“Animals grow biggest in India,” wrote Pliny the Elder. The Roman author and naturalist even devoted eleven chapters of his Naturalis Historia to praise famous dogs. Sadly, however, the India’s canine population hasn’t always been appreciated by the people of that country, and many indigenous breeds have vanished because of indifference. Things are changing in India, and S. Theodore Baskaran’s “The Book of Indian Dogs” is bringing much needed attention to native breeds. In his book, the author mentions recent scientific evidence suggesting that not only did Indian dogs travel to distant lands, but that ancient DNA has linked those breeds to the dingoes of Australia!
Indian breeds have a few traits in common, namely speed ( to chase hares on the plains), drop ears (to protect the inner ear from thorns and bushes), and short coats (for India’s scorching climate). One breed that strays from typical type with its longer coat, however, is the Gaddi Kutta or Mahidant Mastiff (also known as the Indian Panther Hound). Developed in the Himalayas by a tribe of the same name, Himalayan shepherds said the Gaddi was a cross between a tiger and a dog, probably because the breed is as ferocious as a tiger and loyal as a dog. It’s thought by some experts, however, that the Gaddi is a sub-breed to the Tibetan Mastiff, possibly a landrace that naturally adapted to survive at altitude in a tough climate and was bred by the Gaddi tribe to type. The Gaddi differs from the Tibetan Mastiff with longer legs,higher hocks, less bulk, and an iconic agility. We found this clip on You Tube, and share it to give you an idea about the breed, but we caution that we know nothing about what is being said, or why one dog is on a leash and the other isn’t:
The dog’s strength is evident, a necessary quality: The breed is reputed to be a fierce opponent to leopards, bears, and other predators when protecting its flock for the Gaddi Kutta isn’t considered to be a fighting dog (thank heavens!) but a guardian dog. Thought the Gaddi was initially bred for hunting purposes, it’s most commonly used now as an LGD. Three to four Gaddi dogs will protect a flock of nearly two thousand sheep!