We love foreign breeds. However, there are so many great Indian breeds to get to know.
In India, especially in the cities, you might often see people taking a Husky, a Labrador Retriever, or a St. Bernard for walks. India has a tropical climate, so why do we promote and encourage the breeding of dogs that were meant for colder climates?
India is full of its own rich dog heritage
There are so many dog breeds within India- and stray dogs are descendants of these ancient breeds. Let’s take a look at some of them. It’s important to understand that animals from a particular region are always going to be healthier in their natural habitat.
Many people ask: “What is the breed of Indian street dogs?” The fact is, there are so many different breeds in India to study and learn about.
Popular Indian dog breeds
Tipu Sultan first introduced this breed to South India during his reign. The Rajapalayam is a sighthound, and was considered a worthy companion to the aristocratic classes. The name comes from the town of Rajapalayam, in the Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu. They are good guard dogs, and were used for hunting.
Himalayan Sheep Dog
These are more commonly known as the Gaddi Kutta- and are raised by Gaddis in Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. These dogs come in many shapes and sizes, but characteristically have more fur than other Indian breeds because of their temperate habitat. Gaddi Kuttas are used by the shepherds to look after livestock and you can see them all over the mountain region.
The Rampur Greyhound is a type of hound descended from the Afghan Hound. They are short-haired with a powerful build, after being interbred with Greyhounds to improve their strength. The Rampur Greyhound is found in North India. The number of these dogs is dwindling, but they were also favoured by the aristocracy in West Bengal and the regions around Delhi.
You would have definitely seen this dog in South India at some point. These dogs are usually coarse-haired and brown. Combai make effective guard dogs and are suitably aggressive for the job. This breed evolved naturally, and is therefore less prone to diseases and health ailments. They make great family dogs as well.
Another beautiful hound from the Madurai region of Tamil Nadu, the Chippiparai was used for hunting purposes. There are a few of them left, and are endemic to Periyar Lake in Tamil Nadu. The Chippiparai has coarse, short fur, and are of medium build. They are tough, and rarely face health disorders.
Another hunting dog, the Tazi is a beautiful, slightly furrier dog. They are extremely rare today. They resemble the Russian Tazi, but with less fur. Tazis are playful and friendly.
Indian Pariah Dog
A true Desi Kutta! You might confuse them with many other stray dogs, but the Indian Pariah Dog has its origins dating back to around 4000 years. They are from the subcontinent and you can spot them in Bangladesh too. Desi Kuttas are friendly, lovable, easy to train, and adorable. They are of medium build.
These hounds look a bit like the Rajapalayam. They are very popular in India- especially in villages in Karnataka. You might also know them as Caravan Hounds. They are good as hunters and guard dogs. While loyal, Mudhol Hounds are generally a one-owner dog, and can be hostile to strangers (what makes them perfect for guarding a home).
Time to give some love to a breed from the North East. The Tangkhul Hui is a beautiful and fascinating dog found in Manipur. People consider the Tangkhul Hui endangered, and are trying to work together to revive the breed. Because of its furry and dark visage, it vaguely resembles the Asiatic black bear.
The benefits of adopting an Indian dog breed
They are low maintenance
Indian dog breeds are low maintenance and easy to handle at home. They aren’t overly large dogs (except maybe the Rajapalayam), and they usually have short coats (unless they’re Gaddi kuttas!), so it’s easy to keep them clean AND also spot injuries or growths fast.
They make for great guard dogs
Indian dogs are used to the streets – especially stray dogs. Sometimes, stray dog packs even keep neighbourhoods safe if they suspect foul play! You will have a great guard dog in an Indian dog.
They offer companionship and loyalty
Like all domesticated dog breeds, Indian breeds are friendly, vivacious, and love to hang out with people. You will never regret having one!
They are street smart with great survival instincts
As we mentioned earlier, an Indian street dog is used to roughing it out. They are tough dogs and are able to adapt to public spaces very fast.
They have healthy immune systems
A diverse and rich genetic heritage is known to help dogs remain healthier, fitter, and avoid the problems of inbreeding.
Why are Indian dog breeds becoming more popular?
An Indian stray dog, or an Indian pariah dog, is easier to adopt, less expensive, and less maintenance than a pure breed. People often spend lakhs of rupees on pure breeds like golden retrievers, boxers, huskies and so on. There are also the costs that come up when raising a foreign, or non-endemic breed. Pure-breed dogs are more likely to have a host of health issues related to their inbreeding, their non-endemic habitat, and neglect from breeders and pet stores.
While there is a lot of paperwork involved in adopting a stray dog, the benefits of adopting (for both you and the dog) cannot be stressed enough. The act of adoption is great for the psyche, and for one’s emotional well being. Adopted dogs usually come trained, and are socialised. If you are a new pet owner, it might make much more sense to go down this route as well.
The unfortunate reality in India is that there is an abundance of illegal, unregistered pet “shops” that sell and deal purebred puppies and dogs. These places often neglect the dogs, provide them with bad quality food, and keep them caged and in confined spaces for long amounts of time. Puppy mills often abandon female dogs once they’ve given birth to enough puppy litters. This treatment is unethical, and it makes no sense to encourage it when there are so many millions of dogs that are already looking for homes.