Living in India, if someone ever asks you how many stray dogs you have encountered so far, won’t it be next to impossible to answer? Well, exactly, because the number has increased by leaps and bounds. But did you ever wonder how and where did all these stray dogs emerge from? The Pariah Dog is one of the world’s oldest canine breeds which has existed for over 14,000 years all over Asia and Africa ever since human beings started living in settlements. India has long been home to these dogs, where most rural families owned at least one. Now, as villages and rural areas gradually turned into cities, these dogs became street dogs. There are street dogs in developed countries too; in case you were wondering, but they have abandoned pets, or feral dogs, i.e. dogs who were once pets but now live like street dogs. However, they are unable to survive or breed on city streets since they can find nothing to eat. Most are captured, housed in animal shelters, and rehomed. In India, they are, and have always been natural-born scavengers- that is, they live on garbage created by humans. Littering on roads is the leading factor that contributes to the increase of stray dogs. The streets of India are littered with garbage, making them the ideal breeding ground for stray dogs who have not been spayed or neutered.

In addition to scavenging, they are widely kept as pets by rural and urban slum households. Apart from this, another important reason is the lack of animal birth control in most parts of the country. According to the Indian mentality, stray dogs are often fed and collared by residents who value them as guards or companions. An Indian stray dog is a very alert and social animal. It is very territorial and defensive. You must have noticed a group of strays barking and running behind your vehicle, particularly in the wee hours, and then suddenly stopping after a fixed point of the area. That is nothing but their marked territory. Dogs usually live and scavenge in their own territory, provided they get enough food and shelter for their livelihood. Moreover, they are very intelligent and easily trainable. However, the idea of a stray dog living in a house can be completely haywire since the quality it possesses cannot be changed and it is genetically entitled to be living freely on the streets. The average life of stray dogs is between 3.5 to 4 years. There are several causes of their deaths. It mainly includes accidents on roads and railway tracks, not getting enough food, drinking polluted water, getting tumors anywhere in the body, and often after getting beaten up by humans.