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The Rajapalayam is an elegant and fast sight hound, which was originally bred in Indian city called the Rajapalaya. Throughout its history it was occasionally used as a war dog although its primal specializations were the areas of hunting and guarding. Nowadays the breed thrives in its primary roles in its homeland and remains barely known elsewhere in the world.
It is believed that the Rajapalayam has been present in India since XVII century although its exact lineage is impossible to trace. The breed originally carried the name the Poligar Hound. The Poligars were indigenous inhabitants of ancient Southern India and have nasty reputation of robbers and marauders. They actively used their powerful and fierce dogs in raids. The Poligar Hound also served as a war dog, specifically it participated in the XIX century Polygar Wars and more recent Carnatic wars.
In spite of its graceful and appealing appearance the Rajapalayam was actually renowned for its ferociousness and aggressive nature. The breed owes its extreme bravery and outstanding physical characteristics to thorough and strict selective breeding. Such a careful approach to breeding, rearing and training made it a truly multifunctional dog. It earned favour with Indian nobility as a tremendous hunter of wild boar. The breed combined its superb working traits with well-balanced disposition and usually also played the role of a lively companion animal. The great advantage of this dog was its simple tastes when thing concerns its nourishment. Actually it could accommodate to a vegetarian diet and live long and well.
At some point the Rajapalayam became exceedingly rare and its complete extinction was considered as almost inevitable. The Kennel Club of India took responsibility for its rehabilitation and launched the project, which was aimed to revive the interest for the breed. This canine organisation founded breeding centres in Saidapet (Chennai) in 1980-81. In order to further promote the recognition of the Rajapalayam the image of this dog appeared on postage stamps. Decades of hard work paid off and today the breed enjoys well-deserved popularity as a home pet and guardian of property across its native India. Though this dog can be barely found outside its homeland and hasn’t yet acquired any international acknowledgment.
The Rajapalayam was initially designed as a hunting dog and therefore exhibits personal traits, which fit best to this original role. It’s commonly referred as a one-person dog and once it has picked out its master it will be fairly reserved with the remained family members. It hits it off with older children and eagerly takes part in their vivacious games. At the same time this breed is probably too large and strong to make an agreeable playmate for a toddler.
The Rajapalayam generally perceives all strangers as possible threats to its family. This dog is known for its almost supernatural sensitivity to ominous signs written in facial expressions and gestures of unfamiliar people. That’s why it can decipher the difference between a friend and a foe at a moment’s notice. Thanks to its formidable appearance and protective nature the Rajapalayam usually becomes a fabulous guard dog. Supreme vigilance also makes it a great watchdog, which will reliably warn its master of any suspicious person in the vicinity of its subordinated territory.
The Rajapalayam has good reputation with other canine animals if it has been early and properly socialised. It is recommended though to keep it alongside with the dog of similar demeanour and physical strength. The breed retains much of its prey drive so it’s rather aggressive towards other species of animals. The household cat with which this dog has reared since an early age won’t be harassed or otherwise bothered. However some individual specimens will never put up with existence of other non-canine pet in the household.
The most common problems for the breed include:
• skin problems.
The Rajapalayam is an easy-to-groom breed. Its grooming requirements include occasional brushing and rare bath. The owner should brush this dog once or twice a week in order to get rid of loose hair in its short coat. It should be bathed exclusively with a mild dog’s shampoo, which won’t disturb the subtle layer of natural oils that cover it skin and coat.
It is essential to inspect dog’s paws and ears after each and every hunting expedition for the signs of various debris and external parasites. Of course the dog’s ears should be regularly cleaned regardless whether it has hunted or not. Nails must be clipped minimum every two weeks.
The training of the Rajapalayam is usually described as an easy task because of its intelligence and docility. With consistent and well-planned approach the dog will be able to learn even most advanced commands and tricks. This strong-willed and confident breed certainly requires experienced, calm and patient trainer with the personality of a leader.
Be mindful that the Rajapalayam painfully reacts to the change of the original handler and can even refuse to oblige to an unfamiliar person. The dog doesn’t respond to harsh training techniques and can become unmanageable and even aggressive if it senses unfair treatment. That’s why it’s wise to encourage it to work only with positive reinforcement, which stresses on food incentives.
The Rajapalayam is a high-energy dog with substantial need for physical activity. Long and brisk daily walk is a must for this breed but it won’t be fully happy without a regular chance to roam and play in a securely fenced yard. It adapts fairly well to any kind of living conditions, whether an apartment or a house.
However an apartment dweller will have to invest the great amount of its private time in satisfying the Rajapalayams’ exercise needs. The dog of its size can become incredibly destructive and annoying if it lacks necessary outlets for excessive energy.