About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier, birder and amateur arachnologist. I'm also a wildlife conservationist working in the tiger reserves of central India with Satpuda Foundation. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai for 14 years.

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.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

M Krishnan's essay "The Pariah"

"I have played with the Pariah dogs of our country when I was a child and still have esteemed friends among them. I have seen and known them in all sorts of places, on sweltering plains and cold hills..."

M Krishnan was a legendary Indian naturalist, environmentalist, writer, photographer, and scholar of Tamil literature, and he wrote a column called "Country Notebook" in The Statesman (Kolkata) for several decades. Some years ago a compilation of his essays was published under the title "Nature's Spokesman" (edited by Ramachandra Guha).

Unlike most wildlife-lovers, he was also a fan of our native dogs - one of "us." Though he didn't think them handsome, but then nobody much did at that time!

Back in 2007 when I started this blog, Mr Arijit Chaudhuri wrote this post that mentioned M Krishnan's essay on our native dogs. I decided to look for the essay, but due to increasing scattiness over the years I completely forgot to do so - until last month.

Here is an excerpt from "The Pariah" (1944):

"It is tractable, clever, even sagacious, self-reliant and absolutely incorruptible. It has an extremely hardy constitution and costs next to nothing to feed. There is no better house-dog. It is so clever and willing, you can teach it practically anything, it never makes friends with strangers whatever the bait, and will wake and give voice at the slightest suspicion of anything wrong. It does not keep howling all night, nullifying all attempts at sleep, but barks only when there is good reason. It is this quality, rather than the desire and ability to maul, that is wanted in a watch-dog and the Pariah has it...

"...I suppose the Pariah can be stabilized as a breed and improved in appearance - it cannot be improved in brain - but frankly, I see no future for this dog. In a country where the Poliga and Mahratta hounds have been allowed to die down, practically, is it likely that the Pariah will succeed in attracting notice or support?"

Excerpt from "Nature's Spokesman," edited by Ramachandra Guha, Oxford University Press

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A visitor's view of INDogs

I want to share this nice email from dog lover Anna Kaminska, because it's such a perfect description of our dogs! Anna is from Poland.

"I was In India, and all the time I was thinking that all those 'homeless' dogs have very much in common, that they must be one breed. I loved them! And as I could see, the dogs love people.

The first few times I thought that the dogs I met were somebody’s. They acted like trained dogs, they looked like they understood me perfectly. I played with them and they did everything I wanted. I wanted them to stay, they stayed, I wanted them to follow, they did it!

My Indian friends told me that they are not trained. They are street dogs. I couldn't believe it!

I'm sure that over many years, the best chance to survive for them was to be friendly and follow people. I think aggressive dogs naturally wouldn't have survived. This is the best breed of dogs I know. I'm sure in future I will adopt a couple. Now I already have too many animals!!
"
Thanks Anna for this first-hand account. Now I wish more Indians were as appreciative and insightful about Indian dogs!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Brandy

We have a new member, Brandy. Proud owner Shivdas tells us about him:









My wife and I have always been dog lovers and we wanted a pet who would really need a home and loving parents.

We came across an advertisement on the net regarding a pariah dog for adoption. His mother had died when he was one month old and he had two siblings. He was born on a construction site and the security guards there would take care of these babies along with another dog lover who lives near the site. He was the one who put an ad on the net.

We went to see them and chose Brandy. My wife named him Brandy as he is multi-coloured (brown, fawn, black and white).

He's the best thing that has ever happened to us. He is so understanding that if I get angry with him and don't talk to him, he actually cries till I go and pet him.

Despite him being just 7 months old, he knows who are friends and who are not. He would only bark if someone is at our the door or a stranger he is wary of. Wherever my wife goes, he has to follow her. In fact they are both crazy about each other.

He has such beautiful eyes that one doesn't even feel like scolding him if he has been naughty. He will look at you with such an innocent expression that one's heart will just melt! He is the best stress-buster one can have. Of course at times he can be a real devil. He has a trainer at the moment.

Friends who had seen him at the time when we had brought him home can't believe the change. And those seeing him for the first time ask which breed he is. We proudly say he is a pariah and frankly not many know what a pariah dog is, but are only used to the term stray.

He is not at all a fussy eater and loves karela (bitter gourd)!

Photos and story: Shivdas Nair,
Mumbai

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Beautiful brindled pups for adoption - Delhi





Posting this appeal from Tandrali Kuli:

"These two darling boys need a home. They are 'street smart" Indian Gentlemen, vaccinated & healthy, playful and affectionate.

Will make great indoor pets as well as outdoor guard dogs. We only beg that they are not tied up.

Please forward this to as many people as you can.

Interested homes can call Sonali @ 9871948044 or me @ 9818201987.

Email: tandrali.kuli30@gmail.com"

Delhi,
India

Confused INpuppy!



Click here and here for earlier posts about Rupee.

Video: Rina Pita Peach
Vancouver,
Canada

Rupee's first snow

Rupee joins the growing list of astonishing snow-loving Indies...




Read Rupee's story here.

Another fun video coming up!


Video: Rina Pita Peach
Vancouver,
Canada

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Pups survive fire, need good homes



These tiny pups survived a tragic accident in a Delhi residential society recently.

The litter had been kept in an empty junk room by their mother, to shelter them from the rain. Two small children aged 3 and 5 got hold of a box of matches and accidentally set fire to the old clothes among which the pups had been hidden. Neighbours rushed there on seeing the smoke, and managed to put out the fire with water. The pups were all taken to Dr Premlata Choudhury.

One was severely burned and died, but two have survived and are now in foster care.
Sadly the three year old girl is very traumatized by the incident and refuses to leave her home or talk to anyone.

The pups now need permanent homes. Those interested in adopting one or both, should contact Dr Choudhury on drpremlatachoudhary1@gmail.com

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Genetic study of Indian dogs

In 2009, blood samples were collected from dogs all around India, for a large-scale study called the "Village Dog Genetic Diversity Project." The study is being carried out by Cornell University's Department of Biological Statistics and Computational Biology, and aims at using modern genetic tools to understand the origin and history of domestic dogs. There's a description of the study in the project website.

A number of indigenous dog enthusiasts (me included) assisted the research team. I accompanied them to Orissa, where we collected samples from dogs in tribal villages around Satkosia Tiger Reserve. They also collected samples in the shelter of In Defence of Animals, Mumbai. Among numerous other sites they visited were Katwa (in West Bengal), Hazaribagh in Jharkhand, Chennai and Delhi. Other than India, the team collected samples from six other Asian countries, some African countries including Namibia, and North, Central and South America. Take a look at their sample map for details.


Above, below: One of the dogs sampled in Orissa, belonging to villagers living on the periphery of Satkosia Tiger Reserve.



The analysis is still ongoing, but we just got some of the results from Dr Adam Boyko, the geneticist heading the project. This is via email (March 3, 2011):"We've looked at over 30 dogs from India, including street dogs, Indian Native dogs (INDogs), and breeds such as Caravan hounds, Santhal dogs, Kanni and Chippiparai. In terms of genetic structure, all of these dogs group together into a population that is highly differentiated from dogs from the other countries we sampled. In general, Indian dogs are more closely aligned with dogs from the Middle East than they are with dogs from East Asia, although dogs from Eastern India (Central Orissa and West Bengal) do have some affinity with East Asian dogs. Caravan hounds from India seem to be more similar genetically to other Indian dogs, including Indian street dogs, than they are to Middle Eastern sighthounds such as the Afghan hound and saluki.

After excluding a very small number of recently breed-admixed dogs, we did not find significant genetic differences between INDogs and street dogs from India, although we could detect a small amount of genetic differentiation among street dogs in different Indian cities (e.g. Mumbai, Chennai, West Bengal and Central Orissa)."


The team anticipates being able to generate genome sequences for these dogs soon, and once the sequencing is completed and analyzed, they hope to be able to estimate how ancient the Indian dog population is.Meanwhile, we do know that Indian dogs of the types mentioned are genetically highly distinct from dog populations of other countries studied by the team.

A note on the types and breeds sampled:

INDog
- Indian Native Dog or Indian Pariah Dog, the primitive dog type still found in many parts of India, mostly rural or remote. Indian street dogs are descended from this race. Read about INDogs in this site.

Caravan hound
- the local name is Karwani and it is also known as the Mudhol Hound. Major W V Soman called this breed "the greyhound of Maharashtra" in his book "The Indian Dog" (1963). A sighthound bred in the Western Deccan to hunt gazelle and hare.

Santhal Dog - aboriginal dog traditionally used by the Santhal tribe for hunting. Read an earlier post in this blog about them. Santhal Hounds are similar to the INDog. Cultural conservationist Bulu Imam has done an enormous amount of research on these dogs and the role they play in Santhal society. He gave them the name "Santhal Hound." Read Mr Imam's article on them in the INDog site (Articles section).

Kanni and Chippiparai - rare sighthound breeds from South India.