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Rajapalayam Hound, Indian sight-hound.
|Breed status||Not recognized as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.|
|Notes||Recognized by the Kennel Club of India.|
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Rajapalayam, also known as a Poligar hound, is an Indian Sighthound. It was the companion 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. 5.00 each) and Rajapalayam (Face value Rs. 15.00).
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 a Caravan Hound, 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 eye. 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. As with many fully white dogs, there is a high incidence of deafness in this breed. Puppies born with whitish or blue eyes are deaf. Many Rajapalayam dogs suffer from mange, though this is usually not a serious problem. Though the breed dates back a few centuries, the creators of the breed unwittingly ended up fashioning an albino dog, characterized by the pink nose and the lack of pigmentation.
The Rajapalayam was used predominantly for hunting wild boar and as a formidable guard dog.They are sight hounds by nature but it was proved that by a little training they can be also a Scent hound. All depends on the trainer. It needs wide open spaces and is very affectionate and devoted towards its owner, although not always demonstrative. They do not usually like to be touched or handled by strangers and are known to be one-person dogs. Rajapalayams are largely aggressive and hostile towards strangers, and will attack intruders. Socialization in puppyhood is important. They usually do not get along well with other pets like cats, owing to their strong hunting instincts.
Rajapalayam hounds were primarily bred and used by Nayakar dynasty of Tamil Nadu, it is speculated by some researchers that the Rajapalayam may have been one of the dogs used in the breeding of the modern Dalmatian.[dubious ] The Rajapalayam dog was used during the Carnatic Wars and Polygar War to attack the British cavalry in battle as Rajapalayams were very fast, strong and aggressive in attacking the opponents. It is also believed that 4 Rajapalayams once saved the life of their master fighting against a tiger and killing it bravely many years ago near a forest in Virudhunagar district of Tamil Nadu. They are largely used to guard the rice fields, houses and farms. In the last two decades Indian Army started using them as guard dogs to support the army in the borders of Kashmir.
Future of the breed
The pure Rajapalayam is more or less extinct, and only a few are to be found in isolated pockets around southern Tamil Nadu. The breed may vanish altogether if efforts are not initiated soon to revive it. 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, 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. The project has greatly influenced the breed's population and is active under KCI.
- "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.
- "Return of the Rajapalayam". The Hindu. February 12, 2005. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
- Magazine article
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