About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation.

This blog is for aboriginal breed enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah) and INDog-mix mongrels are featured here. The two are NOT the same, do please read the text on the right to understand the difference. Our aim: to create awareness about the primitive natural breed called the Indian Pariah Dog/INDog. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jimmy, victim of India's Eurobreed obsession

This lovely German Shepherd Dog was actually a mix-breed, the result of an unplanned mating between a pet GSD and a street dog. Since he was not pure GSD, and therefore of no commercial value, Jimmy was destined for a life on the street.

Luckily he was rescued by animal lover Sameer Prabhakar, who was more concerned about the puppy's plight than his pedigree. He lived happily with Sameer till his death last year, at the age of 13.

Most mongrels do not have happy endings like this. Thanks to second-rate dog owners who let their Eurobreeds mate with street dogs, a vast population of mix-breeds lives on our city streets today. My own dog Bandra is a typical example. Dogs like Jimmy and Bandra exist because, first, people are obsessed with Eurobreeds here, and second, because they don't bother to restrain their pets properly. I know that once in a way a pet dog may escape and mate in spite of his owner's best efforts to restrain him, but most of the time it happens due to human stupidity and carelessness. I know of only two ethical people who actually adopted street pups fathered by their own Eurobreed dogs, but such conscientious behaviour is rare.

The belief that mongrels are tougher than purebreds is true only in the context of artificially created breeds. I don't believe that a mix-breed is tougher than a pure aboriginal dog though. Dogs like our INDogs have evolved over thousands of years of natural selection and they are already perfectly adapted to our climate and their life. How can you improve on perfect? Moreover my years of experience have not led me to believe that mutts are any tougher than the pure-looking Pariahs. In some cases, they seem to inherit the temperament and health problems of their more delicate parent, making it difficult for them to survive on the street. I knew a mix-breed who died of heatstroke one summer. My Bandra is very much more frail than my "desi girl" Lalee, and in fact has complex health problems. As for Jimmy, if Sameer hadn't taken him in, I wonder how long he would have been able to cope.

Mongrelization is the biggest threat to our aboriginal dog population. Already the Australian Dingo has been hybridized to a dangerous extent, by Eurobreeds taken to that continent in the last couple of centuries. Is that the way our INDog is headed? At this rate this ancient race will silently disappear before people are even aware of its pure ancestry. What an irony.

Photos: Sameer Prabhakar

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