This week, we started our series on #DesiDoggies on our Facebook and Twitter pages. Although India is most known worldwide for the Indian Pariah breed (today our beloved roadside friends), there are lesser known noble breeds that have been bred for centuries, ranging from agile hounds to fierce some long coat mountain breeds. Let’s take a look at some of them.
Known as the Great Indian Mastiff or ‘Bully Kutta’, this is one of India’s largest native breeds. Originally descended from legendary Alaunt breed of the Sindh-Punjab belt, they are known for their loyalty and gentleness.
Controversially, they have been involved in dog fighting. Also, they have been interbred with Great Danes to produce an even larger beast, known as the Naagi BullyKutta.
One of India’s best known breeds, these sight hounds have been bred by royal families in and around the vicinity of Madurai, Tamil Nadu, and are still symbols of royalty, dignity, respect and nobility. Today mainly found around the Periyar area, they are incredibly robust animals (like most desi breeds), needing very little care and pampering, while being good guard dogs and excellent hunters of boar and deer. Thought to be a descendant of the famed Saluki breed (the breed pictured in the title/blog title), they run at a breathtaking pace, overtaking even the fastest of prey. They are an intelligent and sociable breed in need of better breeding programs to improve their numbers.
Moving back northwards, this big Sight hound is native to the Rampur region which lies between Delhi and Bareilly (UP). These sturdy dogs were well loved by local Princes and Rulers and were used for hunting Jackals and Panthers! They are also known for their incredible speed and high endurance capacity, giving it the ability to swiftly cover large distances.
They get their lightning speed from their storied ancestors, the English Greyhound, with whom a Maharajah bred the Afghan Tazi breed, a climate resistant and ferocious breed. This makes them magnificent hunters and a resilient breed with a unique physiology. Although they faced a steady decline for the last half century, their numbers have recently started picking up.
A close relative of their German counterparts, this adorable breed makes for a pleasant and care free pet.
A popular household pet, they do get mistaken for Pomeranians, although they are larger and have different physiques and ancestry. They are capable of hunting pigeons and small game and have developed a unique technique for capturing prey. Generally a lush shade of white, they also come in a variety of other colors as well. An intelligent breed known to learn tricks in minutes, they have had their fair share of exposure in Indian circuses since the 1970’s.
An ancient Kashmiri Sheepdog breed, these vegetarian dogs have been used for herding livestock and as a protector for Himalayan herdsman and settlers for centuries. In case you’re wondering, their diet has been adapted so as to reduce any chances of livestock attack. With a powerful and lean physique, this dog with its broad shoulders and deep chest has a regal yet strong appearance. Studies have linked this dog (in relation) to the well known Tibetan Mastiff, but settlers claim that the Bakharwal is much older than other breeds in the region.
It’s pretty evident that there is a variety of intriguing canines spread out across the sub continent, yet awareness among citizens in quite low, limited to the Pariah breed (which deserves an entire post of its own). This is just part 1, we’ll cover even more breeds in our next post. If there are any you would like us to feature, leave a comment below and we’ll get to it!