|Life Expectancy||9 to 12 years|
|Litter Size||5 to 8 puppies|
65 to 75 cm (25 to 30 inches)
65 to 75 cm (25 to 30 inches)
22 to 25 kg (48 to 55 pounds)
22 to 25 kg (48 to 55 pounds)
Merle / Spotted / Brindle / Speckled, White / Cream
There are two names for the Rajapalayam, the other is the Poligar hound. Whatever name you have for it, the breed is an Indian Sighthound. It’s name is based on a particular town in the Indian Viruhunagar district of Tamil Nadu called, you guessed it, Rajapalayam. It rose to prominence as a dog of the aristocracy within Southern India, especially in the town it is named after. Below you will find a lot of information about the Rajapalayam, where we cover the breed’s characteristics, history and temperaments.
What does the Rajapalayam look like?
The breed is an intriguing combination of strength and grace. It is known for its power, balance and muscular body, whilst its gait and shape of face gives off an elegance. Perhaps this combination is somewhat of an embodiment the Southern Indian aristocracy where trying to portray at the time.
The breed is not common at all, so much so that in the past it has been close to extinction. So rare and unknown, it has only really been seen in Indian villages. Sometimes its appearance has been likened to that of a Great Dane. In the past, the breed was much larger than it is nowadays. It carries its head high, which is shaped with a dome. The entire body has a loose skin without wrinkles and a short soft coat, that is more coarse on the body. It’s ears hang down and are soft whilst the eyes are a dark brown. The breed’s tail is thin with a minute curl that thins to the end.
With questionable culling practices, the dog has predominantly had a white coat – with other colored puppies not being allowed to make it to adulthood. However, there are dogs that exist that are either spotted, black or brown. The nose, paws and mouth is usually pink and doesn’t contain any pigmentation.
As discussed briefly above, puppies with a milk or pure white coat are the favoured colourings. In a similar fashion to other dog breeds that are almost completely white, deafness is a common trait. If a Rajapalayam puppy is born with blue or white eyes, the chances are that it won’t be able to hear either well or at all.
What is the general temperament of the breed?
As with all dogs and breeds, each individual will have their own personality and temperament. However, the Rajapalayam is intensely loyal to its owner and will also be sceptical of people it doesn’t recognise. Because of this, they make great guard dogs. They can be very loving and devoted to the people it knows, however doesn’t always demonstrate this. More-so, a stranger touching or handling them is not something they like.
The breed was traditionally used to hunt wild boar, as well as a guard dog. The Rajapalayam is primarily a sight hound, however with the correct training they can become adept as a scent hound as well. Because of the breed’s hunting history they are capable of showing aggression and as such must be socialised properly as a puppy. Also because of the hunting traits, it is not advised to leave them with other small pets if you have any.
The roots of the Rajapalayam are mainly traced back to Tamil Nadu during the Nayakar dynasty period. The physical attributes of the breed, it’s speed, strength and temperament meant that they were actually used as war dogs in the Carnatic and Polygar wars between 1799 – 1805 against the British cavalry.
Alongside for use in war, these dogs were bred for boar hunting and guarding by the royalty of the region. Another name for the breed is the Poligar Hound, because the Poligar clan is known to have owned this breed. This particular clan had a reputation of mugging people, which their dogs would help with. Because of these actions the Rajapalayam became known as a breed that can be fierce, violent and capable of causing real damage.
There is some dispute over the exact origins of the Rajapalayam, with people claiming that it was bred in the town it takes its name from within Tamil Nadu. However, others claim that the Nayakars brought the breed to the area. If this is the case, there are other people who dispute the origins and claim that the Nayakers were also not the people to breed the dog.
Traditional roles the dogs would fulfil were: as guards for farms, houses and rice fields; hunting dogs; war dogs; and even companion dogs. More recently, the Indian army has used them to guard the Kashmir border.
What is the future of the breed?
Unfortunately, the pure pedigree lineage of the Rajapalayam is pretty much extinct. However, if you look hard enough in the south of Tamil Nadu, there are a small amount to be found in isolated areas. Without sustained, coordinated effort, the breed could completely disappear. Fortunately, the Kennel Club of India has launched a ‘Save the Rajapalayam Project, wherein it promotes the breed and aims to increase awareness, popularity and hopefully save the breed.
What Owner does the Rajapalayam suit?
If the Rajapalayam senses any sort of danger to itself or loved ones, it will attack straight away. On the flip side of this, the breed is loving and caring particularly with slightly older kids. There is usually one family member that it will grow closest to – usually ignoring other family members commands if the favourite has issued one.
Because the dog is so intelligent, training can be easy as long as the same person conducts the training. If the person who initiates the training changes, then it will have adverse affects on the dog.
Rajapalayam Grooming Needs
The breed does not need much grooming and sheds an normal average amount of hair.
Why choose a Rajapalayam?
If you are looking for a breed that will love you and show you a lot of warmth, whilst also being highly protective – the Rajapalayam has the characteristics you are looking for. It’s care towards the people it knows makes it a great guard dog, however it’s natural scepticism of strangers needs to be considered. It is not uncommon for them to really not enjoy being stroked by a stranger. The dog can live with other pets, however it shouldn’t live with smaller pets because its hunting instinct can cause some problems.
Common Health Issues
Usually this breed is known for being fairly healthy. However, as with all dogs there are issues that can develop. Remember to make sure they get the correct nutrition they need to minimise the risk of disease and illness. Click on this link if you’d like to find out more about the dietary requirements for large dog breeds.
However, as is common among dogs with white coats, the Rajapalayam can develop deafness. This is because cells called melanocytes are not present in the animal’s genes. These control the pigment within cells, but also, the stem cells for hearing also originate around melanocytes. This is why there is a correlation between animals with white coats and cases of deafness.
Another not uncommon issue is for the breed to have skin problems such as dermatitis and mange. However, this might be to do with where these dogs live being hot and moist.
This dog can live in an apartment as long as its exercise needs are met. This will involve a long walk or jog every day. The breed has a lot of energy that will need to be used up to prevent them becoming a nuisance and frustrated.