The Indian government has placed a ban on importing dogs for commercial purposes including breeding. The move from the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) comes after a strong demand from environmental organisations and animal rights groups.
However, canines would still be allowed in the country for research and security purposes and pet owners brining their dogs from outside are asked to carry all necessary documents when travelling into the country.
A notice from the DGFT read: "Import of commercial dogs for breeding or any other commercial activities other than the purposes mentioned above is not permitted."
Several animal rights groups have raised concerns that foreign breed dogs such as Alaskan Malamutes and Siberian Huskies suffer due to the climatic conditions in the sub-continent. Top pedigree dogs which are in constant demand in India include Pugs, German shepherds, Rottweilers, Labradors and Dobermans.
Gauri Maulekhi, a consultant with the Humane Society International – India, said: "We commend DGFT for this historic ban which will prevent the suffering of thousands of dogs. Our shelters are inundated with cases of abandoned imported breed dogs which are usually due to poor understanding of the breed's requirement. We now hope that the Government complements this decision by enacting the Pet Shop & Breeder regulations as recommended by the law commission of India."
Recently, a breeder based in southern Indian city of Bangalore bought two Korean mastiffs for Rs 20mn (£200,000) prompting a lot of publicity.