What Are Some Pariah Dog Breeds?

How familiar are you with these six Pariah (semi-domesticated) dog breeds from around the world?

Feb 5, 2024By Jessica Montes
what are some pariah dog breeds

Dogs were domesticated from wolves over 20,000 years ago––although not all became cuddly, lovable pets! Some breeds kept their wild behaviors and still prefer living in the outskirts and scavenging for food. Let’s discuss six Pariah breeds and how open they are to becoming housebroken.

Wait - What Are Pariah Dogs?

Pariah dogs
Photo by: Enactataph

Pariah dogs, also called pye-dogs, are semi-wild, sometimes ownerless canines that wander areas inhabited by humans. They live in the wild and are less tame than dog breeds who have become human companions. Pariah dogs developed with little or no human interference, creating a stronger survival instinct. They might live in packs with other pye-dogs, and their primary objectives are food and shelter. Some of these breeds have become domesticated over the years and are now recognized by major registries.


Photo by: Purina

These self-groomers are known for their barkless yodels. Basenjis have ancestral roots in Central Africa and are an ancient dog breed. They served their owners as hunting dogs and would chase animals much larger than them, like gazelles and wild pigs. Rather than kill, the high-endurance Basenji would tire out and lure prey to be caught by hunters.

Even after thousands of years, these dogs still require hours of physical activity. Daily long walks are standard for this breed, and Basenjis also excel at agility and lure courses. With these two types of training, they can leap, jump, and sprint over and after objects. This taps into their hunting/ prey drive and keeps them mentally and physically entertained.

Indian Pariah Dogs

Indian Pariah dog
Photo by: Sarbjit Bahga

Another popular free-roaming breed is the Indian Pariah Dog. They are also nicknamed INDog and desi dog because they are abundant in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan. Indian Pariah Dogs were hunting companions and are still used this way by indigenous communities.

Modern-day INDogs share much of the DNA as their ancestors. Because they were never bred with a specific appearance or temperament in mind, they have evolved primarily through natural selection. Some people have successfully made them house pets. However, as a wild breed, Indian Pariah Dogs prefer independence, scavenging for food, and being a communal pet that interacts with entire villages for food and affection.

Australian Dingoes

Photo by: Michael Hains

Australian Dingoes are considered one of the oldest dog breeds with an unclear history. Fossils date back 3,500 years ago, but some DNA studies predict Dingoes have been in Australia between 4,600 to 18,300 years. Per Britannica, two theories exist about their development. One argues that Dingoes are a wild species, and another says that they are from a partially domesticated dog breed that turned feral.

Australian Dingoes howl more than bark and use their voices to establish territories. They used to eat kangaroos and wallabies, but now mostly prey on rabbits and small animals. After they began hunting and killing livestock, Dingoes were eliminated from areas with large populations. The Australian government even built a 3,488-mile-long fence that spanned three states to keep wild Dingoes away from cities.

Mexican Hairless Dogs

Xolo pack
Photo by: Xolomania

The Mexican Hairless dog with a long name, Xoloitzcuintli (pronounced sho-lo-eetz-queent-lee), is a Pariah breed. They were respected by the Aztecs, Mayans, and Toltecs for their appearance that resembled Xolotl, the god of death. These hairless pups were seen as healers for physical illnesses and guides for their owners who passed away. It was common for Xoloitzcuintlis, or Xolos, to be sacrificed and buried with the deceased persons.

During the 1950s, a Xolo revival began to increase the numbers of purebreds. Due to mixed-breed mating and being hunted for food, the population declined and was at risk of extinction. Mexican artists Diego Rivera and Frida Khalo created a breeding kennel for them and helped restore the purebred Xolo standards and population size.

Canaan Dogs

Canaan dog
Photo by: Sudhir Sangwan

Canaan Dogs belong to the Middle Eastern areas of Israel, Lebanon, and neighboring regions. Their relationship with humans goes back thousands of years, and they were used to herd and guard livestock. About 2,000 years ago, their owners were displaced, and Canaan Dogs were primarily a wild, free-roaming breed until the 1900s. Then, they became domesticated as patrol and military dogs.

They are the American Kennel Club’s (AKC) 141st recognized breed and are known as alert, vigilant, and confident. Canaan Dogs have a smooth, short double coat, and their frequent shedding will make good use out of your lint roller and vacuum. Although these canines are eager to learn and train, they need a strong, assertive owner to show them who’s in charge.

Carolina Dogs

Carolina dog
Photo by: Thingsofbeauty

Lastly, there’s the United States’ Carolina Dog whose ancestors are the companions of native peoples who traveled from Asia to North America. They are considered sighthounds and use their excellent vision to help their owners hunt during long travels. Carolina Dogs are now found in their undomesticated form in the rural areas of Georgia and South Carolina.

These dogs physically resemble jackals or Australian Dingoes with their large, pointy ears, long snouts, and yellow coats. Like other wild animals, they are hesitant around new people but can become household pets to kind owners. Carolina Dogs do well in competitive training and make excellent hunting partners.

Do Pariah Dogs Make Good Pets?

Pariah pack
Photo by: Achat1999

The domesticated Basenji, Xolo, and Canaan Dog are suitable for human companionship. They are registered by the AKC, and their temperament and needs are well documented by enthusiasts and breeders. Others, like the Australian Dingo and Indian Pariah Dog, are not standard pets. Aboriginal people in Australia have kept Dingos as pets, and households have developed relationships with the INDog.

However, potential owners must consider these breeds and their wild instincts. They are street dogs and might not respond well to training or having a name chosen for them. These dogs might approach people for food, but then wander off to spend time elsewhere. Nothing can be forced on them because they are survival-driven and will protect themselves if needed. Above all, everyone’s (and the dogs’) safety is crucial. So, when approaching one of these dogs, practice caution!

Jessica Montes
By Jessica Montes

Jessica is a California-based writer, journalist, lover of animals, and vegan of 17 years. Growing up, she owned parakeets, fish, a rabbit, and a red-eared slider turtle. She currently has a black cat named Marty and a tabby named Jellybean. In her free time, she enjoys reading, baking, camping, and roller skating to funky tunes.