Facts About Street Dogs in India

The Indian pariah dog (also called the INDog or Indian Native Dog) is estimated to have existed for 14,000 years or more. Given its tendency to be a street dog, it is not recognized as a breed by many Indian dog clubs, although it is the known descendent of many recognized breeds. Affluent Indians have tended to value western purebreds and keep them as status-symbols, leading to the name pariah dog for the native dogs in India.

India has an estimated 25 million dogs, the majority of which are street dogs. This creates an environment where millions of dogs and people live together in close quarters; accordingly, India accounts for almost 40% of all rabies deaths worldwide.

Pariah dogs are known to have an adaptable, friendly nature, high intelligence and trainability and overall good health, as they have evolved for survival. Although a very tiny percentage of pariah dogs in India are kept as family pets, many are treated as neighbourhood or community dogs – in villages and city slums, they are very often free-roaming pets of specific individuals or families, given food and usually even names. For many of the dogs, however, a life of living on the streets often means that these dogs must forage in garbage heaps for food scraps, suffer from starvation, extreme heat and cold, and are sadly abused by people who find them to be a nuisance.

Pariah dogs usually breed only once per year (compared to many other breeds that can breed twice per year). A rough estimate is that one female pariah dog who lives to be 10 years old and who has 7 litters in that duration can create almost 18,000 other dogs over her lifetime alone, when taking into account the litters of her offspring. This has resulted in a huge street dog overpopulation issue, which only intensifies the suffering, abuse, and incidences of rabies.

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