About Me

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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

Thursday, June 25, 2015

INDogs and Not-INDogs: Village dogs of India

If you've been following this blog for some time, you may remember some of my earlier rants, er, posts, trying to clear up misconceptions about pariah dogs and village dogs...? 

Like this one? And this?

Another huge misconception I come across all the time is this - INDogs are the predominant village dog in India.

After eight years of observing village dogs, and considerable travel around the subcontinent, I've come to the same conclusion any dog person would:

INDogs are by no means the only type or the most common type in this country. 

They do however have a wider distribution than any other type, and they may well have been the ancestral stock of all other Indian dogs. 

But they are uncommon today for two reasons. Mongrelization with Eurobreeds is now widespread in many rural areas as well as cities; and there are numerous regional native types that are NOT INDogs.

The truth about INDogs is, location is as important as type.

They are only found in rural regions meeting these criteria:

1. Plains areas, excluding grasslands.  That's because mountains and plateaux have their own landraces; and grasslands almost always have locally-developed sighthounds.

2. Relatively remote areas that are hard to access. Villages, of course, but not every village. Only those that are poorly connected with the outside world. Villages in forested areas; in the Sundarbans mangroves - these are typical 'INDog' sites.

3. Areas with impoverished human communities. Because as soon as villagers become prosperous, they acquire 'English' dogs as status symbols, and the local dog population gets mongrelized. 

4. Areas where no other breeds have been developed or introduced. Some parts of India, notably the state of Tamil Nadu, have a strong tradition of creating their own regional breeds. INDog-type dogs are a minority there.

These conditions narrow down the INDog geographical range considerably. In fact they rule out large swathes of the country!

Here's a beautiful INDog in the Sundarbans, still one of my favourite photos. From 2008.

And our breed description of the INDog, from our website, for those who haven't read it before.

And this is a nice article on INDogs and other pariah breeds, by Jaymi Heimbuch in Mother Nature Network last year. (Incidentally the photo was clicked by me in a Gond tribal village in Mandla district; we contributed the picture to Wiki Commons). 

And now, here are some of the many village dogs that are not INDogs!

Himalayan dogs - Himalayan mastiffs and mastiff-mixes:
Typical dog in Uttarakhand. This one was at a forest rest house.

Eastern Himalayan mix-breeds:
Mix-breed dog at Hilley-Barsey, West Sikkim

Mix-breed dog, Tenga Valley, Arunachal Pradesh
Typical stocky thick-coated village dogs of North Bengal, many possibly mixed with apso. These were in Lava near the Sikkim border.

Dhangar Dogs and mixes, in the Western Ghats and Deccan Plateau:
Dhangar sheepdogs traveling with the Dhangar tribe; they are semi-nomadic. Western Ghats.

Livestock-guarding dog near Solapur, west Deccan Plateau

Sighthounds and sighthound-mixes, in grasslands and other regions where they have been developed: 
Dogs like this are very common in the scrub and grassland areas near Ajmer, Rajasthan. Probably used for poaching hare.

Typical village dog of grassland around Solapur, western Deccan; the mix seems to include Karwani (Caravan Hound)

Eurobreed-mixes in prosperous villages: these are exactly the same as the free-ranging dogs on city streets! 
Livestock-guardian dog, seems mixed with German Shepherd Dog from the shaded coat; near Chandrapur, Maharashtra. His name was 'Tommy'!

Spitz-mix village dog with his owner, Raigad district. This village is very prosperous and there are several labradors and spitz kept by villagers.

I'll be doing some posts on 'Not-INDog' village dogs soon. Drop by in a few days and have a look! And thanks so much for reading my blog!

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


Ilovethesmellofnepalinthemorning said...

Hi, thanks for this! Enclosed is a picture of my 13 year old I picked up when I was a student in Delhi. Would you be able to tell if she is an INDog? Thanks a lot!/Users/anandaroop/Desktop/IMG_1677.jpg

Ilovethesmellofnepalinthemorning said...

I don't know if the picture went through in my last comment. Please let me know if I can mail it to you somewhere. My email is anandaroop@icloud.com

Rajashree Khalap said...

Hello and thanks for reading and commenting! Please email the picture to me at rajashree.khalap@gmail.com Dogs in big cities and other affluent places are descended from INDogs but are almost always INDog-mix, with Euro-breed lineage as well. Some look more like INDogs than others. Looking forward to seeing your dog :)

Ilovethesmellofnepalinthemorning said...

Emailed. Thanks :)

Anurag Pandey said...

Hey, hello to all. I am a regular visiter of your blog and is hopefull that you may help me. So a lot of our breed is in danger of extinction and one such breed of dog is tazi of bihar. Mentioned in a news report too about the threat to their existence.
My req. Was can u guys do some survey and other activity to tell people about them or take any step to try to save them.
Here is the link of the news paper report: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1110105/jsp/bihar/story_13382153.jsp