The Bakarwal Dog is a very ancient breed of Himalayan dogs that are indigenous to the higher altitudes of the Jammu and Kashmir state of India. Very interestingly, these dogs are vegetarian, and avoid eating flesh. The Bakharwals have double coat, with the outer coat being average or long. They have a stout, sturdy stature, strong legs, and a bushy tail. The head is large with bright, rounded eyes, hanging ears, and a broad muzzle.
They are considered to be among the rarest of herding dogs. Recently, a study has opined that, their population is at stake, and in fact, on the verge of becoming extinct. There are currently no breed clubs for the Bakharwal Dog, nor is the breed recognized by any of the major kennel clubs.
Bakharwal Dog Pictures
|Other Names||Bakarwal, Kashmir Mastiff, Kashmir Sheepdog, Bakarwal Mastiff, Kashmiri Bakarwal Dog, Gujjar Wathdog, Gujjar Dog|
|Coat||Dense, straight, long|
|Colors||Tri-color, Black & Tan, Piebald|
|Group (of Breed)||Purebred|
|Life Span/Expectancy||8-12 years|
Male: 24-30 inches;
Female: 24-30 inches
|Weight||60-79 pounds (both sexes)|
|Litter Size||1-3 puppies per year|
|Personality Traits||Loyal, social, energetic, alert, brave, independent, responsive, polite|
|Good with Children||Yes (especially older kids)|
|Good with Pets||No|
|Litter Size||3-6 puppies|
|Climate Compatibility||Prefer cool climates; Extremely adapted to harsh climatic conditions|
|Country of Origin||India|
Video: Bakharwal Dog Puppies Playing
The exact origin of the Bakharwal Dog is unknown; however, legend says that, this breed developed during the primitive times by crossing wolves with a breed of Molosser sheepdogs around 300 years ago. Whichever way, but this breed originated in the Himalayan regions of Jammu and Kashmir in India, and were originally bred by the ‘Gujjars’ and the ‘Bakarwals’, two nomadic groups of Muslims that felt the need of having a guard dog in order to protect their livestock, and fight away predators like bears and wolves.
This is an indigenous breed belonging to the Pir Panjal Mountain range of the Himalayas in the North Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir, where these dogs are predominantly found. This is a purebred dog, however, quite a lot of mixes have occurred in this breed. The purity of their genetic pool keeps getting diluted with the decrease in altitude, towards the plains of India.
Population: Why are the Bakharwal Dogs becoming Extinct
Even though these dogs can survive in the harshest and most challenging weather conditions, several social and biological factors have contributed to their near extinction.
- The native tribes that lived in the region gave up their nomadic lifestyle for a permanent existence. This made the dogs detached from human company.
- In a historic rebellion in India, Bakharwal Dogs had been used by the security forces to pursue the militants, during which time many were killed by the opponents.
- The Bakharwal’s litter size is small, with the females producing only 1 to 3 puppies every year, thus failing to replenish what the breed has already lost.
- The intensity of the deadly rabies, and a few other such infections, has got their numbers decline rapidly.
Temperament and Behavior
The Bhakharwal is a ferocious protector. These dogs, as their history of development suggests, are naturally independent, loyal, and would take their guarding duties very seriously. These brave dogs are rarely intimidated even when their competitors are larger by size. They would always stand beside their masters, protecting them, their families and properties from any ‘intruders’. Needless to say that, these inborn traits has made them a very successful watch and guard dog.
This breed has a strong pastoral instinct, that does not make them suited for an apartment life. It is recommended that, they are brought up in houses where there is a mid-to-large sized yard, since they typically need space. They are affectionate to their family members, and would even make a strong attachment with them.
These dogs are dog aggressive, not suited for families having other canines and small pets. However, they are known to be good with their family kids, and consider them as a part of their herd, protecting them with profound commitment. The puppies are very active and often show a tendency to wander off or escape.
These are not really indoor dogs, and love being outside. Take them out for long walks daily, and some vigorous exercises involving running and playing, so that they get the chance to release their energy. They need this to keep a balance between their physical and mental health.
Let them play in the yard, but you must also keep in mind that it is properly fenced, since they have the instinct to wander away in search of the borders marking their ‘territories’.
They do not need vigorous grooming. Brush them through their coats thrice to five times a week to maintain hygiene as well as their appearance. However, trimming might be needed from time to time, since this breed has a double coat that might become dense quickly.
The breed has a strong immunity and can be resistant to many general infections and dog diseases. However, issues like bloating, obesity, canine hip dysplasia (CHD), patellar luxation, and cryptorchidism have been noticed in this breed.
- Puppies often whine or whimper to express their needs, and also sometimes to demand something which you do not want to give. So, teaching your Bakharwal puppy to be obedient is extremely important. If you find your pup is demanding something, or expressing some kind of whim by whining or whimpering, just ignore it. Never go to comfort your pup, since, by doing so, you would only make your dog feel that it is being praised for that action, and it will eventually make it a habit, unless its demands are fulfilled. Rather, give it a treat or a pat when it stops whining.
- They get bored easily, which often results in destructive behavior. So never be rude to your dog while training, or otherwise. Training should be fun and rewarding for your doggie. Give it a hug or a foodie treat as and when it shows success. Remember, an idle brain is the devil’s workshop. So, keep your puppy busy with interesting games and puzzles that need intelligence to solve, and at the same time, provide them with good brain twisters as well.
- Your dog has a passion for staying outdoors. When you are at home, give your pet as much company as you can. In this way your loyal dog would be more inclined in being with you indoors.
As mentioned earlier, an interesting feature about the Bakharwal breed is that, they are vegetarian. Their favorite dish is milk and bread made from maize, and they completely abstain from consumption of meat. This trait is inherent in its genes because when they were raised in a nomadic community as livestock guardian dogs, they subsided on bread, milk, and other milk products.