Royal Rajapalayam— A Native Pride of Indian Canine Heritage
Many Indian dog breeds are lesser known because of the increasing craze of imported breeds among pet parents. One of the root causes of the decline is due to people’s lack of information of these native breeds. Rajapalayam is one such Indian breed who has gained popularity lately. Let’s find out more on this breed. –by Dr AR Ahlawat, Dr AD Verma, Dr HA Sharma, Dr MD Odedra and Dr GP Sabapara
Dr AR Ahlawat
Indian dog breeds like Rampur Hound, Gaddi, Bhutia, Banjara/Sanehta and Rajapalayam have high energy level and better resistance to diseases. They sport short and dense coats more suitable for tropical climate in countries like India.
Rajapalayam is believed to have originated from Tamil Nadu. The name itself is derived from his place of origin—Rajapalayam, a city in Virudhunagar District of the state. The breed is also known as Shikaries or Rajapalayam Hound.
Tracing their roots
In ancient times, Indian dogs were praised across the world due to their hunting skills. They were exported to a number of empires like Rome, Egypt and Babylon. In the 18th century, around 50 distinct dog breeds were identified in the Indian subcontinent. Rajapalayam was one of them.
Rajapalayam was bred during the reign of Nayak dynasty in Tamil Nadu. This dog breed has fierce loyalty and guarding potential. Since many years they have been used by villagers in the region to protect and guard their agricultural crops, households, livestock and farm produce.
Rajapalayam has a recorded history of being used in the Carnatic and Polygar wars fought during 1799 to 1805. Their great instinct, amazing sight, and guarding potential have made them qualified as guard dogs deployed even today on the borders of J&K by the Indian Army.
As they are independent, loyal and courageous, Rajapalayam also makes excellent guards for families. They are distrustful of strangers and may attack any intruder entering into the house. They are single pet parent dogs who are very protective and possessive for their pet parents. They do not like to be touched or handled by other persons. Rajapalayam pups should be trained for socialisation. Sadly, Rajapalayams don’t have a good compatibility with other dog breeds.
Breed standard of Rajapalayam is set by certain characteristics. Some are listed as below:
- Milky white coat
- Narrow face, broad forehead, golden eyes and pinkish nose
- Muscular neck
- Long and slender legs with broad chest
- Arched back with long, slender and tapering tail
- Tucked up waist and narrow abdomen
Daily exercise needs
Rajapalayam requires large open spaces for movement and exercises. Daily exercise is needed for Rajapalayams to take care of their inherent hound characteristics as well as staying fit and healthy. They must indulge in substantial amount of daily exercise along with running sessions. A short 10 to 15 minute walks may not be sufficient for them.
Being a native Indian breed, Rajapalayam is disease resistant and can tolerate hot and humid climate with relative ease. However, like all other hounds they are also prone to skin infections. Grooming and frequent brushing will help keep ticks at bay and minimise their shedding.
Remember, hounds are more susceptible to mange infection due to their light coloured skin and hair. Deafness is another major health problem noticed in Rajapalayam. Pups born with white or blue eyes are most prone to deafness. It is a congenital condition that results in due to mating of albinos or pure white dogs.
A big recognition
With an aim to create awareness of Indian dog breeds among dog lovers and celebrating the country’s canine heritage, the Government of Tamil Nadu in the year 2005 released postal stamps on Rajapalayam and three other Indian dog breeds viz. Mudhol Hound, Rampur Hound and Himalayan Sheepdog.
Group Sight hound
Height 65-70 cm
Weight 24-25 kg
Life span 10-12 years
Litter size 6-8 puppies
(Dr AR Ahlawat, Associate Professor and HOD at Department of Animal Genetics & Breeding, Dr AD Verma, Dr HA Sharma, Dr MD Odedra, and Dr GP Sabapara are from College of Vetrinary Science & Animal Husbandry, Junagadh Agricultural University, Junaghad, Gujarat)