About Me

My photo
Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier. Founder of the INDog Project (www.indog.co.in) and the INDog Club. Before that, I worked with urban free-ranging dogs of Mumbai from 1993-2007. Also a spider enthusiast and amateur arachnologist.

This blog is for aboriginal dog enthusiasts. It is part of the INDog Project www.indog.co.in. Only INDogs (Indian Pariah Dog) and INDog-mixes (Indies) 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 landrace village dog of the Indian subcontinent. I sometimes feature other landrace breeds too. Also see padsociety.org

Monday, April 30, 2012


This lovely little girl was in my Facebook inbox today, along with a message from owner C. m. McCormick:

'Thought you'd love to know that I successfully brought Shadow, my INDog puppy I rescued from Chennai streets, home with me to America. She loves it here because everyone thinks she is so cute and nobody discriminates against her. 

'This picture was from her last week in India, taken for her customs papers.'

Flashback to an earlier picture, so sad but with a happy ending!  

'This is the day I finally said "OK you can come home" after she'd been begging me to take her home for two weeks. She's named Shadow because of the way she followed right at my feet with all her strength and tiny legs.
'I often say she picked me.'

Photo: C. m. McCormick
Chennai and USA

Talla, Mexi-dog

Wonderful pictures of young Talla, adopted in Mexico by Leah Petesch. 

Some believe these are primitive dogs descended from the pre-Columbian dogs of the region. All the dogs there look and act similar, writes Leah. They are also called Mayan dogs.

'Talla was born on the streets of San Carlos, in Sonora,' says Leah. 'She's a very "different" looking dog, especially since we brought her up to Iowa and there are no indigenous street dogs in Iowa!  I know of a few more, and they all look similar. 30-40lbs, long slender legs, wedge-shaped faces, streamlined bodies, curled tails.  Most are gold colored, like mine.

'Sometimes it's hard to explain to people that these aren't "purebred" dogs with papers, but they are definitely a pure type and have had a consistent phenotype for thousands of years.  

'These dogs are so versatile and willing to please...  and VERY agile!'

If you'd like to read more about pre-Columbian dogs of the Americas, here's an interesting article by Stephanie Little Wolf.  It has been posted earlier in this blog and in the INDog website.

Photos: Leah Petesch
San Carlos, Sonora, Mexico
Iowa, USA

Please do not use images or content from this site without permission and acknowledgment

Saturday, April 28, 2012


Can anything be cuter than this (except another Indy pup of course)!!

Read about Vijay Raghunathan's adorable INDog-mix Muffin in his description below. And note how the same traits are described by so many owners - intelligent, loving, protective towards owners.

'She was rescued from the streets by a NGO in Bangalore - "Lets Live Together" and has been living with us for 4 months now,' writes Vijay.

'I agree with you on the various perspectives about this breed - she is extremely loving, playful, intelligent, sensitive and very friendly with people and other animals. Yet, even at this age of 6 months when she senses a threat, she becomes very protective of the family and the home.

'It is such a pleasure to wake up or go back home and be greeted by a bundle of fur. Even if it is for a few hours she hasn't seen us, the treatment is the one reserved for someone who hasn't been seen for years together. '

Photos and text: Vijay Raghunathan

Bhulo, the Proudest Indian

8-month old INDog-mix Bhulo lives in Kolkata with his family. He is described by owner Prasenjit Dutta as 'the proudest Indian living', and he certainly looks it, doesn't he? What makes me even happier is Prasenjit's pride in his desi pet!

Read his story below:

'I picked him off the street at 2 months age with one leg maimed by an idiot cyclist. You can see the picture clicked at 4 months age when the leg had healed completely. 

'You would know what fine dogs they make if an Indian dog is cared for. Unfortunately people in our country do not care for anything Indian. We Indians are a pitiable lot...Little do we care for desis...

'Bhulo's leg no longer has any sign of injury and he is a happy member of the family. I had never thought that after keeping three pedigreed dogs since my boyhood days, I would suddenly have the impulse of picking up a street dog. But I have no regrets as the dog has become our third son now! Our dog is so affable and also protective of us that he has turned the household into a lively place and is now the youngest child of the family.

'Now, six months after his adoption, people ask me on the street about how much I bought him for! He likes to keep himself squeaky clean by not stepping on mud on the road. He is almost humanized and he actually talks to us through his grunts, growls, howls, the expression in his eyes and his body language.

'I think Bhulo is mixed with beagle. There are many foreign purebreds roaming the streets of my area where many new-rich people have abandoned their status symbol pets purchased at hefty price, simply because they can no longer tend to their needs. How pathetically mean and poor in mind and soul can our people be! I've seen many street dogs here that resemble beagles more significantly than Bhulo.'

Rajashree's note: This last paragraph about mongrelization made me feel really sad, in spite of this happy and heartwarming story. I grew up in Kolkata in the '60s and '70s (yes, I'm old!) In those days there wasn't much of a new-rich class, and mostly only real 'dog people' kept dogs. It was unthinkable to abandon one's pet or let it roam unsupervised and mate with street dogs. How things have changed.

Text and photos: Prasenjit Dutta
Kasba, Kolkata

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Woman and INDog

A beautiful Ahmedabad street scene captured by Nicole Poyyayil. 

It's always these humbler citizens who stay close to their rural roots and retain close bonds with animals. I've seen a lot of affection for dogs around rural Gujarat, and an extraordinary amount of tolerance for wildlife too. The booming aspiring urban middle class is a different story.

Photo: Nicole Poyyayil

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Free-ranging dogs of Bali

Presenting a dog's eye view of Bali! 

These handsome dogs were clicked by Yvonne de Kock. Yvonne was in Bali last month conducting 
a yoga workshop. I'm so grateful to her for spending time photographing dogs for me. 

Here are a few of the pictures:

Shy but alert
Superb traffic sense!

Typical Balinese dog

Hanging out together...

Napping in the sun, Ubud

Please watch the slideshow below (with captions) for the complete set of images. Brindled coat colouring seems to be quite common, unlike in INDogs. The dogs are also stockier in build than INDogs, something I noticed in Cambodia as well years ago.

This is an interesting article on genetics of Bali street dogs. The authors conclude that "a viable and diverse population of dogs existed on the island of Bali prior to its geographic isolation approximately 12,000 years ago and has been little influenced by domesticated European dogs since that time."

Here's an earlier post on Bali street dogs in this blog. 

Yvonne, thanks for this virtual dog-tour of Bali!

Photos: Yvonne de Kock

Note: There are images in this blog of indigenous dogs from several countries - Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, Cambodia, Sudan, Malaysia, Israel, South Africa. To see them check posts under the topics 'aboriginal dogs' and 'long-term pariah morphotype'.

Please do not use content or images from this blog without permission and acknowledgment.

Monday, April 23, 2012


Black beauty Zoey belongs to Sadhwi Sondhi, founder of Red Paws Rescue, Delhi. 

The pup was found on the street and since nobody offered to foster or adopt her, Sadhwi took her in herself. 


Zoey is 4 months old now, and as elegant as she is cute, like all black Indies!  I find their looks the most striking of all.

Photos: Sadhwi Sondhi

Thursday, April 19, 2012


This was posted by an old friend Prashant Godbole on his Facebook page recently. He's a brilliant photographer. Of course I asked if I could share it, and he generously said yes. Isn't it stunning?

More images by Prashant in the link below - dogs, birds, horses, people, trees...get ready for a visual feast.

Thanks Prashant!
Photo: Prashant Godbole

Friday, April 13, 2012

Beautiful INDog-mix puppy for urgent adoption, Indore

This is one of the prettiest puppies I've ever seen. He was rescued two days ago by Tapas in his housing society in Indore. Some big dogs were trying to kill him.

Tapas can't keep him because he has a job with very long working hours, and his sister who lives with him is a student. Please help find this pup a home by sharing this appeal.

Tapas Upadhyay
08982146414 (mobile)


Thursday, April 5, 2012

INDog at Velas, Maharashtra

This lovely dog was clicked by a friend (Kirti Chavan) in the village Velas on the Konkan coast, south of Mumbai. He belongs to a family running a 'homestay' there.

Velas has become famous for its annual Turtle Festival, organized by an NGO to protect the endangered Olive Ridley. The beach there is a nesting site. The NGO protects the eggs and releases hatchlings into the sea; the event has become a big draw for nature lovers and photographers.

One of the many threats to nests is what the media call 'feral dogs'; there is also predation by jackals; and hatchlings are hunted by birds of prey. Major threats of course are coastal development, poaching, and incidental capture in commercial fishing nets.

Homestay tourism has become popular in this village due to the Turtle Festival. Let's hope this well-fed and distinctly un-feral village dog keeps away from the beach!

More images by Kirti and others here.

Photo: Kirti Chavan
Ratnagiri District

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Under the noonday sun

This is Kimaya on her mid-day walk in our building compound. Racing on beaches and in gardens and coconut plantations happens only on about eight days a month. The rest of the time it's leash walks around our society, which is fortunately quite spacious.

Most of our walks are devoted to sniffing, following scents, and generally catching up on news about the other animals here. What I mean is, Kimaya does the sniffing and I obediently trot behind!

I do wish we could keep the noonday walk brief though. It's meant to be only for elimination, but the brat craftily 'holds on' till she's examined at least half the car tyres on the premises. If she does this in May I might just die.

There are 10 other pet dogs in our society, plus two dogs living in the compound, plus at least 12 resident cats and several feline visitors. I believe there are a couple of rats as well. So there's just LOTS to sniff in limited time.

She would really need a few hours to get a complete smell-picture of the place.

Only about one-third of our time is spent on vigorous walking and of course a few seconds on the necessary 'jobs'.

A friend once commented that Kimaya's walks were not really walks at all. We don't huff and puff around in a military-type drill. But that's probably how it should be. How boring and sterile our apartment must be for the dogs. No interesting smells at all (except in the dustbin, which is locked away). No other animals coming and going let alone peeing!

So on walks we have an understanding that the dogs can amble around sniffing freely, so long as they don't try to pull me to the trash area, or chase cats, or pick up bones or pigeon poop or other such rubbish.

Because of this agreement, my dogs are quite obedient about the no-pulling rule.
Some might actually mistake them for well-behaved dogs!!


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Save Shaar Hagai Canaans

Our aboriginal dog enthusiast readers must have heard of the Shaar Hagai Kennels in Israel. You may have read this post here about Canaans.

Managed by Myrna Shiboleth, world authority on this breed, Shaar Hagai has been a pioneer in the breeding and preservation of this ancient pariah-type dog.

In case you haven't read it yet, here's
Myrna's article on Canaan Dogs which she generously contributed for the INDog site.

Canaans have traditionally been used as livestock guardians by Bedouins; however with changing lifestyles among their former owners, many of these dogs have become ownerless desert dogs and are in danger of disappearing through mongrelization with modern breeds.

Shaar Hagai constantly brings in fresh blood through these remaining free-born Canaans.

Once looked down on in Israel, much as our 'pi-dog' is here, the Canaan is valued and respected today in its native land thanks to the hard work of Shaar Hagai over many decades.

However this kennel might have to close down soon thanks to a recent dispute with the Israel Lands Authority.

This would be a terrible loss to the canine world, specially the world of pariah breeds! It was dogs such as these that entered human society as the first domesticated animal. They are part of our history, and the history of the dog-human bond.

If you care at all for the preservation of these unique dogs, please sign and share
this petition.

I have posted the text of the petition below.


Monday, April 2, 2012


This is not a pure INDog but a mix-breed who used to live in Nagaon. I'm posting this because of her habit of 'denning' every winter when she had puppies.

She belonged in a loose sense to our neighbour, a villager who owns a tourist lodge next to our bungalow. She was very shy and couldn't be touched by anyone, but our neighbour fed her and allowed her to stay on his premises.

When she had pups however, she wouldn't keep them in his compound, most probably because she wanted to hide them from his other dog, also a female. She would make a den like this in our garden or in my aunt's coconut plantation (see pic). It would be dug out under a heap of leaves, or else she would make a burrow in the ground.

As long as her pups were there she'd be very aggressive and rush out to attack anyone (me, my dogs) who walked too close.

Though I see many pups of many different mothers every year in Nagaon, I'm never very sure where exactly the pups are kept in the first weeks. This is the only den I've had the opportunity to see.

Usually village dogs around India are allowed to use some space by local people, like a cow shed. For instance my Kiba's mother and aunt had kept their litters in a covered space attached to a highway shop, and were even being fed by the shopkeeper.

Has anyone seen this denning behaviour in village dogs? I'd love to know more about this.

(This dog died suddenly two years ago by the way. I suspect one of the villagers poisoned her, as she was a habitual chicken-killer. In my experience 'sudden deaths' of healthy village dogs are usually caused by poison, and for similar reasons - killing of poultry or livestock.)