INDog breed study

Published: Bangalore Mirror Bureau | Mar 16, 2015, 10.03 PM IST

Tiggy entertaining Mishka on mommy’s silk saree

My education involves breed studies. Basically, each of us are given 12 breeds to research. I was rather disappointed with my list. I barely recognised four breeds on it. So I cheered up when I got to add INDog to my list and make it a set of 13 breeds, or that’s what I thought.

As I started studying INDog, I realised that they come in a few different varieties. I was able to identify at least three and two common mixes.

The first is a sight hound. My own Tigger seems to be this variety. These dogs are deep chested, long hind legs, narrow long faces and a slight curve in the back. They are hyper alert and built for speed.

The second seem to be farm dogs. They have rectangular bodies and the more characteristic curves in their tails. They are multipurpose dogs and are quite responsive to people. They are often calm, collected and tolerant dogs.

The third I have heard people from Nepal talk of and seen a few in Leh. They are bigger, bulkier, furrier, have mastiff-like traits and show guard dog tendencies. Guard dogs are often fantastic at taking responsibility for the household and can become intense guarders.

The two mixes I noticed are both of farm INDogs. One’s a mix with some kind of a retriever. These often have floppy ears, soft coat and the flat face of a retriever. The other’s a mix with some shepherd. They are furry, pointy ears, agile and alert.

Identifying the underlying breeds helps explain several behaviours and plan activities that excite the breed type. Not that every member of the breed variety will behave the same way or that mixes are easy to identify. But this is a starting point.

Farm dogs make for great urban family dogs. But guard dogs and sight hound – not so much. Farm dogs are not built for speed or agility and should not be over exercised. They love company and don’t do so well alone or in a backyard. They will enjoy interactive puzzles and games with people.

When guard dogs are put in situations where they see a need to guard, their instincts take over and they guard. So if you identify your dog to be a guarding breed of some kind, don’t leave your dog at home with strangers and disappear. Basically, don’t let a guard dog guard. He will do his job a bit too well! If you have a sight hound on the other hand, you can be sure that the city is going to be very stressful. You need to actively seek out calm spaces for the dog and some space to gallop. She’s built for speed and needs to run fast. But for very short durations and in the direction the dog wants, not on a leash or chasing a ball.

Dogs with retriever in them are likely to be perceptive of people. They love finding and retrieving. Games of hide and seek with objects of value thrill them to bits. Shepherds are herders and need to have lightning fast reflexes. Like most farm dogs, they guard too. They make great assets in estates and farms. In a home, extra care needs to be given to their mental stimulation and calm spaces for them to walk in.

So, while we don’t have to be breed conscious, it’s good to be breed cognizant. It can help identify why your dog wants to do something and take a more understanding approach towards your dog.

Tiggy sporting new silk collar.
Collars are important on INDogs in India to avoid getting mistaken for a free ranging dog


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