The relationship between dogs and humans has been going on since the earliest beginnings of human civilisation. From the heartlands of Central Asia to the Philippines, and from Germany to Tibet, every civilisation or nation or region has had its native dogs, which were accustomed and particularly accustomed to the climate and lifestyle of the region.
Like other countries, and regions, India too has, over the centuries, developed many different dog breeds in the same way but in recent years people are becoming more biased towards foreign dog breeds. It is a shame that we Indian’s neglect our own native breeds.
From hounds to terriers, India is home to many indigenous dog breeds. Indians, however, are not accustomed to their indigenous paw buddies. Here is a list of some of the much-neglected Indian dog breeds everyone should know about:
Rampur Hounds were one of the favourites of the royals of India during the imperial era. The breed is native to West Bengal, but now they’re mostly found in Northern India, mainly between Bareilly and Delhi. Rampur hounds are sighthounds and are known for their activeness. However, in recent years, their numbers are decreasing rapidly due to negligence. If not taken care of, they will soon become extinct.
Native to Tamil Nadu, Kombais are extremely friendly and loyal. They are family dogs who love human companionship and they behave very well with children. They are also good at protecting their territory as they’re very powerful and alert. In recent days, it has become very difficult to find a purebred Kombai because of the decline in their importance.
Tangkhul Huis are black hairy dogs, found in Manipur. They’re medium-sized dogs with bat ears and bobtails. The breed is very much neglected in the country and only a few people know about them. They are often called Indian huskies.
Kashmiri Sheep Dog or Bakharwal is an ancient working dog breed. They are exclusively found in the province of Jammu and Kashmir. They are mostly bred by the nomadic tribes, who use them to guard their stocks. The dog breed is not half as popular as it should be and recent studies have found that they will soon be extinct.
Jonangis are very active dogs. They look very calm and sweet but they’re excellent at protecting their family. They are mostly found in Andhra Pradesh. They are very loyal towards their human companions and they can be regarded as one-man or one-family dogs. They are good at covering large distances. However, it is very difficult to find purebred Jonangis nowadays.
Pandikonas are short-haired and they are adored for their cute appearance. They are found in the Andhra Pradesh’s Kurnool district. They are not at all popular amongst the people across the country and they are mostly present in their native areas. Their unpopularity is the major reason behind the fall in their numbers.
Rajapalayams used to accompany the aristocrats and royalties of South India. They are also known as Polygar Hound or Indian Ghost Hound. They were mostly used for hunting. They have a unique appearance which attracts people. Purebred Rajapalayams have almost become extinct, only handfuls are found in small areas of southern Tamil Nadu.
Chippiparais are active and strong sighthounds. They are mainly found near Periyar Lake. They were primarily bred for hunting deer, hare and wild boars. This breed has long legs and lean body; built for running at high speed. They are diminishing in numbers and if immediate steps are not taken, they will soon become extinct.
Tajis are popular for their beautiful appearance and activeness. This breed is another sighthound, built strongly and beautifully. They were originally used for hunting fox, bear, wildcat, marmot and gazelle. It is very difficult to find an original Taji in India nowadays.
Kaikadis are terrier dogs. They are known for their excellence in being watchdogs, they are always alert. The breed was used by Kaikadi tribes for hunting hare and vermin. The breed is an example of negligence of people towards Indian dog breeds, it is now almost impossible to find a purebred Kaikadi, most of them have mingled with Indian Pariahs and Indian stray dogs.
Often mistaken as stray dogs, Indian Pariah are native Indian dogs that are found across the country. They are medium-sized dogs with erect ears and a curled tail. They are trainable and they make excellent guard dogs. They are also used by the police.
Mudhol Hound, commonly known as Maratha Hound, Pashmi Hound and Kathewar Hound, is a breed of sighthound dogs. They are native to Karnataka. Mudhol Hound was amongst the four Indian dog breeds that were featured on a set of postage stamps, released by the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to celebrate the canine heritage of India in 2005.
Indian native dog breeds are as good as foreign breeds. Unless we start prioritizing our indigenous dogs, we can’t save them from getting extinct.