Bakharwal dog

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Bakharwal Dog
Other namesBakarwali Shepherd Dog, Indian Bakharwal Dog, Kashmiri Sheepdog, Kashmiri Mastiff, Gujjar Watchdog
OriginIndian subcontinent
Breed statusNot recognised as a standardised breed by any major kennel club.
Traits
Colour black and tan, red, fawn, pied, sable, white and brindle
Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

The Bakharwal dog[A] is an ancient working breed of dog found across the Pir Panjal Range of India, where it has been bred for many centuries by the Bakarwal and Gujjar nomadic tribes, as a livestock guardian dog and settlement protector.[1][2] The Bakharwal Dog is used by the Indian Police Service to capture militants across the country.[3]

A recent study says that this breed is on the verge of extinction and Bakerwal community has appealed to include this animal in the endangered species category. Of late, there were many cases when this mountain breed of dog contracted rabies or was shot by separatist militants.[4][5][6]

It has more hair on its ears, neck, has a sturdy back, bushy tail and prefers colder climes.

History[edit]

The origin of the Bakharwal Dog lies in northern India, specifically in the states of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh.[7][1] It has been bred by the Gujjar and Bakerwal castes, as well as other local people of Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh, for the purpose of guarding their flocks of goats, sheep and cattle, along with their houses, from centuries.[1] The Bakharwal Dog may be descended from crossbreeding the Tibetan Mastiff with the Indian pariah dog, though other scholars state that the Bakharwal Dog is the "oldest Indian Dog which since centuries has been surviving with the Gujjar tribe."[8]

There are two strains of this breed, the Simple Bakarwal and the Ladakhi Bakarwal. The Ladakhi Bakarwal strain has a specific unique ability of open mouth barking, for an extensive period of time, also called as ‘hk-saya’ or ‘yak-saya’ in the native language spoken there. It means nonstop barking without taking a breath or continuous bark in one breath.

In recent times, the Bakharwal Dog has been used by the Indian Police Service in order to capture militants across the country.[3]

The Bakharwal Dog has been targeted by separatist militants in the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir, who shot the dogs to prevent them from alerting people of their intrusion.[6][4] These separatist militants prevented herdsmen from going to higher reaches, which caused many Bakharwal Dogs to catch disease and die.[4]

While the Bakharwal Dog is mainly found in India, it is found in smaller numbers in Afghanistan and Pakistan.[8]

Utilisation[edit]

The Bakharwal Dog, along with the Gaddi Kutta, is particularly used for guarding sheep, protecting farms and homes in Himachal Pradesh as well as in Jammu and Kashmir.[9] It is also used by the Indian Police in order to capture militants across the nation.[3]

Classification[edit]

It is not recognised by any major kennel clubs.

General appearance[edit]

Bakarwal is a powerful, heavy bone, medium to large size dog. It is an agile and a sturdy breed, a typical mountain dog with a furry coat and plumy tail that gives it a majestic look. It looks like a medium version of Tibetan Mastiff. It is mostly in black colour with white at toes and chest. The dog has a vegetarian appetite that mainly includes bread made of rice chaff, maize and milk.[8] However, some nomads, who have domesticated the breed, argue that it can have meat as well.

Common colours are black and tan, red, fawn, pied, sable, white and brindle.[8] It is a slow maturing breed.

Bakarwal bitch is a slow breeder and only litters once in a year, with 3-4 pups only.[10] In the Ladakhi strain of Bakarwal breed, less furry coat and less plumy tail are observed.

Health concerns[edit]

Major health concerns noted are canine hip dysplasia, bloating, while minor concerns are patellar luxation, obesity and cryptorchidism.

References[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ This breed is known by several names, including the Bakarwali Shepherd Dog, Indian Bakharwal Dog, Kashmiri Sheepdog, Kashmiri Mastiff, and Gujjar Watchdog.

Citations[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Kashmir's Bakharwal dog could be gone in four years". 26 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2019. Over the centuries the Bakharwal mastiff has become a legendary animal in the state, known for its loyalty and fierce guardian spirit. The Bakharwal dog is an ancient breed that has been bred by nomadic Gujjar and Bakharwal shepherds in Jammu and Kashmir for centuries.
  2. ^ "Bakharwal Training". Precision K9 Work. Retrieved 20 March 2019. The Bakharwal dog was bred in the Pir Panjal Mountains, India, and it has been known as a working breed.
  3. ^ a b c Demick, Danielle. "All About The Bakharwal Dog Breed". All About My Dogs. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  4. ^ a b c "Kashmir's Bakharwal dog could be gone in four years". 26 April 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2019. According to Chaudhary Lateef, a Bakharwal tribal leader from Udhampur in the Jammu region, one of the reasons for the decline in the numbers is militancy. He says the militants would kill the dogs to prevent them from barking and alerting people. “During the period of militancy since 1989, militants shot these dogs in big numbers. But the bigger threat was disease. Usually, these dogs spent equal parts of the year at different altitudes. When militancy came, the herdsmen and these dogs could not go to the higher reaches. These dogs were thus forced to spend their summers at lower altitudes, which led to their contracting diseases and many died,” said Lateef.
  5. ^ Bukhari, Shujaat (16 November 2011). "Fear of Bakerwali dog going extinct". The Hindu. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  6. ^ a b "The last of Bakharwal dogs". Merinews. 20 April 2018. Retrieved 20 March 2019. But, since 1990 a steep decline in number of Bakharwal shepherded dogs was found as hundreds of dogs were killed during insurgency in the higher regions of the state.
  7. ^ "Bakharwal Dog: Stubborn, Fierce, and Fluffy – Complete Guide to the Himalayan Mastiff". The Smart Canine. Retrieved 20 March 2019. The Bakharwal dog is one of the most fascinating dog breeds originating from Northern India.
  8. ^ a b c d Rahi, Javaid (14 April 2017). "A rare breed". Greater Kashmir. Retrieved 20 March 2019.
  9. ^ Desai, Shail (3 March 2009). "In the Himalayas, growing population of feral dogs poses threat to wildlife, humans". Firstpost. Retrieved 20 March 2019. While pursuing his PhD in the Pin Valley of Himachal Pradesh in the early 90s, Dr Yash Veer Bhatnagar, a scientist with the Nature Conservation Foundation (NCF), noticed some stray dogs belonging to the migratory herding communities, such as the Bakharwals and Gaddis, stay back in the winter, instead of moving back to the foothills with the flock of sheep and goats they were meant to protect.
  10. ^ "Bakharwal Dog: Stubborn, Fierce, and Fluffy – Complete Guide to the Himalayan Mastiff". The Smart Canine. Retrieved 20 March 2019. Usually, a Bakharwal will only produce 1 to 3 puppies in a year, which is one of the reasons they have declined so much in numbers over the last century.