Written by Disha Ramanan
For all of us, Republic Day is a cause to celebrate our country. Indeed, a day of pride, we rejoice in the freedom and glory of our nation. Here at Lana Paws, we thought we’d transition this feeling of pride into the world of dogs - what better day than today to talk about our very own Indian, purebred dogs (a few of which are even deployed in the Indian Army at the borders, and inducted into the police forces!).
Let’s begin by busting some myths. When we see the term “Indian dog”, many of us think about the dogs on our streets. While that’s not entirely wrong, stray (or community) dogs are mixed breeds. There are numerous Indian purebred dogs that have either already gone extinct or are fast in the process.
Many of these dogs were bred to be working dogs – either as loyal and fierce guards for settlements, intelligent livestock herders, powerful, agile hunters for royal families (in the case of the Deccan dogs) or a combination of all the above. By virtue of being indigenous breeds, are perfectly suited for the climate they are found in. This means they are hardy and seldom need any extra medical attention.
Most are at the brink of extinction; some have been revived due to the attention of dog enthusiasts. Let’s talk about these beautiful dogs, some of which have the potential to be incredible pets too, if only people would step up for their cause!
The Mudhol or Caravan Hound
Recognized under different breed names (‘Pashwani’, ‘Karwani’ etc), this sighthound is naturally found in Karnataka. It is a working dog and therefore needs to live an active life, with lots of exercise. The breed is said to be extremely loyal, graceful and courageous. So much so in fact, that the Indian Army has recently inducted them into the force along the Kashmir border! They are also slated to be deployed in the Northeast. They will be deployed to detect IEDs, for tracking during counterinsurgency ops and other duties on the field.
Kashmiri Sheep Dog/Bakharwal
Now nearly extinct, this is an ancient working breed found amongst the Bakarwal and Gujjar tribes in the Pir Panjal Range. They are still used to guard livestock tribes and as settlement protectors. Some reports also mention them being used by the police forces as well.
Himalayan Sheepdog/Bhotia/Gaddi kutta
This is a hunting dog but is used primarily again, as a livestock guardian. Apparently renowned for their intelligence, strength and bravery, these dogs have also been known to fend off snow leopards from livestock. Despite their necessity for activity, they are extremely loyal and gentle with their family making them very good family dogs (when given a lot of space and attention to their exercise requirements).
Found exclusively in Manipur, these dogs are an extremely rare breed of Spitz. Possibly an ancient breed, much like other very old indigenous breeds found in India, there is very little information available.
A royal companion to the maharajas of the Rajapalayam region in the south, this is an active, intelligent breed of sighthound. They are formidable hunters and guard dogs, but adaptable to families. Socialization can also help them be friendly with other family pets.
Extremely active dogs, they are athletic and can cover long distances with ease. Once seen in abundance on the Eastern coast of India, the pure breed is now rarely found. Regardless, they make for excellent, active pets and are loyal to a fault. They are also used by local populations for hunting and herding. They are known for their peculiar habit of digging deep ditches for them to rest in as well as their unique fish-hunting skills.
These cute, medium-sized dogs are mostly found in Andhra Pradesh. Fiercely loyal and protective, they are said to be excellent guards against intruders. However, they also exercise their own independent judgement by showing tolerance for younger children and juvenile animals. They are used for their exceptional hunting skills as well.
The Tazi dog first originated in India but is now prominently found in Russia. The Indian race is now almost completely extinct. It is known for its athletic, strong build and somewhat furry body. Playful, loyal and affectionate, Tazy dogs are known to be keen on pleasing their families.
This is a breed of dog native to Northern India. Originally bred for their bravery, athleticism and endurance, these sighthounds were originally used by maharajas in hunting lions, tigers, leopards and jackals. Loyal and loving to their human companions, this breed is extremely affectionate and playful. Yet, they are still treated exclusively as a working breed and not for their potential as a pet. This dog has also been known to be sensitive and tolerant of children. If given proper exercise, the Rampur greyhound has excellent potential as a family pet.
Combai or Kombai
Originally from the foothills of the Western Ghats, this breed was subsequently on the brink of extinction before being revived by dog enthusiasts. Also known as the Indian boarhound, Indian terrier etc, this is an ancient breed that has been recognized by the Indian Kennel Club. The Combai looks very different from her Deccan hound cousins. This breed is barrel bodied with a rather square muzzle. It is an extremely loyal, intelligent and powerful breed, that is easily trainable and makes for an excellent family pet. Combais are moderate eaters and like to remain active.
Now, if you are a dog parent to one of our desis, which of these gorgeous indigenous dogs does your dog resemble?