Know Our Own Dog Breeds, Kombai, Kanni, Alangu, Chippiparai and Rajapalayam
Let us identify these Dog breeds of Tamilnadu. Feel Free to put in your answers in comments.
To know more about these dogs…
The Kombai is usually red or brown with a black mask, and with a dark line along the back. The chief differences between the Rajapalayam and the Combai breeds are that the Combai has more powerful jaws, often with a black mouth, much more pendent ears, rich red colour and a savage temper. It has, like Rhodesian Ridgeback, a ridge of fur along its back.
Their coats are easily maintainable and are less prone to skin disorders, fungal and yeast infections, and ticks-fleas infestation. The breed, having evolved naturally many centuries ago, are very immune to most diseases that haunt the man-designed breeds.
The Combai is a very ancient breed of dog, used in hunting as early as the 9th century B.C. when the Marava Kings held sway over South India. The Combai was used for hunting boar, bison and deer. Once available in large numbers throughout Southern India, the Combai is now restricted to certain parts of Tamilnadu and to some special kennels.
The Chippiparai is a sight hound breed of dog from the south of India. Thought to be a descendant of the Saluki, today it is found in the area around Periyar Lake. It is used primarily for hunting wild boar, deer and hare. It is said to be an excellent hunter, and is also used for guarding the home.
The typical color is a silver-grey, with very limited or no white markings. Other colors, particularly variations of grey and fawn, also occur. This is a handsome dog, tall (27-32 inches at the withers) and powerful. It has a short coat that is very close; on the whole the coat if kept groomed has a shine on it. A shining, shell-like appearance is greatly desired. This kind of coat makes it ideal for hot climates. This hound is also less prone to ticks and fleas, with their short coat providing easy detection. The overall appearance is very similar to that of the Sloughi, or the Rampur Hound.
The Kanni, which means maiden, is a rare indigenous South Indian dog breed found in the state of Tamil Nadu. The breed is a further extension of the Caravan or Mudhol Hound, and is also a descendant of the Saluki. However, the Kanni does not possess the grand features of these breeds. It is used mainly for hunting.
In general appearance, the Kanni is similar to a smooth-coated Saluki or a Doberman Pinscher with natural ears and tail. The dog is usually black and tan in colour, perhaps with limited white on the feet and chest. There also exists a cream-coloured variety of the breed, which is known as “Paalakanni”. The Kanni is agile, slim, graceful, and moderately built, with a deep chest and slim body. The dog stands about 25 inches at the withers, the bitch about 22 inches.
The Kanni is found in and around Tirunelveli, Pollachi, Kovilpatti, Kazhugumalai, Kileral, Kodangipatti, Sivakasi, and Madurai. It is said that the name Kanni ( which means Unmarried Girl) comes from the fact that the dog used to be given as a gift to the bridegroom just before the marriage. They are usually of four colours, brown, cream, black & tan and brindle. The Kanni is kept by families who do not sell them but may gift them if a promise is made to look after them well. They are not allowed to roam on the streets and brought up as pet animals. They are given a diet of milk in the morning, corn porridge in the afternoon and a “Ragi” porridge in the evening. Meat is given once a week or once a month only. The breed is now extremely rare, and on the verge of extinction. Efforts to revive the breed have not been taken up, as specimens are few, and there exists little information about them.
This is a tall breed with a noble carriage and short coat. The dogs may be red, fawn or brindle, markings vary. The muzzle is black and the skin around their neck and mouth is loose. The brisket is deep, and the limbs are well muscled. The back is long with the tail tapering to a fine point. The ears are set high on the skull and pricked. It has a long and graceful stride. Their height varies between 73,6 to 76,2 cm. (29-30 inches).
The Persian Army used Indian mastiffs, but just for guarding and were introduced into Greece by Xerxes the First when he marched towards this country in 486-465 B.C..
The Indian Mastiff originated in and around the desert area of Kachchh, the Rajasthan area and Bhawalpur area of Punjab. A part of the Kutch area in Rajasthan was under the Sindh District and so the other name of this breed is Sindh Mastiff. Alongside the Kumaon Mastiff, the Indian Mastiff were used for hunting large games. A sudden change in the hunting practises saw the Indian Royal families to use cheetahs for hunting instead. This changed the Indian Mastiffs job to guard dogs and dogs used for fighting instead. With time most people forgot the breeds and the Indian Mastiff became rare. The people who used the Indian Mastiffs to fight dropped its height a couple of inches for performance sake. Its height was originally, 30-34 inches (76,2 – 86,3 cm), but as 150 years has passed the height of the breed has dwindled to 29-30 inches (73,6 – 76,2 cm).
The Indian Mastiff are used as fighting dogs in Pakistan, where they then are called Bully Kutta, alongside the proper Bully Kutta, since most Pakistani dog fighters are accustomed to calling all Mastiff breeds used for fighting Bully Kutta. The Indian Mastiff are still used in Pakistan as excellent Fighting Dogs and also as one of the most dangerous guard dogs, known to excel the true Bully Kutta.
The Rajapalayam is an Indian Sighthound. It was the companion of the royalty and aristocracy in Southern India, particularly in the town Rajapalayam from where it gets its name.
It is a large dog, usually measuring about 65-75 cm (25-30 inches) at the withers. It is a hound, and therefore should be kept in optimum working condition. It tends to be heavier boned than most sighthounds, but shares the depth of chest and basic body structure. Its facial structure is considerably different from that of, say a Caravan, as it is meant primarily for hunting wild boar. The tail has a slight curl.
The most prized colour is milk white, with a pink nose and golden eyes. However, other colours including spotted or solid, black, and brown, are known to occur. In the past, puppies of colour were usually culled from the litters since the owners preferred the pure white dogs. The coat is short and fine. An extremely handsome and graceful dog, the Rajapalayam has a gait similar to the trotting of a thoroughbred horse.
It’s history still remain’s unknown.