Increible GEMS OF INDIA!
India has always been the land where dogs were loved and were a part of the household. It is in recent times that the trend of international breeds has taken over. Do you know that native dogs are the incredible gems of India. There are so many native breeds of India that people don’t know about. They are perfect for our climate and topography. So know more about these beauties. It’s time to woof for #nativebreeds in our 99th issue. –by Dr Aeknath Virendra, Dr Ninad Yagnik, Tarang Bhatt, Dr Ranbir Jatav, Dr Ankit Meshram, Dr Aishwarya Das and Dr Ayushi Singh
Dr Aeknath Virendra
Dr Ninad Yagnik
Dr Ranbir Jatav
Dr Ankit Meshram
Dr Aishwarya Das
Dr Ayushi Singh
Know about our native beauty, Dr Aeknath Virendra emphasises that management of desi breeds is easier in the Indian climatic conditions. Environment plays a major role in the overall performance and also the immunity of the body. Breeds like St. Bernard and Huskies are not meant for Indian climatic conditions, but people get them here without realizing that their management would be difficult and expensive.
Sniff our Indian breeds who definitely need to be in the limelight and get all praise!
Regality from South India – Royal Rajapalayam
Rajapalayam, also known as the Polygar Hound or Indian Ghost Hound, is a breed from south India. He was the constant companion, boar hunter and guard of the royalty and aristocracy in Southern India, particularly in his namesake town of Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu. Rajapalayam has average weights of 30–45kg, measuring about 65–75cm and life span up to 20 years.
Dr Aeknath adds that Rajapalayam were working as war dogs during the Carnatic Wars and Polygar War against the British army. They are still at the Indian Army and they are posted on the borders of Kashmir. They are found to be very dedicated and devoted to their pet parents, yet very aggressive towards strangers. The one thing to keep in mind is that Rajapalayams don’t gel well with cats, so if you already have a pet cat this breed isn’t for you.
Combai – the mighty hunk!
Combai, also known as Indian Terrier, is a breed who evolved in the foothills of Western Ghats of South India. They are most popular for their aggression and loyalty. They are considered to be an extremely intelligent and powerful native breed. The breed had reached the brink of extinction, but thanks to the unparalleled efforts of dog enthusiasts in Tamil Nadu, they have now been revived. Combai’s average weight is between 25–30kg, measuring about 40–45cm and life span up to 9–13 years
Majestic and magnificent Mudhol Hound
Mudhol Hound is known by various names – Maratha Hound, Pashmi Hound and Kathiawar. He is a breed of Sight Hound from the Indian subcontinent. The Indian Army has expressed their desire to work with Mudhol Hounds for surveillance and border protection duties and recently they have obtained six Mudhol dogs for testing at the Army’s Remount Veterinary Corps at Meerut. Mudhol Hound is an extremely loyal, intelligent, and powerful breed. His average weight is 20–28kg, measuring about 65–73cm, life span up to 13–14 years.
Another attractive yet a very helpful breed, Mudhol Hounds have tucked in abdomen with well-muscled hind quarters and a tapering tail, strong at the base. There are two varieties available i.e. with smooth coat and with silky featherings.
Courageous Chippiparai – bred by royal families
Chippiparai gets his name from the town that the breed is believed to have originated from—Chippiparai in Madurai, Tamil Nadu. This breed was bred by the royal families of the area and continues to be a symbol of royalty and dignity amongst the Tirunelveli and Madurai rulers. Chippiparais are known to be fierce hunters. They would find and kill their prey. Chippiparais are Sight Hounds and they have eyes positioned in such a way that they get 270 degree scope of vision, which is more than most dog breeds.
Measuring about 75–79cm, average weight of Chippiparai is 15–20kg with lifespan up to 13–14 years.
Loyalists at heart – Kanni
Kanni is a royal and rare indigenous Hound breed also known as a Maiden’s Beastmaster whose roots can be traced to Tamil Nadu. During ancient times they were generally used for hunting by landlords. The name Kanni means ‘pure’ in Tamil and was given to the breed for their loyalty and purity of heart. The Kennel Club of India registered Kanni in two names – black and tan colored dogs from the breed are called Kanni and rest of the colors are Chippiparai.
Average weight of Kanni is 16–22 kg, measuring about 64–74 cm with life span up to14–16 years.
Bhotia with the stamp of supremacy
Bhotia, also known as Himalayan Sheepdog or Himalayan Mastiff, is the breed famous for being a livestock guardian dog. They are most commonly found in the Himalayan foothills from Kashmir to Eastern Nepal. In 2005, Bhotia was one of four Indian dog breeds featured on a set of postage stamps released by the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology by Government of India to celebrate the country’s canine heritage. Average weight of Bhotia is 23–41kg, measuring about 51–66cm, but can be up to 77cm, with life span up to 10-11 years.
Tuffy of India – Indian Spitz
Indian Spitz is a Spitz type breed that belongs to the utility group. They are known to be friendly and affectionate and make great pets. The breed gained a lot of popularity in the late 1980s and 90s. Fluffy, cute, and tiny Indian Spitz is an ideal breed size for modern Indian homes and just slightly larger in size than their cousin breed Pomeranian. Average weight of Indian Spitz is 8-20kg, measuring about 35–45cm with life span up to 10–14 years.
Dr Aeknath says that this breed is one of the most intelligent and it is really easy to train them. Two varieties are available i.e. large and small. Indian Spitz is one of the highly expressive breeds. Their fox like ears make them all the more lovable and adorable. Their small size makes them a convenient breed for modern homes with less space.
Native at heart – Indian Pariah Dog
Indian Pariah Dog, also known as Indian Native Dog or INDog, South Asian Pye Dog or Native Dog, is landrace of dog native to the Indian subcontinent. They have erect ears, a wedge-shaped head, and a curved tail. The breed is easily trainable and is a good guard dog. They are the best example of ancient group of pye dogs. They are most suited for Indian weather conditions and are robust and strong. Average weight of Indian Pariah Dog is 20–30kg, measuring about 51–64 cm with life span up to 10–13 years.
From princely shadows of Nawabs – Rampur Grey Hound
This breed has been around 300 years and it is believed to have originated in north India. The Nawab of Rampur state, Ahmad Ali Khan bred the breed but the popularity faded when the Maharajas were no longer ruling. Originally bred to hunt large animals, they are known to be one of the fastest dogs in the world and can reach speeds above 60 km per hour. Sad to say that Rampur Grey Hound is near extinction but this rare breed has just recently gained popularity among desi dog enthusiasts. Average weight of Rampur Grey Hound is 25–29 kg, measuring about: 61–69 cm with life span up to 9–15 years.
They are affectionate with unwavering loyalty for their pet parents. They are found to be playful with kids and also have protective instinct. It is been also said that a single Rampur Grey Hound can hunt down a golden jackal without any fear. So, Dr Aeknath suggests that if you are planning to have a royal dog with a fearless instinct, he would say that Rampur Grey Hound is what you will love.
Fierce Gaddi Kutta – not for faint hearted
An enormous Mastiff-type breed originating from northern India, Gaddi Kutta is sometimes referred to as Indian Leopard Hound or Himalayan Sheepdog. Some people mistake them for Tibetan Mastiff, one of the most sought after breeds. But they are less bulky and have a mane like black lion. This breed is certainly not for the faint hearted. They are huge, aggressive, and incredibly strong. However, they are very intelligent and can herd goats and sheep with little or no training. Average weight of Gaddi Kutta is 35–45 kg, measuring about 70–78cm with life span of up to 11–13 years.
They are natural livestock herders and require least or no training for that purpose. They are highly intelligent with natural instinct to protect their territory, and hence, are aggressive with strangers and this is what makes them a preferred guard and watch dog. Dr Aeknath says that Gaddi Kuttas are known for their loyalty and affection to their family members.
Brawny hunters – Banjara Hound from Maharashtra
Banjara Hound, also known as Vanjari Hound, was a breed worked with nomadic people of Maharashtra for hunting purposes. It’s a Sight Hound type dog breed and they are known for their impeccable stamina. Banjara Hounds are one of the best watch dogs; they have the best vocal chords, and high sense of hearing. Average weight of Banjara is 27–33kg, measuring about 69–76 cm with life span up to 9-12 years.
Gull Terrier – native cousin of Bull Terrier
Gull Terrier, also known as Gull Terr, is a rare native breed who was originated in Punjab in India and Pakistan. The breed is said to be a hundred years old. They are related to their international cousins Bull Terriers from the Great Britain. Their large erect ears are a stark feature. They are highly trainable and very protective about their pet parents and territory. Average weight of Gull Terrier is 20-29kg, measuring about 46-56cm with life span up to 10-14 years.
Dr Aeknath explains that Gull Terriers are good with children in their immediate human family. However, they are known to be aggressive with intruders and strangers. They are well known for being very fast, agile and smooth on feet.
It is time to go vocal for local and know more about these wonderful Indian dog breeds. They’d be great companions, will protect you and your family, and will thrive so well in the Indian climatic conditions, so there is no reason that our Indie friends aren’t given a chance!
(Dr Aeknath Virendra is from Mumbai Veterinary College, Mumbai; Dr Ninad Yagnik and Tarang Bhatt are from Paws & Claws Pet Clinic, Bhavnagar, Gujarat; Dr Ranbir Jatav is from Department of Veterinary Medicine, Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, Jabalpur, MP; Dr Ankit Meshram is from Department of Animal Husbandry and Veterinary Science, Government of Madhya Pradesh, Chhindwara, MP; Dr Aishwarya Das is from Madras Veterinary College, Chennai; Dr Ayushi Singh is from Department of Veterinary Microbiology, Nanaji Deshmukh Veterinary Science University, Jabalpur, MP)
More native buddies in the block
Kumaon Mastiff: One of the strongest dog breeds of India, Kumaon Mastiff has a large and muscular body structure and are usually lean. They belong to Kumaon region of Uttarakhand and internationally they are bred in Finland and Italy. They have great protective instincts and are commendable guard dogs. As compared to other Indian dog breeds, Kumaon Mastiffs are more expensive. But if you can afford or adopt them in some way, then it is highly recommended to conserve this beautiful native breed. Unfortunately, they are very near extinction.
Bhakarwal Dog: One of the ancient working dogs of India, Bhakarwal Dog is also known as Kashmir Sheepdog and Kashmir Mastiff. They are huge with heavy bones and fluffy coat which give them a maestoso appearance. They are being adopted by the police force across the country. They are also near to extinction—one of the main reasons is that they can only produce 2-3 pups a year. An interesting debate about their diet is that some people say that this breed should be fed only vegan food, while others say that they can be given meat as well. There is no particular research done which can validate any of these points.
Bully Kutta: Bully Kutta is known by many names – Indian Mastiff, Pakistani Mastiff and Beast of the East. This beautiful herculean breed was mainly originated from Sindh region between Pakistan and India. They are not preferred as a family dog as they are remarkably aggressive and are difficult to train. The great Mughal emperors adopted Bully Kuttas for both protection and hunting.
Tangkhul Hui: Also called Awang Huijao, this rare breed is mainly found in Manipur. According to Indian mythology, it is believed that Tangkhul Hui evolved from Asiatic black bears. They are quick learners with extraordinarily high discipline and working comprehension. They are also found to be aggressive with strangers and hence can be kept as a guard dog.