Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Pariah dog in Egypt
The word pariah used to be kind of a bad word that meant you were an outcast and you didn't get invited to any nice parties.  And the way this word got this meaning was from a tribe in India that was named the  Pariah tribe, and they were outcasts.  So Indian dogs that were just living on the street without having anyone to buy yummy dog food for them were called pariah dogs.

But nowadays if you call a dog a pariah, it doesn't mean you think the dog is a bad, dirty outcast.  It just means that this type of dog has developed for many thousands of years without humans getting involved in the process.  So you could say that pariahs are "all natural" dogs who have evolved to survive in certain conditions, which are mostly at the edges of villages and cities where humans live.

Pariah dogs in India
Pariah dogs are interesting for scientists to study because their genes go back in a pretty straight line to wolves, but they are not wolves, they are dogs.  They live close to people, but they are not totally dependent on people for food and shelter and stuff like that.  So the pariah dogs are smart and independent and hardy and alert.  And they have to be that way so that they can stay alive.

The country that probably has the most pariah dogs is India.  There are lots of people who like these Indian Native Dogs, which are known as INDogs.  Dogs that look like INDogs, and also their fossils, have been found in lots of places, such as China, Israel, and Italy.  And the surprising thing is that many of these dogs ended up being about the same size and color.  Because usually they are medium-sized, and they are yellow or reddish in color.  They like to live in packs, kind of like wolves, and each group has a certain part of town that is its own territory.

Doesn't this dog look like a basenji?
Pariah dogs eat garbage that people throw out, even if it's all vegetarian garbage.  Sometimes they will suckle milk from a sleeping cow or buffalo, or they might eat dead animals.  They just pretty much eat anything they can find.

Mostly, pariah dogs are nice to humans, but they don't get chummy with them or anything like that.  Sometimes at night, an alpha dog might attack a person who comes into his territory, but usually the person can scare the dog away by yelling or by throwing a rock.

This dog could definitely be my cousin!

In the pariah dog pack, only the alpha male and female get to mate, which is the same rules as wolf packs have.  If the alpha male dies or something happens to him, there is a lot of confusion and squabbling until the dogs figure out who the new alpha is going to be.

Another INDog that looks like an African basenji
Anyway, like I told you, there are pariah dogs in lots of countries, and guess what!  Basenjis are actually pariah dogs, too!  Well, the ones who are still living in Africa are probably more pariah-like than the ones that are being bred to have curlier tails and stuff like that.  The UKC lets people register pariah dogs, and these dogs go in the same group as sighthounds.  But in Europe, pariah dogs are called primitive dogs.  And what they mean by "primitive" is "being little evolved from an early ancestral type."

So the point of all this is that basenjis, who are a type of pariah dog, have been around a long, long time, and we have a lot of street smarts, just like the INDogs and all the other pariahs in the world.  Which means we are probably all cousins, when you think about it, and that is a good thing!


  1. Good morning! Once again I learned something. I had no idea there were "pariah" dogs! I think it's neat that there are dogs around that people haven't tried to change! I would say these dogs are very smart; finding food, even drinking milk from a sleeping cow!! They certainly do look like Basenjis! Thanks for another educational day!
    Love, AP

  2. We throughly enjoyed todays Blog, Piper! The Pariah dogs does resemble Basenji's. Good job.

  3. Dear Piper,

    Thank you for another informative blog today. I think it's sad that those dogs don't have their own humans to cook and clean up for them though.

    Also, the FeaturedCreature blog
    has some really good info today on why you should never go swimming. Anywhere. Just in case.

    Your friend,
    Zest, Champion superstar in training

  4. I am glad that everybody liked my blog today and that you even learned something from it! I agree that it is sad when dogs don't have their very own humans to feed them yummy dogfood and also to snuggle up with at night.

    Zest, I looked at the pictures of that Goliath Tigerfish and also the video, and now I am even more afraid of swimming or of getting a bath! Heck, I'm not sure if it's even safe to drink out of my water dish because maybe those scary fish can come up through the plumbing and Mom wouldn't notice if one came out of the faucet and got in the water dish! Yikes! I hope I don't have nightmares tonight!

    Your friend, Piper

  5. Yes, the featuredcreature is doing scary stuff becasue it's close to howl-oween. The good news about howl-oween is that mom just made Pan de Muerto (dead bread), but she said this loaf is going to the place where Digital goes swimming. Jet went with Diggie last week and will go again this week. Jet is can be a pill. He keeps pestering me right now because I'm inna da season; I tell him I'll rip his face off. Anyway, I think mom has to take them an offering because she wants to make sure they don't let the tigerfish get Digital and Jet when they're swimming.

    She said we can keep the next loaf.


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    1. Please do not use my blog to advertise any products!