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10 Most Popular Pets in India (Updated in 2023)

Chelsie Fraser

By Chelsie Fraser

a close up of golden retriever dog

Pets bring us joy and unconditional love. For some people, their pets are their only family. Animals occupy a sacred space in India and are frequently depicted in art and sculpture around the country. This may be why approximately six out of every 10 people in India own a pet. As one would expect, dogs and cats top the list as the most popular pet choices, but Indians also own interesting exotic pets. Let’s take a look at the top 10 most popular pets in India.Divider 3

Then 10 Most Popular Pets in India

1. Dogs

merle great dane dog standing outdoor
Image Credit: velora, Shutterstock

There are over 10 million pet dogs in India, making up 34% of the pet population. Dogs are easy to adopt in India and are considered a top choice for companionship due to their loyalty.

In Indian medieval cosmology, dogs are associated with the planet Saturn and are said to have been so loyal that the king of the Pandavas was accompanied by his dog all the way into heaven.

India is home to several dog breeds that were commonly exported to Rome and Egypt for use as hunting dogs. In the past, dogs were used primarily as work animals and only kept in homes by kings and nobles who hunted. Keeping a dog as a pet is a relatively new concept in this country. Nonetheless, their loyalty and unconditional love still make them a top choice.

2. Cats

applehead siamese cat
Image Credit: Witsawat.S, Shutterstock

Rural areas of India consider cats to be bad luck, which may be the reason that they are a less popular pet choice than dogs. It’s believed that spotting a black cat will make your work unfinished.

Despite ancient superstition, however, cats are still the second most popular pet choice in India, and it is estimated that by 2023, there will be 2.4 million domestic cats in the country. Persian and Siamese cats are popular breeds.

3. Rabbits

dwarf rabbit eating
Image Credit: Piqsels

Rabbits make excellent pets for urban dwellers who aren’t home for long periods during the day. They are content to stay in their cage most of the time, but they are social creatures that are more than happy to snuggle after a long day at work.

Rabbits have been popular in India for centuries and continue to be one of the country’s most popular pets. Only certain breeds are legal to own, however. Wild rabbits are off-limits.

4. Hamsters

adult european hamster in front of a tree
Image Credit: An13nA, Shutterstock

Hamsters are the pet of choice for children in India. They’re cute and cuddly and require little care. Dwarf hamster breeds are the most popular pets. The biggest downside of owning a hamster is that they only have a lifespan of up to 3 years.

5. Guinea Pigs

Guinea Pig
Image Credit: chiprida, Pixabay

Guinea pigs are popular because they are easy to care for and don’t take up much space. Historically, they have mostly been used in labs for scientific testing, but they have now gained popularity as pets. Since they can easily be kept in a small enclosure, they’re a great option for busy families.

6. Lizards

small lizard outdoor
Image Credit: 165106, Pixabay

Lizards are the highest-ranking reptile on this list of popular pets in India. They are harder to care for than some other animals, but many people find that they are loving and friendly and make wonderful companions. Geckos are the most popular variety of pet lizards.

7. Fish

koi fish in aquarium
Image Credit: TigerStocks, Shutterstock

Like most places around the world, fish are popular pets in India. They make a beautiful discussion point for the home, add to your décor, and are easy to care for. Betta fish and goldfish are the most popular choices, but many Indian homes keep other species of tropical fish too.

Most Indians who choose fish as pets own freshwater fish, including guppies, koi, tetras, or angelfish.

8. Birds

two cockatiels on a tree branch
Image Credit: 825545, Pixabay

In India, wild birds are protected and illegal to own as pets. Exotic, non-native birds can be kept as pets, though. Popular choices include budgies, cockatiels, finches, doves, and lovebirds.

9. Ferrets

ferret in the field of flowers
Image Credit: everydoghasastory, Shutterstock

While some people consider them vermin, ferrets are playful and loving animals with the potential to make good pets if they find the right homes. These mischievous creatures must be properly handled because they can scratch and bite. Special care is needed to form a bond with them. They must be handled frequently as youngsters if you want them to grow up friendly to humans.

10. Turtles

Yellow-Bellied Slider Turtle
Image Credit: Fabio Grandis, Pixabay

A freshwater turtle is a popular reptile choice in India. These critters can be tiny and kept in tanks, so they don’t take up much space. They are more interactive than fish and can be handled outside of their tank with special care.

Many exotic reptiles are smuggled into India and then sold, as exotic animals are considered a status symbol in wealthy parts of the country. The exception is snakes, as it is illegal to own any species of snake in India.Divider 3

India’s Exotic Pet Trade

India has several laws regarding pet ownership and the protection of wildlife. However, those laws only apply to native species. Since there are no laws regarding non-native animals, they have seen a surge in animal seizures by Indian Customs, showing a growing trend in the smuggling of exotic pets. Unfortunately, demand for exotic pets has caused an increase in this illegal pet trade, both online and in brick-and-mortar form.

Reptiles are popular for smuggling, but monkeys, kangaroos, and birds have also been seized. While it is technically illegal to bring these animals into the country, if they make it across the border, they can freely and legally be traded within India. There are no laws that prosecute people in possession of exotic wildlife, nor are there laws regarding their care or sale.Divider 3


India’s pet ownership trends follow the same patterns as most of the world, with dogs and cats being the most popular choices. Smaller animals that are easier to care for are close behind. The illegal pet trade makes it easy to obtain exotic pets, and while laws protect native animals, they do not protect non-native species once in the country.

Featured Image Credit: DanielTwal, Pixabay

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