Do you know that there are specifically Indian dogs? I bet you assumed that there were but didn’t know what they were. Well, lets start with the Mastiff, both Himalayan and Tibetan are the same dog, just known by different names. Then the Lhasa Apso, also Indian, common in the Himalayan region and then there is a Himalayan sheep dog which is trained in a completely different way to English sheepdogs. I didn’t know any of this. Which is why I requested this book the second I heard about it.
One of the reasons I wanted to get an Indian breed, apart from the fact that I’m Indian and want to support local everything, is that I wanted a companion dog, not a hound or a hunting dog, a companion dog that can, well, keep me company. And I wanted one that was used to the climate around here. Alas, this didn’t help there as it seems most companion dogs are very used to comfortably cold climates and it easily gets to 42 degrees around here. But where it did help was satisfying my curiosity in learning about the different Indian dog breeds, especially with these pictures included.
Indian breeds are mostly hunting dogs or hounds used for guarding. They’re long and lean, muscular and , unless in a cold climate, not too heavy. Some experts estimate that we have more than 20 varieties, some say less. But what they all agree upon, including Baskaran, is that they are in desperate need of revival. Like the Jallikattu protests which took a turn towards protecting native cattle breeds and rejecting imported Jersey cows, we need to stop importing Huskies and start loving the native breeds.
The author laments about how many breeds have vanished and these were such amazing hounds. None of them needing to be tied up and each one of them sturdy and excellent, only giving in to human neglect. And, the worst of ALL disasters, human apathy.
I absolutely adored this book and while I am still at a loss about buying a native breed (They are so scarce that there aren’t any available for adoption) because all the ones that suit the climate of the city I’m in are dogs that need wide open spaces. All in all, an absolutely wonderful little read. If I’ve rated it less than 5 stars it’s only because I wished there were more details and more stories associated with these dog breeds. A must read for every dog enthusiast in India.
The Book of Indian Dogs is the first comprehensive book on Indian dog breeds in over fifty years. It features the twenty-five breeds that most breeders and dog fanciers agree constitute the country’s canine heritage. Divided into three groupings—working dogs, companion dogs and hounds—the book provides detailed background notes to each breed, along with information on its physical characteristics, behaviour, uses, origins and history. Along with popular breeds like Caravan hounds (or Karuvanis), Chippiparais, Mudhol hounds, Pashmis, Rajapalayams and Rampur hounds the book also features lesser known breeds such as the Alaknoori and the Jonangi. The fruit of several years of travel and research into India’s dog breeds, as well as S. Theodore Baskaran’s hands-on experience of raising various dogs, this celebration of our dogs is a book that no dog lover can do without.