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The Indian pariah dog (Canis lupus familiaris) is the aboriginal landrace, or naturally selected dog, of the Indian sub-continent. The breed is proposed by one author to be one of the oldest in the world and the progenitor of the Australian dingo.[2] Its place of origin has not been determined.

Indian pariah dog
The Indian Pariah Dog.jpg
An Indian pariah dog photographed in Central India, 2008
Common nicknames Indi-dog, In-dog, pye-dog, Desi dog
Origin India
Breed status Not 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 Over 15 years[citation needed]
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The term refers to a class of primitive dogs that is not commercially bred or recognized.

Often erroneously used to refer to all urban Indian street dogs, some free-ranging dogs in India do not match the "pariah type" and may not be pure indigenous dogs but mixed breeds, especially around locations where European colonists historically settled in India, due to admixtures of European dog breeds. [3],[4]


Other namesEdit

From the Anglo-Indian word pye or paë and Hindi pāhī meaning 'outsider', it is sometimes referred to as the pye-dog[5] (also spelt pie or pi), the Indian native dog. It is popularly known as Desi dog, and an Indi-dog or In-dog (in various spellings).

This breed is known as "naadan"(നാടൻ) in Malayalam (Kerala).

This breed is called as "Theru naai" (street dogs) or "naatu naai"(country dogs) in Tamizh (Tamil Nadu)

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.

It was referred in the works of Rudyard Kipling as the "yellow pariah dog".[6]

People in Northern India refer it as "desi kutta" which means native dog in Hindi.


A domesticated Indian pariah dog with his owners who belong to the Gond tribe. This picture was taken near Pench Tiger Reserve, Central India.

The pariah dog of India is an ancient autochthonous landrace that is found all over India, Bangladesh and even beyond in South Asia.[7] 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. This is the original dog of the country, found free-living as a commensal of human all over the Indian subcontinent. Where not mixed with the blood of European dogs or other breeds and types, it is similar in appearance all across the entire country. It was introduced to the Andaman Islands with the establishment of a penal colony there, dogs having been previously unknown to the native Andamanese.[8]

The type represents one of the few remaining examples of humans' original domestic dog[citation needed] and its physical features are the same as those of the dogs whose fossil remains have been found in various parts of the world, from very early remains in Israel and China to later ones such as those found in the volcanic lava at Pompeii, near Naples in Italy.[citation needed]

In India these were the hunting partners and companion animals of the aboriginal peoples of India and are still found within such forest dwelling communities. Since these dogs have never been selectively bred, their appearance, physical features and mental characteristics are created by the process of natural selection alone. The breed has not been recognized by any kennel club but has been recognized by the Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Society (PADS), a worldwide grouping of enthusiasts based in the USA.[9]


Pariah dogs are extremely alert and social. Their rural evolution, often close to forests where predators like tigers and leopards were common, have made them an extremely cautious breed, commonly mistaken for a lack of courage. They make excellent watch dogs and are very territorial and defensive of their pack/family. They need good socializing as pups and do well with families and children if provided with such socialization. They are highly intelligent and easily trainable, but can get bored equally easily, not wanting to play typical, repetitive dog games such as fetch.

They are modest eaters and rarely overeat and are a very active breed, thriving on regular exercise. They bark at the slightest doubt or provocation.


Being a naturally evolved breed, they have very few health concerns and thrive with minimal "maintenance", especially in tropical weather.

The skin needs very little grooming and the dogs themselves are relatively clean. They have no body odour. Genetic health ailments like hip dysplasia and so on are extremely rare since there is no inbreeding and the dominant genes that aid their survival are naturally selected over time

They are generally very healthy and average life expectancy is over 15 years under good care.[9] Most of the deaths in these dogs occur due to accidents on the roads and railway tracks, tumors in the body or 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.

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.


Free-ranging pregnant dog, Bangalore

The dogs are found throughout the Indian subcontinent, often kept as pets in remote villages. Many are ownerless scavengers, as generally found in cities and often mongrelized with modern breeds. They are territorial to a particular area, though a certain amount of immigration occurs to maintain population levels and also for the purpose of mating. They are more active and engage in play more during mornings and evenings.

The pariah group of dogs tend to breed once a year. During the mating season, the oestrous female may mate with several males. During the breeding season (August to January), they become more aggressive during the evening and late night hours to prevent other male dogs entering into their territory for extra-group mating [10] and to protect the pups from humans and other animals. Most of the aggression from alpha males is directed at young males, but they are not driven away. When the young males fail in the mating competition they disperse, and as a result the pack size is maintained.[11]

In ecologically vulnerable areas, free-ranging dogs have been known to both compete with and prey upon native carnivorous species.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Wozencraft, W.C. (2005). "Order Carnivora". In Wilson, D.E.; Reeder, D.M. Mammal Species of the World: A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference (3rd ed.). Johns Hopkins University Press. pp. 575–577. ISBN 978-0-8018-8221-0. OCLC 62265494. 
  2. ^ Corbett, L.K. (1995). The Dingo in Australia and Asia, University of New South Wales Press.
  3. ^ 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 . 
  4. ^ "Dog conservation and the population genetic structure of dogs" (PDF). 
  5. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  6. ^ Kipling, Rudyard. (1894) The Jungle Book.
  7. ^ Pathak, Arun (1995). Handicrafts in the Indus Valley Civilization. Janaki Prakashan. ISBN 8185078874. 
  8. ^ Cipriani, Lidio (1966). The Andaman Islanders. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 81. 
  9. ^ a b "INDog, The Indian Pariah Dog Project". October 2010. 
  10. ^ Pal, S. K.; Ghosh, B.; Roy, S. (1998a). "Agonistic behaviour of free-ranging dogs (Canis familiaris) in relation to season, sex and age". Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 59 (4): 331–348. doi:10.1016/S0168-1591(98)00108-7. 
  11. ^ Pal, S. K.; Ghosh, B.; Roy, S. (1998b). "Dispersal behaviour of free-ranging dogs (Canis familiaris) in relation to age, sex, season and dispersal distance". Applied Animal Behaviour Science. 62 (2): 123–132. doi:10.1016/S0168-1591(98)00185-3. 
  12. ^ Punjabi, Girish A.; Chellam, Ravi; Vanak, Abi T. (October 2013). "Importance of native grassland habitat for den-site selection of Indian foxes in a fragmented landscape". PLoS ONE. 8 (10): e76410. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076410. 

External linksEdit