Breeds of dog in India

Maneka Gandhi

(BiharTimes)The nuns of an orphanage look for babies in the cradles outside their gates.We look in the gutter outside my shelter  every day to find a cowering little dog.  Labradors, Alsatians and Pomeranians dominate the throwaway list. I am sure that, if pedigreed, their owners must have tried to sell or give them away before they came at night and threw them into the gutter. But if they are Indian dogs, they are thrown away as garbage.
These Indian dogs whom you regard as junglies were once kept by the royal families and Mughals who ruled this country. When the British came, they trashed many of our customs and royalty. They made us feel that nothing Indian was good, it had to be foreign to be of any value. So Indian cow breeds disappeared , Indian cheetahs were shot to extinction, Indian parakeets gave way to foreign parrots  and the Indian dog was thrown out into the road, to be beaten , starved, abused and killed while smugglers brought in poodles, mastiffs and cocker spaniels to become status symbols.
The great granddaughter of the last Mughal king lives in the waiting room of a railway station. The same thing has happened to our dogs..  

You see them everyday. Let me tell you how to identify some:
Caravan HounCaravan HoundThe Caravan Hound:  These came with the invaders from Asia with their caravans and are found in the Deccan Plateau. The head is long and narrow and broad between the ears with a tapering muzzle with long, powerful jaws. The nose is large and black. The ears are long and hang close to the skull. The eyes are dark hazel and large.  The neck is long and muscular.The dogs are 68-72 cms in height and the females are 64-68 cms tall. The back is long, broad and well-muscled.  The chest is strong and deep. The abdomen is tucked in. The tail is set low and carried in a natural curve, not over the back. The coat is fine and they are normally, fawn, red, cream, black ,with white.


Rajapalayam Rajapalayam : Looks like a miniature Great Dane, with its muscular, and heavy build. It is usually white with pink skin. It has a deep chest. The hair is soft on the head but coarse on the body. It is about 65cms. tall and  25 kgs in weight. The females are smaller. It’s domed head is carried high. There may be a little wrinkling on the skin of the head and throat. The skin is loose all over the body and the eyes are usually deep brown. The ears hang and feel like soft leather. The jaws are long, fine and powerful. The tail is whip-like with a noticeable thinning after 1/3 its length. The straight legs are long

CombaiCombai: The royal hound of the Marawa kings ,it is slightly shorter than the Rajapalayam and heavier built. The dog is usually red or brown with a black mask with a dark line along the back.







Chippiparai: has a compact streamlined body. The dog  is about 50 cms tall and weigh 15-20 kgs. The head is domed, fine and long. The ears are small  and may be semi-erect or rose shaped. The eyes are dark, the tail is bony. The chest is deep with a slightly curved back and a tucked-up belly.  Usually white/fawnn_a
Rampur HoundRampur Hound: was created by the Nawab of Rampur.This hound is powerfully built with strong jaws. The skull is broad. Males measure 60-75 cms in height andy weigh about 27-30 kgs. Black, grey, brindle, fawn or white. The chest is deep in front but not very wide with well sprung ribs. The tail is long and tapering slightly curving upwards and carried low, The neck is long  arched and broad where it joins the body.

Kanni: is from Tamilnadu. It was so prized that it was given as part of a girl’s dowry.They are usually brown, cream, black & tan and  brindle.

Mudhol Hound: comes from the royal state of Mudhol in Karnataka/ Maharashtra. Shivaji's beloved dogs were Mudhols.  It is a hardy, keen sight hound. The head is small in proportion to the body. The skull is long, narrow flat and moderately wide between the ears. The muzzle is long and tapering.The eyes  are dark brown or hazel . The ears are thin, triangular and set fairly high. They are carried flat and close to the head. The neck is long , supple and well muscled. The body is muscular with a well tucked in abdomen. The back is fairly broad.The tail is long and set on line with the body. The coat is smooth.It may be any colour.
Mudhol Hounds
Alangu: This is a tall breed with a short coat, red, fawn and black with white markings on their chest. The muzzle is black. The back is long with the tail tapering to a fine point. The ears are set high on the skull and pricked. 

Alangu Mastiff


KaikadiKaikadi :is white, tan, and black. The dog is small (about 40 cms or less) with thin long legs, but powerful thighs. The tail is long and tapering. The head is long and thin with prominent eyes and long ears that stand erect when alert.

Bakharwal: a black and tan large solidly built shepherd dog with heavy bones, pendant ears, a short, well-muscled neck, and a short muzzle.

Banjara HoundBanjara Hound:  indigenous to the North India, developed by the Banjara tribes. It has the speed of a greyhound . The coat is very thick and dense, soft to the touch, but not silky.

BisbenBisben: One of the key features of the Bisben dog is that the length of the muzzle is equal to that of the skull. Its Tibetan Mastiff -like , lean, muscular body is covered with a thick, harsh medium-length coat. Normally black with large white markings on the feet and chest, but wolf-grey and tricolour dogs also exist. Average height is 45 cm.

Bhutia Sheepdog : a Himalayan breed, similar to the Himalayan Sheep dog but larger in size and with a tightly curled tail.  Either small (8-10 inches) with longhair or tall (32-14 inches)with shorthair. Generally black or redbrown, with patches of white on the ears, legs and body. Has a thick, coarse overcoat in black or tan and a thick, smooth undercoat. Luminous, dark rimmed eyes. Medium black ears and a pointed muzzle. Compact and muscular without being stodgy. Short legs, and a long back. Tail is plumed and up turned.

Indian Spitz :was one of the most popular dogs in India in the 1980s when India's import rules said no to import . It is often called Pomeranian though the two breeds are different. Is usually white in color, but also come in brown and black.


JonangiJonangi:  is found along the east coast of India, from Bengal to Kanyakumari. It does not usually bark but makes a yodelling sound . The coat is extremely short and fine, in solid colours of fawn, biscuit, chocolate, black or white. 14-16 inches, it has a wrinkled forehead, thin curled tail, and tulip ears.
India has 36 breeds.. Go outside and pick up a perfect Indian pedigree. He waits for you , homeless , abused but still conscious of his royal lineage.  That is why Indian dogs are so much more civilized and intelligent.

To join the animal welfare movement contact gandhim@nic.in


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