I was recently having a very interesting conversation on the differece between Native dogs and Aboriginal dogs. I felt this would be a nice post for the Desi-themed month. So, here it is. I was given to understand that Aboriginal dogs are different from Native dogs in that they are bred with no human interference.
So our little Naaty that we have been discussing the last two blogs is an Aboriginal breed. This little Naaty of ours is gaining popularity by the day, not just in India but across the globe. But we have other native breeds as well, that were developed for very specific functions. You could look them all up on wikipedia. But I’ll just toss in some basic details here, just for convinience.
|Sight Hound, also known as Caravan Hound or Pashmi or Kaarwani. It’s used for hunting and guarding. It is recognised by the Kennel Club of India and National Kennel Club. It is a working hound and provides excellent performance in the field under gruelling conditions. They are elegant, graceful and courageous. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudhol_Hound
|Sight Hound, native to the Rampur region in North India. It was favoured by the Maharajas for jackal control, to hunt lions, tigers, leopards and panthers. It’s built to cover great distances at high speed and is capable of great endurance. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rampur_Greyhound
|Bear Hound found in the south of India. It is a very ancient breed, used in hunting as early as 9th century B.C. when Maravar kings held sway over South India. It can be found in some parts of Tamil Nadu. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Combai
|Sight Hound from south of India. It is thought to be a descndant of the Saliki. It is found in areas around Periyar lake. Used primarily for hunting and guarding the home. Bred by the royal families in Chippoparai in Tamil Nadu, it was kept as a symbol of royalty and dignity by the rulers of the region. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chippiparai
|Indian Sight Hound that was a companion of the royalty and aristocracy in South India. It is a large and working dog that was bred for hunting and guarding. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rajapalayam_(28dog)
|Pakistani Mastiff or Bully is a descendant of the extinct Alaunt. They are guard dogs. The name is due to it’s appearance that could be considered to resemble the flat face of a Bulldog. Source:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bully_Kutta
|Terrier dog breed named after a nomadic tribe in Maharashtra. They make good watch dogs as well has hunting dogs. They are very similar to Whippet dogs.
|Means maiden. It is a rare indigenous South Indian dog found in Tamil Nadu. The breed is an extension of the Mudhol Hound. The name comes from the fact that the dog used to be given as a gift to the bridegroom just before marriage. The Kanni is kept by families who do not sell them but many gift them if a promise is made to look after them well. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kanni
|Mastiff-type mountain dog found in Northern India. It is also known as the Indian Panther Hound as well as Mahidant Mastiff. Bred for hunting and as shepherds. Known to be very strong and intelligent to guard and herd. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gaddi_Kutta
|Originally bred as a watch dog in the hills of Kumaon. It is believed that the dog’s ancestors were domiciled in the Mediterranean region. Cypro Kukur means Cyprus Dog. This is believed to have been introduced to Kumaon by settlers, where it was bred by locals as a watch dog. Folklore suggest it was introduced by Alexander the Great in 300 BC. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumaon_Mastiff
|Compact Sight Hound, well-muscled, deep-chested and strong-backed. Its smaller size makes either Saluki heredity or a pure, ancient origin the most likely hypothesis concerning its origin. With exceptional speed and concentrated strength, it is used for coursing small and medium sized games. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mahratta_Greyhound
|Ancient working breed found in Pir Panjal mountain range of Kashmir Himalayas. It has been bred for centuries by the Gujjar nomadic tribes as guard dogs. It’s a unique breed that is vegetarian, which helps keep it away from attacking the flock. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bakharwal_Dog
Contrary to popular belief, dogs are not a new fad in India. I found this rather interesting excerpt that suggests that Indians dogs were bred not only in India, but also popular outside India as well.
So, now! If we have so many breeds of our own, should we consider keeping them as pets? Do these breeds make good pets? This is a tough question to answer. I am going to present a few arguments here.
Some argue that they were bred for hunting and guarding, making them less than ideal pets. Others argue that the same holds true for several western breeds that we now welcome with open arms into our homes. Ex: Beagles, Dachshunds etc.
There might be a counter argument to this that modern day Beagles and Dachschunds are bred less for function and more for looks and hence are no more hunting dogs. But it’s now common knowledge that breeding for looks and not for function amplifies several genetic disorders in them, making them sick dogs. There is some truth to all these arguments. But I am not sure there is a generic response anywhere in here. I’d say that the only generic answer is – You decide!
I can share with you my own criteria. For my experience, I exercise extreme caution before bringing home a big, fast and strong dog. I ensure I have a very good understanding of breed traits. I should have spent time with dogs, not one, but several dogs of the said breed before I take the plunge. The question to me is not ‘Does the breed make a good pet.’ The question is ‘Am I capable of being an adequate pet parent to this dog.’ Big, strong and fast dogs will pose certain challenges and as a pet parent we need to have had the necessary experience of what those challenges are and how we plan on tackling them. The plan needs to be based on sound knowledge and not just hubris!
Not being able to bring home one of these is no reason not to appreciate them. I still like to be aware of all our beautiful hounds that are easily in the ranks of the Italian hounds and Whippets of the world. I am always on a quest to identify more Indian breeds and learn more about them. I quite appreiciate their gorgeous physical form, sheer agility and the beauty. Are there any other Indian breeds that you are aware of? If so, please do share details. I would love to know more.