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|Other names||North-Indian Greyhound
|Domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris)|
The Rampur Greyhound is a breed of dog native to the Rampur region of Northern India, which lies between Delhi and Bareilly. The Rampur hound is a large member of the sighthound family. In North West of India it is often described as a smooth-haired sighthound that is substantially built. It was the favored hound of the Maharajahs for jackal control, but was also used to hunt lions, tigers, leopards, and panthers. It was considered a test of courage for a single hound to take down a golden jackal. The Rampur is built to cover great distances at high speed but is also capable of great endurance.
The length from the withers to the base of the tail is about 36 inches, with a chest which is deep but not very wide across the shoulders, and with well-sprung ribs. The tail is long and tapering slightly curving upwards and carried low; it is about 24"–27" in length. The neck, about 12 inches in circumference, is long, arched, and muscular, and rather broad where it joins the body. The roughly 9-inch-long jaws are expected to exhibit a powerful scissor bite. The males measure 60–75 cm (24–30 in) in height. The females measure 55–60 cm (22–24 in) in height. They weigh about 27–30 kg (60–65 lb).
They are approximately the same height as most other greyhounds, but much wider and more muscular, somewhat similar to the Rhodesian Ridgeback. The head of the Rampur is broader and more substantial than the head of the English Greyhound. It has a flat skull and a pointed nose. It also has a characteristic roman bend. Their ears are high-set on their head and held in a rose or pendant fashion. The Rampur's foot is a large "hare" shape, with heavy webbing. Their toes are very articulated and flexible, even able to bend backwards a bit. They are not unlike our own fingers in many ways. This maneuverability helps to give them a cat-like balance, with most dogs able to walk on ledges or to calmly clear a six-foot fence. Colors include mouse-gray, grizzle, brindle, particolor or, rarely, black. The gray and grizzle colorings in particular have the ability to blend particularly well with forest foliage, capable of making the dogs difficult to spot from a distance of as little as ten feet, in broad daylight. Black, however, is the most sought-after color of dog by many enthusiasts. Their eye color ranges from yellow to golden-brown.
The breed loves human companionship, and like most sighthounds tends to keep itself clean and well-groomed. They may appear lazy but will charge if needed. The Rampur in play can be a scary thing to the uninitiated. They like to charge at each other at speed, then butt their chests with extensive force. They are affectionate to their owners, almost to a fault. Even so, the Rampur Hound is still a commanding breed and makes an excellent guard-dog. Generally gentle and sensitive around its own family's children, the Rampur nonetheless tends to be a one-person dog, and has been known to display protective instincts. At times they can also be rambunctious and prone to knocking people over in their enthusiasm. They can sometimes be aggressive with other dogs.
Before obtaining a Rampur Hound, size and exercise requirements should be taken into consideration. Relatively robust, it needs plenty of space to stretch its legs and probably would be not be happy to be confined to a small apartment.
Rampurs are typically a healthy and long-lived breed, living up to fifteen years, and hereditary illness is rare. What diseases are seen are usually similar to those seen in other greyhound breeds; Rampurs have been known to develop esophageal achalasia, bloat (gastric torsion), and osteosarcoma Because the Rampur's lean physique makes it ill-suited to sleeping on hard surfaces, owners should generally provide soft bedding; without bedding, Rampurs are prone to develop painful skin sores, though feeding them foods high in vitamin A may also help mitigate this. Due to Rampurs' unusual physiology and anatomy, a veterinarian with experience in the peculiarities of the breed is advisable, particularly when anaesthesia is required. If such specialists are not available, it is best to seek one who specialises in the treatment of greyhounds or related breeds.
Greyhounds demonstrate unusual blood chemistry, which can be misread by veterinarians not familiar with the breed; this can result in an incorrect diagnosis. Rampurs have higher levels of red blood cells than do other breeds, (a trait inherited from their English Greyhound ancestors). Since red blood cells carry oxygen to the muscles, this higher level allows the hound to move larger quantities of oxygen faster from the lungs to the muscles. Veterinary blood services should use greyhounds as blood donors if there are no available Rampurs, (Greyhounds are generally used as universal blood donors anyway).
Today, with boar hunting no longer a state-sanctioned activity, it is restricted mainly to the rural population of India, and Rampurs have seen a resultant decline in popularity. Unlike the maharajahs of years past, today's rural Rampur owners tend to keep their working hunting dogs for food or to get rid of pests, rather than solely for companionship. Rampurs are now mainly kept for the hunting of jackals, but they are also still capable of tracking down and killing other, larger game that has been wounded by hunters. Their upkeep can prove prohibitively expensive for many of the rural poor, however. They have not caught on as a show dog, have never been exhibited in the conformation ring, and are by and large still an actively working breed, rather than a pet.
His Royal Highness Ahmad Ali Khan of Rampur, Nawab of Rampur State, bred these dogs by combining the blood lines of very powerful but ferocious Tāzī, brought in by the Afghans, and the English Greyhound that was more obedient but less resistant to the varying climatic conditions. He gave the name 'Rampur Hound' to the dogs he bred. The Rampur Hound far exceeded his expectations. While it got its looks and stalwart character from its Tāzī Afghan ancestors, from the English Greyhound it got its speed. Here was a dog that would seldom back down in confrontations, and could more or less keep up with the fastest prey.
With the fall from power of the Maharajahs in 1947, so too fell the popularity of the Rampur Hound. The effect of the arrival of the English was evident to the Rampur, as well as the native Indian people. Additional English greyhound was bred into some of the lines, making it very difficult to find a purebred Rampur Greyhound today.
With the decline in hunting in India the dog's popularity plummeted. It was no longer fashionable or practical for the rich to keep them, while the poorer population simply could not afford to keep one. In recent years, however, its popularity has begun to rise once more, and the breed's numbers along with this. Nonetheless, this remarkable breed still balances on the edge of extinction. Only a handful are known and registered outside of India, with all current known individuals outside India being currently located in the U.S. state of New Jersey.
- http://www.thekci.org/home.aspx, The Kennel Club of India.
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