11 Excellent but Endangered Indian Dog Breeds

Updated on October 4, 2018
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I like to share information about pets, wildlife, animals and dogs in particular.

11 Endangered Indian Dog Breeds
11 Endangered Indian Dog Breeds | Source

What Is the Original Dog Breed of India?

Dogs have been a part of the history of humans since before the written word. In ancient India, dogs were also highly regarded. The Indian Pariah dog, which still exists today, is considered by many to be the first truly domesticated dog in history and the oldest in the world (though this has been challenged).

Indian Pariah dogs are the original breed of India and are known today as Indi-dogs, In-dogs, Desi dogs, and Pariah dogs. Being a naturally evolved and hardy breed, they have very few health issues.

For centuries, dogs were seen as faithful companions, hunters, guardians and as a treasured part of the family. We'll explore several other excellent native Indian dog breeds that are endangered and struggling to survive.

Which Dog Breeds Are Endangered?

  • The Tazi or Taji
  • The Kaikadi Dog
  • The Jonangi
  • The Soriala Greyhound or Bengal Hound
  • The Himalayan Mastiff
  • The Alangu Mastiff
  • The Dhole or Asiatic/Indian Wild Dogs
  • The Kashmiri Sheepdog
  • The Chippiparai or Shippiparai Dog
  • The Dhangri or Maharashtrian Shepherd Dog
  • The Soneri Kutta

The Significance of Dogs in the Mahabharata

The great cultural epic, the Mahabharata (circa 400 BCE), features a dog that very well may have been one of these Pariah dogs. The epic highlights the tale of King Yudhishthira many years after the Kurukshetra War as he is making a pilgrimage to his final resting place. On the way, he is accompanied by his family and his faithful dog.

One by one, his family members die along the path, but his dog remains by his side. When at last Yudhishthira reaches the gates of paradise, he is welcomed for the good and noble life that he has lived, but the guardian at the gate tells him that the dog is not allowed inside. Yudhishthira is shocked that so loyal and noble a creature as his dog would not be allowed into heaven. He so chooses to remain with his dog on earth or even go to hell rather than enter into a place which would exclude the dog. The guardian at the gate then tells Yudhishthira that this was only a last test of his virtue and that, of course, the dog is also welcome to enter.

Tazi or Taji Dog
Tazi or Taji Dog

1. The Tazi or Taji

The Tazi or Taji is a sighthound and is known for its athletic, strong built. It was used for hunting bears, foxes, gazelles, wildcats and marmots in previous times. First discovered in India, this breed now predominantly resides in Russia. To this day, it's very difficult to find an original Tazi in India. Compared to the Russian Tazi dogs, Indian Tazis are shorter in height, sturdier and have comparatively less fur. They are playful, loyal and affectionate, and always keen on pleasing their owner. Tazis are often described as energetic and alert.

Kaikadi Dog
Kaikadi Dog | Source

2. The Kaikadi Dog

Kaikadi dogs are of the terrier family and were named after a nomadic tribe in Maharashtra, India; the Kaikadi tribes used this breed to hunt hare and vermin. The original Kaikadi is hard to trace because the breed has mixed with stray dogs and the Pariah dogs of India over many generations. This breed is alert, athletic and makes for an excellent watchdog; it shares many similar traits with Whippets.

They may be white, tan and black colour, but the most common colour is a red-brindle. These dogs are small in height (about 40 cm or less) and have thin, long legs, but powerful thighs and hocks. Their tails are long and tapered, and their head is narrow, which enables them to run and chase. They have thin, prominent eyes and long, erect ears when alert.

Jonangi Dog
Jonangi Dog | Source

3. The Jonangi

The Jonangi is a native Indian dog from the east coast of India (Bengal to Kanyakumari). It is a quiet breed and does not usually bark, but it is known for its well-identified "yodeling" sound. The Jonangi has an extremely short and fine coat and comes in solid colours of fawn, biscuit, chocolate, black or white. They have a wrinkled forehead, curled tail and tulip-shaped ears.

Upon first look, the Jonangi resembles a red fox aside from its curly tail and stiff structure. This dog is average in intelligence, but very affectionate and devoted to its owners and family. This pure breed is fairly rare and they are difficult to obtain.

Soriala Greyhound or Sarail Hound
Soriala Greyhound or Sarail Hound | Source

4. The Soriala Greyhound or Bengal Hound (Sarail Hound in Bangladesh)

The Soriala Greyhound is a sighthound native to West Bengal, India. They are also known as Sarail Hounds in Bangladesh and Bengal Hounds in West Bengal, India. This dog is also related to the Rampur Hound in the northern Indian city, Rampur, which lies between Delhi and Bareilly.

Soriala Hounds were created by combining the bloodlines of very powerful, athletic dogs that had strong jaws; they also inherited a broad and strong skull. A powerful Soriala can bring down a large bull, but they also hunt vermin, deer and jackals. They are at risk of extinction, and very few Sorialas are left.

The largest of the Indian dog breeds—the Himalayan Mastiff or Indigenous Mastiff.
The largest of the Indian dog breeds—the Himalayan Mastiff or Indigenous Mastiff. | Source

5. The Himalayan Mastiff

Himalayan Mastiffs are also known as Himalayan guard dogs or the Indigenous Mastiff. Compared to Tibetan Mastiffs, Himalayan Mastiffs are a bit taller and more athletic. They even look very similar to Tibetan Mastiffs, but their temperament and behaviour is different.

Himalayans are calm and loving dogs and aim to please their owner; they like to be around people. They don't like the company of other dogs, however. It is said that a full-grown male Himalayan Mastiff is capable of taking down two wolves. This dog has been introduced to the endangered dog breed category.

Video: The Alangu Mastiff

6. The Alangu Mastiff

The Alangu Mastiff, also known as the Sindh Mastiff, is a tall, massive, powerful dog and was historically used in times of war. They are renown for their sharp instincts and guarding skills. They are the successor of the Indian Bully dog (Indian Mastiff) and originated in the Sindh area of India and Pakistan. In Southern India, they are mainly available in the cities of Tanjavur and Trichi.

The origin of the Alangu Mastiff can be traced back to the Bahawalpur area of Punjab, parts of Rajasthan and the desert area of Kutch. Alangu have erected ears and powerful, broad, black muzzles. They are robust, sturdy, and fearless, and for this reason they are commonly used for dog fighting and guarding. They are extremely loyal and protective of their owner. Because of their dominant and potentially aggressive nature, they are not a good fit for inexperienced owners.

Dhole or Asaiatic/Indian Wild Dogs
Dhole or Asaiatic/Indian Wild Dogs | Source

7. The Dhole or Asiatic/Indian Wild Dogs

The Dhole or Indian wild dog is also known as the red dog or red fox dog because it looks like a red fox. This dog has a very similar physical structure to the Australian Border Collie, but Dholes are most similar to African wild dogs and can kill prey up to ten times their size.

Dholes are classed as endangered by the IUCN. Diseases from domestic and feral dogs have contributed to their decline. These dogs are very social animals and live in large clans—they occasionally split up into small packs to hunt.

The Kashmiri or Bakharwal Sheepdog
The Kashmiri or Bakharwal Sheepdog | Source

8. The Kashmiri Sheepdog

The Kashmiri Sheepdog or Bakharwal Sheepdog is an indigenous breed of Himalayan origin (from the Pir Panjal mountain range of the Kashmir Himalayas) and was bred exclusively by a Muslim nomadic group, the Gujjars, to protect their livestock from predators like wolves and bears. This breed was also used for herding sheep and goats in the Kashmir region of India, hence its other name—the Kashmiri Sheepdog.

Its common name, Bakharawal, is taken from the word bakri (which means goat) because the dog was bred to protect goats and sheep from Himalayan wolves and bears. This breed is also known as the Bakharwal Mastiff, Kashmiri Bakharwal Dog, Gujjar Watchdog, Bakharwal, Gujjar Dog, and Kashmiri Mastiff.

They are heavy and agile, have a straight back, broad shoulders and long legs. Their bodies are strongly boned and their heads are powerful and large.

Other breed traits that make this dog unique:

  • This dog is said to prefer vegetarian food; its favourite food is milk and bread.
  • They have a very low birth ratio.
  • Bakhrawals are very friendly with other pets.
  • The breed is not identified by any major kennel club and is considered endangered by the IUCN.

The Chippiparai or Shippiparai Dog
The Chippiparai or Shippiparai Dog | Source

9. The Chippiparai or Shippiparai Dog

The Chippiparai dog breed is a sighthound that is native to South India (primarily the southern part of Tamilnadu). These dogs are used for hunting wild boar, deer and hare, and for guarding the home. Chippiparai were bred by royal families in Chippiparai near the Madurai district in Tamil Nadu, which is where the breed got its name.

The breed was kept as a symbol of royalty and dignity by the rulers of Tirunelveli and Madurai. But now, only a few Chippiparai are left. If steps are not taken to ensure the breed's survival, then the bloodline may be lost. They are typically silver-grey, with very limited white or no white markings at all. Other colour combinations, particularly variations of grey and fawn, also occur.

The Dhangri or Maharashtrian Shepherd Dog
The Dhangri or Maharashtrian Shepherd Dog | Source

10. The Dhangri or Maharashtrian Shepherd Dog

This dog was developed by the Korku tribes of Maharashtra by mixing the native Pariah dog with native hounds (the Kakadi Hound and the Caravan Hound) to herd sheep and goats. These dogs are considered rare livestock guardians of the Korku tribes of Western India. Some authorities believe that the breed is extinct due to common working crosses with the Pashmi Hound.

The Maharashtrian Shepherd used to be more massive in the past and was used primarily for protection, but the present-day breed makes for a capable herder and hunting dog as well. Dhangaris are slim, thin dogs like Greyhounds, and are very intelligent and loyal—they are aggressive and powerful, and best suited for rural environments.

Their coats are thick, hard and rich, and always black in colour. Small white markings are allowed on the feet, chest and tail. Some puppies are available in Pune or Satara, or in Rohilkhand in Uttar Pradesh in India.

The Soneri Kutta
The Soneri Kutta

11. The Soneri Kutta

This dog is a native dog of Uttar Pradesh and the state of Bihar and was basically used to retrieve buffalo from water by the farmers of India around Son River. This dog is a good swimmer and can swim for hours; it is active, athletic and sturdy.

According to locals, the origin of the Soneri Kutta is not yet confirmed. When the British came to India, they brought some water dogs and other breeds that were good swimmers, like the Labrador, with them. The Soneri Kutta is a mix of these breeds and the Indian Pariah dog.

Soneri Kutta are typically black, but some have red (fawn) and red-white mixed colouring as well. This breed is known for its great stamina and energy and is a very loyal, alert, protective dog, but usually loyal to just one person.

Video: 11 Endangered Indian Dogs

© 2014 ARADHYA

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    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      3 days ago

      Hi Avi,

      You can adopt them, Except "Dhole", they are not allowed as pet and Himalayan Mastiff, Soneri, Dhangari are (Rarely or not available).

      Remaining are available but can't say if you can get in free. But deff their cost is low, except TAZI.

      - You cam msg me on gmail, in case if any dog in my knowledge I will let you know.

    • profile image

      Avi avisek 

      3 days ago

      Is there any options to adopt any of these endangered breeds for free ?

      If anyone want them to captive breeding what he have to do ?

    • profile image

      Sushil dombe 

      5 months ago

      I appreciate your concern. But there are lot of irregularities in your article. Most of photographs does not depict actual breed. For example dhangari dog is quite different from what you have depicted and described.

      Also kaikadi and caravans are different but in your article photograph depicting kaikadi is one of the caravan type.

      Original akhta tazi vanished in 90s so there are no pictures available. The picture you posted is of saluki that too not from Russian origin (they are middle eastern dogs).

      Any doubt you can have a discussion on mail dombe.sushil@gmail.com.

    • profile image

      Preyanshu Sharma 

      23 months ago

      Hi I have a Dog who just come to my house

    • profile image

      Raghu 

      2 years ago

      Thanks fr the valuable info,great job

    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      2 years ago

      Hi sudhi,

      Thanks for information.

      FYi; wish they can be save, some Chennai based breeders are working on that.

    • profile image

      sudhi 

      2 years ago

      Good article.. One more endangered Indian dog breed is Combai..

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Hi Santosh, when I was living in Morocco and working with the nomads there they usually fed their dogs the same way. It is usually all they have, since they bake bread in the mornings and they milk their sheep every day, and only butcher an animal a few times a year.

      Feeding meat does not make dogs more aggressive, but that is a common myth around many parts of the world.

      One of my Pitbulls loves coconut, and my parrot will eat cheese even when she does not want anything else! Sometimes they surprise you.

      Thanks for providing more details on this interesting subject.

    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      4 years ago

      Dr. Mark / Mr. Dave

      I completely, agree only milk and bread may not be the best food for a dog.

      After getting this question by Mr. Dave, I tried to find the reason from locals who have these dogs.

      Firstly they are foodies and a full grown male can have 2 lt. of milk with 15 to 20 chapatis (Homemade Bread, by wheat) in a day], also they eat everything including meat and fish but yes, their favourite food is bread with milk.

      About their choice for bread and milk, they have different opinion but no exact answer. One, which I found bit convincing – when Gujjar nomadic were going out of village with their sheep and goats, then they were staying there in tents for couple of days and having food Chapatis. Goat milk was easily available so, they were feeding, Chapattis and milk to these dogs. And possibly, after generation that became their choice.

      Also, Gujjars have assumption; if they will feed meat to these dogs then they will become more aggressive and may attack to their lambs. So, these dogs were strictly taught for not to touch meat or any other food.

      I am not sure, if that could be the possible reason? But one of my cocker Spaniel, prefer tomato than pedigree, egg or meat.

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      Deepak, here is a link to more info on the Caravan hound and the Rampur greyhound. The breeds that Santosh listed are a lot more interesting, so I hope you have luck finding a good dog.

      https://pethelpful.com/dogs/five-noble-dog-breeds-...

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      4 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      This is a really interesting hub. I enjoyed reading about the many breeds available in India, but was sorry to hear how rare most of them are.

      Deepak, you can also look into the Caravan dog if you are in India. They are a sighthound descended from the Saluki.

      Jaye, in the dog production books from England of the 1800s, milk and bread is also a recommended diet for purebred dogs. It is not that this is the best diet, it is that the producers of that time were ignorant and were not giving their dogs the best diet.

      Even if a breed of dog can survive on milk and bread, it is not the best diet.

    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      4 years ago

      Hi,

      Yes, you can ..

      Check for Dhaneri, through olx.com in Maharastra, India. Possible that's the only breed you can get.

    • profile image

      Deepak 

      4 years ago

      Great article, I am from India and fond of dogs.

      but never know about Tazi, kaikadi, Jonangi, Dhaneri and soneri kutta.

      Is any from them, available to adopt?

    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR

      ARADHYA 

      4 years ago

      Hi Jaye,

      Thanks, to vote UP;

      It’s really sad to listen in, if any species listed to endanger, specially if that’s our most adorable and loyal pet. Statistics of endangered dogs are really disheartening.

      AKC-recognized breeds : 180

      Total, Count of Registered breeds by cannel clubs : 370+

      Dog breeds that are introduced endangered or in crisis : 60+

      Yet another, out of the 44,838 species assessed worldwide using the IUCN Red List criteria, 905 are extinct and 16,928 are listed as threatened to be extinct.

      So, out of every 3 species 1 is endangered (~30%) and from out of 4 dogs 1(25%), is endangered. We must need serious and immediate action for protection.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 

      4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I enjoyed the information about these Indian dog breeds with which I was unfamiliar. The endangered status of these breeds is terrible. It is heartbreaking when any animal completely disappears from the planet for any reason.

      I found it especially interesting that the Kashmiri sheep dog or Bakharwal Dog is by choice a vegetarian. So many people think dogs must consume mainly meat, but if a dog doesn't want meat that seems to prove that its body knows what is best.

      Thanks for sharing this information. I hope that the endangered dog breeds can be saved.

      Voted Up and Interesting

      Regards, Jaye

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