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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Not INDogs: The Dhangar Dog of Maharashtra

Time to highlight one of the 'not-INDog' village breeds I mentioned in my June post, INDogs and Not-INDogs: Village dogs of India.  I have some lovely pictures to share of the Dhangari Kuttra, sheepdog of Maharashtra, thanks to a few nice people in the doggy network!

A bit of background: The Dhangar community are nomadic shepherds of this region, and kuttra of course means 'dog' in marathi.

Though the name Dhangari Kuttra is well known in Maharashtra, no-one seems to have consistently documented the breed or tried to preserve it in any way since W V Soman included it in his book 'The Indian Dog' (Popular Prakashan, 1963). That's the only book on Indian dog breeds till now, by the way.

Major Soman's description mentions a moderate coat, tufted tail turned over the back, weight about 25 to 30 pounds (that's 11-13.6 kilos), height of males about 20 inches, strong legs, mixed colours; '...occasionally met with tan mixture but very seldom...body not very long but with a wide chest and strong muscular legs. Face a bit long with small dropped ears...Very strong and can work for the whole day. A perfect watch dog.' 

Judging by the few Dhangar dogs and crosses I've seen, and the photos clicked by others, the weight and height estimated by Major Soman are rather low. These dogs seem on average larger than INDogs. For comparison you can read our Breed Description for the INDog (check 'size'). 

Even in 1963 Major Soman mentioned that the Dhangar Dog was threatened by mixing with other dogs: 'The breed is getting extinct as they are being crossed with local dogs forming mongrels.'

Ryan Braganza, of our INDog Project team, is an avid biker and has been looking for these dogs on all his trips in the Western Ghats. He and his friend Prafull Sakharkar clicked these photos below. I can't tell whether the dogs are naturally very varied, or mixed with other breeds as Major Soman wrote.

It's not always easy (or safe) to photograph these dogs from close quarters though. They are known for being excellent and ferocious guard dogs, and do not take kindly to strangers approaching too close or staring at them.

Here are some more wonderful Dhangar dog photos, clicked by Malaika Fernandes.

Gayatri Ganesh recently sent in some beautiful pictures including the one at the top of the post, along with this interesting description: 

'We do a lot of work with Dhangar shepherds, through the organization Anthra

The Dhangars migrate in small groups of three to four (husband, wife, mother-in-law or sister), with their flock, about 200-800 sheep, five horses and two dogs, across the Deccan Plateau for about six to nine months of the year...

These are some of their beautiful, intelligent and hardworking dogs. The spike collar they told me is to keep leopards away.

They won't let anyone they don't know touch the lambs or the horses. And the dogs learn from each other - they receive no special training from the shepherds in how to be sheep dogs.'

What a shame it would be to let this unique breed get swamped out of existence! 

The fate of indigenous village dogs everywhere?

Photos: Prafull Sakharkar, Ryan Braganza 
Malaika Fernandes

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Monday, August 3, 2015

Eight years of this blog - thank you!!

Yes, my first post on this blog was on 3 August 2007! A big day for me, if for no-one else.

My aim was to create a virtual showcase of INDogs and dogs of INDog ancestry. To spread knowledge about aboriginal dogs out of the academic circles to which it was restricted, to a wider, general audience. And to make owners proud of their pet INDogs and INDog-mixes.

I had no idea how to create a blog, and Gunjan Arya kindly helped me set it up (thanks Gunjan)! 

Today we have 421 posts about adopted INDogs and INDog-mixes, or Indies as I like to call the latter. Thanks entirely to all the wonderful people who sent in photos and stories over the years.

To celebrate, I put together this photo gallery of all the gorgeous dogs I featured in the first few months of this blog. Sadly some have passed on, but many are with us and continue to be brilliant ambassadors for INDogs and Indies! 

Each of them is very special to me.

My deepest gratitude to their humans, who took the trouble to share their stories with us all.

Enjoy the visual treat coming up, and don't forget to read our INDog website too!


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