Aradhya loves sharing information about wildlife, animals and pets—especially dogs.
Mountain Dogs From the Himalayan Range
Parts of the Himalayan Mountain range reach over 7,200 meters high. It is home to many of the world's highest peaks, including Mount Everest and K2. The gargantuan range crosses six countries: India, Nepal, Bhutan, Tibet, China and Pakistan.
The Himalayas are home to many uncommon and rare breeds of dogs. These dogs are gigantic, intelligent and aggressive, and most have broad jaws, powerful muzzles and long furry coats. These traits make the dogs uniquely suitable for the Himalayan climate.
Most of the Himalayan dog breeds share certain common characteristics and behaviors, including physical and mental strength. Primarily available in India, Nepal, Tibet and Bhutan, these breeds are known by a variety of common names. Their behavior in domestic environments depends on each individual's persistent training and grooming.
8 Himalayan Mountain Dog Breeds
- Nepali Sheepdog/Himilayan Sheepdog (Nepal)
- Nepali Hill Dog (Nepal)
- Indigenous Mastiff/Himilayan Guard Dog (India)
- Himachali Gaddi/Indian Leopard Hound (India)
- Kashmir Sheepdog/Bakharwal Mastiff (India)
- Bhutia Sheepdog (Bhutan)
- Damchi (Bhutan)
- Tibetan Mastiff (Tibet)
Comparison of Himalayan Dog Breeds
Nepali Sheep Dog
Nepali Hill Dog
Bhutia Sheep Dog
Mountain Dogs From Nepal
In Nepal, people love and respect dogs. Many consider them to be the pet of Lord Yamaraj, the god of death. They worship dogs once a year on the second day of Tihar Puja, an annual five-day festival of lights.
The 5 Days of Tihar Puja
- 1st Day: Kag Tihar (worship of the crow)
- 2nd Day: Kukur Tihar (worship of the dog)
- 3rd Day: Gai Tihar and Laxmi Puja
- 4th Day: Gobardhan Puja and Mha Puja (worship of Lord Krishna and the oxen)
- 5th Day: Bhai Tika (sisters put tika on the foreheads of brothers)
The second day of the Tihar festival in Nepal (the Deepawali festival in India) is called Kukur Tihar or Kukur Puja (Kukur means "dog" in Nepal). It is also known as Khicha Puja by the Newars in Nepal. On this day, people worship dogs, who are believed to be messengers of Lord Yamaraj—the god of death. Nepal has two very famous and fantastic mountain dog breeds: the Nepali sheepdog and the Nepali hill dog.
1. Nepali Sheepdog/Himilayan Sheepdog
Nepali sheepdogs are native to Nepal and are also available and popular in India, Bhutan and some parts of Pakistan. They are alert, intelligent and make excellent guard dogs. They fall into the herding category but also make great working or companion dogs. They look very similar to Tibetan mastiffs but are noticeably smaller. They are active and athletic, so they make a great watchdog or family pet.
- Nepali sheepdogs are also known as Himalayan sheepdogs, Bhotia, Himalayan mastiffs and Bhotia mastiffs. Here Bhotia should not be confused with Bhutan's Bhutia sheepdog.
- They are giant, powerful and courageous dogs who need a lot of outdoor exercise.
- These dogs are very dominant and territorial and not suitable for apartment living.
- They need a firm and dominant owner.
2. Nepali Hill Dog
Nepali hill dogs are native to Nepal and are primarily available in the region's hilly areas and near the India-Nepal border.
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- Because of their black color and affinity for the hills, members of this breed are also known as black hill dogs or pahari kukur in the native language. Pahari means hill, and kukur means dog.
- Generally, they have long, black, furry coats and look like small black bears. They commonly have brown patches on their heads and eyes. Some rare individuals have brown, yellow or tan shades on their feet and stomach.
- Another unique quality of this breed is that the males are much larger and stronger than the females; they can be more than 50% larger in size.
- Initially, the hill dog was used by some Nepali tribes for herding sheep and protecting livestock.
- Hill dogs are very courageous, powerful and alert, but they aren't usually welcoming of strangers or other pets. They are very dominant and territorial and need a firm and experienced owner.
Mountain Dogs From India
Three excellent and popular Himalayan mountain dog breeds originated in India: Indigenous mastiffs (Himalayan guard dogs), Himachali Gaddis and Kashmir sheepdogs (Bakharwal mastiffs).
3. Indigenous Mastiff or Himalayan Guard Dog
Himalayan mastiffs are native to India. They are also commonly referred to as Himalayan guard dogs or indigenous Tibetan mastiffs.
- They are found mainly in the Laddakh region of the Himalayas.
- They look very similar to Tibetan mastiffs, but their behaviour is entirely different. Himalayan mastiffs are calm and gentle dogs who love to please their masters and stay close to their owners and families.
- They are generally gentle and reserved, but if something goes wrong, they can be very ferocious. They are courageous and warrior-like and have been known to fight to the death. A fully grown male Himalayan mastiff is purportedly capable of taking down two wolves at once.
- By nature, they are very loyal, friendly and devoted to their owners. They also tend to be very protective of their families.
- Their long, dry, double-coated fur makes them well-suited for colder climates.
- Common coat colors include all-black, black and tan, red, dark grey and grey-black. Some rare individuals are white, but this is uncommon.
4. Himachali Gaddi/Indian Leopard Hound
Gaddi dogs are native to India. The best place to find them is in the Himachal state in northern India.
- This breed is considered the oldest descendant of the Tibetan mastiff. They were bred to protect livestock from leopards and other wild animals but are now widely used for sheep-herding and as guard dogs, especially by native shepherds in Gaddi tribes.
- They are very intelligent and can herd stray sheep and goats back to their pens.
- They are reputed to be strong enough to fend off snow-leopards during attacks.
- They are also known as Mahidant mastiffs and leopard hounds.
- Gaddi dogs are ancestors of Tibetan mastiffs and look a lot like them, but by nature, they are gentle, calm, friendly, intelligent, alert, loyal and protective of their families.
5. Kashmir Sheepdog/Bakharwal Mastiff
The Bakharwal breed is indigenous to the Pir Panjal mountain range of the Kashmir Himalayas. They were originally bred by a nomadic group of Muslims called Gujjars to protect their livestock from predators like wolves and bears.
- The name Bakharawal is taken from the word Bakri, which means "goat," because these dogs were bred to protect goats and sheep from wolves and bears.
- The breed is also known as the Kashmir sheepdog, Bakharwal mastiff, Kashmiri Bakharwal, Gujjar watchdog, Bakharwal, Gujjar dog and Kashmiri mastiff.
- They are deep-chested, muscular and agile, with straight backs, broad shoulders and long legs. They have strong bones, powerful necks and large heads.
Mountain Dogs From Bhutan
Bhutan is home to two very differently sized dog breeds: the Bhuti sheepdog, which is a giant shepherd and the Damchi, which is much more petite.
6. Bhutia Sheepdog
Bhutias are giant cattle-dogs from the Himalayan range of Bhutan.
- They were originally bred for herding and to protect cattle and yak from predators.
- This powerful and ferocious dog is famous in Bhutan and nearby Indian states like Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh and can be acquired all over the country.
- Bhutias are loyal, alert and protective. They are devoted to their families and masters and make great guard dogs.
- Most are brown and tan with some white facial markings. Some rare individuals have black and yellow coats.
- Bhutia dogs are medium-sized, broad-headed and powerful.
The Damchi is a small-to-medium-sized dog from Bhutan, also known as the Bhutan Damchi, Bhutanese Damchi and khomyto (which means "my little baby").
- They are almost extinct. It’s almost impossible to find a purebred Damchi in Bhutan.
- They have been featured on postage stamps in Bhutan.
- They look very similar to Tibetan Lhasa Apsos but are physically sturdier.
Mountain Dogs From Tibet
Tibet has a rich history when it comes to dogs. It is the birthplace of many very famous breeds. When talking about "dangerous" Himalayan breeds, then the Tibetan mastiff is probably the only one that needs no introduction. Other Tibetan breeds include the Lhasa apso, Tibetan spaniel and Tibetan terrier.
8. Tibetan Mastiff
Tibetan mastiffs are native to Tibet and are sometimes referred to as do-khyi.
- They can be seen in the northern parts of Nepal, India and Bhutan.
- In Nepal, they are known as bhote kukur. Bhote means "outsider to Nepal or Tibet." Kukur means "dog."
- These giant mountain dogs have strong, broad heads and sturdy bone structures. They have long borides and heavy fronts for their height. Some say that they resemble lions because of their long coats.
- They are fearless and tempered but loyal and protective. Tibetan mastiffs are known to be stubborn and won't always obey, so they aren't necessarily the best choice for first-time dog owners.
© 2014 Aaradhya
Kalki on January 07, 2020:
from where do i buy himalayan mastiff
Sarah on December 22, 2018:
This info seems to be entirely incorrect about the different breeds involved.
The dogs all come from different regions and have many different actributes.
Marcha A Garn on November 05, 2018:
Some of the photos and info is a bit off. The first two photos labeled "Himalayan Terror" are hybrid dogs. They are not dogs of the Himalaya or the Tibetan Plateau or any other Himalayan area. The video by Mr. Zhang is good. He has other videos of his travels on the plateau as well that show the dog in native areas.
Aaradhya (author) on March 27, 2017:
Thanks Buddha luxom!
I do not supply the pets, but I will recommend refer OLX pets section and post your requirement.
That's the best option to get the one.
Aaradhya (author) on May 30, 2016:
wim tegelaar on May 27, 2016: