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

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

LittleDog moves to Mongolia

Yes, LittleDog Brand is now in Mongolia! Probably the first Dog of Indian Origin in that country! A giant step for dogkind!!!

"He is loving his walks here," says Dominique."With big open spaces he can run around off the leash more than ever before."

At the airport

First encounter with snow...not quite sure what to make of it

Read about LittleDog's early life and travels: LittleDog Brand, Travels in Thailand with LittleDog.

Photos: Dominique Brand

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Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Misty mountain dogs of North Bengal

These were clicked during an 8-day long birding trip in North Bengal. I was glued to my binoculars almost throughout, but the few times I lowered the binocs I picked up the cam to click the local hounds. My arms are still aching!!!

This was my first time birding and dog-watching in the Eastern Himalayas. The dogs were very different from the Western Himalayas, which I've visited three times. In the Western Himalaya I saw some INDogs only around Dehradun. As you reach higher altitudes the dogs start getting bulkier with coat colours of the famous Bhutia/Himalayan Mastiff. Keep ascending and the coats become heavier, and the dogs look much more Bhutia than INDog. (Some photos of a typical Western Himalaya dog in this post.)

In the lower altitudes of North Bengal there don't seem to be any large livestock-guarding breeds like Bhutias, and the village and town dogs mostly look quite uniform. 

We went from Bagdogra airport to Siliguri, which are both at around 122 metres altitude. The free-roamers look very INDog there, except for a few mix-breeds as one sees in all cities. They are usually shorter and sometimes stockier than the INDogs of Central and Western India.

INDog at Bagdogra airport

Then we drove up to Latpanchar at 1036 metres. There were a few INDogs with erect ears, but most had slightly dropped ears. I don't know if this is because of mongrelization or some other reason. Perhaps an adaptation to protect the ears from cold, or else the result of mixing with the Apso or some other local breed? The dogs had thicker coats too, and bushier tails.

This dog was outside the homestay we were in at Latpanchor. I think she gets fed by the owners.
She even comes up to the first-floor balcony.

A mix-breed dog we saw walking through Mahananda Wildlife Sanctuary with his owner

On to Lava which is very near the Sikkim border, and very close to Bhutan. Altitude: 2100 metres. Again the dogs are short, about as high as the top of my knee-cap (that's 21 inches). Thick coats and in one dog the remnants of a thicker winter coat. Ears dropped at the tip. Mostly very uniform in appearance. Perhaps the Apso + INDog mix goes back a long way and all the free-roamers now look very similar? There were a few 'modern' looking mix-breeds too, but they were a minority. I also saw a couple of dogs that looked like tall Apsos.

Kale (black) with friends. They were a group of four living near the Forest Department bungalows up the hill at Lava.
But they came down to the town as well.

Kale was the kingpin this side of town. He still had some of his rusty winter coat
but you can see the short summer coat below.

One of Kale's friends

A lady from Kale's gang. I love how she posed near the poppies.

Another lady with a dark muzzle, met on the way down the hill

All the dogs were very sweet-tempered and many seemed attached to one or more houses. They had a polite, safe way of approaching people. None of them demanded attention; they would wait for a friendly gesture before coming close. Our guide Mr Joseph told us they are all fed by people and none are ownerless. They have names (like Kale, 'black'). Mr Joseph had once named a dog Dhan Bahadur. I love dogs with human names!

Tricolour outside Mr Joseph's restaurant: quite a popular dog hangout, and no wonder. The food was yummy.

There were only three dogs I saw that weren't friendly: two of them were largish mix-breeds sitting at the gate of the monastery. They barked at everyone passing and even chased someone walking by the gate. It didn't seem a good idea to make eye contact or point a large lens at them. The third was a very scared-looking puppy eating from a garbage dump just outside the town. It ran towards the town when I looked at it. Perhaps it had run out of its home and got lost.

The dog below was at Rishyap, 2590 metres. Like many dogs in the area he was much troubled by fleas. I had to wait a few minutes for him to stop scratching before I could click!

At Rishyap

On the way back we drove through the Darjeeling district down a very pleasant road with tea gardens on either side, passing through Gorubathan and Dam Dim. Saw some beautiful and pure-looking INDogs along the way, but we were in a rush to reach Siliguri before dark so I didn't stop to click. 

Here are two dogs from the Siliguri-Bagdogra region. I clicked them on my way to the airport the next day. It seems the dogs of the North Bengal plains are mostly true INDogs, like all the rural dogs around Bengal.

Street dog in Siliguri, amid normal urban Indian squalor

Female on the Siliguri-Bagdogra road: taller than the norm in this area

For more indigenous dogs of North East India, see Manipur INDog and dogs of Nagaland; INDogs of Upper Assam and Eastern Arunachal Pradesh; On the banks of the Brahmaputra; Assam INDog portraits by Azaz.

Photo of dog with poppies: Kalpana Malani

Latpanchar, Lava, Siliguri, Bagdogra
West Bengal

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