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EXISTENCE TO EXTINCTION; The Journey of Indian Dog Breeds

EXISTENCE TO EXTINCTION; The Journey of Indian Dog Breeds

What if we tell you that our native Indian Doggos have a rich history and unique ancestral lineage? And not just one but many! With each breed having a different tale to tell. Let’s learn more about them and appreciate them being Indian!

1.RAJPALAYAM-

Named after the city of Rajpalayam, this dog breed originated from Tamil Nadu and is found in some parts of the state only. They have a milky white coat with a pink nose, a lean and muscular body, amber-golden eyes, a short muzzle and a thin face with slightly curled tails. Their bulkier thorax sets them apart from the other sighthounds. Their thin fur makes the skin below visible and helps them cope with the heat in their home state. They have a regal stance, with their back legs wide apart, looking like they are always ready to pounce on the enemy. Rajpalayam were used for fighting against British Cavalry in battles, hence the name ‘war dogs.’ Today they are used by the Indian army as guard dogs along the Kashmir border. This breed is an icon in India, as they have also featured on stamps issued by the Indian post.

They are affectionate and handled better by single owners and unlike other dog breeds, don’t like being pet by unfamiliar people. It’s a fair warning not to try to touch them without getting to know them, as they have fragile and aggressive tendencies towards strangers. It could be seen as an indication to socialise them from a younger age with both, humans and other dogs. They don’t mix well with cats as well.

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Source- Wikipedia

2.KOMBAI-

Call us biased, but this is our favourite Indian breed.  The reason would be their mesmerising eyes and their black muzzle accompanied with a beautiful tan coat, making them a beauty to behold. They have a broad head with ears dropping down and folded backwards. They are the gold standard for Indian guard dogs due to their aloofness and aggressiveness towards strangers approaching their territory. For this reason, they make excellent police or military dogs. They are more suited for suburban areas rather than urban areas since they need space to move around freely. They are expressive.

Kombai breed hails from South India and was earlier used to hunt bison and deer in the 9th century. It is also known as Indian Terrier.

When it comes to their health, they are extremely disease and parasitic resistant. The contributing factor to this is the continued interbreeding with other dog breeds, which has made them well adapted to their habitat.

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Source- Wikipedia

3.PARIAH-

This breed is one of the healthiest dog breeds worldwide, most suitable for the Indian climate, and a common breed seen out in the streets. They make a good pet (friendly and playful and can warm up to you very quickly) and a great example of survival of the fittest. Training them is easier as compared to other breeds.  Also known as desi kutta, Neri kukur, Theru naai. This breed is recognised by the Kennel Club of India and Primitive and Aboriginal Dogs Society (PADS, USA) and is the landrace of the Indian dog breeds. They are generally tan, rust or fawn in colour with a white underside. Their tails are fluffy and curl backwards. They have a wedge-shaped head with a pointed muzzle, dark brown almond-shaped eyes and pricked ears facing forward, having a fox-like look on them.

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4.CHIPPIPARAI-

Originated in the Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, Chippiparais were once used to hunt rabbits and small animals. Later, their primary role shifted to racing dogs. Today they are seen as a symbol of royalty and dignity. They are what Akita Inu is to the Japanese.

Easier to care medically, being naturally robust animals, they are alert and ferocious, making them excellent companions. 

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Source- Wikipedia

5.RAMPUR GREYHOUND-

This is a dying dog breed originating from the Rampur district in West Bengal, a cross of English greyhound and the Afghani hound (Tazi). They have a long tail, tapering upwards. They are tall dogs with a muscular yet lean frame and are fast runners. They can be found in various colours like black and light grey with dark markings in between (that camouflages them in the forest vegetation) and possess yellow to golden eyes. In ancient times, they were the dogs of choice for the princes of India. They were used for jackal control and were trained to hunt in packs (having an astounding 270-degree field of vision). They are affectionate dogs with unwavering loyalty towards the owner. They have a habit of playing roughly, especially when playing with each other. They generally play well with kids and have natural protective instincts.

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Source- Wikipedia

6.BAKHARWAL-

This fierce and fluffy heavy dog breed is also known as ‘Kashmir sheepdog,’ or ‘Kashmir Mastiff.’ This is a muscular dog breed with a great heft belonging to the working group. Originated from Jammu & Kashmir, their purpose was to guard and protect livestock. The ancient Bakharwal descended from a cross between a wolf & a Molosser sheepdog a hundred years ago, and today, this breed is on the brink of extinction, mainly because the litters are small, with a size of 1-3 pups. Since they are bred in the Himalayan region, they have a thick and fluffy coat, keeping them warm during the harsh winters. This coat also makes them shed a lot and requires extra attention on grooming. Their coat colour varies from light tan to a deep red-black. They have a bobtail that curls back into the body, and their eyes are usually amber yellows. Their ears cutely hang low from the sides of their head.  Speaking of their temperament, they play well with other pets, especially with the ones from a different pack. Being working dogs, they require intense physical activity and a large space to roam around, Bakharwals cannot house up all day.

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Source- Wikipedia

7.MUDHOL HOUND-

This ancient Caravan hound is a medium to large dog breed originating from Karnataka, haven served as a guard or hunting dogs centuries ago. They have also been featured in the Indian post. They are also known as Lahori Pashmi, Pisani Hound, or Kirwan. The southerners call them Caravan hound while they are known as Mudhol hound in the northern areas due to their popularity around Mudhol. The Mudhol Hound nearly went extinct, but thanks to the efforts of a single man who worked to save them in the early 20th century.

They have great speed and amazing physical strength. Their stamina allows them to chase over long stretches of land. Mudhols are not the most friendly dogs, very aloof towards strangers, they usually don’t like being touched by people unknown to them. Due to their known prey instincts, they require socialisation since puppy stage as this could create a problem for cats and other small animals.

They can be easily mistaken for the Chippiparai breed in terms of looks. With a long head, a narrow muzzle, brown to black nose, hazel eyes and large floppy ears hang around their head, they look stunning. They have slender bodies, long straight forelegs and strong hind legs. You will see them standing forward on their front legs, with their hind legs set wide apart. Their stance is graceful and poised. They are built to run at high speeds for longer durations.  Their coat colour varies from fawn or brown with a lighter white or cream underside. A feathered variant is known as Pashmi.

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Source- Wikipedia

8.INDIAN SPITZ-
The cousin of Pomeranian (spitz from Poland), became very popular in India because of the restricted import regulation imposed by the government in the 1980s’ to 90s’. They have been derived from the German spitz through many years of breeding. This breed has all the glamour of mainstream media, making it to Bollywood, the famous “Tuffy”. They can adapt to different environments. They need proper grooming for their double coats. They are people-oriented and love being the centre of attention. There are two varieties of the Indian spitz: a larger and a smaller variety. They look similar to a Pomeranian with a pointed skull, thin muzzle, highly mobile fox-like ears and a white coat(some can be black and white or tan and white). The fluffy tail of Indian spitz curl over their back. They are not very tall dogs, making their head look big. When it comes to their temperament, they can be very friendly, but some can turn out to be furious too.

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Source- Wikipedia

9. KUMAON MASTIFF-

Originated from the Uttarakhand state. This dog breed is not easy to find. Their duty was to guard and protect livestock. Today, this breed is on the brink of extinction. They can be seen in various shades of brown with short and soft coats.  They have a resemblance to the old Great Danes.

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Source- Instagram

10. GADDI KUTTA-

Another mountain dog breed from the northern hills of Himachal Pradesh. This dog breed resembles the Tibetan Mastiff, though they are not as bulky as the latter. This breed is used for hunting games, herding and guarding livestock. They are multipurpose mastiff dogs of the Gaddi tribe of India and known as the Panther Hound because of their ability to take down a single snow leopard. This massive dog breed is aggressive towards strangers invading their property. Hence, require obedience training. However, they are not easy to train. They can be stubborn and independent-minded. They have a dark brown to black overcoat with lighter tan or brown patches on their face and underside. Like many Indian dog breeds, their fluffy tails curl back over the body. This feature could confuse them with the Tibetan Mastiff.  However, gaddi kutta has a solid mane and a thick undercoat. The Gaddi kutta is not a pure breed, according to the KCI. The Dingoes of Australia share a genetic inheritance with this breed.

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Source- Wikipedia

11. BULLY KUTTA-

Also, know as Beast of the East or the Indian Mastiff, they originated from The Sindh region between India & Pakistan.  They were used for hunting and guarding. Unfortunately, in some areas of Pakistan & Punjab, these dogs are still used for illegal dogfighting, ironically preventing the breed from extinction. They are very aggressive, another reason for being used in dogfighting in addition to their bulky size. That said, they are not the ideal dogs for families and children and require a lot of training. This breed was a pet to The Mughal emperor, Akbar, for both protection and hunting.

The breed has a large, muscular build and a short white coat with occasional markings. But some could be black, brown, piebald or fawn as well. Many lack pigmentation around their mouths or have pigmentation in patches. They have a heavy set of eyebrows, drooping flews and occasional dewlaps. This feature has earned them the title of “very wrinkled dog”. They have small ears that are directed backwards with a wide and large head. Their back legs are double-muscled, and their paws are thick. Their gait, when seen from far, appears like that of a tiger.

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Source- Wikipedia

So now we know a lot about our native doggos and their rich history. Don’t forget to share these interesting details with your friends and do let us know about your favourite Indian Dog breed in the comments below!

                                       

Dr. Soni completed her graduation from the Anjora Veterinary College, Durg, Chhattisgarh, in the year 2020. She practiced in the capital city of Raipur earlier and shifted back to her hometown recently. Presently she goes on home visits to her pet patients and is pursuing a master’s degree. She loves animals dearly and wishes to pet every dog in this world!

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