The Indian Pariah or Desi Dog and Other Indigenous Breeds

Updated on November 12, 2019
srai01 profile image

Aradhya loves sharing information about wildlife, animals and pets—especially dogs.

An amazing dog with a rare and unique coat colour on the streets of India.
An amazing dog with a rare and unique coat colour on the streets of India.

The Incredible Street Dogs of India

Have you ever taken interest in the many unique dog breeds of India? Would you like to know more about these breeds and their fascinating qualities? This article specifically focuses on Indian dogs that are less popular and lesser-known than other breeds around the world. After reading this, you too may become a fan of the "INdog"—the indigenous village dog of the Indian Subcontinent—or maybe even the Caravan Hound.

Dhole: Indian Wild Dog
Dhole: Indian Wild Dog | Source

The dhole is a different species from dogs, wolves, foxes and dingoes and is not related to any other canine.

1. Indian/Asian Wild Dog (Dhole): The Yodeling Dog

The dhole (Cuon alpinus) or Asian wild dog is a canid from India that is genetically distinct from species of the genus Canis (wolves, coyotes and jackals). Despite this distinction, the dhole—also known as the red dog, red fox dog or Asiatic dog— shares many similarities with domestic dogs.

African wild dogs can reach speeds of up to 37 mph; dholes can reach speeds of up to 34 mph.

This species has a very similar coat and coat colour to the red fox and similar physicality to the Australian Border collie, however, it is most similar to the African wild dog. Like the African wild dog, dholes are extremely fast and are able to kill prey up to 10 times its size.

Dholes are very social animals and live in large clans which occasionally split up into small packs to hunt. This species has incredible vocal capabilities and rarely barks; instead, it makes a yodeling sound and can cluck like a chicken.

Asiatic Wild Dogs or the Indian Wild Dog (Dhole)

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Bakharwal DogKashmiri Sheepdog (Bakharwal Dog)
The Bakharwal Dog
The Bakharwal Dog
Kashmiri Sheepdog (Bakharwal Dog)
Kashmiri Sheepdog (Bakharwal Dog) | Source

2. Bakharwal Dog: The Vegetarian Dog

The Bakharwal Dog 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 called 'Gujjars' to protect their livestock from predators like wolves and bears. This breed has been bred for many centuries by the Gujjar nomadic tribes as a livestock guardian dog and settlement protector.

Its name 'Bakharawal' is taken from the word bakri or 'goat' because the dog was bred to protect goats and sheep from Himalayan predators. It is also known as the Kashmir Sheepdog, Bakarwal Mastiff, Kashmiri Bakharwal Dog, Gujjar Watchdog, Bakarwal, Gujjar Dog and the Kashmiri Mastiff.

The Bakharwal Dog is deep-chested, muscular and agile and has a straight back, broad shoulders and long legs; they have strongly boned bodies, powerful necks and large heads. This breed tends to have a low birth ratio.

Bakharwal Dogs live on a vegetarian diet of bread and milk.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
The Caravan HoundThe Caravan Hound
The Caravan Hound
The Caravan Hound | Source
The Caravan Hound
The Caravan Hound | Source

3. Caravan Hound: The Dog That Runs as Fast as a Leopard

The Caravan Hound is an Indian breed that was developed for hunting in the Indian village, Caravani, from where it got its name. Caravan Hounds are also known as the Mudhol Hound.

Caravan Hounds can reach up to 42 mph when running whereas a leopard can reach up to 50 mph.

These dogs are tall dogs and around 24 to 30 inches at the withers. They are true hunters, were developed for catching hares and are even capable of bringing down blackbuck. These tall dogs have long, hare-like feet and have a cat-like balance. Caravan Hounds can leap up to 21 feet horizontally, whereas leopards leap over 25 feet horizontally.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Running Leopard and Caravan HoundsCaravan Hounds use a single paw to land on a surface, like leopards.
Running Leopard and Caravan Hounds
Running Leopard and Caravan Hounds | Source
Caravan Hounds use a single paw to land on a surface, like leopards.
Caravan Hounds use a single paw to land on a surface, like leopards. | Source
Jonangi Dogs
Jonangi Dogs | Source

4. Jonangi: The Dog That Doesn't Bark

The Jonangi is a native Indian dog breed that is currently threatened with becoming exctinct. Some of these rare dogs are available along the East Coast of India from Bengal to Kanyakumari. This breed is unique in that it does not bark and instead makes a yodeling sound. Perhaps the most similar breed to the Jonangi is the Basenji. Jonangi dogs also share many characteristics with Indian pariah dogs.

These dogs were used for hunting small game, as watchdogs and for duck hunting. Jonangi are extremely agile, easily trainable, courageous and very intelligent. They have extremely short and shiny coats, which is one of the unique qualities of this breed. They have naturally erect or floppy ears and wrinkled faces.

Though Jonangi are quiet, they are very active and alert. They are generally not friendly with strangers and are known as 'one person' or 'one family' dogs.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A Rampur HoundThe Indian government issued a postal stamp in respect of this breed.Their feet allow them to defy gravity.
A Rampur Hound
A Rampur Hound | Source
The Indian government issued a postal stamp in respect of this breed.
The Indian government issued a postal stamp in respect of this breed. | Source
Their feet allow them to defy gravity.
Their feet allow them to defy gravity.

5. Rampur Greyhound: The Dog With Cat-Like Balance

Rampur Greyhounds are very intelligent, loyal and devoted sighthounds. They originated in the Northern Indian city of Rampur, which lies between Delhi and Bareilly. The breed was created to hunt deer, fox, jackal and rabbits.

These dogs sometimes appear to be lazy, but when roused, they charge and can even take down a golden jackal. With its great running speed and stamina, this breed can run up to 42 miles per hour—making it faster than the Indian wild dog or dhole (34 miles/hour) and the African wolf dog (37 miles/hour).

Rampur Greyhounds have the ability to walk on ledges thanks to their big, flexible paws, which give them a cat-like balance. They can calmly clear a six-foot fence from a standing position. They are very affectionate and protective of their owners and are known as a one-person dog; they usually don’t like strangers and other pets.

These dogs are known as the royal hound dog of India. The Indian government issued a postal stamp in respect of them.

Amazing Indian Pariah (Desi) Dogs

More Rare and Amazing Stray Dogs of India

Have you ever seen a dog feeding a monkey or a monkey taking care of dog? Have you ever seen a dog whose companion is a goat or a cow? Well, you need to roam the streets of India to see these rare sights. Check out the photos and videos in this article to see just how friendly and caring the magnificent stray dogs of India can be towards other animals.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
A stray Indian dog with monkeys.They know how to care.Just FriendsJust Friends
A stray Indian dog with monkeys.
A stray Indian dog with monkeys. | Source
They know how to care.
They know how to care.
Just Friends
Just Friends
Just Friends
Just Friends | Source

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2014 ARADHYA


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    • srai01 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      Thanks DrMark!

      I am a great fan of Pariah and I like to promote them, possible that intention appears in articles. :)

    • DrMark1961 profile image

      Dr Mark 

      5 years ago from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil

      I enjoyed the way you compared the cheetah to the Caravan dogs. Very interesting.

      The Pariah dog photos are great!


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