In this article, I will talk about indigenous dog breeds from India. There are around 65 Indian dog breeds, and the total count could go up to 100 as experts discover more. The native dogs of India have been used for hunting, guarding cattle, herding sheep and other livestock, and even protecting their owners from wild animals such as wolves and leopards. Though not officially recognized by the Kennel Club of India (KCI), some dog breeds have geographical adaptations to survive in a specific part of the country with their climate, vegetation, and wildlife. However, most Indian dogs seem to be medium-sized, well-built, but lean dogs with short coats. They belong primarily to three different groups: sighthounds, pastoral dogs, and terriers.
Sighthounds: They hunt by sight instead of scent. They have a lean muscular body and long thin legs that enable them to cover great distances during a chase while turning sharply or stopping quickly when needed. They have keen eyesight – some people say they can spot prey from as far as 3 miles away – which helps them catch fast-running animals such as antelopes, hares, and deer. Besides hunting, Indian sighthounds are also kept by the royalty in India for entertainment purposes such as dog fights, coursing other animals, or simply watching these dogs run after jackals or foxes in courtyards specially designed for the purpose (called kalipeedom). The most popular sighthounds in India are Afghan hound, Azawakh, Borzoi (or Russian wolfhound), Saluki (or Persian greyhound), and Whippet.
Pastoral dogs were bred by nomadic tribes to guard their livestock against predators such as wolves or leopards. These dogs have powerful territorial instincts, so they won’t hesitate to defend their territory against any intruder – whether animal or human – if their owners are not around. Their main advantage over the large savage animals they protect the herds from is that they can think fast on their feet and weigh much less than them, enabling them to devise quick escape plans or defensive maneuvers when needed. Gilani sheepdogs are one of the most popular pastoral dogs in India. They are brave, sharp, and protective by nature.
Terriers: Usually small-sized with bold, sharp personalities and an independent streak, these kinds of dogs were bred to hunt vermin like rats and snakes and other small species such as hares and foxes. Some of them (like Jagdterriers or Indian terriers) were also used for hunting big animals like tigers! It is said that when Britain colonized India, local people who were assigned to carry dead tiger bodies from the jungle back to British army stations after a fight between a hunter and his prey – often resulting in the hunter getting mauled by the animal – found out that they could train some terriers to attack and hold the tigers by their throats until their masters came and killed the animal. That’s how these dogs earned the nickname ‘Tiger Dogs.’ Indian Terrier is one such breed.
Though there are many different kinds of Indian dogs, each breed has unique characteristics. Some have evolved over centuries to take advantage of specific geographical advantages to survive in harsh climates and habitats. They often display performance abilities that other dog breeds don’t usually exhibit: For example, the Mudhol Hound can work in extremely hot or cold weather and even climb trees and walk on rocks! The Caravan Hound has a great sense of direction – it will always return to its no matter how far away it goes.
Other breeds have adapted to life in the jungles of India. This has given them several unique qualities, including an excellent sense of smell, agility, high endurance, and, most importantly – stealth. The Indian pariah dog, for example, is knowledgeable, fierce, and fiercely loyal to its pack members. But it rarely barks, so it can silently stalk its prey (usually other wild animals like tigers) before attacking from behind with lightning speed, making it one of the deadliest dogs in the world!
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