|Other names||Maiden's Beastmaster|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Kanni (கன்னி), meaning pure, (also known as the Maiden's Beastmaster) is a rare indigenous South Indian sighthound breed of dog found in the state of Tamil Nadu. Their native breeding tract is located around villages in the Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi districts. The breed is used mainly for coursing. "Kanni" refers to the black and tan and black and sable varieties, while the variety which is one colour is known as the Chippiparai. However some experts claim both Kanni and Chippiparai dogs to be distinct dogs.
Kanni is a indigenous ancient hound dog breed originated in Southern Uplands of Tamilnadu, India and should not to be confused with Saluki which is originated in the Fertile Crescent. Kanni is selectively bred from mediaeval periods specially for hunting the Indian Hare and remained in small pockets until the British came. Once the British came, Kanni dog's popularity of hunting sport took momentum resulting in introduction of Kanni dogs into nearby areas out of the particular pockets where it's bred from ancient mediaeval period. Before the arrival of British, it was used for here hunting spot by Farmers Zamindars (Aristocrat) and Landlords. In the beginning Kanni dogs existed only in several pockets of Southern Tamilnadu especially in Southern districts like Northern most part of Tirunelveli, Tuticorin, Southern part of Virudhunagar.
The name Kanni means "pure" in Tamil and was given to this breed for its loyalty – purity of heart. The Kanni is also known as the Maiden's Beastmaster for its voracity with which it defends its territory against other wild animals and because they are often gifted to newlywed brides as their guardians. Although Kannis come in different colours, generally only the ones that were black and tan were given as marriage gifts. This led to the wrong naming of the black and tan coloured breeds as Kanni in dogs as well as goats in future. Even though the native people call this breed as Kanni, Kennel Club of India (KCI) registered this with two names. It registered the black and tan coloured dogs of this breed as Kanni and the rest as Chippiparai respectively.
Kannis are medium-sized dogs, with straight top lines and tucked-up abdomens. Height at the withers is 64–74 centimetres (25–29 in) and weight ranges from 16–22 kilograms (35–49 lb). They have straight heads, strong jaws, golden eyes and black noses. The ears are medium-sized and flat, and can be erect, dropping or semi dropping. The tail is semi curved. Kannis have a lifespan of 14 to 16 years.
Kannis have short coats, which can be brown with black, fawn (Santhana Pillai), light red (Sevalai) to dark red (Karum Sevalai), cream, white (Mayila Pillai), red with white, or pale grey (Sambal).
Other colours include black with fawn markings (Paal Kanni), black with dark tan markings (Seng Kanni), black with fawn face and legs (Karung Kanni), fawn head and legs with rest of body being black (Parukki), and brown and white (Semmarai).
The Kanni is usually shy but will always defend its home or master, if the need arises. The Kanni dogs are extremely faithful and easy to train but they will always think independently when on a hunt. They are very loyal to their family.
Kannis are specially bred and used for hunting Indian hares. Like other hounds, Kannis use their speed and endurance to hunt their prey. They use their excellent sense of smell and sight to track and hunt their prey. Kannis are trained to obey subtle hand signals of their masters while on the hunt. Kanni dogs have been known to hit speeds up to 60 km/h. The key to the Kanni's capability as a coursing dog can be found in its light but muscular build, large heart, double suspension gallop, and extreme flexibility of its spine all like that of Cheetah.
Habitat and food habits
Kannis live in a temperate climate zone. They need free space and their own territory, and are not suited to city life. Kannis eat millet, corn, jowar, rice porridge with milk or curd, and non-vegetable foods.
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