A Himalayan sheepdog
|Other names||Himalayan sheepdog, Himalayan mastiff|
|Origin||India & Nepal|
|Breed status||Not recognised as a breed by any major kennel club.|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Bhotia is found in the Himalayan foothills from Kashmir to Eastern Nepal. The breed is primarily used as a livestock guardian, protecting flocks of yak and sheep from various predators, and as a property guard, unusually for a livestock guardian the breed is also used to assist with herding. In certain parts of Tehri Garhwal the Bhotia is also used to assist in hunting.
The Bhotia is very closely related to the slightly larger Tibetan mastiff. The breed's double coat is typically harsh and thick and they are usually black and tan or solid black with some white markings on their toes, chest and neck, they have small drooped ears and heavily plumed tail that is curled over their back. There are slightly distinct sub-varieties of the breed found in the Kumaon hills and Chamba; the former, which is known as the Cypro Kukur or Kumaon mastiff, is brindle, rich golden brown or black in colour, the latter is smaller than most of the breed and resemble a larger, longer haired black Labrador.
In 2005 the Bhotia was one of four Indian dog breeds featured on a set of postage stamps released by the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to celebrate the country's canine heritage.
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