Shifting pet market

Terrier dogs gain popularity in Baghdad, veterinarian says

BAGHDAD — Terrier dogs are becoming the pet of choice in Baghdad, said Abdul Aziz Youssef, a veterinarian who operates a clinic in the city’s Yarmouk area. Youssef advocates for the breed, citing its small size, friendly nature, and resilience to high temperatures as key factors for its popularity.

Youssef noted that dog sales have shifted from traditional pet stores to online platforms and social media groups. He said that small ornamental dogs, despite their appealing appearance, are less intelligent than larger breeds, which makes them suitable for first-time dog owners. However, experienced dog owners often opt for larger, smarter breeds as their living conditions allow.

“Many pet shops now have empty cages and focus on selling pet accessories instead, as most dog transactions happen online,” Youssef told 964media. “The hot climate influences customers’ preferences, making heat-resistant breeds like the terrier highly popular in Baghdad.”

The affordability of terriers, priced between 75,000 and 150,000 dinars ($57 to $115), also contributes to their popularity. These dogs are known for their disease resistance and can be fed regular household food. Youssef highlighted their gentle and lovable nature, making them ideal indoor pets.

The terrier has been bred in Iraq since the 1980s, although many are imported from Turkey and Oman due to easier access. These ornamental dogs typically live for 8 to 12 years, shorter than the lifespan of larger guard dogs.

Saad Mohsen, a local dog breeder, shared his experience with 964media, expressing his preference for the white-haired terrier. “They are intelligent, playful, and can withstand Iraq’s high temperatures,” he said. “Their price has become more affordable due to increased local breeding, compared to previous years when they cost up to 500,000 dinars ($382).”

Mohsen added that most breeders prefer to acquire terriers at a young age, around four months or younger, for easier training. The vaccination schedule for a Terrier includes monthly deworming and semi-annual vaccines.