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Rajapalayam Hound, Indian sight-hound.
|Notes||Recognized by the Kennel Club of India.|
|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Rajapalayam, also known as the Polygar Hound or Indian Ghost Hound, is a southern Indian dog breed. It was the constant companion, boar hunter and guard of the royalty and aristocracy in Southern India, particularly in its namesake town of Rajapalayam in the Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu.
Four commemorative postage stamps were issued on 9 January 2005 by India Post for four breeds (sic.) i.e. Himalayan Sheepdog, Rampur Hound, Mudhol Hound (Face value Rs. 5 each) and Rajapalayam (Face value Rs. 15). This dog is known to live up to 12 years of age.
The Rajapalayam was bred to be the complete hunter and estate guardian and has features that allow it to excel at both,
Primarily used to hunt wild boar independent of the handler, the Rajapalayam is unique in two ways. Firstly it fulfils the functions of a bay dog as well as a catch dog, secondly the Rajapalayam can hunt by sight as well as track by scent. While hunting they can be relentless pursuers that are not intimidated by complex terrain or water bodies. After finding their prey, the dogs take it down and bring it back to the handler. If the dog is unable to bring down its prey, it injures and corners the target till the handler can get to it. This dog can hunt alone, in pairs, in a pack, or with its owner.
Rajapalayams tend to be more muscular and heavier boned than most sighthounds, but they share the depth of chest and basic body structure that exudes speed and physical ability. Its facial structure is considerably different from that of a Caravan Hound with a slightly larger head and more powerful jaws. It has a slightly curled tail.
An extremely handsome and graceful dog, the Rajapalayam has a double suspension gait, similar to the trotting of a thoroughbred horse.The staple colour is milk white though faint brown markings are quite common, the pink nose is standard.
Eye color can range from golden to brown and green.Puppies born with whitish or blue eyes are almost always deaf and should not be bred. The coat is single, short, and fine so these dogs don't do well in very cold climates but excel in the heat of South India or tropics.
As with many fully white dogs, there is an incidence of deafness and it is best to check if puppies respond to noise before picking them. Many Rajapalayam dogs suffer from mange, though this is usually not a serious problem, (Mange is not a skin problem and is actually caused by mites), so it is basically a care issue of preventing mites rather than a breed issue. Other than this the breed is robust and requires minimal maintenance.
The Rajapalayam dog is courageous, intelligent and aloof, ready to boldly take on wild boars and home invaders without any hesitation. Breeders were known to kill shy and weak pups; this cruel practice has resulted in a dog that is confident, seldom shy and has a stable temperament. Spaying or neutering these pups while placing in "pet" homes would have the same impact. They are an extremely loyal one-person dog and usually do not like to be handled by strangers. However, they are friendly if socialised well and adapt well to a family "pack".
The Rajapalayam breed of dogs are considered formidable guard dogs, fiercely guarding their home, family and territory they will readily give their lives in an attempt to defend their owner. They are not timid or fearful, and will readily go on the offensive and take on any intruders head-on. Early socialization helps them to adapt to friends and other pets.
The Rajapalayam dog is intelligent and has a high prey drive, it is known to act independently without human guidance, while this trait was important when dealing with wild boar as well as guarding large estates it makes obedience training slightly more challenging than average. Despite the ban on hunting in India, the Rajapalayam has retained many of its original characteristics and does not need to be trained to guard or hunt, making them an excellent natural all-round guard dog with impressive hunting skills.
Future of the breed
The pure Rajapalayam used to only be found in isolated pockets around southern Tamil Nadu. A dog breeding unit was established at Saidapet, Chennai, during 1980–81. This unit primarily rears native breeds like the Rajapalayam, Combai, kanni, and Chippiparai. To create awareness and encourage dog lovers to rear native breeds, the Animal Husbandry Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu participates in dog shows. Localities have established a cooperative and interested families are given female dogs and expertise that is required for large-scale breeding. The Indian Postal Department has brought out postage stamps on the Rajapalayam dog breed, as well as the Mudhol Hound, Rampur Hound, and the Himalayan Sheepdog. The Kennel Club of India has taken up the cause of the Rajapalayam. With the club's cooperation, the "Save the Rajapalayam Project" has been launched. These initiatives have successfully brought the breed back from the brink of extinction.
It is important to research properly before purchasing or adopting a puppy because many unethical breeders are giving customers inbred and genetically compromised puppies.
- Raja et al "Phenotypic characterization of Rajapalayam dog of Southern India" Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 87 (4): 447–451, April 2017
- Raja, K. N., et al. "Cytogenetic Profile of Rajapalayam Dog Breed of Southern India." Indian Journal of Animal Research OF (2017).
- "Rajapalayam dog - Barks.in".
- "Every Dog has His Day". The Hindu. February 12, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- "INDIA - CIRCA 2005: stamp printed by India, shows dog Rajapalayam, circa 2005". 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2014.
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