The Indian dog is one of the least respected and valued breed of dogs which is ironical considering it is acknowledged as one of the most intelligent breeds in the world and also one of the sturdiest based on its great immune system. Compared to Pedigrees a majority of who are being bred in puppy mills which means in-breeding, lack of hygiene and good care which in turn is creating all kinds of health problems in these dogs, the Indian dog has a strong immune system and best of all each dog has his/her own unique look (perhaps you’ve noticed how all Labradors do look the same!!). They are also a joy to handle because they are so bright and easy to train.


Indian dogs (Pariahs) existed way before the arrival of Pedigrees. Some scholars think that Pariahs may represent an evolutionary transition between the wolf and modern dog breeds. In terms of survival skills and adaptability they are considered far superior to artificially bred breeds who come with a host (increasing) of genetic problems. The Pariah is typically medium sized, 12 to 25kg in weight and 18 to 25 inches height. They are not pre-disposed to any particular health problems and given proper care and food they keep their visits to the vet limited. Interestingly they hardly have any body odour and need very little grooming.


The word Pariah is derived from the Tamil word paraiyar which was originally used to refer to the lowest level in the Indian caste system. In English it is used to mean “social outcast”. When we use the term Pariah what we mean is Ancient/Primal/Pure.


In the cities and towns what you typically see is the Mixed Breed dog who is part Pariah and part Pedigree. The true Pariah is found largely in rural India where the pedigree dog does not exist and this original breed has as a result survived and proliferated.


However in some rural areas and definitely in urban areas all strains of pariah dogs are at risk of losing their genetic uniqueness by interbreeding with purebred and mixed-breed strays. To insure against this, some strains of pariah dogs in the world are being formally recognized and registered as pedigreed breeds as their admirers try to preserve their lineage.


Mixed Breeds and Pariahs are very adaptable, highly intelligent having had to survive in harsh circumstances and therefore highly trainable. However because they are so intelligent they tend to get bored easily and repetitive games like ‘fetch’ etc make them quite literally yawn!. They are friendly, loyal, devoted to their families, have strong immune systems and their high territorial instincts make them excellent watch dogs. We have personally seen Pariahs who have lived to be nearly 20 years (140 human years) and know several mixed breeds who are well over 14 years and are still healthy and active. If well looked after and given regular and vigorous exercise (long walks at least twice a day) have a longer life expectancy than pedigrees.


The biggest threat to the Mixed Breed/Pariah is of course human beings who poison and persecute them, urbanization which is intolerant of them per se and lastly the Pariah is losing his/her pure and distinct genealogy due to mating with pedigrees. Historically this dog is extremely important and most suited to our climate, our environment and our needs but the great obsession with all things foreign and “pedigrees” has tended to make Indians look down upon these wonderful dogs. Proud to be Indian but not necessarily proud to keep Indian. A sad statement on how we undervalue our indigenous, ancient, natural and extremely precious breed.


People are however also becoming aware of how wonderful our indigenous dogs are and there is a growing trend to keeping them as pets in homes and valuing them on the streets as well. We hope that you will also join in our campaign to value, respect, love and adopt the Indian dog and become part of the growing family of people who are truly proud to be Indian.