Himalayan Sheepdog
Breed Standard


Information taken from "The Indian Dog" by W.V. Soman
Published June 1963 by Popular Prakashan, Bombay India

Bangara Mastiff
Owned by Dr. A. N. Sah, Landsdowne. U.P. Photo and text from W.V. Soman "The Indian Dog" June 1963.

Tehri Garhwalhas developed a distinct breed out of the Tibetan Mastiff. There is a part (Pargana) of Tehri Garhwal called Bangar. In this pargana is to be found a mastiff or Bhotia which is generally used for herding the yak or sheep when in pastures and to guard them from ferocious carnivorous animals. This is a powerful and daring dog with herding instinct. As a guard it is supreme and risks it life. Height is 23"-25" in males and 20"-23" in females. The general colours are black, and tan or apricot. It has a course coat but the thick undercoat provides the raw material for the pashima. The muzzle is like the mastiff and the body is compact. The tail is set high, heavily plumed and curled to one side. It would be correct to call it Bangara Mastiff.


Bhotia (Himalayan Sheepdog)
Photo and text from W.V. Soman "The Indian Dog" June 1963

This breed is found all along the Himalayan border from eastern Nepal to Ladakh in Kashmir. It is a smaller dog with much smaller head, and more pointed muzzle. It stands between 20 to 25 inches in height and weighs approximately 50 to 60 lbs. It has a harsh thick coat and is black and tan, or black with some white markings on toes, chest, and collar. There is a sub-variety of this breed which is rich golden brown or black and is only found in the Kumaon hills. The ears are small and drooped. The tail is heavily plumed and turned over back. It is used by hill people for herding their sheep as well as for guarding their flocks and houses. In temperament it is less suspicious and ferocious. The Bhotia dogs of Chamba are like black Labradors in built, though slightly bigger and thicker in body. They have longer hair than Labradors but they are shorter than the Tibetan Mastiff or other Bhotia dogs. The former breed has been taken up and bred by the Maharaja of Dumraon over a couple of years. He has bred them true to type and has some lovely dogs in his kennels.

Click here for original German translation of "The Indian Dog" by W.V. Soman Breed Standard

Himalayan Sheep Dog Breed Standard


As published by W.V. Soman in "The Indian Dog" June 1963

(The Bhotia and the Himalayan sheep-dog is one and the same.)

General Appearance and Character: A powerful and heavily boned dog of medium size. Reserved by nature. Wonderful guarding and shepherding instinct.
Head and Neck: - Head medium-sized and rather flat at the top. Slight stop. Nose black. Lips full but close fitting.
Eyes: Deep set and close. Slightly slanting ,medium-sized reddish brown in colour and very bright.
Ears: Triangular shaped, drop tips, round, medium length set on high, lying close to the head on sides.
Mouth: Level, powerful jaw.
Fore-quarters: Powerful and muscular, chest of medium width, well laid back shoulders, firm elbow, fore-legs - well boned and straight, pasterns slightly bent.
Hind-quarters: Powerful and well muscled, well-bent stifles and well let-down hocks. Dew claws should be removed.
Feet: 'Cat foot' very compact and medium-sized.
Body: Deep and strong, well ribbed up, and compact, deep brisket. Back-medium-sized.
Tail: Thick and bushy, of medium length, set on high and loosely curled over the back.
Coat: Long harsh coat, with a very thick undercoat. Short hair on legs, but profusely feathered on buttocks.
Colour: Black, black and tan, golden and creamy white. White, marking on the chest in black and golden allowed. Small white marks on toes admissable, but not desirable.
Weight: Dogs from 60 to 70 lbs. and bitches from 50 to 60 lbs.
Height: Dogs 21 to 24 inches; bitches 19 to 22 inches.
Faults: Snippy muzzle, nervous temperament, straight hocks and stifles, uneven mouth, soft or smooth coat. Dew claws not desirable.
Classifications: Non-sporting.



As published by W.V. Soman in "The Indian Dog"  June 1963


Appearance and character: In appearance, the Himalayan sheep-dog should not be too long and too leggy. It should be compact, sturdy but not massive. While standing, it should make a fine show with his gay bushy tail curled over the hind quarters, head up, front legs straight and without feathers. It should look like a Collie except in head and tail. The colour should be like that of a Collie and Shetland Sheepdog.
Ears: The ears are generally small; infact, they are rather disproportionately small for the head.
Mouth: The mouth is not square. It is inclined to be tapering towards the forefront.
Forelegs and pasterns: The legs should have no feathers. Lower parts of the legs should be clean and covered only with very small hair.
Hind quarters: (thighs and buttocks) have long bushy soft hair up to the hocks; and curled bushy tail carried over the hind-quarters.
Coat: Grizzle and fawn colours have to be included. As we go on breeding, we may even see a multi-colour Himalayan sheepdog, as we have multi-colour Collies and Shetland sheepdogs. In fact he is of the opnion that colours, as in horses, should be no bar for the Himalayan sheep-dogs - in in other points it is correct, although colours given in the standard may be preferred. The undercoat is the finest fur, most valuable. In most dogs there are two undercoats under the harsh coat. Water or snow cannot penetrate to the skin of the dog due to double undercoat.
Weight: Weight should be permissible up to 90 lbs. for dogs and 70 lbs. for bitches.
Faults: Absence of undercoat or fur underneath the coat., prick ears, soft curly and straight tail without feathers must be considered faults to disqualify a Himalayan sheep-dog in a show.
Classification: The question of classification will have to be further considered. He is of the opinion that the Himalayan sheepdog should be classified as sporting for it is a fact that in certain parts of Tehri Garhwal (Bangar) it is used for two purposes - as a sheepdog and for hunting.

A Sub-Variety of Bhotia

(Kumaon Breed bred & typed out by the Maharaja of Dumraon)

BREED DESCRIPTION from DOGS: The Ultimate Dictionary of Over 1,000 Dog Breeds by DESMOND MORRIS published by North Pomfret, Vt. Trafalgar Square 2002


HIMALAYAN SHEEP DOG Also known as the Bhotia, this breed is sometimes used for herding sheep or protecting proerty, in addition to its main role as a flock guard. It has occasionally been recorded as the Bhotia Himalayan Mastiff.

The Himalayan Sheep Dog is found in the foothills ofthe Himalayas over a wide range, from eastern Nepal to to Kashmir in north-west India. The typical form looks rather like a large, long-haired labrador, but there is some variation in coat colour. It has small, drooped ears and its tail is described as 'heavily plumed and turned over the back'. Its height is 20-25 inches (51 to 64 cm) and its weight is 50-60 lb (23-27 kg). It is a close relative of the more northerly and slightly larger Tibetan Mastiff. This breed has a reputation for wandering and scavenging when it is not properly controlled, although this may simply reflect a response to an inadequate diet. As a working dog it is said to be 'ferocious and savage by nature' but again this may be due to the way it is treated. Those who have tried to keep it as a show dog instead of a working dog have remarked that it can (like almost any breed of dog) be transformed...


BHUTIA SHEEPDOG This is a larger form of the Himalayan Sheepd Dog, found in the remote country of Bhutan, to the east of Nepal. In height it is 26-28 in (66-71 cm), compared with the 20-25 in (51-64 cm) of its relative to the west. In Bhutan, the shepherds usually keep two or three of the dogs with every large flock, to defend them from the attacks of predators. The dogs are equipped with heavy leather collars that are covered in protective spikes. These devices help to prevent the choking throat-bite employed by some of the predators. Foreign visitors to Bhutan at the start of the 20th century were warned to avoid these dogs, because they 'will often attack Europeans without provocation'. In general appearance these dogs are very similar to both the Himalayan Sheep Dogs and the Tibetan Mastiffs, although their tails appear to be less tightly up-curled. They are capable of twisting them up over their backs, but are also frequently seen with them hanging low. In colour the dogs are black-and-tan, solid red or grizzled.


BANGARA MASTIFF A local breed named after the Bangar district of Tehri Garhwal, which is employed to protect the herds of yak and the flocks of sheep from the attacks of wild animals.

This is a close relative of the Tibetan Mastiff, specially developed by the people of Tehri Garhwal (a mountainous region of the former Punjab hill states in north-west India) to control their livestock in the daytime pastures and, by night, to protect the animals from the attacks of large predators. For this role a powerful, courageous breed was needed and the Bangara Mastiff is such a dog, always ready to risk its life in defence of its livestock. The usual colouring is black-and-tan, but paler coats also occur. The males are up to 25 in (64 cm) in height and have a strong, mastiff muzzle, a compact body and a heavily plumed tail that is curled to one side. The local people do not appear ot have called this dog by a particular breed name. It was given its official title of Bangara Mastiff by the Indian dog expert Major W.V. Soman in 1963. When he retired from the army he was asked to act as a judge at a dog show in Bombay and was dismayed to find that all the animals on display were imported pedigree breeds and that there was not a single native Indian dog to be seen. He set about correcting this by publishing a detailed list of Indian breeds, stating: 'My work will only be fulfilled if we see the pedigreed dogs of Indian origin in dog shows in India'. Where a local breed lacked a specific title, he created one, as with this distinctive mastiff from Bangar.

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