Bakharwal Dog (Also known as: Kashmiri Mastiff / Kashmir Sheepdog / Bakarwal Mastiff / Kashmiri Bakharwal Dog / Gujjar Watchdog / Bakarwal / Gujjar Dog) is an ancient working breed of dog found in the Pir Panjal mountain range of the Kashmir Himalayas, where it has been bred for many centuries by the Gujjar nomadic tribes as a livestock guardian dog and settlement protector. A recent study says that this species of dog is in danger. According to experts, the Bakerwali dog is different from a common dog in many ways. It is vegetarian – the Bakharwal Dog only feeds on milk and bread made of maize. This helps to keep it away from attacking the flock. Birth rate among the Bakerwali dogs is also low as compared to common dogs.
Many variations occur in the Bakharwal Dog breed as the pure gene pool gets diluted by the time they reach the plains of India. Legend has it that the Bakharwal Dog breed was developed in antiquity by crossing a wolf to some kind of sheepdog dam.
Belonging to a leaner variety of Asian Molossers, the Bakharwal Dog / Kashmiri Sheepdog is related to some types of the Tibetan Mastiff and dogs of Central Asia, but is claimed by the Gujjar herdsmen to be much older than any other breed of the region. While this is debatable, the black-and-tan colouring and physical build of the Bakarwal Mastiff have led some authorities to link a number of old Molosser to this dog, namely the Hyrcanian Mastiff, the Molossos tis Epirou, the Sylvan, the Tuvan Sheepdog, and the Siah Sag variety of the Iranian Sage Mazandarani, as well as the European descendants of these breeds.
Deep-chested, muscular and agile, the Bakharwal Dog / Kashmiri Sheepdog has a straight back, broad shoulders and long legs. The body is strongly boned, with a powerful neck and large head. The medium-length flat coat is very thick and densely undercoated, providing suitable protection from the harsh climate of the area, as well as from predators. The most common and valued colouring is black and tan, but some tricoloured and piebald examples can be found, too. A variety of sizes can be encountered, from specimens that are 24 inches tall to those exceeding 30 inches at the withers.
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