Names

  • Rajapalayam
  • Rajapalayam Dog
  • Poligar Hound
  • Vellai Moonji Nai/White-faced dog

Physical Traits

Type: Utility, Sighthound

  • Weight: Male 25 – 30 kg; Female 20 – 25 kg
  • Height: Male 60 – 65 cm; Female 55 – 60 cm
  • Coat: Single, short coat
  • Colour: Milky white
  • Litter Size: 4 – 10
  • Life Span: 9 – 13 years

Rajapalayam dog at a glance

Rajapalayam breed traits infographics

The original Rajapalayam dog

Rajapalayam dog with a kitten

The Rajapalayam dog is a medium to large size sighthound. These were the celebrated Poligar Hounds of Tamil Nadu. During the Nayakar rule, the Rajapalayam dog was the companion of kings and aristocrats. These dogs were the royal hunting dog, built like a small tank the Rajapalayam dog bravely took on wild boars.

This dog originated in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu from the Rajapalayam town. This dog is one of the oldest native Indian dog breeds. The Kennel Club of India officially recognizes and registers this dog. 

As a sighthound, Rajapalayam dog’s primary purpose was for hunting wild boar, deer, and other game. With India’s ban on all forms of hunting, the Rajapalayam dog of today excels in various roles, such as.

  • As guard dog
  • As a police dog
  • As a military dog

The Rajapalayam dog is intelligent, courageous, and loyal, making them a versatile and multi-purpose dog.

In the 1980s, the Rajapalayam dog was the most popular in south Indian states. Their exceptional disease resistance, intelligence, and loyalty made them very popular. In the 1990s, with the import of foreign dog breeds, there was a drastic decrease in their popularity. Today, this dog is fighting for survival, and without help will disappear forever. Due to the decline in demand, the number of people who breed this dog has also decreased.

More recently, thanks to the efforts taken by native dog enthusiasts, the Government of Tamil Nadu, and the Kennel Club of India, this dog is making a come back.

The importance of an accurate breed description

Rajapalayam happy and smiling

A search on the internet shows how little the world knows about the Rajapalayam dog. Accurate information about this dog is as rare as this dog. 

We have 30+ years of hands-on experience with south Indian dogs. Based on this, we present an accurate description of this dog. In this post, we unveil the original Rajapalayam dog through the following.

  • Rajapalayam dog’s original purpose.
  • The traits of this dog.
  • Requirements such as.
    • Care
    • Training
  • The current status of the Rajapalayam dog.
  • Your help for their survival.

The history of the Rajapalayam dog

1940 Sketch of Rajapalayam dog

The beautiful Rajapalayam town is in the foothills of the Western GhatsPeople from this town were farmers who were living on the edge of the forest. Animals from the forest raided their farms for food. Also, villagers went into the woods to hunt game for food. They needed a dog that can protect their farms from wild animals as well as hunt.

Major Edward N was the first to describe this dog. In his book, the scenes and sports in foreign lands written in 1840, he called this dog as the Poligar Hound.

The word Poligar is a title for a warlord. In the Tamil language, the name Poligar Hound means a war dog. These dogs were not only hunters but also war dogs.

Old image of a Rajapalayam Poligar hound

The Nayakars ruled the Rajapalayam town in the 17th century. During their reign, soldiers trained their dogs to fight against the British by biting the hamstrings of the war horses. These dogs rendered many horses unfit for battle. These brave dogs fought and gave their lives for freedom from the British. In war, they were the ultimate expression of courage.

The true purpose of the Rajapalayam Dog

Rajapalayam on guard

The Rajapalayam dog is a sighthound.  In the olden days, people used the Rajapalayam dogs for the following purpose.

  • Hunting wild boars
  • Guarding the farms and rice fields against wildlife
  • War dogs used in wars against the British

To meet these needs, the Rajapalayam dog had to be brave, trainable, and dependable. Stories of their courage are well-known. It is said, to save their master, a pack of 11 Rajapalayam dogs fought off a tiger, some laying down their lives in the process.

Rajapalayam Dog hunting boar

The Rajapalayam dogs are capable of taking on wild boars that weigh over 150 kgs. 

In ancient times, hunts were a grand affair. Dogs like the Kombai dogChippiparai hound, and Kanni hound from the nearby towns also joined in these hunts.

During these hunts, each dog had a specific role to play. The hounds such as the Kanni and Chippiparai coursed game. While the hunters, along with their stronger Rajapalayam dogs, lay in wait. 

As the game approached, the Rajapalayam dogs were let loose on the fleeing wild boars to stop and to hold them. Hunters then swiftly dealt with the wild boars with spears. Dog owners proudly displayed their dogs and their marks and scars from these hunts.

The plight of Rajapalayam dog today

Rajapalayam dog ignored by people and sleeping

The Rajapalayam dog is on the verge of extinction. 

 The below are the top three reasons.

  1. The decline in the appeal of native dogs: In India, these dogs are no longer appealing. They have lost their place to foreign dogs.
  2. In-breeding: With a reduction in demand for native dogs. Breeders of native dogs are turning to imported dogs. There are only a handful of people who breed this dog. Inbreeding has resulted in shrinkage of this dog’s gene pool. With a lack of fresh bloodline, this dog is now facing the threat of inbreeding.
  3. Lack of a breed description: Breed standard for this dog does not exist. Also, the internet portrays this dog as a taxing breed of dog. Misinformation keeps people away from this dog.

Physical traits of the Rajapalayam

Rajapalayam dog's physical traits

Rajapalayam Breed Standard

The Rajapalayam dog is a medium-sized sighthound. Muscular and powerful, they are similar to the Dalmatian dog in build. The males are slightly taller and more substantial than the females.

Rajapalayam’s head

Head of the Rajapalayam

The head of the Rajapalayam dog should be in balance with the rest of the body. The appearance of the head should indicate its stable and loving character. Being a watchdog, they should have an alert expression. 

The eyes are oval and are in two colors, golden and silver. Their ears are triangle-shaped and are hanging, not erect. 

The nose, lips, and tongue should be pink. These dogs also have some loose skin on their heads.

Rajapalayam dog’s body

Rajapalayam dog playful

The neck is long and should blend into the dog’s shoulders. The topline is straight and smooth. They have a deep chest with visible ribs.
The body should not be barrel-shaped. The Rajapalayam dog has a tucked abdomen that blends well with the rest of their body. The bottom of their deep chest should curve smoothly.
Rajapalayam dog’s tail should blend with their topline. It should not be set too high or too low. The tail is bony and tapers into a curve towards the end. The tail should not curl over the body when the dog is still.

Rajapalayam’s legs

Legs of the Rajapalayam

The front legs are long with muscular shoulders. The legs of the Rajapalayam dogs are straight and held close to their body. 

The hind legs should be sturdy with well-defined muscles. The hind legs should be parallel to each other when viewed from the back.

Rajapalayam’s Coat and Gait

Rajapalayam dogs have short and elegant-coat. They are a single-coat dog, with dense hair. These dogs are all white, and any other color is a severe fault.

The gait of the Rajapalayam dog should be majestic like that of a horse. The movement should be steady and effortless while on the trot. Legs should remain in-line with their body while on the run.

Black Rajapalayam dog

Rajapalayam dog pair

There are two popular misconceptions about the Rajapalayam dog.

  1. Black Rajapalayam: We want our readers to know that there is no such thing as a black Rajapalayam dog. Piebald or black Rajapalayam dogs are not real. Please don’t fall into this trap that is often set by breeders of profit.
  2. Spotted puppies: Another popular lie is that Rajapalayam dogs have black spots while they are puppies. Breeders sell crosses saying the spots disappear when the dog grows up.

We urge our readers not to fall for these typical fables about the Rajapalayam dog. The original Rajapalayam is white, with pink skin. Kindly read about this dog in our post before making your choice.

Bite force of the Rajapalayam

Bite force of the Rajapalayam

With powerful jaws, these dogs can crush and break bones. Some experts estimate its bite force to ranges between 200 to 220 pounds (90 to 100 kgs). This bite force is one of the highest in the canine world.

Rajapalayam versus Dalmatian, a visual comparison

Picture comparing attributes of Rajapalayam dog with DaDalmatian dog

Both Rajapalayam and Dalmatian dogs are of the same size and build. They are the same height and shape. Except for the black spots on the Dalmatian dog, it is difficult to distinguish these dogs.

 Because of this, some claim these dogs to be related. Like most other information on the internet about this breed of dog, this too is false. There are no records to show this claim as real.

Temperament of the Rajapalayam

Rajapalayam puppy playing with mom

The best way to describe the temperament of the Rajapalayam dog is, they are loving, loyal, and courageous. They will lay down their lives for their master willingly.

We want our readers to understand that the true nature of the Rajapalayam dog is loyalty and love. Please don’t believe the 1000s of blogs that say these are aggressive. Words cannot describe their dedication and courage.

We present the temperament of the Rajapalayam through the following traits.

  • As a guard dog, the Rajapalayam is courageous, unrelenting, and faithful.
  • As a companion dog, they are anything but aggressive.

India’s best guard dog

Rajapalayam dog on guard

Legend says that these dogs can stand up to a tiger without fear. This dog is not afraid of anything and does not back down from a fight.  They are built like a tank, powerful and bold. They are ready to take on any intruder without fear.

This dog will stand its ground and defend its territory fiercely. These are one of the best guard dogs in the world.

Aggression in Rajapalayam

Rajapalayam dog play fighting

The Rajapalayam is a friendly and loyal breed of dog. It pains us to see this dog’s reputation ruined. This dog will lay down its life for you. They are beautiful dogs at heart.

The internet portrays them as a vicious dog. Everything that you read online about this dog is not true. Over the years, our dogs have stood at our side and protected our homes.

This dog needs to stay close to its family. They are likely to become aggressive when kept on a leash all day long. Dogs that lack human contact become a pack leader. Dogs that assume pack leadership turn dominant.

In our view, aggression in this breed of dog is due to poor upkeep. Aggressive behavior is not an inherent trait in these dogs. It is important to socialize these dogs with friends and family. Early socialization helps this dog to know friends from foe.

Care

Rajapalayam dog sleeping

Rajapalayam dog is a low maintenance and care-free dogThese dogs are healthy with few health issues. The average life span for this dog is 12 years.

They are hardy dogs. These dogs can thrive in a wide range of weather conditions. Keep this dog indoors during cold winter nights. Hot and humid weather is not an issue for this dog. 

The Parvo vaccine and anti-rabies vaccines are a must for puppies. Adult dogs need only deworming tabs. Shedding is unknown in this dog due to their short coat. The Rajapalayam dog is an excellent care-free dog for the home.

Grooming

Rajapalayam showing its coat

Rajapalayam dogs have a short and dense coat that needs little grooming.

Applying coconut oil on their skin keeps them in top shape. These dogs are couch friendly dogs with no shedding for their hair. 

They are prone to skin issues. Keeping the dog clean helps prevent these issues.

Bathing them once each month should keep their skin clean and fresh. The Rajapalayam is not fond of water and will run from a bath. The easiest way to bathe this dog is to have them on a leash and use a hose.

Exercise Requirements

Rajapalayam jumping exercise

The Rajapalayam dog is an active breed of dog. They are alert and have a keen sense of sight and smell.

Being a hunting dog, they have a high prey drive. These dogs like to chase anything that moves. Cars, bikes, and bicycles are fair game.

This dog needs long walks to be happy. Devoid of these, they get bored and become destructive. They can chew on anything that fits into their mouths.

Don’t misjudge these dogs’ need for exercise. Being a sighthound, they need an active lifestyle to be healthy. In their native, breeders, take them on long runs. These dogs are energetic and can drag a person at will.

Rajapalayam dogs need open spaces to run and play. They are not apartment-friendly dogs. 

Trainability

Rajapalayam puppy ready to train

The Rajaplayam dog is smart, loyal, and courageous. They are eager to work and please. These traits make them easy to train dogs. 

These dogs are stubborn by nature. One needs to show strong leadership when training this dog. 

These dogs learn through observation. Proximity to humans helps this breed of dogs to learn fast. It enables them to find their place in the pack. 

Reward-based training works best for dogs with high prey drive. It is one of the quickest ways to train this breed of dog. Every time the dog obeys, they get to chase a ball or get a treat.

This method of training builds human-desirable traits in these dogs. It helps increase the bond between the dog and its master.

In their homeland, people train their dogs with tongue clicks and hand gestures. They then use it to control their dogs during hunts. 

Nutritional needs of Rajapalayam

Rajapalayam puppies feeding

These dogs need food that suits their lifestyle. Active dogs need more calories than dogs that are not.

A male adult dog needs about 1650 kcal per day. A female dog needs about 1400 kcal per day.

These dogs run the risk of becoming obese. Take into account the dog’s age and weight while feeding these dogs.

Rajapalayam dogs need food that is high in protein to match their active life. Breeders feed their dogs two homemade meals per day. Homemade food for these dogs is chicken boiled with rice then mixed with yogurt. 

Top known ailments (health issues)

Rajapalayam dog with one sliver eye and one golden eye

This dog is a healthy dog with few ailments.

  • Deafness: Some dogs are deaf by birth. Studies have shown a close link between eye color and deafness. Puppies born with sliver eyes are deaf at birth.
  • Parvo: A deadly disease affecting dogs younger than one year. This disease can result in death when not treated.
  • Mange: This disease causes the dog to lose its hair and results in itchy skin.

Are Rajapalayam dogs Albinos?

Rajapalayam black and white photo in 1950

Albinism is a condition which makes the dog to lose its color. Albinos dogs are white; their skin is pink, and with pink noses.

These dogs are milky white, and their skin is pink, with no color. They have all the attributes of an albino.

To understand this, we dived into old pictures of this dog. The old black and white photos show a dog with a dark nose and in white color. 

We spoke to breeders only to get mixed views. Some say dogs of old were in many colors. It was in the 19th century that all-white dogs became popular. Breeders began culling pups that are not white.

We conclude that this breed of dog could likely be an albino. 

Relationship between the Rajapalayam and other South Indian dogs

Kombai dog

We wanted to understand the relationship between all the south Indian dogs. The question that we wanted to answer was?

How did distinct dog breeds such as Rajapalayam, KanniKombai, and Chippiparai, originate in a small area?

Out of the four, Rajapalayam, Kanni and Chippiparai are all sighthounds. What was the need for three sighthounds that were very similar to each other?

To find answers, we turned out attention to historical records by the British. Major Bannerman’s documents about the first Poligar war between the British and the Poligars of south India in 1799, he narrates his experiences with south Indian dogs. In particular, the Poligar Hound. Most experts believe that the Poligar Hound is most likely the Rajapalayam dog.

Major Bannerman and other officers in their reports describe several different types of dogs, hounds, and guard dogs. It is clear from early British records that these dogs were around even before the British arrived in India.

Records that predate the British are hard to find. We can conclude that the south Indian hounds are ancient, and it will be impossible to find their precise origins. Each of these dogs served a specific purpose.

Natural remedies for Rajapalayam

Rajapalayam dog lying down

Rajapalayam dog breeders rely only on natural home remedies while treating their dogs. This practice has made these dogs strong. They use the list below.

  • Mange: Aloe Vera has many medicinal uses. Applying it on the dog’s coat helps to fight Mange. Aloe Vera helps to keep ticks and fleas from the dog.
  • Injuries: Breeders dry the Turmeric in the midday sun. It is then powdered and made into a paste by mixing it with oil. This paste acts as an antiseptic that stops the infection.
  • Deworming: Breeders grind dried Neem leaves into a powder. They mix 5 mg of this in dog food to treat their dogs for worms. 

What is Rajapalayam dog price?

Rajapalayam puppy for sale

 

Puppy costAvg. Food cost /monthThe total cost/year
₹6,000 to ₹20,000₹1,000 to ₹3,000₹5,000 to ₹12,000

 

The 2020 price of these dogs varies depending on where you buy these dogs. Breeders in Rajapalayam town sell pups for less than ₹10,000. The same dog will cost more than ₹20,000 if you buy it outside of its home. 

We recommend that you choose a pup from breeders in the dog’s homeland. Buying from a breeder in the dog’s native tract will encourage them and will help this dog to survive. This dog has lost its place to non-native dog breeds. A few decades back, these dogs were highly-priced since the demand was high.

For the breeders, these dogs no longer fetch the same price as they once did. This reduction in price has contributed to this dog’s decline. The number of breeders who breed these dogs has reduced.

Recommended Reading: Dog prices in India

When to choose a Rajapalayam dog?

Rajapalayam puppy

People choose this dog as a guard dog. They are a one-person dog. Choose this dog only when.

  1. You have extensive knowledge about handling a large breed.
  2. You have time to spend with the dog.
  3. You can provide them an ample amount of exercise.
  4. The dog has a place to play and run around.
  5. You can provide for a large breed of dog.
  6. Adult supervision is necessary when they are with kids or smaller pets. 

Rajapalayam Dogs in USA and around the world

Image of a Rajapalayam dog

We wanted to know if these dogs left the subcontinent. The Egyptians were the first to import dogs from this part of the world. They used these dogs in hunts and war.
It is difficult to know if these dogs were Rajapalayams. British and American hold on India is well-known. Their love for these native dogs saw some of these dogs arrive in their shores.
There is no evidence to show if these dogs lived to set up any lines.

Interesting Facts about the Rajapalayam dog

Rajapalayam standing
  • This dog gets its name from the Rajapalayam town in South India.
  • They are bold and can defend their master from a tiger.
  • In 2005, India issued a postal stamp with an image of this dog.
  • Puppies born with silver eyes are typically deaf by birth.
  • Non-native breeds of dogs are pushing these dogs to extinction.

Is Rajapalayam a descendant of the Indian Pariah dog?

Image of a Indian stray dog (Indian Pariah)

The Indian Pariah dog is one of the oldest breeds of dogs in the world. Rajapalayam could be a descendant of the Indian Pariah dog, interbred with a hound from the Middle East or possibly the Mudhol Hound.

How to identify an original Rajapalayam dog?

The Rajapalayam dog is medium in size and with a muscular build. They are sighthounds. They are one of the very few dogs to occur in one color, milky-white. We urge our readers to learn about this breed of dog here. In this post, you will learn about their history, origin, traits, and their current status.

Where can I buy a Rajapalayam dog?

Rajapalayam dog semi adult

We recommend you get in touch with breeders. DogsIndia.com has a list of breeders and their contact. You will find pure Rajapalayams only in their home town.

We recommend that you visit the breeder at their home. It is vital to meet the dog in person. Do not choose a shy dog. Most nervous dogs tend to be aggressive when they get older.

How can I help save the Rajapalayam dog?

Rajapalayam dog on a beach

We are glad that you asked! These dogs are not well known despite being an ancient breed of dogs. The knowledge about this breed is eroding with time. Once a prized dog, now a sad picture of neglect.

  1. You can help by bringing the plight of this dog. Do this by sharing this post with your friends on social media. 
  2. If you are an expert on these dogs, we encourage you to contact us. You can use this as a forum to share your knowledge with the rest of the world.
  3. If you are looking for a dog, choose this breed over other non-native dogs.

Conclusion

People caring for a Rajapalayam

The Rajapalayam dog is facing extinction. Without your help, this dog will disappear.

We urge you to choose native dogs over other dog breeds. These dogs are healthy, care-free, and are great pets. Please share this with your friends to help these dogs. 

The Kennel Club of India is doing its part to save native dog breeds. They run native breed dog shows to bring to light these dogs. 

In our view, the Rajapalayam dog is one of the top dogs in the world.