Rajapalayam - The Royal Dog
20 Mar 2013
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Rajapalayam: The Royal Dog
Hey, have you ever been friends with a royal dog? Ever had a pet whose composure makes you jealous? Well, if you have then you must have owned a Rajapalayam.
In today’s world of miniature lap dogs and fancy cross breeds the Rajapalayam is not a well know name.In the fast city life we tend to pick pets which we come across easily. Many a times the little kids in the family decide on the pet. They are invariably inspired by the television e.g. the Vodafone ad campaign made pugs really popular. The Rajapalayam has not had such luck in the show business!!!
Allow me to introduce them to you.
The Rajapalayam is an Indian sighthound. It is one among the handful of
Indian origin dog breeds
to be recognized internationally.I have tried to list down the basic facts about these dogs.
The sight hounds are the oldest among dog breeds, mainly bred in Southwest Asia 1. The Afghan Hound,Borzoi,Greyhound,Saluki,Whippet etc are members of this family.
The Rajapalayam was bred by the Tamil Nadu’s royalty, mainly the Nayak Dynasty. It is said to have been initially bred in the town of Rajapalayam, hence the name. 2.The dogs served in wars and also as guard dogs
These are large dogs growing to almost 25-30 inches,weighing around 8.5-20 kgs. Being, a variety of scent hounds their basic body structure is lean. They are long limbed, deep chested and have a narrow waist;but heavier boned compared to most sighthounds.
The coat is very fine and thin and usually pure white. However other colors e.g black,brown are also found, including one a variety in white with light brown spots. The spots show up within 2 to 3 months from birth. The maintenance of this breed is very easy, as with most thin coated breeds.
The pure white breeds are characterized by lack of pigmentation and pink noses they are albinos.
Rajapalyams are usually very affectionate and devoted towards their owners. As with other hunting dogs, they do not get along well with other pets e.g. cats or rabbits.
They are very good guard dogs and can be threatening towards strangers. However, thorough socialization during puppyhood is important and can bring down the
Usually, they answer to only one master. Even living as a part of a family it will pick only a specific person and respond to his commands. They are fiercely loyal and would do anything to help their masters, if the need be.However they are friendly towards all the family members.
These dogs are very energetic and daily exercise is necessary to keep the dogs happy and healthy. They love playing in open areas.
Confinement in small places for a long time is not at all recommended. Even leashing needs to be practised carefully, for it may upset the dog and make it aggressive.
Rajapalayams , very unlike lap dogs, do not like being touched and cuddled. So if you have a toddler at home who might want hugs or rides from your pet, this breed might not suit your needs. Although they are very affectionate by nature they are not very demonstrative of it.
These dogs are very easy to train and are fast learners.
The Rajapalayam dogs, like the Dalmatians, are prone to deafness. In fact there is a high incidence of deafness especially in the pure white dogs.
Now that you have a fair idea about the dog, let me share something more. The Rajapalayam has an elegant gait akin to the trot of a horse. These dogs are very agile,elegant and silent hunters. What makes them a gem of a pet is their dedication.
To know a Rajapalayam is an experience for a lifetime. When I was very young we had a Rajapalayam for a pet…and in spite of all other dogs that
I have come across in my later life I never found anybody comparable to “Bhoju”, our Rajapalayam. He came from a friend of my uncle. We did not recognize the breed initially, for he was just a little puppy and Rajapalayam was not a
best dog breed
at our place in West Bengal. However, we were promised by the owner that he would grow up to be the best dog ever.
He sure did!
We shared our home with such a magnificent dog for almost 12 years. I have never met any dog with a more understanding mind.He was composed all the while and had this royal air about him. I remember him having a facial expression which said “I never rush into decisions.”.I can not say for sure if it was not my childish imagination though! He was my brother’s pet and would often stay awake late into the night alongside him, going to sleep only when his master did. When Bhoju was a part of our family we also adopted another orphaned mongrel. Initially,we were skeptical if they would get along. The Rajapalayam proved himself a bigger man (as in, dog) and accepted the new puppy into his fold. There were fights which ensued, but the younger dog was never hurt by Bhoju.
This self restraint is a rare quality in dogs.
The breed was on the verge of extinction by the late 70s. To counter it the state government of Tamil Nadu established a dog breeding unit at Saidapet, Chennai, during 1980–81. This unit primarily rears native breeds like the Rajapalayam, Combai, Kanni, and Chippiparai.The Tamil Nadu government encourages this breed actively. The animal husbandry department of the state participates in dog shows. They encourage dog lovers to adopt these dogs as their new pets. Localities have established a cooperative, and interested families are given female dogs and educated about large scale breeding.
The Indian Postal Department has brought out stamps on the Rajapalayam.
Due to all these efforts and dedication of several dog lovers this breed is back in favor. Now, Rajapalayams are found in several states within India and is gaining popularity with the masses. They have also found acceptance with the Indian Army, which now has a pack of Rajapalayams helping them in Jammu and Kashmir.
These are dogs are lovely and very special and things should only get better for them!!!!
1.Encyclopedia of Dogs by David Alderton