Manali: Palampur Agriculture University has decided to initiate research work on ‘Gaddi dogs’ or ‘Indian Panther Hound’ an exotic breed of dogs reared by Gaddi shepherds of Himachal, HK Chaudhary, the vice-chancellor of the university stated here.
Dr Chaudhary disclosed that a team lead by Dr. PK Dogra, Head, Livestock farm complex, Dr. G.C. Negi College of Veterinary and Animal Sciences will also conduct study on the phenotypic and molecular characterization of the Gaddi dogs available with shepherds.
This research work is expected to help in the documentation of phenotypic and molecular characteristics of Gaddi dogs which has not been accomplished so far. It will also help in maintaining minimum breed-able population of this prestigious genetic resource of the State. Prof. Chaudhary said that the importance of this breed was also highlighted by the Prime Minister of India in his ‘Man Ki Baat’ programme on 30 August where the Prime Minister had exhorted the citizens to adopt indigenous dog breeds.
The VC said that ‘Gaddi dog’ is a breed of Himalayan dogs named after the nomadic shepherds who rear them. Due to its fighting capability with snow leopards, it is also known as ‘Indian Panther Hound’. With the decreasing trend of nomadic lifestyle, the population of ‘Gaddi dogs’ is decreasing at an alarming rate with the result that it has become difficult to find the thoroughbred ‘Gaddi dogs’ in the pockets of Western Himalayas, he said.
Besides Himachal, the Gaddi dog breed was also a favourite of the farmers of Punjab in Gurdaspur, Hoshiarpur and Ropar districts. In these districts, the farmers rear Gaddi dogs to protect their crops from wild animals. The farmers of Punjab purchase these dogs at premium rates when the Gaddi shepherds migrate to plains in border areas of Himachal along with Punjab.
It was the first project of its kind being launched in Himachal to protect the famous indigenous breed of dog. The VC said it had also been decided to initiate research work on Chiggu goat and Churri, poultry with biotechnological interventions in the near future.
HK Chaudhary, Palampur Agriculture University VC, says ‘Gaddi dog’ is a Himalayan breed named after the nomadic shepherds who rear them
Due to its fighting capability with snow leopards, it is also known as ‘Indian Panther Hound’
With the decreasing trend of nomadic lifestyle, the population of ‘Gaddi dogs’ is decreasing, so much so that it has become difficult to find the pure breed in the pockets of Western Himalayas.
The Himalayan Sheepdog breed was developed for guarding encampments and livestock from predators. It was developed from Tibetan Mastiff stock.
“Gaddi dog” is a generic term used for the majority of the big dogs found in the Himalayas, although there is no one particular kind of Gaddi dog as they vary from place to place and are bred for various purposes. Himalayan sheep dog are found from Jammu and Kashmir to Arunachal Pradesh in India, including Nepal and Bhutan. In Nepal it is called a Bhote Kukkur or Bhotiya whereas in Himachal Pradesh it is known as Gaddi Leopard hund.
The distinguishing characteristic of Chamba Gaddi dogs is their long pointed muzzle without any Mellower appearance. They also have a wide forehead, pendulum ears and a manned neck similar to that of a purebred Tibetan Mastiff. These dogs are big and have a deep bark similar to a Tibetan Mastiff. The tail is not as curly and heavily feathered as a Tibetan Mastiff. This breed, like many indigenous breeds, is on the verge of extinction due to dilution in the gene pool and lack of dedicated breeders and breeding enormous mastiff-type breed originating from northern India, the Gaddi Kutta dog is sometimes referred to as the Indian Leopard hound or the Himalayan Sheepdog.
Some people mistake them for the Tibetan Mastiff but the Gaddi Kutta is less bulky and has a mane like a big black lion. To the detailed observer, they stand out and are actually very different.
A Gaddi Kutta is not for the faint-hearted. They are huge, aggressive, and incredibly strong. However, they are very intelligent dogs and can herd goats and sheep with little or no instruction.
The Gaddi Kutta started out as a hunter but found use as shepherd dogs because they are tough enough to take down a snow leopard, hence the nickname Indian Panther Hound.
They get their name from the local term of “Gaddi,” which means shepherd. Kutta just means dog in Urdu. Some people call them the Mahidant Mastiff.