeks of age for the sale of puppies as puppies less than 2 months are in demand as they are easy to train.
Table 3: Breeding management practices in breeding female dogs
|Breeding Management in Female Breeding Dogs||Category||Respondents, n= 65|
|Awareness on heat /oestrous symptoms||i) Yes||65||100|
|Pregnancy diagnosis||a) Time of pregnancy diagnosis|
|· At 30 days after mating||27||41.54|
|· At 45 days after mating||4||6.15|
|· At 55 days after mating||17||26.16|
|b) Method preferred for pregnancy diagnosis|
|Physical examination by veterinarian only||2||3.08|
|Ultrasound scanning only||8||12.31|
|Age at Weaning||i) Less than 4 weeks||38||58.46|
|ii) 4 to 6 weeks||26||40|
|iii) 6-8 weeks||1||1.54|
Constraints in Breeding Management of Female Pet Dogs
The information presented in Table 4 revealed that, none of the owners expressed inadequate information about signs of heat detection in dogs as constraints whereas 63.08 per cent of the owners expressed lack of information on high quality pedigree males for natural service as major constraint followed by insufficient information about timing of AI/natural service (35.38%) and lack of artificial insemination facility (1.54%). The results are partially in agreement with the findings of Vijayakumar et al. (2006).
Table 4: Breeding constraints of female pet dogs
|S. No.||Breeding Constraints||Respondents, n=65||Ranking|
|1||Inadequate information about signs of heat detection in dogs||0||0||–|
|2||Insufficient information about timing of AI/natural service||23||35.38||II|
|3||Lack of artificial insemination facility||1||1.54||III|
|4||Lack of Information on high quality pedigree males for natural service||41||63.08||I|
Majority of the respondents neutered their dogs. Among the respondents who owned breeding dogs, cent per cent preferred natural method of breeding by taking female dogs to male dogs place and did not notice any breeding problems in their dogs. Among the respondents who possessed female breeding dogs, cent per cent had awareness on heat/oestrous symptoms in their dogs. Majority of the owners expressed lack of information on high quality pedigree males for natural service as the major breeding constraint. In general there is a need to improve communication skills communication aids in disseminating better information dissemination to dog owners for dog rearing. Therefore, there is urgent need to enhance the knowledge of the dog owners regarding scientific breeding management by effective dissemination of the information based on prioritization of the information needs of the dog owners. Development of need based information and expert system using more interactive Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) tools for pet owners is the need of the hour.