Rajapalayam is believed to have originated from Tamil Nadu. The name is derived from the place of origin: Rajapalayam, a city in Virudhunagar district of the state. The breed is also known as Shikaries or Rajapalayam Hound.
Rajapalayam has a recorded history of being used in the Karnatic and Polygar wars fought during 1799 to 1805. Their great instinct, amazing sight, and guarding potential make them qualified guard dogs deployed even today on the borders of Jammu & Kashmir, by the Indian Army.
As they are independent, loyal and courageous, Rajapalayam also makes excellent guards for families. They are distrustful of strangers and may attack any intruder entering the house. They are single pet parent dogs, who are very protective and possessive of their pet parents. They do not like to be touched or handled by others. Rajapalayam pups should be trained for socialisation. Sadly, Rajapalayams don’t have a good compatibility with other dog breeds. The breed standard of Rajapalayam is set by certain characteristics. l Milky white coat l Narrow face, broad forehead, golden eyes and pinkish nose l Muscular neck l Long and slender legs with broad chest l Arched back with long, slender and tapering tail l Tucked-up waist and narrow abdomen
Daily exercise needs
Rajapalayam dogs require large open spaces for movement and exercises. This is a must because of their inherent hound characteristics and fitness. They must indulge in a substantial amount of daily exercise along with running sessions. Short 10 to 15 minute walks may not be sufficient for them.
Being a native Indian breed, Rajapalayam is largely disease-resistant and can tolerate hot and humid climate with relative ease. However, like all other hounds they are also prone to skin infections. Grooming and frequent brushing will help keep ticks at bay and minimise shedding.
A big recognition
With an aim to create awareness of Indian dog breeds among dog lovers and celebrating the country’s canine heritage, the Government of Tamil Nadu, in 2005, released postal stamps on Rajapalayam and three other Indian dog breeds viz. Mudhol Hound, Rampur Hound and Himalayan Sheepdog.
Tracing their roots
In ancient times, Indian dogs were praised across the world due to their hunting skills. They were exported to a number of empires like Rome, Egypt and Babylon. In the 18th century, around 50 distinct dog breeds were identified in the Indian subcontinent. Rajapalayam was one of them. They were bred during the Nayak dynasty in Tamil Nadu, and were known to be fiercely loyal, apart from being excellent guard dogs. They have been used by villagers in the region to protect agricultural crops, livestock and farm produce.
(Dr AR Ahlawat, Dr AD Verma, Dr HA Sharma, Dr MD Odedra, and Dr GP Sabapara)
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