Breeds by Country Dog Breeds

21 Exotic Dog Breeds From India – The Complete Guide to All Indian Dogs

The dog breeds of india are both exotic and amazing dogs.
Written by Richard Jeng

The beautiful country of India is famous for many unique things, such as Bollywood, the Taj Mahal, butter chicken, delicious Indian curry and more. But did you know India is home to some of the most exotic and interesting Indian dog breeds?

For a population sitting well above 1 billion people, it’s no surprise India is full of fascinating dog breeds, both indigenous and foreign. As a matter of fact, the Asian country is home to over 30 million stray dogs!

So it’s no surprise that some of the world’s most unique and rare dog breeds originate from India. That being said, here are the 21 wonderful dog breeds of India that you’ve probably never heard of, but really should.

RECOMMENDED: Most Iconic Asian Dog Breeds

All Indian Dog Breeds

Most of the indigenous dog breeds in India are quickly heading towards extinction, due to a recent surge in demand for western dog breeds. This trend has led to the over-breeding of foreign dogs and under-breeding of Indian dogs.

Although people and organizations in India are trying to revive the near-extinct native dogs, they are still considered rare breeds today. Most Indian breeds will be difficult to find, even if you are in India.

21. Gull Terrier

Highlights: Cautious, Protective, Loyal

The Gull Terrier, also called the Gull Terr, is an ancient terrier-type first developed in the Punjab region of India and Pakistan. Their ancestors consist of the British Bull Terriers, as evident by the eerily similar physical qualities.

Their origins can be traced back to the British Raj era in India. Upon the arrival of the British, a group of foreign dogs were introduced into the country, including the Bull Terrier. Needless to say, the Bull Terrier skyrocketed in popularity.

From there, Bull Terriers were crossbred with native landrace breeds, thus developing the Gull Terriers that we know today. However, the Gull Terrier didn’t stop there. They were further bred with other native breeds to create more Indian dogs.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Gull Terriers were originally used for bull-baiting and dog fights, both of which, are blood sports introduced by the British.
  • The aggressiveness of the Gull Terrier has led them to be banned in many parts of Europe, in addition to the United States.
  • Believed to be an ancient Indian dog, the Gull Terrier origins can be traced back hundreds of years in India.

Gull Terrier Temperament

The Gull Terrier was primarily used as a guard dog. For this reason, they were often aloof with strangers, but also vigilant in nature. Their aggressive nature and prey drive made them excel at protecting owners and their properties.

In the home, Gull Terriers are fiercely loyal. In fact, it’s often said that they’re willing to give up their lives in order to protect their family. And while they may not be trusted with children, they will devote themselves to kids of the pack.

20. Gull Dong

Highlights: Loyal, Powerful, Strong-willed

The Gull Dong is a rare dog breed to originate from India, though some historians claim they first came from Pakistan. Throughout the years, this breed has gone by several names, such as the Indian Bulldog and the Bully Gull Terr.

These dogs were developed from crossbreeding the Gull Terrier with the native Bully Kutta. The bully side gave them a certain toughness that made them attractive fighting dogs in the past – just like with their ancestors.

Physically, the Gull Dongs are very similar to the Staffordshire Bull Terrier. They have the short snout and the small ears that are signature qualities seen in bulldog types. Plus, they will often sport a short and smooth coat as well.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Gull Dongs were so popular in New York City that they have been effectively banned by the New York Housing Authority.
  • It is believed that the Gull Dongs are the direct descendants of the Indian Bully Kutta and Gull Terrier.
  • Due to their aggressive personalities, Gull Dongs have been banned from the Cayman Islands – in addition to neighboring islands.

Gull Dong Temperament

The Gull Dong is not your typical Indian dog breed. In fact, they’re not suited for most families due to their dominant personalities. Without the proper training and socializing, they tend to develop aggressive tendencies despite their loyal nature.

As a result, novice trainers and owners are not recommended for this Indian bulldog. Training can also be difficult, considering their independent and strong-willed nature. And with their powerful frame, obedience is essential for co-existing.

19. Kumaon Mastiff

Highlights: Courageous, Proud, Protective

Also known as the Cypro Kukor, the Kumaon Mastiff is a fierce molosser-type dog breed originally from the Uttarakhand state in India. Sturdy and strong, they’re some of India’s most prized guardians of the home.

Their original purpose of the Kumaon Mastiff was to guard and protect livestock for the hill-side people of Kumaon. However, like so many Indian dog breeds, the Kumaon Mastiff is in danger of extinction.

These Mastiffs sport a short and soft coat, typically in brindle or various shades of brown. They can grow up to 28 inches tall (at the shoulder) and weigh well over 100 pounds. Plus, they have an eerie resemblance to the old Great Danes.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • It’s estimated that only a few hundred of these dogs still exist today.
  • There may be more of these dogs in Italy or Finland, where they were introduced to in the late 19th century.
  • Some researchers believe that they didn’t actually originate from India’s Kumaon region, but ended up settling there after migrating.

Kumaon Mastiff Temperament

As fierce and powerful as they were, the Kumaon Mastiffs were some of the best guard dogs to come out of India. They’re known to be aggressive dogs, which just means they’ll require a lot of obedience and socialization training.

Kumaon Mastiffs have great protective instincts. In fact, some say they’re a little over-protective, which explains why they were formidable guard dogs in the past. Unfortunately, there is not much information on these dogs in a family environment.

18. Sinhala Hound

Highlights: Energetic, Alert, Loyal

The Sinhala Hound is a dog breed that originated from Sri Lanka and several regions of India. The early history of these dogs are unknown, and the exact location of where they came from is still being debated today.

However, we do know Sinhalas very similar to the Indian Pariah Dog. As such, scientists have speculated that they may have been derived from India’s landrace breed. Still, there’s no evidence that proves this.

Though they may look like Indian Pariah Dogs, they actually have very different skillsets and temperaments. As a matter of fact, it’s believed that the Vedda people (a Sri Lankan indigenous group) used them for hunting.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • They were considered so special that Sinhala Hounds were popular wedding gifts among the Vedda people.
  • The Vedda people were hunters. Furthermore, these hounds were so important that they were viewed as important as the bow and arrow.
  • There’s a chance that these dogs originated from Indian Pariah Dogs. Though, no one is certain.

Sinhala Hound Temperament

Sinhala Hounds were fierce and feared huntings that needed a lot of energy to keep up on hunting trips with their indigenous tribes. They have the stamina and endurance that’s able to match similar hunting hounds.

But because they were hunting dogs, we speculate that they were faithful companion dogs with a strong work ethic. We doubt the Vedda people wouldn’t have bred them for hunting if they weren’t.

17. Mahratta Greyhound

Highlights: Courageous, Agile, Loyal

Mahratta Greyhounds are one of the rarest Indian dog breeds, even in their native country. In fact, it’s rare to see these dogs outside their native province of Maharashtra (western India), where most of them reside today.

They’re often compared to the smooth-coated Saluki dog. However, Mahratta Greyhounds are slightly smaller, standing around 21 inches tall. As with sighthounds, the Mahrattas are quite sturdy with a muscular frame and lean chest.

Though the coat is short, it’s enough to protect the dog against the rough elements of the Indian terrain. The legs are thin, but surprisingly powerful, giving them the speed and agility they need to chase down game. Needless to say, they were fantastic hunters.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The origins of these hounds are unknown. Some speculate they descended from Salukis, while others believe they’re descendants of local Indian sighthounds.
  • To this day, the Mahratta Greyhound is not recognized by any of the major kennel clubs.
  • These dogs are some of the oldest dogs from India. It’s estimated that they’re over 5,000 years old.

Mahratta Greyhound Temperament

Mahratta Greyhounds are brave and courageous dogs bred for hunting. Thanks to their superb eyesight, they’re able to spot wild game from a far distance. But unlike the other sighthounds, the Mahratta is used solely for hunting.

These dogs weren’t bred for companionship – not at all. For this reason, there is very little information on the temperaments of these hounds in a family setting. However, we do know they are faithful and loyal companions.

16. Vikhan Sheepdog

Highlights: Fearless, Intelligent, Loyal

The Vikhan Sheepdog is a breed that very few locals have ever heard of. They originated from the Himachal Pradesh region of northern India. Despite their origins, Vikhans can be found in bordering regions of Pakistan as well.

Like with most sheepdogs, the Vikhan was primarily bred to guard livestock. But it’s their fearless and courageous nature that makes them excellent leopard hunters. As such, the Vikhans had developed into versatile working and hunting dogs.

Unfortunately, we don’t have too much information of these dogs because they are, in fact, rare Indian dogs. No one knows how far away they are from extinction because few have even heard of them, let alone making efforts for preservation.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Vikhan Sheepdog is known for amazing speed and agility. They could run as fast as a leopard in full sprint.
  • Their name came from the ancient language “Vikh,” which is spoken in the area these dogs originated from.
  • They’ve been called “Giant Rough Collies” because of their lavish coats, which were used as wool substitutes in Pakistan.

Vikhan Sheepdog Temperament

These dogs are known for their fierce personalities. It’s why they’ve made such excellent hunting companions. Vikhans love to work and can withstand long hunting trips with their incredible stamina. In addition, they’re quick learners!

However, these sheepdogs can be very territorial and often times, possessive. For these reasons, they make top guard and watchdogs. But you’ll need to provide socialization and obedience training early on with the Vikhan.

15. Chippiparai

Highlights: Energetic, Affectionate, Dignified.

Living with a Chippiparai can be easy if you know what you're doing.

The Chippiparai dog is perhaps the most famous and popular dog breed to originate from India. They’re the dog breed most people imagine of when they think, “Indian dog.” Though, there are plenty of reasons why this is.

This dog was bred in Chippiparai (near Madurai district Tamil Nadu) to hunt small game, such as rabbit and pigs. And in some cases, they could take down deer. Once highly-prized dogs, their purpose suddenly vanished after the Indian government banned hunting.

From there, their roles shifted to racing dogs. However, they were companions in the most elite class of India. The Chippiparai is now seen as a symbol of royalty and dignity. For example, they’re what the Akita Inu is to the Japanese.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Chippiparai is also called the “Maiden’s Beastmaster” because they’re often gifted to newlywed brides as a ferocious guardian and companion.
  • Depending on their coat color, this dog is also referred to as “Kanni,” which means “pure” and describes their purity of heart and devotion.
  • These dogs were considered highly valuable and only kept by the elite class.

Chippiparai Temperament

These dogs are extremely easy animals to care for. Most owners claim that they need little veterinary care because they’re naturally strong and robust animals. This does not mean they don’t need their proper puppy vaccinations if domesticated.

The Chippiparai makes excellent hunting and watch dogs because they’re alert and full of energy, especially as young puppies. And although they get along with people, they hate isolation and demand a lot of attention and exercise.

READ MORE: Chippiparai – Indian Hunting Royalty

14. Rampur Greyhound

Highlights: Devoted, Protective, Loving.

The Rampur Hound is a dying breed of dog originating from the West Bengal area of India. Despite this, they’re some of the most iconic dogs native to the country. Currently, they can still be found in the northern regions of India.

There was a time when these dogs were popular, especially among the royal families in India. Historians say they were the dog of choice for the princes of India (or maharajas). However, their popularity have taken a significant hit today.

They had served many purposes in the past. For example, Rampurs were used for jackal control. It’s said a single Rampur was able to take down a jackal with no fear. They also helped hunt deadly large game, such as tigers, leopards, panthers and even lions.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • At one point, these dogs were the dog of choice among the Maharaja rulers of India.
  • The Rampur Greyhound has an astounding 270 degree field of vision.
  • A single Rampur can take down a golden jackal, which were a problem among villages in India.

Rampur Temperament

Rampurs are affectionate dogs with unwavering loyalty towards the owner. They simply love human companionship and are always eager to please. But full of energy, the Rampur Hound can be a little scary when playing with each other.

They have the habit of playing rough. As a result, these dogs will charge at each other with great speed and force. To the outsider, this may be disturbing. However, if you know these dogs, you’ll know it’s just how they play.

Despite their rough play, they generally play well with kids and have natural protective instincts. Typically, Rampurs do better as a one-person dog, but they can also thrive in a family environment as well.

READ MORE: Rampur Hound – Dog Breed Profile

13. Kombai (Combai)

Highlights: Intelligent, Courageous, Alert.

The Kombai is an Indian dog found in the Tamil Nadu region of India. They were bred for hunting boar, deer and bison. Because they’re a breed similar to the dogs from the terrier group, they’re aptly called the Indian Terrier.

This ancient dog breed can be traced back to the 15th century, though there is evidence that suggests they’ve been around as early as the 9th century. They were historically used by the military and played a big role in the Marudhu brothers’ revolt against the British.

Fortunately, breeders and kennel groups in India have made an effort to repopulate the country with this beloved breed. And, it’s working! Kombais are still popular in regions of South India and are commonly used as family or hunting dogs.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Maravar kings of India used to breed Kombai dogs as royal guard dogs.
  • A pack of Kombai dogs were fierce enough to take down a bear or lion, or at least die trying.
  • Some people believe that they were derived from various sighthounds, originating from Central Asia.

Kombai Temperament

Like with most terriers, the Kombai (Indian Terrier) is an extremely smart dog breed. They’re the gold standard for Indian guard dogs thanks to their aggressiveness and aloofness towards the unfamiliar.

But with family, they’re a completely different dog. Kombai dogs are as loyal as they come. For this reason, Kombai dogs were once used to guard people’s cattle from the devastating attacks of leopards and tigers.

The Kombai is an alert and vigilant dog. Even so, they have a laid-back nature which can make them seem lazy at times. Because of their good-nature temperaments, the Kombai makes a great family dog, even for those with kids.

READ MORE: Kombai – Bull Terriers of Tamil Nadu

12. Tangkhul Hui

Highlights: Free-spirited, Loyal, Alert.

The Tangkhul hui is a powerful dog breed from India.

The Tangkhul Hui, sometimes referred to as the Awang Huijao, was bred as a hunting dog capable of taking down vicious boar and other animals in the lush jungles of India. Though, they’re mainly found in the Manipur state, within the Urkhul district.

These dogs are an extremely rare dog breed, but can still be found in their original region. Historians speculate that the Tangkhul Hui descended from Myanmar dogs centuries ago. However, Indian mythology says they evolved from Asiatic black bears.

The eerie resemblance of the muzzles between the two animals is probably responsible for this Indian folklore. While the Tangkhul Hui is an endangered species, several villages in the Urkhul district are joining forces to repopulate this breed.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • In terms of physical appearance, the Tangkhul Hui is said to vary a lot due to constant cross-breeding with western dog breeds.
  • Local legend says these dogs were bred from the native black bears of Asian countries.
  • Some historians believe they are “ancient dogs,” with a lineage of hundreds of years. However, poorly kept records of these dogs have not been able to confirm this.

Tangkhul Hui Temperament

The Tangkhul Hui is a very quick learner with exceptionally high obedience and working intelligence. What’s more, they’re free-spirited dogs with an easy-going personality. They are people-oriented dogs, always greeting family and friends.

However, with strangers, they can be aloof and cautious. Tangkhul Huis are also obedient to their handlers, which is crucial for guard dogs. Consequently, they’re some of the best guard dogs that India has to offer.

READ MORE: Tangkhul Hui – Hunter on the Brink

11. Bakharwal Dog

Highlights: Courageous, Independent, Alert.

These massive dogs of India have many other nicknames: the Kashmir Sheepdog, Kashmir Mastiff, Gujjar Watchdog and more. But, we’ll just call them Bakharwal Dogs. These dogs are no joke. They’re muscular dogs with heft and maneuverability.

The Barkharwal is a working dog, developed by the Bakarwal and Gujjar tribes situated in the Jammu and Kashmir state. While their main purpose was to guard and protect livestock, they’re actually very versatile dogs.

Indian folklore suggests the ancient Barkharwal descended from a cross between a wolf and a Molosser sheepdog hundreds of years ago. But unfortunately, the Bakharwal dog is currently on the brink of extinction today.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Some locals believe that the Bakharwal dogs have been crossbred with wild wolves in India.
  • The Bakharwal dogs were used as guardians by nomadic tribes traveling in the Himalayan region.
  • A Bakharwal can only produce 1 to 3 puppies per year, which is a big reason why they’re on the brink of extinction.

Bakharwal Temperament

Being bred in the Himalayan region, these dogs have a fluffy coat and are well adapted to harsh cool climates. Bakharwals are all about loyalty to their family. However, they don’t usually play well with other pets.

These dogs do much better as a guardian in a single-dog home. They’re energetic, alert, brave and independent. All of which, are the perfect temperament qualities that make an outstanding guard dog.

The worst thing you can do for your Bakharwal is to keep them confined in a small space. After all, they are active working dogs used to intense physical activities. A large backyard is recommended so they have the freedom to roam.

READ MORE: Bakharwal Dog – Fierce and Fluffy

10. Jonangi

Highlights: Spunky, Vigilant, Loyal.

The Jonangi dog is a medium sized dog breed indigenous to India.

The Jonangi dog is a hypoallergenic dog breed found in the Andhra Predesh state of India. And unlike the other Indian dogs, they were bred to herd ducks for local farmers in addition to hunting game. Interesting combination, isn’t it?

However, the popularity of the Jonangi didn’t last. Eventually, farmers around Kolleru Lake began to slowly move away from ducks to other, more profitable aquatic animals. Because of this, the once in-demand Jonangi was no longer needed.

They were abandoned by farmers, left to fend for themselves in the wild. The sad reality is that these dogs had to develop effective fishing techniques in order to survive. Eventually, they became pest to the local fish farmers, which led to a killing-spree.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Jonangi dog doesn’t bark, they yodel instead.
  • These dogs love to dig holes and often prefer sleeping in a hole instead of their dog bed.
  • In the past, the Jonangi’s specialty was in herding ducks and other various birds.

Jonangi Temperament

Jonangi dogs tend to develop strong bonds with their handler. They’re best as a one-man or one-family dog and don’t usually don’t get along with other dogs unless socialized early on. Even then, it may be a difficult task.

These dogs are quick and agile, capable of easily chasing down game once they get into their sprint with long strides. Being duck herding dogs, they’re highly capable swimmers that love to get a workout.

Oddly enough, Jonangi dogs have the quirky habit of digging large ditches. It’s not like they hide bones there. Rather, it’s a way to release pent-up energy. So when they’re not working, expect to find them relaxing in a ditch.

READ MORE: Jonangi – Indian Duck Herder

9. Pandikona

Highlights: Confident, Loyal, Protective.

The Pandikona is hunting dog breed originating from India.

The Pandikona dog is aptly named after the location they originate from – Pandikona, near Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh. Pandikonas were bred to be hunting dogs that thrived in harsh heat, where temperatures reach over 110 degrees!

They hunt small game such as boar, rabbit and hare. However, they’re infamous for killing pesty snakes, rodents and other vermin around the village. Thanks to this habit, villages are more than happy to keep them around.

Because of their strong territorial instincts, the Pandikona is often used as guard dogs if domesticated. They protect property, livestock and guard entire villages. If you stumble on a Pandikona, he’ll likely give you brief warnings before swiftly attacking.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Packs of Pandikona dogs will form a hierarchical system with highly intelligent communication.
  • The Pandikona dog is still considered a “primitive dog breed.” In other words, they developed their characteristics without any help from humans.
  • They were nicknamed the “Indian Doberman” by the British when they occupied India in the 1800’s.

Pandikona Temperament

This dog breed has all the qualities that make up a superb hunting dog. Confident, bold with territorial instincts, Pandikonas will show these qualities even as puppies. They’re loyal to their family and will play nice with kids of the family.

The biggest concern may be their territorial instincts, as they tend to fight other dogs and animals that get close by. Pandikonas are better off in an environment where there is only one dog. And, don’t even think about bringing home a cat.

READ MORE: Pandikona – The Indian Doberman 

8. Rajapalayam

Highlights: Affectionate, Loyal, Fearless.

Sometimes referred to as the Poligar Hound, the Rajapalayam is a sight hound originating from the southern region of India. These Indian dogs were developed by the Chola dynasty as multi-purpose working and guard dogs.

In the past, Rajapalayam dogs were companion dogs for only the royalty and aristocrats of the Rajapalayam town in Tamil Nadu. Needless to say, this breed is an icon in India, having been featured on postage stamps issued by the India Post.

In addition, Rajapalayams were bred as war dogs during the Carnatic Wars and Polygar War against the British soldiers. However, the Rajapalayam are still being used by the Indian army – often situated on the borders of Kashmir.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Local folklore claims that 4 Rajapalayam dogs once killed a tiger defending their master.
  • Some researchers believe that the Dalmatian dog breed may have descended from the Rajapalayam.
  • In the mid-2000’s, the Indian Post started printing the Rajapalayam dogs on stamps. The purpose was to raise awareness of this prized Indian dog breed.

Rajapalayam Temperament

Rajapalayam dogs are affectionate and highly devoted to their owners. That said, they operate better as a single-owner dogs and unlike many breeds, don’t enjoy being pet or handled by unfamiliar people.

They dislike it so much that they tend to show aggressive and hostile tendencies toward strangers. In other words, don’t try to touch one without getting to know him first!

This means that its highly important to socialize a Rajapalayam early on – with both human and other dogs. Naturally, Rajapalayams don’t get along with cats and their prey instincts could make them hunt the small feline.

READ MORE: Rajapalayam – Rare Aristocratic Indian Dog

7. Taji (Tazi)

Highlights: Playful, Alert, Brave.

Taji or Tazi dog breed is nearly extinct in India.

The Taji, also referred to as the Tazi, is a dog breed originating from India. They were bred to be hunting dogs capable of taking down fox, gazelle, wildcat and marmot. With so few dogs left, there isn’t much information regarding the Taji.

However, we know they are near-extinct and it’s extremely difficult to find a purebred Taji anywhere in India. The closest resembling breed is the Russian Taji (tazi) dog. However, the Russian counterpart tend to be bigger with more fur on the coat.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • It is extremely difficult to find a pure Taji in India. They’re believed to go extinct very soon.
  • Most of the living Taji dogs are now found in Russia, despite originating from India.
  • These dogs are skilled hunters capable of taking down animals as big as antelopes.

Taji Temperament

According to the few known owners, Taji dogs are usually very playful with high energy. There’s few things they enjoy more than running with their owners. Taji dogs are alert and confident, which is why they excelled in hunting.

Because of their love for the family, the Taji is naturally a very loyal dog. Despite hunting instincts, they’re very eager to please if a strong bond is developed. But outside of these few details, not much is known about the Taji.

6. Kaikadi

Highlights: Lively, Diligent, Independent.

The Kaikadi dog is an excellent Indian dog that requires very little care.

The Kaikadi dog is from the terrier dog group and were named after the Kaikadi tribe in Maharashtra, India. Originally bred as herding dogs, they’ve been used as hunting dogs as well. Kaikadi dogs hunt mainly hare, fox, rodent and other vermin.

They’re known for their distinct features, such as thin long legs and a tapering long tail. What’s more, head is long and thin, while the ears are long and pointy. Because of the short hair, the Kaikadi dog breed requires very little grooming and maintenance.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Despite their looks, these dogs are believed (by many researchers) to be from the Terrier Group.
  • The Kaikadi dogs lived nomadic lives, often traveling with tribes and watching over herds.
  • These dogs usually come in black, tan or black coats. Sometimes, they’ll have a combination of colors.

Kaikadi Temperament

The Kaikadi is a terrier, meaning they are generally energetic and lively. Like the other terriers, the Kaikadi is bold and courageous. However, they aren’t suitable for an urban environment, but rather in large open spaces, like farms.

They make excellent companion dogs but usually don’t play well with other dogs. It’s still possible to keep them civil, but socializing of the Kaikadi will be crucial as a puppy. If you have the energy to match a Kaikadi, then they will be great dogs.

5. Indian Pariah Dog

Highlights: Vigilant, Sociable, Protective.

The Indian Pariah Dog (or Indian Native Dog) is the aboriginal landrace breed of India. In a country home to millions of stray dogs, a high percentage of them are at least mixed with the Indian Pariah Dog.

Consequently, this dog has numerous names from all around India. Depending on the region, they could be called the Pye-dog, Naadan, Theru naai, Neri Kukur, Desi Kutta and many more. This just shows you how prevalent they’ve become in India.

And despite their names, the Indian Pariah Dog is not only found in India, but also in some regions of Bangladesh. Some have even found them in parts of South Asia. As such, the breed is only recognized by the Kennel Club of India and PADS (in the USA).

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Some scholars and historians believe that the Indian Pariah dog lived in India before humans came 60,000 years ago.
  • The “pariah” stems from Tamil, where “parai” means a drum, which refers to “hereditary drummer.”
  • The Indian Pariah Dogs are genetic ancestors of nearly all Indian dog breeds.

Indian Pariah Temperament

As ironic as it may seem, this pariah dog is actually highly sociable. If brought into a good home, they’ll love their family and are often very protective over them. This quality has made them top-tier watchdogs for many Indian families.

Though with strangers, it’s a different story. They’re scrappy dogs and will do everything in their power to protect the pack. With that said, socialization early on is very important for this dog. But if you’re adopting, raising them with other pets will be hard.

Despite common perception, they’re highly intelligent dog breeds and very easy to train. It’s worth noting that Indian Pariah Dogs can get bored easily, especially with repetitive games, such as fetch. They’ll need plenty of mental stimulation to be happy.

READ MORE: Indian Pariah – India’s Most Ancient

4. Mudhol Hound

Highlights: Elegant, Courageous, Loyal.

The Mudhol Hound is a sight hound breed originating from India. They’re also commonly referred to as the Caravan Hound. And unlike the many other Indian dog breeds, Mudhol Hounds are thriving in the country.

These medium to large dogs serve as guard or hunting dogs, and have been doing so for many centuries. In the villages of Deccan Plateu, they’re actually considered common pets for families! Furthermore, some Mudhols work in India’s military service.

The origins of these dogs are murky, but it’s believed they came with settlers from Asia. Since then, they’ve become India’s very own. Did I mention the Mudhol is featured on a postage stamp issued by the India Post?

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Also called Caravan Hounds, the Mudhol got their nickname from the British, who frequently saw them with caravans in Karnataka.
  • These dogs nearly went extinct in the last century. However, the efforts of a single man saved them in the early 20th century.
  • Mudhol Hounds are currently being used by the Indian army for surveillance and border protection.

Mudhol Temperament

They are durable dogs capable of working in even the most severe conditions, which may explain their popularity. Even on the field, they’re viewed as elegant and graceful dogs. At the same time, they’ll be courageous with the task at hand.

The Mudhol is one of the most fierce hunting dogs to come out of India. Not only do they have great speed, but they have amazing physical strength. Their stamina allows them to chase down game over long stretches of land.

Mudhol hounds are not the most friendly dogs. While they’re fairly tolerant of dogs and kids from the family, that’s not the case with others. They’re very aloof towards strangers and usually don’t like to be touched by them.

In addition, Mudhol Hounds are known for high prey-drive. If you don’t socialize them as puppies, they’ll be a big problem for cats and smaller animals. But as long as you treat your Mudhol with kindness and respect, they will show immense loyalty.

READ MORE: Mudhol Hounds – Ancient Caravan Dogs

3. Bully Kutta

Highlights: Fearless, Confident, Protective.

The Bully Kutta is the most ferocious Indian dog breed.

The Bully Kutta is also known as the Indian Mastiff, or the “Beast of the East.” Originating from the Sindh region between Pakistan and India, the Bully Kutta is not your typical dog for a loving family. They’re called “beasts” for a reason.

Not only are they used for hunting and guarding, but unfortunately, also fighting. In areas of Pakistan and Punjab, India, these dogs are still subject to illegal dog fights. But with the Bully Kutta reaching well over 100 pounds and standing 3 feet tall, it’s easy to see why.

This Indian dog breed is still very popular in Punjab and is by no means facing extinction like the others. Ironically, the Bully Kutta’s prominence in illegal dog fighting has actually kept the breed alive. However, we don’t know how long this will last.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • Akbar, the great Mughal emperor, used to keep Bully Kuttas for both protection and hunting.
  • Illegal underground dog fights have played a big part in keeping the Bully Kutta from extinction.
  • They got their name from the word “Bholi” (bully), which means “heavily wrinkled” and describes their face / body.

Bully Kutta Temperament

These dogs aren’t all brawn, they have the brains too. But while they’re highly intelligent, it’s no surprise they’re very aggressive too. After all, they’re popular fighting dogs for a reason. That said, they aren’t ideal dogs for families and children.

Response and alert, Bully Kuttas are ideal guard dogs if you can control them. Despite their reputation as dangerous dogs, there is evidence that suggest they’ll thrive in a loving family. In a 2009 study, they scored better than Beagles on a temperament test!

Because of their dominating personalities, Bully Kuttas must be handled by experienced dog owners or trainers. We also don’t recommend them for households with smaller dogs. There are cases where they’ve mauled and mutilated other smaller dogs.

Their physique is something to marvel at. However, they do require constant physical work and exercise to maintain a healthy dog. Make sure you walk them regularly, including the occasional high-intensity workouts. Otherwise, they’ll develop behavioral issues.

READ MORE: Bully Kutta – Beast of the East

2. Gaddi Kutta

Highlights: Intelligent, Devoted, Calm.

The Gaddi Kutta is a dog breed originating from the northern region of India.

The Gaddi Kutta is a mountain dog originating from the northern region of India. They’re found in states bordering the Himalayas region, such as Himachal and Pradesh. As such, the Gaddi Kutta is a mastiff-type that most resembles the Tibetan Mastiff.

The Gaddi has many other names including, the Indian Panther Hound and the Mahidant Mastiff. Both of which, are equally fierce-sounding names. But what makes them special dogs is their number of skills used for various jobs.

Gaddi Kuttas hunt game, herd sheep (and goats) and guard livestock from some of the most dangerous predators, such as snow leopards. They’re essentially the multi-purpose mastiff dogs for the Gaddis tribe of India.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Gaddi Kuttas are natural sheep and goat herders, requiring little to no instructions and/or training.
  • They get their nickname “Indian Panther Hound” because of their ability to take down a single snow leopard.
  • The Dingo dogs (Australian dog breed) share a genetic inheritance with the Gaddi, however, we don’t know exactly how.

Gaddi Kutta Temperament

Gaddi Kuttas are highly intelligent dogs with a natural instinct to protect its territory. Their instinctive intelligence is off the charts, being able to herd stray livestock back to their pens with little human training.

Because of their territorial tendencies, Gaddi Kuttas are often aggressive with strangers on its property. It’s what makes them formidable guard and watchdogs! But in order to raise a Gaddi, much obedience training is needed.

These large dogs, however, aren’t the easiest to train. They can be stubborn and equally independent-minded dogs. If they don’t respect you as the alpha dog, they’ll claim the title, thus, leading to all sorts of behavioral problems.

Despite all this, they’re rather calm dogs when things are normal at home. Plus, they will show loyalty and affection if properly trained. But only through successful obedience and socialization do they make great family companions.

REA MORE: Gaddi Kutta – The Himalayan Sheepdog

1. Indian Spitz

Highlights: Affectionate, Playful, Energetic.

From the spitz group, the Indian Spitz is like the Indian cousin of the Pomeranian. They’re so similar that many people erroneously call them Pomeranians. And just like the Poms, the Indian Spitz are some of India’s most beloved.

Before India started to import foreign breeds, the Indian Spitz was the most popular Indian dog breed. In fact, they were household names back in the 1980’s into the 90s. And while they’re still around, they’ve lost a lot of love.

Indian breeders originally wanted to introduce a Spitz breed that could withstand the harsh climate conditions and terrain of India. So, they derived this breed from the German Spitz through many years of breeding.

In the end, they got a dog that looked similar to the cross between a Pomeranian, German Spitz and Samoyed. And for a while, they received all the glamour of mainstream media, making it all the way to Bollywood.

INTERESTING FACTS
  • The Indian Spitz is considered by many to be the most intelligent Indian dog breed because they’re very easy to train.
  • These dogs became massively popular in India because of a restrictive import regulation imposed by the government in the 1980’s to 90’s.
  • There are two variations of the Indian Spitz: a larger and a smaller version.

Indian Spitz Temperament

The Indian Spitz is a versatile dog breed that can adapt to various environments. It’s this very reason that they were developed. Whether they’re in an urban setting or on a large farm, they’ll be happy and thrive.

The Indian Spitz can live off a diet consisting of many different kinds of foods, such as milk, chicken, rice, yogurt and more. In other words, it’s not hard raising one which may explain their rise in popularity.

Overall, the Indian Spitz is an active dog breed with a ton of energy, much like the other spitz-type dogs. Being people-oriented, they’re friendly around all humans and love being the center of attention.

The Indian Spitz will make great companions for almost every type of owner, including small children or seniors. And although they do have a cheerful personality, they’ll need proper grooming to deal with their double coats.

READ MORE: Indian Spitz – India’s Favorite Companion

Why Indian Dogs are Going Extinct

The main reason why Indian dog breeds are going extinct is because of the competition of western dog breeds.

If you haven’t realized already: nearly half of all dog breeds from India have gone extinct. In addition, many others are seriously endangered. In a country with tens of millions of dogs, it may seem unusual. So, why are Indian dog breeds going extinct?

This rapid decline in native Indian dog breeds is caused by a culture that has never fully embraced domestic breeds. Meanwhile, accepting foreign breeds with open arms. Through many years, the popularity of Indian dogs have severely declines.

An article by Quartz titled ‘The Indian dogs that are dying out because everyone wants a Labrador‘ explains just how bad this problem is. In the past few decades, people of India have fallen in love with western dog breeds for various reasons.

Plus, the fact that they continue to shun indigenous dog breeds doesn’t help. When foreign dog breeds arrived, there was a ton of cross-breeding. In addition, the government had no interest in preserving pure-bred indigenous dogs.

To make matters even worse, Indian rulers with pet dogs actually preferred the foreign breeds. The only attempt at preservation came from British dog enthusiasts. And although many groups in India are working to repopulate these dogs, it’s simply too late for many.

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About the author

Richard Jeng

Richard has been raising dogs his whole life, including a Poodle, Pomeranian, Corgi and Australian Shepherd. He's always working with animal shelters and dog rescues because of his passion for all dogs. Fun fact: his all time favorite breed is the German Shepherd. Read More.

16 Comments

  • Those Indian pariah dogs were EVERYWHERE the last time I went back to India a few years back. Even in the most urban environments, you see those stray dogs running on and about left and right. To be honest its kind of amazing how they’ve adapted to living conditions where traffic is so messy. They surprisingly dodge cars very well when crossing streets. Smarter than I thought.

  • What interesting dogs from India. I’ve never heard or seen ANY of these dogs. I wonder how many of them have made it to the west?

    • Hi Sarah, unfortunately few Indian dogs have made it to the west. Even if someone wanted one, they’re still relatively difficult to obtain.

      • Actually I’m sitting here in a suburb of Washington DC looking at my Desi dog who was a rescue who made it to the west. There is a rescue who brings many of these dogs to this area to be adopted. I was ignorant to India’s plight with stray dogs until we found ourselves looking for another rescue to bring home and love. These dogs are indeed wild but well worth the patience and love. We are over the moon in love with our dog. He is a great guard dog and companion. He is smart and funny and we prefer his company to most people. He looks like a greyhound and needs space to run but he is also the first to head to bed because he loooves to sleep. Amazing really. I am so glad we adopted him. I’m excited that these dogs are getting rescued.

  • A really accurate and well written article my friend, much love from India. However, just wanted to point out that you got the picture of the Rajapalyam dog wrong, that’s just a white Bully Kutta. They are magnificent dogs in terms of their beauty, wish the international readers could have seen a real picture of them!

    • Thanks for pointing that out, Pritam. I really wish to travel to India someday to see all the amazing Indian dog breeds for myself.

  • Good Article. As an Indian i am familiar with most of the breeds mentioned. There are still some more breeds which have been missed out like the Mandai dog from Ramanathapuram.

  • For your image of a ‘Rajapalayam’ there, you accidentally put an image of a white boxer. You’ve accidentally put an image of a Tibetan Mastiff instead of a Gaddi Kutta. Please take a look at those again! Thanks.

    • The Rajapalayam from South India is a sight hound, white with a pink nose. The picture under the title is of a Rajapalayam. I have seen a few in my time in Chennai and also owned a Chippiparai.

  • Unfortunately, many Western dog breeds don’t do as well in India. I’ve seen Siberian Huskies raised here, in the warm environment. Indian breeds evolved for our climate and foreign breeds struggle to adapt….

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