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The Indian pariah dog, also known as the Indian native dog and Desi Dog,[3][6] is a landrace of dog native to the Indian subcontinent.[5]

Indian dog
Dog 00154.JPG
Indian dog photographed in Howrah, India (2004)
Common nicknamesSouth Asian pariah dog[1]
Desi dog[3]
Desi Kutta[3]
OriginIndian subcontinent[5]
Breed statusNot recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
Weight Male 20–30 kg (44–66 lb)
Female 15–25 kg (33–55 lb)
Height Male 20–25 in (51–64 cm)
Female 18–23 in (46–58 cm)
Coat Short
Life span 10-13 years
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

Dating back to the Neolithic Era, the Indian pariah dog was one of the first dogs to be domesticated by humans.[4] It is easily trainable and often used as a guard dog and police dog.[7][8]

Indian pariah dogs are an example of the pariah-type dogs, an ancient group of dogs that evolved through natural selection. They have erect ears, a wedge-shaped head, and a curved tail.

Though most street dogs in the Indian subcontinent are in fact Indian pye-dogs, the names for this breed are often erroneously used to refer to all urban South Asian stray dogs despite the fact that some free-ranging dogs in the Indian subcontinent do not match the "pariah type" and may not be pure indigenous dogs but mixed breeds,[2][9] especially around locations where European colonists historically settled in India, due to admixtures with European dog breeds.[10][11]



A pet Indian pariah dog in the Western Ghats region of the Indian subcontinent.

The namesake of this breed was given during the British Raj in India after the Pariah tribe of the Madras Presidency.[12] From the Anglo-Indian word pye or paë and Hindi pāhī meaning 'outsider', the Indian pariah dog is sometimes referred to as the pye-dog (also spelt pie or pi) and the Indian native dog.[13] It is popularly known as Desi Kutta or Desi Dog (which derives from the Hindi-Urdu word Desi, meaning native), as well as the Indi-dog or In-dog (in various spellings).[3]

People in Northern India and Pakistan refer it as "desi kutta" (देसी कुत्ता, دیسی کتا) which means native dog in Hindustani.

In Bengali they are named as "Neri Kukur" (নেড়ি কুকুর). In Himachali, they are named as "luru". In Assamese language these native dogs are termed as bhotua (ভতুৱা কুকুৰ) kukur.

This breed is known as "naadan"(നാടൻ) in Malayalam (Kerala) and "naatu naai" (country dogs) in Tamil (Tamil Nadu).

This breed is known as "Bhusya Kukkur"(भूसीया कुकुर) in Nepal.

It was referred in the works of Rudyard Kipling as the "yellow pariah dog".[14]


Indian pye-dogs have been used as guard dogs for centuries.

The pariah dog of India is an ancient autochthonous landrace that is found all over India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and even beyond South Asia.[5][15] Archaeological evidence dates the Indian pye-dog to 15000 BC, with the breed being developed through natural selection rather than through selective breeding.[16] A Indian pariah dog skull was discovered in the ancient Indian site of Mohenjo-daro and prehistoric rock art depicting this breed has been found in the Bhimbetka rock shelters.[3] It was featured on National Geographic Channel's film, Search for the First Dog along with the other related ancient types such as the Canaan Dog of Israel and the Australian dingo.[3]

The Indian pye-dog was introduced to the Andaman Islands with the establishment of a penal colony there, dogs having been previously unknown to the native Andamanese.[17]

Despite the Indian pariah dog being highly intelligent and easily trainable, the breed was intentionally downplayed during the British Raj by merchants who wished to sell their foreign breeds within the country.[18] Their popularity in the West in recent years, however, has resulted in hundreds of dogs being exported out of the Indian subcontinent.[19]

A breed standard exists with the Indian Kennel Club,[6] and the dog has been recognized by the Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Society (PADS), a worldwide grouping of enthusiasts based in the USA.[4]


Female Indian pariah dog with her puppy.

Pariah dogs are very alert and social.[4] They are used as guard dogs and police dogs, being very territorial and defensive.[8][7] They need good socializing as pups and do well with families and children if provided with such socialization.[19] They are highly intelligent and easily trainable; to this end, veterinarian Premlata Choudhary stated that "desi dogs are much more intelligent and hardy than most pedigreed dogs that people spend so much money on."[19]


Being a naturally evolved breed, they have very few health concerns and thrive with minimal "maintenance" in suitable climates.[8] The skin needs very little grooming and the dogs themselves are relatively clean.[8] They have little body odour.[8][3] Genetic health ailments like hip dysplasia are extremely rare, since there is no inbreeding and the dominant genes that aid their survival are naturally selected over time.[8] Most of their deaths occur due to accidents on the roads and railway tracks, tumors in the body or being beaten up by humans.


It is a medium-sized dog of square to slightly rectangular build and short coat. The dog has a double coat, a coarse upper coat, and a soft undercoat. The most commonly observed colours are browns, ranging from dark to reddish-brown, with or without white markings. Solid blacks are rare, but some dogs are pied. Shaded coats, brindles, solid white and dalmatian-type spotting are never seen in pure populations. These may be a sign of mixing with modern breeds, as they are only seen in dogs in cities and other sites where non-native dogs have been introduced.[20]

The head is medium-sized and wedge-shaped. The muzzle is pointed and is of equal or slightly greater length than the head. The neck is noble and the forequarters are erect. Hindquarters are minimally angled. The trot is short. The eyes are almond-shaped and dark brown in colour. The ears are held erect and are pointed at the tips, with a broad base, set low on the head, and the tail is curled and held high when excited.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ van Asch, B.; Zhang, A.-b.; Oskarsson, M. C. R.; Klutsch, C. F. C.; Amorim, A.; Savolainen, P. (10 July 2013). "Pre-Columbian origins of Native American dog breeds, with only limited replacement by European dogs, confirmed by mtDNA analysis". Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. 280 (1766): 20131142–20131142. doi:10.1098/rspb.2013.1142.
  2. ^ a b Vellampalli, Jaya (13 January 2018). "Why the Indian Pariah is a perfect pet". Telangana Today. Retrieved 12 April 2019. Indian Pariah dog also known as the Pye Dog is a perfect pet. There is always some confusion when it comes to this specific dog breed. Most of us assume every street dog to be Pariah. But not all of them belong to this breed. Many strays are mixed breeds, often referred to as mongrels, and cannot be considered pure Pariah dogs.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Choudhury-Mahajan, Lina (12 July 2011). "Paws for thought". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  4. ^ a b c d "INDog, The Indian Pariah Dog Project". October 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Vellampalli, Jaya (13 January 2018). "Why the Indian Pariah is a perfect pet". Telangana Today.
  6. ^ a b "Article on the Indian Native Dog in the Kennel Gazette, Kennel Club of India, July 2015 – INDog Project".
  7. ^ a b Mukherjee Pandey, Jhimli (5 March 2019). "Rescued pup trains her way into elite dog squad". Times of India. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Vellampalli, Jaya (13 January 2018). "Why the Indian Pariah is a perfect pet". Telangana Today. Retrieved 12 April 2019. They are commonly seen in India, Bangladesh and Pakistan. They adjust well in tropical climates as there is a mix of both winters and summers. But, even extreme weather conditions do not affect them in any way. This breed of dog sheds little fur. As they have short coat, the need for regular brushing and combing is less. They don’t even need regular bath as they do not have an unpleasant body odour. ... They are very devoted to their family/owners. In rural areas, these dogs are seen guarding farm animals. ... These dogs are free from all genetic health problems as they are a natural breed.
  9. ^ "Opening doors to what we call pariah". The Telegraph. 27 November 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2019. A pariah is a desi dog, while a stray is an ownerless dog and a mongrel is a mixed breed. In India, most strays are pariah dogs or mongrels.
  10. ^ Shannon, Laura M. (2015). "Genetic structure in village dogs reveals a Central Asian domestication origin". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: 201516215. doi:10.1073/pnas.1516215112. PMC 4640804.
  11. ^ "Dog conservation and the population genetic structure of dogs" (PDF).
  12. ^ Chakrabarti, Pratik (June 2010). "Beasts of Burden: Animals and Laboratory Research in Colonial India". History of Science. 48 (2): 125–151. doi:10.1177/007327531004800201. Retrieved 12 April 2019.
  13. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  14. ^ Kipling, Rudyard. (1894) The Jungle Book.
  15. ^ Pathak, Arun (1995). Handicrafts in the Indus Valley Civilization. Janaki Prakashan. ISBN 8185078874.
  16. ^ "Opening doors to what we call pariah". The Telegraph. 27 November 2005. Retrieved 12 April 2019. The origin of the Indian pariah dog dates back 12,000 to 15,000 years, making it older than any other breed. This is a distinct breed, coming under the category of primitive or aboriginal.
  17. ^ Cipriani, Lidio (1966). The Andaman Islanders. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 81.
  18. ^ Choudhury-Mahajan, Lina (12 July 2011). "Paws for thought". Hindustan Times. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  19. ^ a b c Sharma, Purnima (13 February 2017). "Desi stray dogs are finding loving homes thousands of miles away from the mean streets of India". Quartz. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
  20. ^ "Indian breed dogs - Indian breed dogs - Indian street dog, dog breed lists". Retrieved 28 November 2018.

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