About Me

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Mumbai, India
I'm a landrace dog fancier and birder. 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.

Monday, May 9, 2016


This is Diya, an elegant INDog from Delhi, now living in Minnesota with Michelle Orcutt. 
Isn't she superb?


Michelle's description of her is very interesting, especially the results of her DNA test, which show some Eurobreed admixture (like most urban free-roamers). *

'I recently adopted this INDog-mix from Gurgaon through the International Street Dog Foundation. She turns a year old on May 15 (or thereabouts). 

Her history is, she was found as a solitary, approximately six week old puppy, with a broken leg, dragging herself through a parking lot in Gurgaon. The attendants at the lot alerted a local animal rescuer to the pup's plight. The pup (then called Chutki) was taken to a skilled vet who set her tiny leg. She was allowed to sleep in the lot attendants' hut at night, and the rescuer Joyita visited her daily and took her for all her vaccinations on schedule. 

The parking lot where Chutki/Diya was found

She was flown from New Delhi to Chicago in October 2015, and on November 2 I brought her to Saint Paul, Minnesota, where she now lives with me, my dog Wiley, and cats Cecil and Simone.

She has been doing really well since I adopted her. I now know, from a tissue sample sent for histopathological examination by the vet who did her spay, that Diya also must have had a partial spleen rupture and a good amount of internal bleeding when her leg was broken, making it even more remarkable that she survived and thrived. She was in really good physical shape when I got her and now has a glossy coat and lots of energy and spunk. Wiley and Diya are best friends, and her relationship with the cats continues to improve.

With Wiley, an Australian Cattle Dog

First neighbourhood stroll 

Wiley, Diya and the Mississippi

It is so interesting how native/primitive/pariah dogs in many different countries resemble each other. My other dog Wiley is an Australian Cattle Dog, so has some Dingo way back there, and maybe those Dingo ancestors had INDog progenitors themselves. I did the Mars Wisdom Panel DNA test on Diya and her results came back with German Shepherd and Saluki each at 12.5%, some Asian group and Middle Eastern/African group ancestry, and a smaller set of wild canid markers. I think the Saluki in her DNA results is quite likely just Middle Eastern/North Indian common genetic material. Since Salukis are one of the only dogs from that region in the Mars Wisdom breed data base, this could be what the test picked up. *

Some of her traits that seem different than European breed dogs include her characteristic use of her front legs, and the flexibility of her long neck. She cleans her face like a cat, covers her eyes when she is sleepy, and paws me (often in the face - ow!) when she wants something or is happy. She points her nose straight up to the sky when she gets a scent, and can look almost directly behind her by turning her head. She's hyper-vigilant, and has amazing physical/spatial intelligence. She loves to play with other dogs, especially larger dogs who don't hesitate to play rough and tumble. She's still wary of strangers, but less likely to bark at them now, and very cuddly with me and people she knows well.'

* 4 October 2016: An update on Diya's genetic profile: She was also tested by Embark Veterinary and her results came out as 100% indigenous dog with no Eurobreed admixture (in contrast to the Mars Wisdom test that showed 12% Eurobreed admixture).

Text and photos: Michelle Orcutt

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


Anonymous said...

do dogs need their shots?
Pet Shots

Ashok R said...

Beautiful story! Wish more in india adopted indies!

Melissa Lobo said...

Diya, Belated happy birthday to you! I can't imagine how she grew beautiful and be a nice dog despite the incident. You're very lucky to have a mum like Michelle who adopted you. :)

Aishwarya said...

Dear Rajashree,

I am one of the founding members of a not-for-profit dog welfare group called Woof! We are based out of Pune at the moment, and are looking at the adoption and fostering of street dogs. We wanted to use a couple of photographs from your website for our posters. The posters are only for publicity of our organisation and for recruiting volunteers. The images will be used in a respectful manner and not be used commercially. Requesting your permission to used said images (Brutus smiling and Pappu). Also may I just say, that I have read through your blog earlier as well, and love reading the stories of successfully adopted Indogs. Look forward to sharing with you our success stories as well.

Rajashree Khalap said...

Hi Aishwarya, yes please use the images with proper credits and mention the owners' names. All the dogs in this blog are not INDogs, most are INDog-mix like all city street dogs. I hope there is an effective neutering programme for street dogs in Pune apart from adoption programmes.

Michelle Orcutt said...

Hi Rajashree and Pariah dog people--Since the Embark DNA test developed by Adam and Ryan Boyko incorporates the best available research on global village dogs' DNA, I took the plunge and had Diya tested. Somewhat surprisingly, her results came back as 100% Indian Native Dog, no European breeds detected! She is on the small side at 30lbs, and her tail is more curved than curled, but otherwise, she looks the part. Can I upgrade her from INdog mix to INdog? Jaime Chambers' dog Priya came back 100% Indian Native Dog too. Both dogs came from urban areas around New Delhi, so you would expect some degree of European admixture.

p.s. I enjoyed your chapter in Janice Kohler-Matznick's Dawn on the Dog book!

Rajashree Khalap said...

Hi Michelle! Very interesting, thanks for the update! Edited already :) She has a longish muzzle but perhaps there is some native sighthound in her? Jaime's dog looks very INDog. Maybe they are from a poorer area of Delhi where nobody keeps Eurobreeds. Glad you liked my chapter :)