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The term pariah dog is used to refer to feral dogs of a particular type, a subspecies of dog, and a purebred dog category or group.


Feral dogs of India

Pariah-type feral dogs are typically medium-sized and have yellow to rust-colored coats.

Pariah dog, also called pye dog, pi dog or primitive dog, refers to the feral dog of India. Pariah-type feral dogs are typically medium-sized and have yellow to rust-colored coats. A 2004 Swedish study of mitochondrial DNA found that dogs (Canis lupus dingo) in Southeast Asia are from southern China, not from India.[1] Indian dogs (Pariah dogs) are C. l. familiaris.

The term used to be an epithet to the same extent that the word pariah could be used to denigrate as well as designate the lowest social caste of Indians, but is now used by kennel clubs with no negative judgment implied.

The Sighthound & Pariah Group

The United Kennel Club (United States) recognizes purebred dogs bred for chasing large game in the Sighthound & Pariah Group. Included in this group are breeds of that are either of early origin or modern reconstructions of early breeds or types. The group includes the Afghan Hound, Azawakh, Basenji, Borzoi, Canaan Dog, Carolina Dog, Chart Polski (Polish Greyhound), Cirneco dell'Etna, Greyhound, Hungarian Greyhound, Ibizan Hound, Irish Wolfhound, New Guinea Singing Dog, Pharaoh Hound, Podengo Portugueso, Rhodesian Ridgeback, Saluki, Scottish Deerhound, Sloughi, Spanish Greyhound, Thai Ridgeback, Whippet, and Xoloitzcuintli.[2]

In place of "pariah" (pariah is derived from a Tamil word first used in English in 1613, to refer to the lowest level of the traditional Indian caste system; in English, it is used to mean "a social outcast"[3]), some registries use the term "primitive" (primitive in the sense of "relating to an earliest or original stage or state" or "being little evolved from an early ancestral type"[4]) to refer to pariah-type dogs. The American Rare Breed Association, for example, places its Pariah-type dogs within a breed group designated "Spitz and Primitive."[5]

Varieties of pariah-type feral or semi-wild dogs

New Guinea Singing Dog

Populations of or similar to the Dingo and New Guinea Singing Dog are found across Southeast Asia, primarily in Thailand and Australia, but also in Myanmar, Southeast China, Laos, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Borneo, the Philippines and New Guinea, mostly near human villages.[6] The New Guinea Singing Dog is recognized as a purebred breed by major registries.

The Carolina Dog is a pariah-type feral dog found in the eastern United States, which closely resembles the pariah-type feral dog of the deserts of the Middle East. Both the desert dog (known as the Canaan Dog) and Carolina Dog are recognized as purebred by major registries.[7]

All strains of pariah dogs are at risk of losing their genetic uniqueness by interbreeding with purebred and mixed-breed strays. To insure against this, some strains of pariah dogs are becoming formally recognized, registered, and pedigreed breeds as their fanciers attempt to preserve the pure type.

All pariah dogs are feral, but not all feral dogs are pariah dogs in the genetic sense. Though they are outcasts in the social sense, and thus may still be called pariahs by observers who are not dog fanciers, feral dogs may be of any breed or mix of breeds. The individuals may be stray pets, or descended from strays, or from litters dumped in wild or rural areas by unscrupulous owners. They may form packs with other strays or attempt to join existing canid packs (such as a wolf pack). While pariah dogs are by definition feral, pariah-type dogs are not necessarily feral (wild dog populations which have not been re-domesticated), as well as recognized dog breeds with pariah dog heritage.


  1. ^ Stephan Reebs (November 2004). "Whence the dingo". Natural History Magazine, Inc.. American Museum of Natural History. Retrieved 05/15 2008. 
  2. ^ United Kennel Club. "United Kennel Club: Breed information". Retrieved 04/22 2008. 
  3. ^ "pariah - definition of pariah". TheFreeDictionary. Retrieved 04/26 2008. 
  4. ^ The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 4th edition. "primitive: Definition, Synonyms, More". Dictionary. Houghton Mifflin Company. Retrieved 04/26 2008. "adj. Not derived from something else; primary or basic. Of or relating to an earliest or original stage or state; primeval. Being little evolved from an early ancestral type." 
  5. ^ American Rare Breed Association
  6. ^ Hintze, M. 2002. "Canis lupus dingo" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 22, 2008 at
  7. ^ "Dog owner's guide profile". Retrieved 04/22 2008. 

"Pariah Dog", Dog Breed Info Center, 12 Mar. 2008

See also

External links



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