We’ve already discussed dog breeds that are quintessentially Indian. There are so many! From the Chippiparai to the Rajapalayam, India has a fantastic heritage of all things dog. Sadly today, the numbers of some of these breeds are dwindling.
When India was a growing civilization in ancient times, Indian dog breeds were popular in other places like Egypt and Rome. Yet, there has been scant attention paid to these dogs back home. Why is that?
We have long denied the attention to Indian dogs that we give to other Western breeds. This is partly due to a lack of awareness, and a distrust of dogs in general. When the Britishers colonized India, they brought down their native dogs, which has also contributed to the general state of decline.
Similar in appearance to the Indian Bully dog, the Alangu Mastiff is a rare Indian breed that is great at guarding homes. This breed originated in the Sindh parts of India and Pakistan and is also known as the Sindhi Mastiff. This dog can also be found in the South, like Trichy and Thanjavur.
The Alangu Mastiff has a short, white coat, sharp ears, and strong musculature. The Alangu Mastiff can be aggressive and requires an able owner. It will show undying loyalty to whomever takes good care of it.
Alangu Mastiffs are considered healthy with not much risk of congenital defects. They are hardy but somehow also unbelievably cute.
Dhole/Asiatic Wild Dog
The Asiatic Wild Dog, or the Dhole, looks just like a little red fox! They are classified as an endangered breed. You probably haven’t seen very much of the Dhole around the country.
It appears just like a Border Collie, but with a stunning reddish-brown coat.
The Dhole is very powerful and can easily win in a fight with a creature even ten times its size.
The Dhole isn’t a domesticated breed, but it often suffers from diseases spread by more common domesticated dogs and stray dogs. It grows the size of a German Shepherd, so it’s lean and powerful.
Dholes often travel in packs and you can usually make out the clan leader or alpha dog. They hunt in tropical forest regions, competing with other predators in their ecosystem like the tiger and leopard.
These beautiful dogs are still found in parts of China, North Korea, and even Russia.
The beautiful Dhole. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
If you want to know a truly royal breed of dog, look no further than the Chippiparais of South India. These sighthounds are keen hunters, with a sense of cunning that allows it to do a lot of useful activities for their owners.
Chippiparais are usually silvery-white in colour, with a dark grey nose. The dogs are also found in fawn and grey colours. They are getting exceedingly rare, with very few surviving today. These dogs were used as status symbols by rulers in Madurai and Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu. They have a lithe body structure and long, graceful legs.
While similar in temperament to other sighthounds, the Chippiparai is often gentler and more loving.
The Chippiparai. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
The Aquaman of rare Indian dog breeds is the Soneri Kutta. It hails from Uttar Pradesh. The Soneri Kutta is a mix of water dogs that the British brought down during Colonialist times and the Indian Pariah dog. They are agile swimmers with strong muscles. This breed was used to herd buffalo in water bodies.
The Soneri Kutta is usually black all over, of medium height, and looks ever-so-slightly like a hound.
Himalayan Sheep Dog
The Gujjars are a nomadic tribe from the Himalayas. They bred Himalayan Sheep Dogs to protect their livestock. In Kashmir, it was also used to herd sheep. These are large dogs, with strong bones and a large head. These dogs are also known as Bakharwal Sheep Dogs.
Bakharwal Sheep Dogs are friendly, loyal, and quick. They thrive in colder climates, having been bred in the mountains of the Himalayas.
The Himalayan Mastiff
The Himalayan Mastiff is a big, furry mastiff that calls the Himalayan mountain range in India its home. They are bigger than their sibling breed, the Tibetan Mastiff. These dogs can be in black and fawn and have long, lustrous fur that makes them resemble Saint Bernards.
While these dogs love the company of human beings, they can isolate themselves from other dogs. But they remain steadfast and loyal companions to their human owners, helping them with cultivation and herding activities.
The Tibetan Mastiff, only slightly different from the Himalayan Mastiff. Photo: Wikipedia Commons
This breed is extremely rare and is originally from the east coast of India. They can mainly be found in Andhra Pradesh. They are smallish in size, and are quiet and patient. Jonangis are known for their “yodeling” sound and don’t often bark.
Jonangi dogs are white, brown, or fawn, and have a few distinguishable wrinkles on their foreheads. They have small, flappy ears and a gentle face. They have a very short coat. These dogs are very good at digging ditches and then staying inside it! While they were previously hunted down because they were considered an annoyance to lake farmers, they are now being slowly revived by certain Jonangi lovers in the community.
The Jonangi. Photo: Wikipedia Commons.
The Tazi is a sighthound that migrated from India to Russia for a better standard of living! Jokes aside, this dog is very tall with a lithe build. In the past, the dog was used for hunting purposes. They are graceful and agile, and usually white in colour.
The Indian Tazi has long legs, a hollow chest, and a very short coat. They are one of the oldest dog breeds in the world.
A Tazi dog. Photo: Pethelpful.com
The dogs listed above constitute just a few of the endangered dog breeds of India. It is important that we come together as a community and protect our beautiful dogs. They have served hunters, farmers, and others for centuries, and they deserve a place in the lexicon of great dog breeds found around the world.