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The Indian pariah dog or Indian native dog[1] (Canis lupus familiaris) is the aboriginal landrace of the Indian sub-continent. 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.[2][3]

Indian pariah dog
The Indian Pariah Dog.jpg
An Indian pariah dog photographed in Central India, 2008
Common nicknamesIndi-dog, In-dog, pye-dog, Desi dog, Keti dog
OriginIndia Lifespan 10-13 years
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
Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)


Other namesEdit

From the Anglo-Indian word pye or paë and Hindi pāhī meaning 'outsider', it is sometimes referred to as the pye-dog[4] (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 Tamil (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".[5]

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

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


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.[6] 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. It was introduced to the Andaman Islands with the establishment of a penal colony there, dogs having been previously unknown to the native Andamanese.[7]

A breed standard exists with the Indian Kennel Club,[1] and the dog has been recognized by the Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Society (PADS), a worldwide grouping of enthusiasts based in the USA.[8]


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.[9]

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. Most of the deaths in these dogs occur due to accidents on the roads and railway tracks, tumors in the body or being beaten up by humans.


Young Indian pariah dog pictured in May 2018 near the northeastern town of Karimganj in India

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.[10]

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. ^ a b Article on the Indian Native Dog in the Kennel Gazette, Kennel Club of India, July 2015
  2. ^ 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.
  3. ^ "Dog conservation and the population genetic structure of dogs" (PDF).
  4. ^ Merriam-Webster Dictionary
  5. ^ Kipling, Rudyard. (1894) The Jungle Book.
  6. ^ Pathak, Arun (1995). Handicrafts in the Indus Valley Civilization. Janaki Prakashan. ISBN 8185078874.
  7. ^ Cipriani, Lidio (1966). The Andaman Islanders. Weidenfeld & Nicolson. p. 81.
  8. ^ "INDog, The Indian Pariah Dog Project". October 2010.
  9. ^ "Life as a pariah sees it". The Times of India. 8 April 2018. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  10. ^ "Indian breed dogs - Indian breed dogs - Indian street dog, dog breed lists". Retrieved 28 November 2018.

External linksEdit