Names

  • Chippiparai
  • Chippiparai Dog
  • Pullaikanni
  • Paruki – Chippiparai that is dark tan in color
  • Sevelai Pullai – Tan colored Chippiparai

Physical Traits

  • Weight: Male 28 – 30 kg; Female 23 – 28 kg 
  • Height: Male 65 – 68 cm; Female 61 – 64 cm
  • Coat: Short and smooth coat
  • Colour: Multiple, most common is biscuit or silvery fawn 
  • Litter Size: 6 – 9
  • Life Span: 8 – 11 years

The Chippiparai Dog

Chippiparai dog

Chippiparai is a sighthound from the state of Tamil Nadu. Chippiparai’s breeding tract is along the Kaduvetti, Venkateswarapuram, and Vagaikulam villages in the Tirunelveli district.

Chippiparai dog is slender, lean, and aerodynamically built for speed and endurance. These dogs are excellent for hunting small game such as hare and Blackbuck they excel in wild boar hunts too. Chippiparai is a sighthound used in the sport of coursing game in foothills of the Western Ghats. Their aerodynamic body and agility enabled hunters to hunt bush meat for a living. Chippiparai is one of the fastest dogs in the world. They can hit speeds of over 60 kmph, some breeders have recorded 65 kmph as top speed for their dogs.

Like most native dogs, there is very little historical information that is available about these dogs. There are no written records about these dogs. Hence, we have spent a considerable amount of time researching, interviewing breeders, studying the Chippiparai, and countless visits to the Chippiparai’s breeding tract. This article presents a summary of our findings and covers the following.

  • The history of the Chippiparai
  • Purpose of these dogs
  • Compare and contrast Chippiparai dog with Kanni dog
  • The Chippiparai’s current status

History of Chippiparai dogs 

1940 image of a chippiparai dog being trained

Historical records talk about an ancient breed of dogs locally called the Vettai Nai. Vettai Nai meaning, hunting dogs in the Tamil language. There are only three known game hounds in the South, the KanniRajapalayam, and Chippiparai.

Ancient Tamil records also record a dog called Vengai Nai. This dog was courageous, loyal, and intelligent. Vengai in Tamil means Tiger, a reference to its fearless character. Lack of scientific studies linking Vengai Nai and Vettai Nai to Chippiparai means, one can only speculate about their relationship. It is, however, clear that Southern dogs are one of the oldest dog breeds in existence today.

Many experts believe that dogs like Kombai, and Rajapalayam descended from a common ancestor. Years of selective breeding has resulted in three distinct dog breeds from a common ancestor. 

Historical travel records describe the value of Indian dogs across the world. Artaxerxes 1, king of Persia, in the 4th-century, imported several game hounds.

Unfortunately, an accurate description of the Chippiparai dog is hard to find. The knowledge about these dogs is passed down by word of mouth, and no written records exist. Even in their native breeding tract, there is no consensus about the traits of Chippiparai. Each breeder claims his dog to be the true Chippiparai. Studies organized by the Government of Tamil Nadu has resulted in the documentation of the remaining few Chippiparai dogs. 

The true purpose of the Chippiparai Dog

Chippiparai dog ready for hunt

Chippiparai dogs are sighthounds. One of the key traits that distinguish Chippiparai dogs from other hounds is its remarkable eyesight. They use their sense of smell and their eyes to tract even the faintest disturbances in the bush. These fine-tuned senses make Chippiparai an exceptional hunter.

Chippiparai dogs are excellent in coursing. Chippiparai can hit speeds over 60 kmph, making them the perfect game dog. Before the ban on hunting, Chippiparai dog was a small game hunter, often used for hunting bushmeat in the foothills of the Western Ghats. The foothills of the Western Ghats are shrub forests. Chippiparai dogs with their excellent sense of smell and sight flourished in small game hunts. 

Chippiparai dogs are also endurance runners, capable of sustaining high speed over long distances. Hunts in olden days were a grand affair. Dog handlers gathered with their dogs in the forest. Packs of 3 or 4 dogs then coursed game towards hunters. The foothills of the Western Ghats were also home to the ferocious wild boar. These boars were strong and built like a tank. Chippiparai dogs sometimes were injured and scared during these hunts. Bravery in these hunts earned bragging rights for the dog handler and its village.

With hunting banned, these dogs have lost their purpose. Today the Chippiparai is a guard dog. Their excellent sense of sight, smell, and intelligence make them a good watchdog. The armed forces and police also use Chippiparai dogs in different roles.

The plight of Chippiparai dog today

A sad Chippiparai dog

Chippiparai dogs like all the dogs from the south are moving alarmingly towards extinction. Non-native breeds have taken over homes. Once these dogs were highly prized, their speed, flexibility, endurance were highly valued. Today these dogs are slowly disappearing. The following are some of the factors for this dog’s decline.

Ban on hunting

Chippiparai dogs earned good income for their masters. Their ability to run down small game meant a constant income for the villagers. Coursing was this dog’s primary purpose. Today, hunting is banned. Chippiparai can no longer earn by hunting bushmeat. 

Recommended reading: Helpling hunting dogs enjoy life without hunting

Space and exercise requirements

Chippiparai dogs are not your typical household dogs. These are very active game hounds and require a large amount of space to play. City dwellers cannot afford to keep a hound confined in their apartments. Chippiparai is very alert and needs challenging games and exercises to keep them from getting bored. Many city dwellers cannot provide the space and training that Chipparai needs.

Neglect and Ignorance

Another major issue that affects all native dogs is a lack of published breed description. Not many people who live in the south know about these elegant dogs. The internet is full of misinformation about these dogs deterring people away from these dogs. One popular website claims the Chippiparai as a bear hound, another calls it, an ancient guard dog. These people who write volumes about Chippiparai have not seen one and don’t care how this impacts this dog.

Chippiparai desperately needs your help. They are slowly but surely disappearing. It is time now for people to stand up and protect these dogs. The easiest thing that you can do is to share this article in your social media circuits. Tell your friends about these great dogs.

The different types of Chippiparai dog

Fawn colored Chippiparai dog

Like the Kanni dog, in the Chippiparai’s breeding tract, people use different local names. To the breeders, each dog is unique. For instance, one breeder who owned a dark tan Chippiparai called his dog Paruki. According to him, his Paruki is a distinct dog unrelated to the Chippiparai. Another breeder calls his dog Pillai and says his Pillai is the best Vettai Nai (hunting dog) in his village. He goes on to say there is no other dog like his.

In our conversations with various breeders of Chippiparai dog, we have come to understand that the Chippiparai dog is distinct. The breeders from different villages differentiate their dogs by giving them local names.

In our extensive research about these dogs, we have come to know about a particular lineage of the Chippiparai dog, which is considered to be best. This line is called the Seeni Nayakar line. Most breeders agree that these dogs are direct descendants of the Chippiparai dogs owned by the Madurai Nayakars in the 1600s.

Chippiparai versus Kanni dogs

Chippiparai versus Kanni

The debate about both dogs being the same dog is as old as these dogs. There are two schools of thought arising from two different backgrounds.  

  1. The breeders in the breeding tract argue that these are distinct dogs. They identify minute variations in height, body shape, color, etc. as being indicators of this. 
  2. The research scholars who don’t have close contact with these dogs but study them believe these dogs to be the same.

Both sides of the argument have very valid points that one cannot ignore. Our research has been inconclusive because these dogs look alike. There are no noticeable differences between the Kanni and the Chippiparai. Comparing the studies done on these dogs by the Tamil Nadu veterinary university shows that the average height of the Chippiparai dog is less. 

We conclude our research with the following observations. 

  1. Both dogs are phenotypically alike, with only minor differences.
  2. The breeding tract of both dogs overlap, which could indicate common ancestry.

Top speed of the Chippiparai dog

This dog is one of the fastest dogs in the world. They are capable of hitting speeds up to 60 kph. When trained for speed, this dog can touch 65 to 68 kph making this fastest dog in India. Unlike the Mudhol Hound, which is an endurance runner, the Chippiparai is a sprinter and cannot maintain its speed over long distances.

Physical traits of the Chippiparai dog

Dog breed standards

Chippiparai is a sighthound that is of medium size. Chippiparai has a broad chest and tucked abdomen. For a person who is unfamiliar with hounds, the Chippiparai looks famished. They have an aerodynamic frame with long and bony legs. Chippiparai’s tail is whip-like and long. It is the tail that gives the Chippiparai balance during the hunt. Chippiparai’s head is narrow and long with powerful jaws.

Chippiparai’s legs are bony, and long, this gives them the thrust they need to propel their bodies. Chippiparai’s elastic tendons in their legs, giving them long and fast strides. Their broad chest and large lungs gulp air while running. All of these features make the Chippiparai one of the fastest dogs in the world. 

Chippiparai’s coat is short with one color, usually fawn. They have a rectangular body. Breeders prefer dogs that have long legs.

Temperament

Happy Chippiparai dog

Chippiparai has an excellent character that suits any family. They are not known to be aggressive and are excellent with children. They tolerate ear and tail pulling by children. Chippiparais are inquisitive dogs, sniffing, and smelling all the time. 

Chippiparai barks only when necessary, they are very wise decision-makers. They have limitless energy and are very eager to play. Their favorite game is playing fetch. Chippiparai dog is always ready to please its master. They are very loyal and loveable dogs.

How to care for a Chippiparai?

Care for a Chippiparai

Chippiparai dogs have excellent immunity. They do well in hot and humid conditions. They require minimal care for them to be healthy. Overall a very healthy dog. Chippiparais are prone to boredom. Breeders recommend a companion dog as a playmate, this they say helps keep the Chippiparai engaged.

All dogs require anti-rabies vaccines. Rabies is a deadly threat to dogs. Chippiparai pups also need Parvo vaccines.

Grooming

Chippiparai grooming

Chippiparai dogs have short and smooth coats. Their skin is grey. They don’t require much grooming. Shedding is minimal, making them couch friendly dogs. Coconut oil on their coat provides natural nourishment to their skin. Breeders also recommend adding a teaspoon of coconut oil in their food.

Exercise Requirements

Chippiparai chasing

Like all hounds, Chippiparai requires intense training and running sessions for them to be mentally happy. These are very active dogs. Dogs that don’t get adequate playing time turns to chew slippers and couches. Owning a dog like Chippiparai will ensure that you are healthy, as well. The best exercise that these dogs can get is to have them run next to your bicycle. They enjoy long runs.

Trainability

Chippiparai playing fetch

Chippiparai dogs are fascinating, intelligent, and loyal dogs. These dogs enjoy playing fetch and have a natural prey drive. Dog handlers harness this prey drive to train these dogs. This method of training is enjoyable to the dog and increases the bond between the dog and its master.

Chippiparai is easily distracted, even the slightest sound distracts them. Ensure the training sessions are short but frequent.

Chippiparai dogs also likes to jump. They can clear 7 to 8 feet high fences with ease. Breeders believe that jumping helps in the dog’s overall health. They train their dogs to jump but ensure that they don’t overdo it.

    Nutritional needs of Chippiparai dog

    Chippiparai dogs require high energy meals. Unlike other dogs, these dogs, the energy requirements of a Chippiparai dog is very high. Breeders in the native tract spend most of their income on feeding their dog the right nutrition. It is remarkable to see the extent of care these dogs get.

    All the breeders whom we spoke to follow the same feeding regime. Soup made from chicken/goat leg/oxtail at the start of the day. Then,  ragi/finger millet boiled with chicken or vegetables completes their diet. The breeders in the native tract use their dogs to hunt. Hence, their feeding regime is different.

    Top known ailments (health issues)

    Sick Chippiparai

    Chippiparai is a very healthy breed of dog. They have excellent immunity. Below are two common ailments.

    • Parvo viral diarrhea: Chippiparai puppies are prone to parvovirus. Puppies must be vaccinated.
    • Dermatitis: Dermatitis causes itchy skin. Applying coconut oil prevents itching.

    Natural remedies for Chippiparai

    One of the main reasons for native dogs to be healthy and have strong immunity is because of the nature of the treatment. Very rarely are these dogs taken to a vet for antibiotics. Breeders prefer natural medicines.

    • Cuts and bruises – Ground turmeric is made into a paste and applied directly to the wound. Turmeric has antiseptic properties that heal the wound naturally.
    • Dermatitis – Aloe Vera has been used in Indian medicine for generations. Aloe vera applied to the dog’s body to treat dermatitis.
    • Deworming – Young Neem leaves are ground to a paste with coconut oil to make deworming medicine.

    Recommended Reading: Natural remedies for dogs

    When to choose a Chippiparai dog?

    Chippipari Ready for hunt

    Chippiparai dogs are game dogs. You cannot buy a Chippiparai and take them on a hunt. However, Chippiparai dogs are excellent pets they don’t bark as much as other dogs and are a very healthy breed of dog. They adapt well to hot and humid conditions and don’t require any specialized care.

    Choose a Chippiparai dog

    1. You want an excellent family dog
    2. A loyal dog that will protect your family no matter the cost
    3. A dog that is playful, full of energy
    4. Ease to maintain and care for, no specialized needs

    Interesting Facts

    • Chippiparai dogs can run up to 60 kmph. They are endurance runners as well, being able to sustain the same speed over long distances
    • Some people believe Chippiparai dogs and Kanni dogs are the same, the only difference being their color
    • Introduction non-native breeds of dogs, improper management are pushing Chippiparai towards extinction
    • The Kennel Club has introduced specialty native breed dog shows to promote native dogs

    Frequently asked questions about the Chippiparai

    What is the price of Chippiparai dog?

    BreedPet QualityShow QualityYearly costAvailabilityAdaptability to IndiaApartment livingSpecial needsCountryHealthSize
    Chippiparai

    Chippiparai

    ₹10,000₹22,000₹67,200MediumExcellentNot suitedNoIndiaExcellentMedium

    We recommend that you choose your dogs from breeders in the native breeding tract. Tirunelveli district’s surrounding villages are a place to buy these dogs. Dogsindia.com has a list of breeders whom you can contact to get a dog.

    We also recommend that you visit the Kennel Club of India’s specialty native breed dog shows where you can meet the breeders. Buying a pup from the native breeding tract will encourage the villagers and will also ensure that you get a genetically pure dog.

    How to identify original Chippiparai?

    Chippiparai dog is a sighthound found in the state of Tamil Nadu. They are lean and powerful dogs. Choosing the right Chippiparai requires patience and time. Today Chippiparai dogs are rare and only found in the native breeding tract.
    When choosing a pup, look for a rectangular body with a long tail. Breeders prefer dogs with a long tail, and they believe it is a sign of overall good health. Choose a pup that is confident, attentive, and playful. Chippiparais are excellent dogs, and they make great family pets.
    Take a pup that is from the Seeni Nayakkar linage. Many believe that this line is the direct descendant of the ancient Chippiparais. Hence, considered to be genetically pure.

    Where can I buy a Chippiparai dog?

    The best place to buy the Chippiparai dog is the villages surrounding the Tirunelveli district. You will face some challenges in getting a Chippiparai because these remote villages are not easily accessible. Also, the villagers don’t sell their dogs to outsiders. However, with time and patience, one can find a breeder who is willing to sell his pup.

    Recommended Reading: Dog prices in India

    How can I help revive the Chippiparai?

    Chippiparai dogs are disappearing. We have traveled extensively and spoken to many breeders. All of them agree that this breed is facing the threat of extinction. To lose this breed of dog is unthinkable.
    We urge our readers to use your social media as an outlet to share this article with your friends. Encourage people to buy native dogs.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, the modern Chippiparai dog is facing extinction. Saving this dog requires a collective effort. The number one priority is to get the word out about the plight of our native dogs. Share this article on social media, get the word out. Let us save this dog!