Kombai (dog)

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Kombai dog.jpg
Weight ≈ 71 cm (28 in)
Colour Usually reddish-brown with a lighter saddle
Dog (domestic dog)

The Kombai is a breed of sighthound native to Tamil Nadu in Southern India. Traditionally kept for hunting, they also have a reputation for making excellent guard dogs.


The Kombai is described as lean, long, muscular, powerful and athletic that stands around 71 centimetres (28 in).[1][2] They have a short and smooth coat that is usually reddish-brown in colour with a slightly lighter coloured saddle and a black muzzle.[1][2] Their eyes are dark, mid-length ears with bent tips, typical of sighthounds and they have a fine muzzle.[2] The breed has a long, tapering tail that is carried curled over their back.[1][2]

The Kombai is highly intelligent and described as being extremely loyal to and affectionate with people they are familiar with, being particularly sweet-natured and tolerant of children with whom they allow particularly rough play, but when aroused by strangers or unfamiliar dogs they can be ferocious, making them excellent guard dogs.[2]


The Kombai was originally from the Ramnad district although it subsequently spread throughout Southern India, they are named after the town of Kombai.[1][2][3] The Kombai is was traditionally kept by zamindars and others for coursing a variety of game, when hunting they particularly robust and athletic, easily clearing hedges and other obstacles.[2]

It is said that the Kannada Vokkaliga Zamindars of Kombai presented Tipu and Hyder Ali with these dogs for their army. The ferocious dogs were trained to rip the hamstrings of enemy horses. Tipu sent the town an idol of Ranganathaswamy in gratitude.[4]

There are conflicting reports about the status of the breed, some reports from the 1960s state the dog was popular and numbers were increasing whilst others from the same period described them as practically extinct.[1] A Tamil Nadu state run dog-breeding facility did take up the cause of breeding the Kombai, along with a number of other local breeds although it was reported they suspended their Kombai breeding program when owners who had purchased dogs returned them, finding their characters ill-suited to be kept as pets.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Morris, Desmond (2001). Dogs: the ultimate dictionary of over 1,000 dog breeds. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Publishing. p. 326. ISBN 1-57076-219-8.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Soman, W.V. (1962). The Indian Dog. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. p. 91.
  3. ^ a b Kolappan, B. (8 September 2014). "Bid to popularise ferocious Kombai". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
  4. ^ Umachandran, Shalini (30 Sep 2015). "Tipu a misunderstood patriot: Historians". India: The Times of India. Retrieved 25 March 2021.