Dogs have always been man’s best friend and who better than a best friend to double up as a pet as well? But as the pugs and the Pomeranians, the Dobermans and the Beagles continue to be the most preferred picks, owing to perhaps their ‘exotic’ quotient, our own desis languish somewhere behind. It indeed is sad that even with so many dog breeds native to our land, we often fancy foreign ones just for the sake of mingling in. But indigenous breeds of dogs are often easier to pet, not just because they are local but also because some of them tend to be superior as well!
While not all Indian dog breeds are suitable for domestication owing to their rough nature, there still could be quite some handsome pets that deserve all your love. Thankfully however, with all things local finding some favor in the times of today, even native Indian dog breeds are reemerging of late, to reclaim their place of due prominence. Here are some such native dog breeds that you need to know about, irrespective of whether you would pet them or not-
One of the most striking looking of Indian dogs, the Rajapalayam is a breed of royal lineage. Hailing from the southern part of the country, particularly from its namesake town of Rajapalayam in Tamil Nadu, the Rajapalayam was for the longest time the constant companion, boar hunter and guard of the royalty and aristocracy. Lean and muscular, this particularly handsome dog breed is as good a hunter as formidable it is a guard dog. In its milk white color and large body, the Rajapalayam does indeed stand out with its distinctive features. Also known as the Indian Ghost Hound, the Rajapalyam has been recorded in history for being trained to fight alongside soldiers in Polygar and Carnatic wars against the East India Company from during 1799 to 1805 and are therefore also popular as Polygar hounds.
Indian Pariah Dog
The most commonly encountered dog in India, whether it be on the streets or even as pets is the Indian pariah. Popularly known as Desi Kutta, this indigenous breed is a staple not just in India but over the entire south Asian region. Highly intelligent and easily trainable, the Indian pariah often happens to be in some shade of brown or black though with markings. Quite an early breed, that possibly goes back to some 4500 years in history, the desi dog happens to be of alert and social disposition. Also quite favourable with humans if their upbringing allows them to be such, the Indian pariah dog is one of your best options if you want to own and maintain a pet within your budget.
A hunting dog native to Ukhrul of Manipur in the north eastern part of India, the Tangkhul Hui is believed to have evolved from the Asiatic Black Bear! While that is in part a folklore that derives from the dog’s muzzle, this rare breed of spitz is indeed quite a match to even beasts like bears as far as ferociousness is concerned. Probably quite an ancient breed, these ancient canines however are quite friendly in nature despite their fierce reputation. Even with its characteristic hunting instinct, the Tangkhul Hui comes across as surprisingly adaptable, making for even good apartment pets! Given such encompassing attributes of this breed, it won’t be wrong to name them among versatile Indian dog breeds that need to arouse more interest among dog lovers and pet owners.
As being one of the dog breeds that originated in India, the Indian Spitz can make for your best pet if you choose to stay within limits! Puns apart however and the Indian Spitz can as well awe you with its look that boasts of a nice, generally white coat of fur. For people who prefer smaller dogs as pets, it’s the Smaller Indian Spitz or Lesser Indian Spitz that should make it to your homes.
Considered as one of the most intelligent breeds, the Indian Spitz also counts on its origin to be particularly at ease with the somewhat extreme Indian heat. Equally versatile is the Indian Spitz when it comes to its food choices which makes it a relatively fuss free pet. Indian Spitzs tend to be very active (recall Tuffy from Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) which is quite evident from their very appearance. These low maintenance, highly adaptive dogs also look quite expressive and are quite a joy to covet as pets.
Another Indian dog breed that has its origins down south in the country, the Chippiparai has been a symbol of royal dignity in Tamil Nadu. Active, intelligent and watchful, the breed developed as a hunter dog but gradually became more prominent as guard dogs and show dogs. Medium sized and very fond of human companionship, these make for really good pets in their loyalty as well as in their innate guarding instincts. Lean and graceful, as well as very quick, that which has led the Chippiparai to be often compared to Greyhounds, this is a dog breed also immensely devoted to and protective of their owners.
A rare Indian dog breed that originated from the region of Kumaon in Uttarakhand, the Kumaon Mastiff makes for one of the most prized domestic guard dogs in the country. Powerful and aggressive that makes them such feared home guardians, the Kumaon mastiff dog breed however is at the verge of extinction, with just some hundred to two hundred remaining in India. Believed to have been bred by the native Kumaon tribe that which lends it ts name, the Kumaon Mastiff however also entertains theories that trace its origins to Cyprus. In fact they are popular also as Cypro Kukur but resembles closely the Indian Mastiff, thereby asserting their Indian lineage. Fairly lean for their muscular bodies and immense power, Kumaon Mastiffs however are also surprisingly gentle with their everyday human companions. Quite an eclectic mixture of companionship and competency, these make for one of the most remarkable pets.
An ancient working dog that with nomadic tribes in the Himalayan mountains, along the Pir Panjal range to be precise, the Bakharwal is a rather prominent Indian breed. Despite its dominant status as aid to capture militants within the Indian Police Service, this breed of canine however also stares right into the face of extinction. Bred mostly by the Gujral and Bakerwal tribes, primarily in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh where it finds use for domestic purposes of guarding and protection, the Bakharwal is a powerful and agile breed. Majestic in its furry coat and plumy tail, this dog breed is also unique in that it resides mainly in a vegetarian appetite, even when it is not averse to a meat diet as well.
An ancient hunting breed originating from the village of Pandikona in Andhra Pradesh, this namesake dog is quite agile a protector. Intelligent and independent, the Pandikona makes for friendly companions, loyal and protective but aren’t capable of complete domestication. That is an attribute traceable to the breed’s origin as creatures that roam about large areas, guarding villages and properties. Also sometimes referred to as the Indian Doberman because of somewhat similar appearances, this robust breed is perhaps one of the most convenient to adopt as pets provided you have a large enough a space for their daily regimen.
One of the more popular dog breeds of India, the Bhotia is also commonly known as the Gaddi Kutta or the Himalayan Sheepdog or Himalayan Mastiff. Large and fluffy, these very sightly dogs might come across as quite the beasts to take you aback but they happen to be quite genial beings. Originally bred as hunting dogs, Bhotias now function mainly as guards and are revered also for their intelligence and looks. In their origins in the cold mountainous regions of the western Himalayas, the endurance of the Gaddi kutta is one of immense rigour. Well accustomed to extreme climatic conditions, these majestic beings flaunt also a mane that further asserts the power and aggression they naturally withhold.
Another Indian dog with a distinctive legacy, the Mudhol Hound was bred by the Maratha king Chattrapati Shivaji for use in combat. Also known therefore as the Maratha Hound, this sleek and slender breed is noted for its sharp and muscular appearance. Native to the Deccan region and spread over the states of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh, these are loyal and courageous dogs that also exhibit high intelligence and sensitivity. In their rugged origins, the Mundhol Hound is fairly adaptable to all weather conditions. However, not the same can be said in respect of their adaptability with regard to living conditions since they require quite some space to exercise and roam about freely.
A large working dog popular in India and Pakistan, the Bully Kutta traces its origin in the subcontinent sometime during the 16th century. Intelligent and alert as well as energetic, this very ‘macho’ breed, known as the Indian mastiff, dwells in its muscular appearance that renders it particularly popular for hunting and patrolling requirements. Even historically, the breed had enjoyed immense popularity, notably in accompanying Mughal emperor Akbar in his hunting pursuits. Probably a cross between the Indian mastiff and the British ones, these large and dominating dogs comes across as quite similar to bulldogs in their characteristic traits.