The Bully Kutta is the most ferocious Indian dog breed.

Bully Kutta: Temperament, Health & Origins – Guide to the “Beast of the East” Dog

The Bully Kutta has a fearsome reputation – one that is well deserved. A catch-all name for mastiffs that originate in Pakistan, they are enormous, aggressive, and dangerous. They are popular amongst young men who want to project a “macho” image. It is very much like how the English Bulldog is in England and elsewhere. That being said, the Bully Kutta is not a dog for the inexperienced or faint hearted.

Originating from Sindh, a now-divided state that straddles Pakistan and India, Bully Kuttas were bred as hunting and guarding dogs. Their size and aggression made them very popular as fighting dogs and this tradition continues (illegally) to this day.

Even emperors valued and admired them: the great Mughal emperor Akbar, the third of his line, had Bully Kuttas for hunting. Now Bully Kuttas are mostly found in Pakistan, but they are still around in the border regions of India.

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Bully Kutta Basic Profile

Friendliness: These dogs generally aren’t very friendly, which is their main selling point. Although they can get along with humans they respect, they will attack other dogs, pets and strangers. This is not your typical family dog, as they are ferocious. On the other side, they make some of the best guard dogs.

AloofFriendly

Trainability: It’s not easy training a Bully Kutta. This task is reserved for the well-experienced dog owner and/or trainer. If you’re a novice owner, then this is not the breed for you. They only listen to those they respect and are extremely hard to control.

DifficultEasy

Grooming: The Bully Kutta doesn’t really shed because of their short coat. They require basic grooming that all dogs need, such as occasional toothbrushing, combing, bathing and nail clipping. Keep in mind that these are big energetic dogs, so it may be difficult to groom them by yourself. Professional assistance may be required.

DifficultEasy

Adaptability: Having a Bully Kutta in an enclosed environment is not the greatest idea. This may drive them crazy and cause them to exhibit destructive behavior. They also prefer the heat and don’t adapt well to cold temperatures.

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Activity: They need a lot of room to play and a lot of exercise to expend energy. What’s bad about having a large energetic dog is that if you don’t give it physical activity, they can really do some damage around the house.

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Bully Kutta - Vital Stats
  • Height: 30 – 44 inches
  • Weight: 150 – 170 pounds
  • Life Expectancy: 8 – 10 years
  • Dog Breed Group: n/a

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What is a Bully Kutta?

A bully kutta is sometimes referred to as a general name for big aggressive dogs in India.

To dog enthusiasts and some breeders, the Bully Kutta is a distinct breed of fighting dog. However, others disagree and say it is just a term for all the fighting dogs of Northern Pakistan. The truth lies somewhere in between, as far as I can tell.

There are about 5 distinct varieties of the Bully Kutta, each quite different from the others. This makes them hard to define as a separate breed. The kennel clubs of Pakistan and India have not classified the Bully Kutta as a distinct breed like the Tibetan Mastiff, for example.

Varieties of Bully Kutta include: Ancient Bully Kutta, Nagi, Mastiff-type, Aseel and Modern. Information on each of these varieties is difficult to find in English (your correspondent does not speak Punjabi).

Bully Kuttas are intelligent, full of energy, and very aggressive. They can stand nearly 3 feet tall and weigh more than 12 stones, putting them firmly in the “large dog” category. This weight and muscle power is combined with their territorial and aggressive nature to make them some of the most feared guard dogs on the Indian Subcontinent.

How They Got Their Name

For such an enormous and fearsome dog, the name Bully Kutta makes a lot of sense to an English speaker. But, its name actually means something completely different. The name is not a corruption of the English word “bulldog,” as some people may think. “Bully” comes from the Punjabi word “bholi,” meaning heavily wrinkled or very wrinkly. “Kutta” just means dog.

Westerners changed bholi to bully because it sounded like a derivation of Bulldog, but that is not its root. Far from being a bully who is willing to attack you for no apparent reason, a Bully Kutta is just a very wrinkly canine.

Origins of the Bully Kutta

The Bully Kutta has been known to have descended from the Alaunt dogs.

The Bully Kutta is a direct descendent of the Alaunt, an ancient breed of large, short-coated hunting and herding dogs. They were originally bred by the nomadic Alani, who travelled in what is now Iran. These dogs accompanied the tribe as they travelled around Persia and beyond. They were bred to hunt and fight alongside horses, as well as defend the campsites of their masters.

The Impact of the Alaunt Dog

The Alani had a fearsome reputation as warriors and were even employed by the Romans to defend Hadrian’s Wall in Britain. Some think that the British Pugnaces, the ultimate ancestors of English Mastiffs and Bulldogs, are the descendants of the Alaunt hunting dogs, which the Alani took with them to Britain.

The original Alaunt breed has been extinct for 400 years but their descendants live on around Europe and Asia. They are generally large, fearsome, and territorial.

In India, the Alani traded and fought. The locals liked their dogs and the ancestors of the Bully Kutta were used in India from then on. Separate varieties emerged from the Sindh district in Rajastan, in Bhawalpur, and in Kutch. Another Mastiff, the Alangu, is believed to have been developed at the same time in similar areas.

There is likely Tibetan and Central Asian Mastiff blood in the Northern Bully Kutta lines and Indian Mastiffs in the southern lines. The Alangu Mastiff is synonymous with the Bully Kutta but is actually a separate breed.

Bully Kutta Appearance

The sight of a Bully Kutta is fearsome, which explains why they're such great guard dogs.

A large, solidly built, and muscular breed, the Bully Kutta can weigh up to 170 pounds (some rare examples have reached 200 pounds, or 14 stones). They can stand as high as 44 inches for a male and 36 inches for a female.  If well exercised, they can be bristle with muscles.

There is no real standardization of the breed because it is not regarded as a pure breed by most experts. The term Bully Kutta is more a useful term for a group of similar looking Alaunt Hounds in Pakistan and India.

Physical Characteristics

Their coats are usually white with occasional markings, but some examples are black, grown, brindle, piebald, or fawn. Coats are short and do not shed.

A Bully Kutta almost always has a black nose, but sometimes they can be pink. Many lack pigmentation around their mouths, or have patchy pigmentation. Their eyes are usually amber or golden and are set under heavy brows.

With loose skin, drooping flews (upper lips) and occasional dewlaps (excess skin), they have earned the ‘very wrinkly dog’ title. Bully Kuttas have small ears that tuck back into their heads, presumably to limit damage from fighting other dogs and large animals. Their heads are wide and thick boned, extending from a short and squat neck.

Their backs are quite flat and curve down for the pelvis. Most have thick curly tails but some have stubs. The back legs are double muscled and their paws are thick and bear-like. They walk like a tiger, which is quite disconcerting.

Bully Kutta Temperament

Despite popular belief, the Bully can make a great family dog.

Only the most experienced of dog owners should try raising a Bully Kutta. They need a firm hand and a lot of patience to socialize and train. Without this, they can be unmanageable and dangerous. Many young men in Pakistan and India own this breed to project machismo. Certainly, these are dangerous dogs and can be trained to attack.

With People, Children and Pets

Aggression is the dominant characteristic when describing the temperament of a Bully Kutta. They love to fight and are very good at it. Small dogs and animals look like crunchy treats to them, making them completely inappropriate for households with other pets. Keeping two Bully Kuttas together in close proximity is not advisable as they will inevitably fight each other.

If you have any other animals in the house, do not get a Bully Kutta. They will have them for dinner. That is, unless they were raised with them. Even then, it is a big chance to take.

All that being said, the Bully Kutta can make a good family pet. They are tolerant of children and can be quite playful. Unlike some big dogs, they are also very intelligent dogs. Intelligence can mean stubbornness and a tendency to get bored easily, but it also makes for a less frustrating companion.

A Bully Kutta will usually bond with one person and are generally known as a one-person dog. However, when they are raised with a family or group (and properly trained), they are loving pets who will protect their pack with startling savagery. They are surprisingly loving and caring towards their masters, but if you have friends round for dinner, make sure you introduce them properly.

Fighting Dogs

Thousands of years of breeding have made them fighters. No matter how well you train them, you cannot stop them from picking fights with other dogs. Walks in the park with a Bully Kutta will result in you being dragged behind the massive animal as it lunges at all the other dogs, barking loudly and drooling everywhere.

Even what looks like a play fight can suddenly turn serious. They will tear bloody chunks out of each other if given the chance. If a dog will submit to them, they will leave them alone, so you mostly have to worry about other fighting breeds like Mastiffs and Pit Bulls.

Guard Dogs

Bully Kuttas have very loud barks and will bark a lot at anything they consider a threat or an intruder. This can be frustrating to neighbors and people who value their sleep. However, not even the stupidest burglar would take on a Bully Kutta, so they work very effectively as a deterrent. People are hospitalized regularly from picking a fight, or being set upon, by a Bully Kutta.

For all their aggression, given the chance, a Bully Kutta will sleep all day and drool all over everything. Perhaps the best place to own a docile Bully is on a small island, away from all the distractions.

Living with a Bully Kutta

Living with a Bully can be difficult, as they often are hard to control.

Only experienced breeders and trainers should take on a Bully Kutta. They need a strong authoritative figure to be controlled. The owner needs a lot of physical strength to train them effectively and to keep them from doing harm to other animals.

Bully Kuttas also need quite a lot of space. They will trash an apartment if they are left alone, so they need at least a medium sized yard to run around in. Daily walking is a must. They cannot be let off the leash if there are other dogs or people around, they can and will attack dogs. Reports of Bully Kuttas attacking humans is rarer, but it does happen.

Establishing Dominance

When you live with a Bully Kutta, you have to be dominant. They will only take commands if they think you are the boss. To be the boss, you have to run ahead of them when you take them for a jog. You have to be consistent with commands and use sanctions appropriately.

Dominance is hard work and they will seize upon weakness to try to dominate you. With a dog of this size and aggression, you cannot let them get away with it. They will be gentle if they know you are in control. If they doubt you, they can be aggressive and impossible to control.

Diet and Grooming

Bully Kuttas will eat nearly anything but they need a well-balanced diet to maintain good health. They exercise a lot and sleep a lot, so you need to keep them in good shape with their diet. Sometimes, a little fruit and vegetables may do them good. Just make sure dogs are allowed to eat whatever you are giving them.

As with any dog, they need their teeth cleaning a few times a week and their nails clipped monthly. Their size and power can make this very difficult, so you might need a hand or a vet to do it.

Bullys are quite clean dogs. They keep themselves clean and rarely need bathing or brushing. However, they do drool. A lot. So depending on your tolerance of cleanliness, you may give them baths as you please.

Bully Kutta Health

A Bully Kutta will live between 10 and 12 years. They are prone to arthritis later in life, probably because of their large size and energetic lives. Some may even lose their sight. In general, however, the Bully Kutta is regarded as a very healthy breed. Having lived outside in the elements for most of its history, they are tough and used to extreme conditions. This lifestyle also made them resistant to parasites and infections.

There is huge variety amongst Bully Kuttas, with different varieties having been separated by hundreds of miles and hundreds of years on the Indian Subcontinent, so there might be differences in health status.

Bully Kutta and Illegal Fighting

Unfortunately, these dogs are subject to dog fights all over rural regions of India and Pakistan.

Dog fighting has been illegal in Pakistan and India for decades but it continues unabated in rural areas. Bully Kuttas are the fighting dogs of choice. They are tough, can take a lot of damage, and are utterly fearless when they draw blood. A quick look at YouTube will show you what they are capable of.

Apparently, the aggression of the Bully Kutta is not enough for the dog fighters in this region, who are breeding them to be “more menacing.” This is alarming as the original breed is dangerous enough. The police in Punjab are cracking down on dog fighting but it does not appear to have had much of an effect.

Future of The Bully Kutta

Their popularity as fighting dogs in India and Pakistan, and as status symbols amongst macho men, mean there is little chance of this dog breed going extinct. They have a broad genetic stock and a lot of people breeding them, so they should continue to survive for a long time.

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2 Comments

    • Hello Justice, unfortunately i’m not familiar with any Bully Kutta breeders, so I can’t make any recommendations. I’d suggest doing a Google search or check breeder websites in your country. Hope that helps.

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