The Himalayan Sheepdog
The Himalayan Sheepdog, also known as the Bhotia Kokur, is a rare medium-sized molosser mountain dog originating in Nepal and it is closely related to the larger Tibetan and Indian Mastiffs. This ancient breed has been used to herd and guard livestock from ferocious predators and to hunt big game in the harsh mountain terrains of North India, Bhutan and Nepal.
Nowadays, this impressive and noble breed is found exclusively along the Himalayan border, in India and Nepal and it is also valued for being a faithful and affectionate family companion and a brave watchdog as well as guard dog. This breed is reserved by nature, yet it is very devoted to its owners and it possesses remarkable innate guarding and herding instincts.
In terms of general appearance, the Himalayan Sheepdog has a well-developed, powerful and sturdy, but not massive body, with strong bones, medium-sized head which is flat at the top, black nose, slight stop, close fitted lips, medium-sized triangular ears typically pointed, bright and expressive brown eyes, compact feet and furry tail, set high and slightly curled over its back.
The height of the males ranges between 21-24 inches and that of the females between 19-22 inches and the weight of the males is 60-70 pounds and that of the females is 50-60 pounds.
This compact breed has a double coat, which enables it to withstand the harsh weather conditions in the foothills of the Himalayan Mountains, because it prevents the snow and water from reaching its skin. Its outer coat is long and hard to the touch, while its undercoat is very dense, soft and thick. The color of its coat ranges from creamy white, golden, fawn, to black, grizzle and black and tan, with white markings on the chest, neck and toes. It looks like a long-haired Labrador.
This breed is even-tempered, self-confident, very agile, alert and loving; it has a strong sense of duty and it is very loyal to and protective of its family members, flock and property. It is not meant to be kept indoors for too long, because it thrives on regular outdoor exercise. Obedience training, as well as proper socialization from an early age, is important, because it is an independent and quite stubborn breed by nature. The Bhotia is a perfect, gentle and affectionate family companion and it is especially fond of children. This breed is not very good with other pets, as it tends to be quite aggressive and jealous towards them. It is wary of strangers.
Proper care of the Bhotia includes plenty of exercise and an adequate diet. Although it is very territorial, this pastoral breed is known for wandering off and scavenging especially if not properly fed. It also requires a large fenced courtyard in order to maintain its health and it is typically not suitable for apartment living conditions.
In terms of health, although it is a rugged breed, it is prone to hip and elbow dysplasia, obesity, if not properly exercised, arthritis and glaucoma. Its life expectancy is around 13 years. Grooming is easily achieved, a weekly brushing of its coat being enough.
If you decide to adopt a rare, noble and versatile breed such as the Himalayan Sheepdog, you can have an excellent watchdog and guard dog for your property and livestock, with remarkable protective instincts, a dedicated herding and hunting dog and a faithful furry companion for your entire family.