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

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Assam INDog portraits by Azaz

For those who missed these in our Facebook group. Azaz Ahmed shared some of his wonderful images of INDogs clicked in Tezpur University, Assam. What can I say? The images tell you a lot about the INDog personality so I'm not going to babble on about them.

Photos: Azaz Ahmed

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From Ann-Cathrine's Red Dog album

For those who stay away from Facebook. Ann-Cathrine Jonsson has been sharing her lovely INDog photos from around the country on our INDog Club page. She clearly loves red dogs. So do I! Here are some of her clicks from different parts of our subcontinent: west, south, north. 

See why we call the INDog the 'pan-Indian aboriginal dog'? Such a uniform appearance.

INDog at a rescue centre in Kerala, South India

Scarred INDog in Varanasi, North India

Brothers at Agonda Beach, Goa, South-western India

At a restaurant in Palolem, Goa. You can see the diners in the background.
On Palolem Beach, Goa
Growly dog in Jodhpur, Western India
Photos: Ann-Cathrine Jonsson
All around India

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Epic battle between Dog and Lizard

Drama in the home of Vidya and Samik Biswas! If dogs could climb walls the battle would have ended long ago. GRRRRRR.

The dog: the beauteous Grumps, a warrior of great repute

Did you just say 'eeeee', mommy? Let me go hunt down Geiko Gecko. 

The two Ninjas Honey and Grumps, spot Geiko - a lone warrior fighting for space on the ceiling...

You lame chipkali, some day I'm gonna get ya

Read about Grumps in this earlier story.

Photos: Vidya Samik

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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

INDogs beside the Ganga and Varuna

These photos were clicked by Kiran in a rural area outside Varanasi, at the place where the Ganga and Varuna rivers meet. 

In his book 'The Indian Dog', Major Soman mentions a group of pariah dogs on the banks of the Ganges who 'live in holes and feed on bodies floating down the river'. I don't know whether these dogs Kiran clicked ever eat the half-burned corpses that are sometimes put in the river. Kiran says he has seen some dogs eating something in the river near the burning ghats. But he doesn't know for sure whether they were eating human corpses. If such a food source is easily available, I would imagine the local free-ranging dogs would definitely exploit it. 

You can see the Ganga and Varuna rivers here

Two dogs sitting in the shade of the thatch fence
A closer look at the dogs in the shade of the thatch fence

Dogs often make sand pits or mud pits and sit in them to keep cool

Sitting in mud

Village dogs are a common sight all around India

Near the entrance to the bridge

Tricolour INDogs are not common in Western India.
One sees more of them in the east and north
Quite a normal scene near village and highway stalls: an INDog waiting for handouts,
a curious villager wondering why you are clicking dogs, a goat or two...

Two dogs snooze beside a fishnet

Photos: Kiran Khalap

Ganga-Varuna confluence,
Uttar Pradesh

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Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog of Vietnam

A post about the Phu Quoc dogs of Vietnam, by Jura Cullen (owner of Sudanese dog Tala). Thanks a lot Jura!

A male Phu Quoc dog at a kennel on Phu Quoc Island

Last weekend we travelled down to Phu Quoc Island again. This time I was on a mission to try to get some good photos of the Phu Quoc Ridgeback dogs which are native to the island. Although not yet internationally recognized, they have become popular with the Vietnamese beyond their native island and I see them frequently in Hanoi. Tala is quite often mistaken for a ridge-less one probably because of her similar appearance as Phu Quoc ridgebacks are also primitive dogs.

A female Phu Quoc puppy at Mango Bay on Phu Quoc Island

The Phu Quoc dog originates from the island of Phu Quoc off the Southwest coast of Vietnam. It is one of only three breeds which have a ridge, the others being the Thai Ridgeback and the Rhodesian Ridgeback. Its more ancient origins and possible connections with the larger Thai Ridgeback remain unclear, although I believe DNA tests are being carried out to try to establish what connections there may be. In recent years the Phu Quoc dog has become very popular off its native island and the dogs can be seen as pets in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, although I have heard a popular myth that the dogs cannot survive for long off the island. While this may be a bit far-fetched I am sure they are happier foraging on a beach than being confined in a city.

A Phu Quoc Ridgeback in Hanoi - notice the brindle colour, ridge
and spotted tongue

Phu Quoc dogs have a typical primitive dog appearance with prick ears, a tapering chest, straight long legs, and their tails carried high. They are medium size weighing between 15 and 25 kilos and are 45-55 cm in height. They have a short coat with the most common colours being sandy/fawn, dark reddish brown, black (sometimes with other colours), or brindle. Special features include the ridge of hair running the opposite direction along their backs, webbed feet for swimming, and blue/black spots on their tongues. They are fast and intelligent dogs and have been used for hunting on Phu Quoc Island. Below is a Phu Quoc Ridgeback in Hanoi - notice the brindle colour, ridge and spotted tongue.

The Phu Quoc Dog was first classified as a distinct type by the French at the end of the 19th century and appeared in the Larousse Encyclopedia and "Les Races de Chiens" published in 1897.  Two Phu Quoc dogs were first brought to France and exhibited at dog shows in 1894 around France.

The Vietnam Kennel Association, established in 2008, is now working to develop the breed and create a recognized breed standard. Professor Du Thanh Khiem has been petitioning the Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI) to recognize the Phu Quoc Ridgeback for competition in international dog shows. The breed was first exhibited internationally at the FCI World Dog Show 2011 held in Paris. In April 2012 the Saigon Phu Quoc Dog Club held a show in Ho Chi Minh City and in December they were shown along with many other breeds at the annual Vietnam Dog Show also in Ho Chi Minh City.

The original post in Jura's blog 'Hound in Hanoi': The Phu Quoc Ridgeback Dog

Photos and text: Jura Cullen
Phu Quoc Island 

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Saturday, March 16, 2013

INDogs of Jharkhand: Niky and Robin

These stunning INDogs are from Jharkhand. They belong to Prince Kumar and his family. Niky is the adult light brown female and the red-brown pup is Robin.

Their story, from Prince:

I adopted Niky from the roadside when she was a puppy. She was being hit by some ill-mannered children. My little sister asked me to save her, so I brought her to my home. 

Niky as a puppy

She is now one and a half years old. 

She is a very cute and playful dog, but very aggressive against strangers. 

The only thing she lacks is that she is not socialized to dogs. She hates other dogs. For this reason I decided to bring home a puppy to give her a friend. 

I adopted little Robin from a Santhal person's home. For a week I kept them separately as Niky was quite aggressive towards Robin. But now they are friends. 

In fact their friendship bond is so strong that if one is given a bath the other cries to request me not to give a bath. 

They are both trained with all the basic commands. Robin is about 2 months old. 

Another of gorgeous Niky

Photos and story: Prince Kumar

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Tommy at agility school

Tommy has been living in Europe for a while with owner Monique Nerman, continuing his work as a certified Therapy Dog and travelling in Italy, Spain and France. 

Recently Monique enrolled him in an agility school. Here's her account of his agility training:

I enrolled Tommy at a famous agility school here in the south of France, called 'L'Amicale du chien'. 

The owner Myriam Laini won the French championships in 2012, and most instructors compete their dogs in regional and national competitions. 

So last September we showed up for the advanced course.

Marianne, our Danish instructor who lives in France, liked Tommy from day one. It was very mutual as Tommy loves Marianne and can't wait to greet her when she comes to agility school.

She and her husband have been to India several times for work, and Marianne was always curious about the street dogs she saw in Mumbai.

The purpose of agility is to get through an obstacle-filled circuit as fast as you can without penalties. 

Agility is based on speed, obedience and very clear commands to the dog. It's all off-leash and the obedience training for agility is off-leash based. 

The key to this training is encouragement and treats. 

To make a dog walk Heel without leash next to you is all about cheering him on and praising him as soon as he is next to you. 

We also practice 'sit', 'down', 'stop' from a distance - that too is all about praise and being serious about your commands.

The 'stop' and 'sit' from a distance are also safety commands - to control your dog from a distance and prevent possible accidents. 

We all train together, 20 dogs off-leash in a group. All 'sit', and then the owners have to walk away from them, leaving all the dogs to sit and not move until we return to them. 

Another interesting exercise was 'down', and then we had to walk to someone else's dog and stand next to them without the dog moving. On top of that we had to walk over the dogs!!!

It was very good training to do this, it makes you very in tune with your dog, specially in a group with other dogs. No escape!!

Then the agility training starts.

There are hurdles; I always get the highest score for being the only human who has to jump hurdles while my dog runs around them!

The tunnel and 'sock' are hard at first, but as soon as the dog understands that you will be at the end of the tunnel they happily crawl through it, hoping for a treat!

The ramp is a high thin passageway where the dog walks next to you, kind of scary.

The A-frame is a fun obstacle; 'wait table' is where the dog has to wait, then jump up, sit or stand, while you keep running - quite tricky!

The most difficult thing though, in the beginning, is when you come at full speed and have to turn 180 degrees to a new obstacle, making sure that the dog follows you instead of running straight ahead to play with another dog!

Tommy's strength is obedience and Therapy Dog work, and agility is definitely not his thing.

It could be because it is a pretty stressful environment, with a lot of yelling and a lot of dogs running around, something that makes him nervous.

I do think that INDogs are suited for agility, as they are intelligent and quick. The only downside could be that being survivors and tough dogs, they would question it all, like Tommy does!

However I do think that the training and the confidence you get as a handler doing agility is very rewarding. 

After class we went to the beach for a picnic, where Tommy was very happy to play with his best friend Orlando, chew on a pine and wait for me to give him my cheese!

Click here and here for earlier posts about Tommy. 

Photos: Tara Vassilou
Text: Monique Nerman
Special thanks to Marianne, instructor at L'Amicale du chien, Roquebrune, France

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