Dr. Mark is a veterinarian. He has been working with dogs for more than 40 years.
Dog Breeds of India
There are a lot of interesting dog breeds from India—but most families prefer to keep European dog breeds, so many native Indian dogs are going extinct. If you like dogs and have lived or live in India, you can try to preserve these breeds by finding or adopting a dog breed from India. Here are a few of the best and noblest from that great land.
5 Dog Breeds From India
- The Rajapalayam
- The Caravan Hound
- The Rampur Greyhound
- The Kanni
- The Pariah Dog
1. The Rajapalayam
This noble sighthound is from southern India, and was known as the aristocratic companion from Rajapalayam, a town in southern India. The Nayak dynasty of Tamil Nadu developed and improved this breed.
He is tall and thin, but thicker than the Saluki and some other sighthounds since he was used for hunting boar.
Even if there is not much to hunt, the Rajapalayam can be a great guard dog. Most do not get along with cats, and need good socialization since they are hostile to strangers and will attack anyone who comes into their yard.
A long time ago the nobles of Tamil Nadu decided that they preferred a white dog with a pink nose, but sometimes dogs are born with spots or even in solid colors. Fanciers believe that the Dalmatian was created using this breed, but no genetic or historical evidence supports this.
The only serious health problem is deafness, usually seen when puppies are born with blue eyes. Deafness happens in a lot of dog breeds chosen to be pure white.
If you would like to see more photos of the Rajapalayam, there are several available more available at flickr.com.
2. The Caravan Hound
This dog breed, also known as the Mudhol Hound, is a noble sighthound from the Deccan Plateau. He was mainly used for hunting rabbits and other small animals but also served as a watch dog.
The dogs are tall, lean (only about 25 kilos, or 55 pounds), and seen in several colors, including brindles. They may be related to the Salukis that passed through India and, since they always followed their nomadic masters, they came to be known as Caravan Hounds.
Caravan Hounds are healthy and hard working. Like all sighthounds they like to get out and run. They are not aggressive, and one report I read stated that Caravan Hounds are even being trained to herd sheep!
3. The Rampur Greyhound
This noble racing dog comes from the north of India, in the Rampur region. He is also a sighthound, used to hunt big game like tigers but mostly used for jackal control.
Rampur Greyhounds were developed using English Greyhounds and the Tazi, a strong native dog from Afghanistan that came to the north of India through the Khyber Pass.
These dogs are tall and weigh about 28 to 30 kilos, or about 60 to 65 pounds. They have health problems similar to the Greyhound, a long life expectancy, and if socialized and exercised adequately makes a good companion and guard dog.
Like many of the native Indian dog breeds, this dog may soon become extinct.
4. The Kanni
This is another rare and noble breed from Tamil Nadu, probably related to the Caravan Hound and descended from the Saluki.
The word Kanni, which means “unmarried girl”, was given to the dog since they were traditionally part of the dowry. A hunting dog like that was well taken care of, and Kanni were usually part of the household.
The Kanni is tall, skinny, usually black and tan, and a good hunter. They do not bark much, are known to be easy to train, and are almost extinct—if you can find a Kanni they make a good companion.
5. The Pariah Dog
Is the pariah dog a noble hound? I guess it really depends on how you define the word. Most of the noble dogs were owned by noblemen, but to me a noble dog is one who lives a noble life. Pariah came to use from a Tamil word that referred to the lowest level in the class system, and to me that means noble.
Most of these dogs are medium sized, dull brown, and resemble the other native dogs around the world—the Canaan dog in Israel, the Carolina dog in the U.S., and the Dingo in Australia. They are related to sighthounds everywhere, from the Azawakh in Africa to the Irish Wolfhound. Pariah dogs, though, are almost always feral.
Feral dogs dig dens and have their puppies in areas they cannot be reached. Pariah dogs make really good pets but if they have not dealt with humans during their sensitive socialization period will need to be handled a little differently. Training needs to be positive, grooming needs to be done gradually, and medical care (when it is needed, which is rarely) should be done without stressing out the dog.
Pariah dogs may die out since they breed with European dog breeds that have been released onto the street. There are groups of people dedicated to saving the Pariah dog in India. They have renamed the dog the Indog, and breed rescue organizations exist.
The “Heavily Wrinkled Dog” is not one of the noble Indian breeds but he is so different that he deserves mention. This dog is heavy, up to about 95 kilos (210 pounds), has tough skin, wide bones, and broad jaws.
Pakistan claims the Bully Kutta as their national dog but he probably was developed in the Punjab region of India. He is healthy, a good guard dog, and an enthusiastic hunter.
Indian Dog Breeds Are Presently Rare
Finding an authentic Indian dog breed, even in India, is no simple thing. Most dogs are scarce, some are even likely to become extinct. None of the web sites I found listed any information about breed rescues working with these dogs.
If you call around you are more likely to find breeders of Japanese, Chinese, German, and other European breeds.
Keep trying. Finding and preserving an Indian breed will definitely be worth your time.
© 2013 Dr Mark
If you have a dog from India, please tell us about her!
Ryan on February 21, 2015:
Thanks for this read mate. Well, this is my first visit to your blog! But I admire the proeucis time and effort you put into it, especially into interesting topics you share here!
abinav on November 06, 2014:
Wat about kombai
it is a bear hound
ignugent17 on April 25, 2013:
Interesting dogs. Thanks for sharing the information.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 25, 2013:
Hi dogfond there is not a lot of information out there, unfortunately. I think we have to go based on what we know on the Saluki and Greyhound, neither of which are aggressive. I really have no idea about the Rajapalayam. Pariah dogs are mostly watch dogs, not guard types, and not aggressive at all.
dogfond on April 24, 2013:
I'm not familiar with these breeds but they look interesting. I'm just wondering if these breeds are aggressive types?
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 24, 2013:
Thanks, tirelesstraveler. I have worked with Pariah dogs but the others are all new to me. As Scribenet points out, it would be a shame if the became extinct.
Judy Specht from California on April 24, 2013:
Where do you find these dogs? All of these dogs are new to me except the Pariah. Very interesting.
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on April 23, 2013:
They are beautiful and graceful dogs. It would be a shame if any of the breeds became extinct.
Dr Mark (author) from The Atlantic Rain Forest, Brazil on April 23, 2013:
Hi Scribenet these are really rare dogs. I spent time in India back in the 90s and only came across Pariah dogs, so I think it must be hard to even find them.
Of course now I would love to add a Kanni Hound or Caravan Hound to my household!
Maggie Griess from Ontario, Canada on April 23, 2013:
Never seen these breeds and I am one of those that watches the dog shows for entertainment. Lovely and entertaining!
Jim Laughlin from Connecticut on April 23, 2013:
I would like a Bully Kutta! Awesome dog. Not noble, but look at him, just great!