A love for dogs that cost Rs 22 lakhs!

Chandigarh, Dec 3: Alexander the Velikiy or Alex is no ordinary dog. The Russian Borzoi is arguably the only one of its kind in India at present. And he hasn’t come cheap – he cost his owner a whopping Rs.22 lakh to import him and has to be kept in an air-conditioned environment.

For Jaipur-based professional dog groomer Utkarsh Rathore, getting to India the three-year-old Borzoi, a large sighthound which used to be kept by the Russian tsars, was a passion after his breeder friends in Russia told him about the breed.

“I hadn’t seen the dog till it arrived here two months ago. It is the only one of its kind in Asia,” Rathore, 27, claimed while speaking to IANS here.

Coming from sub-zero temperatures in Russia, the Borzoi has to be kept in an air-conditioned environment 24×7.

“To keep dogs, the owners should have the spirit and also deep pockets,” said Rathore, who has done a degree-course in grooming from California and an advanced creative and professional grooming course from Bangkok’s Starwood Institute.

In March, a Chinese coal mining tycoon bought a Tibetan Mastiff for a whopping one million pounds. This is perhaps the most expensive dog in the world.

City-based professional breeder Sikander Singh, who is a top Rottweiler breeder in the country, said that many people were now demanding breeds from other countries that are not common here.

“While the standard German Shepherds, Labradors, Rottweilers and Pugs continue to be in big demand, some people want breeds like French Poodles, Afghan Hounds, Clumber Spaniels, Black Russian Terriers and others. People are ready to spend big money on getting these breeds,” Sikander told IANS.

“Every good breed is expensive. The price goes up if you buy from a top breeder and a good bloodline. I have been exporting Rottweilers to other countries for the last few years,” said Sikandar, who owns Givo, the offspring of a World champion Rottweiler from Serbia.

The breeder, who has now opened Planet Pets, an all-in-one grooming studio for pets in the Mansa Devi complex near Chandigarh, said that professional grooming for dogs is very important.

“So far, most of the grooming is done by non-professionals. We are trying to change that. We offer complete grooming packages – from cuts and colours to training and consultancy for dogs under one roof. It’s a 360-degree solution that’s provided here,” said Sikander .

“Pet cuts and colouring are very popular among owners these days. In the west, many dog owners do it. It is catching up in India too. We can give dogs the looks of Mickey Mouse, Donut, Teddy Bear and the like,” Rathore said.

Cuts, manicures and pedicures can cost anything from Rs.5,000 to Rs.30,000. Some of the packages take up to two days to complete.

Style grooming also comes for a price. “A grooming kit costs Rs 4-5 lakhs. One particular scissor itself costs over Rs.40,000,” Rathore pointed out.

For Sikander, however, the passion for dogs is such that he does not want to sell or give his dogs to just about anyone who comes with loads of money.

“Every dog has a purpose. Some people only want to buy dogs for entertaining the family or children. I don’t give away our dogs just like that,” he said.

(Jaideep Sarin can be contacted at jaideep.s@ians.in)

IANS