Man’s best friend has lived almost anywhere, but most of the breeds that are familiar to Americans probably hail from Europe. Today, we’ll look at some doggos from other lands — specifically, we’ll examine dog breeds that originated in India.
These beautiful, agile breeds have a rich history and plenty to offer prospective pooch parents. We’ll explain everything you need to know about them and contrast dog ownership in India versus the U.S. below.
Dog Breeds That Hail from the Indian Subcontinent
Here are a some of adorable dog breeds that originated in India. Note that a handful of these hounds have somewhat ambiguous origin stories, but India plays a significant role in the history of them all.
These medium-sized dogs weigh somewhere between 50 and 60 pounds and are sometimes referred to as the “Indian Doberman.” The Pandikona is fairly independent and is often tasked with protecting homes and property, as well as guarding livestock. So, while these pups are loyal and loving to their families, they’re often naturally suspicious of strangers.
Pandikona dogs have a fawn, black, or light brown coat and typically experience relatively few health issues. These pups are very energetic and need lots of room to roam and explore, so they will need plenty of walks (and a fenced backyard would be ideal). The Pandikona is fond of children he’s raised with and is fairly intelligent, though he does have an independent nature.
Kaikadi dogs weigh between 30 and 45 pounds and were first developed by the Kaikadi people — a formerly nomadic group, who now inhabit Maharashtra. These pups are amazing hunting dogs, and they are known for their ability to chase down rabbits and vermin. The Kaikadi is alert and athletic, and he has a white, tan, black, or brindle coat.
These pups are intelligent and easy to train, though they’re quite sensitive, needing plenty of positive reinforcement to feel supported throughout the process. Kaikadi dogs enjoy spending time with their families, but they don’t mind hanging out by themselves for a few hours on occasion. These vigilant pups make excellent watchdogs, as well as loyal, protective pets.
3. Indian Spitz
Looking for a small yet bold, buddy? The Indian spitz is a playful, small to medium-sized pooch weighing between 20 and 40 pounds. These fantastically fluffy dogs have a relatively long, white double coat, though they can tolerate heat surprisingly well. The Indian spitz is eager to please and happy to learn tricks as long as he earns a couple of treats for his efforts.
The Indian spitz may be somewhat small, but he certainly has a big personality. These dogs may take on the role of house protector, barking at whomever approaches the doorway. When relaxed, these pups are affectionate to their family members and generally get along well with kids and other dogs. This breed is adaptable and can do well in apartments and houses alike.
4. Mahratta Greyhound
This rare breed is somewhat unknown outside of its namesake native province of Maharashtra. Though these dogs are known for their intelligence they aren’t necessarily easy to train, as they have pretty independent spirits. The Mahratta greyhound enjoys spending time with their families and other dogs.
These playful, energetic pups need plenty of time to exercise and explore on a daily basis. Mahratta greyhounds are known for their ability to chase and hunt small prey, so they probably won’t mix well with cats or other small pets. These dogs weigh between 40 and 55 pounds and come in black, tan, or brown coat varieties.
5. Vanjari Hound
The Vanjari hound (who’s sometimes referred to as the Banjara hound) is a medium to large-sized dog weighing from 50 to 70 pounds. These pups are usually clad in black, brown, white, or cream fur, although some of them have beautiful brindle coats. Vanjari hounds are fiercely independent and known for their ability to hunt large animals like deer.
Because of their high prey drives, these pups don’t do well around other pets. Though these dogs are super smart, they can be difficult to train due to their independent natures. However, Vanjari hounds are incredibly loyal, so they can make excellent watchdogs for their families. These dogs do best with experienced owners who are able to provide strong, yet patient leadership and satisfy the breed’s considerable exercise needs.
This South Indian sighthound is also known as the maiden’s Beastmaster, and they weigh between 35 and 50 pounds. These pups are incredibly fast and were originally used to hunt and track down game. Kanni dogs are quite loyal and won’t hesitate to defend their families at a moment’s notice.
These dogs are intelligent though they may be somewhat difficult to train due to their free-spirited thinking. Kanni dogs are somewhat shy and will likely act aloof around strangers, so early socialization is paramount. In addition, Kanni dogs have intense exercise needs that should be fulfilled on a daily basis to keep these unique dogs feeling their best.
7. Gaddi Kutta
The Gaddi kutta or Gaddi dog is sometimes referred to as the Mahidant mastiff. These large dogs weigh between 70 and 100 pounds and have imposing, fluffy black and brown coats. Just understand that you’ll need to invest some serious time into grooming and cleaning these dogs, as their coats shed a ton. The Gaddi kutta can perform well in a variety of scenarios, although the breed is best known for being capable a livestock guardians or protection dogs.
These pups are prone to boredom, so you’ll need to provide them with plenty of room and ample exercise to stay healthy and happy. Gaddi kutta dogs are independent and self-reliant, though they’re super loyal to their families.
The intelligent Kombai was originally used to hunt boar and other large game, but nowadays, these pups are primarily tasked with guard dog duties. These dogs weigh between 60 and 80 pounds and generally have few health problems. Handsome doggos, Kombai dogs have short, tan coats with black muzzles.
Kombai dogs get along well with children and are fairly trainable, though they can be stubborn at times. Understand that these active dogs need plenty of exercise on a daily basis, but as long as their needs are met, these cute canines can make amazing companions.
9. Bakharwal Dog
The Bakharwal dog breed is an ancient livestock guardian dog that weighs between 85 and 130 pounds. These big buddies can have a variety of coat color possibilities including sable, fawn, white, and black. A true working dog breed, the Bakharwal takes his duties very seriously and serves as a courageous canine protector.
These dogs tend to do well with people of all ages though they can be territorial or aloof around other dogs. Bakharwal dogs are high energy canines who need lots of exercise and mental stimulation everyday. And although they are very loyal to their families, these pups are not the best choice for first time dog owners due to their sometimes stubborn nature.
10. Rampur Greyhound
These sleek, athletic, and dignified dogs are a bit heavier than you may think, and they typically weigh between 60 and 80 pounds. While these dogs are naturally shy, they bond closely with their families and do well with children due to their gentle nature.
The Rampur greyhound was originally bred to hunt smaller animals so they may not be the best pick for families with other pets in the house. These pups probably aren’t good dogs for apartment dwellers either, as they need plenty of exercise and room to run. Rampur greyhounds may be aloof around strangers and other dogs so you’ll want to pay special attention to socialization when they’re young. Overall, these sweet and speedy dogs make excellent companions.
11. Kumaon Mastiff
The Kumaon mastiff is also known as the Cypro Kukur and is thought to be one of the first guardian dogs in the hilly areas of Uttarakhand. Some of the biggest dog breeds around, these huge and hard-working pups weigh between 150 and 180 pounds and come in black, white, or brindle coat varieties. And like many other protective, working dogs, these mastiffs bond closely with their family members.
These four-footers make excellent guard dogs, but this means they can often be territorial around strangers or other animals. They’ll also need plenty of exercise to fulfill their needs on a daily basis, so they’re best paired with active and experienced dog owners. But the Kumaon mastiff makes a loyal, hardworking hound for the right home.
The Chippiparai is a slender sighthound weighing between 30 and 50 pounds. These dogs were historically kept by royalty and affluent owners in southern India, though they make excellent watchdogs for anyone who can meet their needs today. The Chippiparai comes in fawn, brown, black, and silver coat varieties.
These dogs are fiercely loyal and generally enjoy spending time with only a handful of family members. The Chippiparai also has a strong prey drive, so he will do best by himself, in a home without other pets. These dedicated dogs need plenty of exercise on a regular basis, and they should ideally have access to a large yard for zoomies and general playtime.
13. Mudhol Hound
These ancient dogs weigh between 50 and 80 pounds, and they have a long history as guarding and hunting dogs. These four-footers come in a variety of coat colors including sable, cream, red, fawn, brindle, and black. You’ll find that the Mudhol hound is very loyal to his family members, though he is aloof around strangers.
Mudhol hounds are gentle dogs that get along well with babies and children. And because of their sky-high energy levels, they also make amazing running companions. Just note that the Mudhol hound has a strong prey drive, so he’s another breed who may not work well in multi-pet households.
14. Rajapalayam Dog
The Rajapalayam dog is a ghostly guard dog with an all-white coat. These pups usually weigh 60 to 90 pounds and were originally bred as royal hunting and guard dogs. The Rajapalayam dog is very loyal to his owner, though he’s usually aloof and suspicious of strangers. These hunting hounds have a strong prey drive, so it’s best that they’re the only animal in the household.
The dignified Rajapalayam dog is pretty trainable due to his intelligence, though special care should be taken with the socialization process. These pups love to exercise and spend time with their families, so they do well in lively household environments.
The Most (In)Famous Dog in India: The Pariah Dog
One of the most well-known breeds in India is the pariah dog. The term “pariah dog” was originally used to describe any stray dog, but today, the term describes an Indian breed that evolved without any selective breeding efforts by humans.
This ancient breed usually weighs somewhere between 25 and 45 pounds, and they’re highly social, enjoying interactions with other dogs and people alike. When domesticated, these pups are known to develop tight bonds with their families and serve as competent companions and watchdogs.
The pariah dog needs to have plenty of exercise since these pups are used to constantly wandering around. Notably, these are incredibly healthy dogs who live very long lives and have a life expectancy of around 15 years. These intelligent dogs can be a challenge to train due to their free-spirited nature, though they are eager to please their owners in exchange for a treat or two.
How Does Dog Ownership in India Differ from the U.S.?
Note that the experience of being a pet owner varies depending on where you’re residing. Here are just a few ways dog ownership in India varies from that in the U.S.:
- Dog ownership is fairly high. India has the sixth highest dog population in the world according to Pet Secure, so Indian pups have plenty of company. As a comparison, the U.S. is thought to have the highest dog population, though experts disagree about some of the details.
- Pet regulations in India are rarely enforced which can cause issues. While India does have regulations surrounding dog waste disposal, vaccination, and spay/neuter laws, the specifics often vary from region to region and the lack of enforcement leads to problems.
- Rabies is more common. Due to the large number of stray dogs and confusion around pet regulations, rabies is quite common in India. This lethal disease can be devastating to both pets and their owners.
- Breeds from India are becoming increasingly rare. Sadly, many of the breeds discussed above are dying out due to the increased popularity of European breeds.
Most Common Dog Breeds in India
Outside of dogs that originated in India, you’ll likely find some of these familiar breeds throughout the country. However, keep in mind that it’s hard to know for sure whether this is truly an accurate representation since authoritative sources are few and far between.
Nevertheless, the following breeds appear particularly common in India. Perhaps not surprisingly, many of these breeds are also among the most popular pooches as recorded by the AKC.
- Labrador retriever
- German shepherd
- Golden retriever
- Tibertan mastiff
As long as their needs are met, any of these dog breeds are sure to make fine best buddies for you and your family. From the small Indian spitz to the brooding Gaddi kutta, you’re sure to find the perfect furry friend for your home.
Have you heard of any of these dog breeds from India? What’s your favorite breed from the list? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.