Can you name a few guard dogs? Doberman? German Shepherd? Rottweiler? And what about the Rajapalayam? Ever heard of them? Though they are popular among Indian hobbyist, the Rajapalayam is not known to most of us.
They are a very old dog breed that originates from within the country. Research shows that these dogs have stuck alongside humans for centuries! They fought alongside humans from the Carnatic Wars to the Polygar War. These dogs had our back for a very long time and it’s a shame that we know so little about them. So, let’s have a look at this majestic warrior dog.
The Rajapalayam is from the Nayakar Dynasty in Tamil Nadu. A block in Virudhungar is named after the dog Rajapalayam. They are now found in a few pockets in Tamil Nadu and are facing extinction. There was a time when the Rajapalayam was abundant all over the South of India till people had a change in lifestyle. Rajapalayam’s, like most other Indian breeds, need a lot of running space and with the coming of flats people started going for smaller foreign breeds that need less spaces. With time, people forgot the mighty Rajapalayam and accommodated bigger foreign dogs too.
As a result, they are currently facing extinction. Many are putting in a lot of effort to protect this breed. Tamil Nadu has listed the Rajapalayam, along with the Mudhol Hound, on their list of protected breeds. The Kennel Club Of India has also launched the ‘Save The Rajapalayam Project’, to prevent them from getting extinct.
Rajapalayam’s are a very sturdy breed. They live for around 10-15 years and rarely get sick. The only degenerative ailment that haunts this breed is hearing impairment. Since they are pure white, they lack a pigment called ‘melanin’. This affects their hearing. Sometimes they are born partially half deaf and develop complete deafness later on in life. This ailment has become more profound to this Rajapalayam’s because of rapid and in-breeding. Only few Rajas, who have melanocytes, in their genes have some kind of hearing. But these dogs are called sight dogs, because they largely depend on sight and small. They are also very intelligent, and are quick to adapt to their deafness.
Less Known Rajapalayam Facts
- They, like all other Indian dogs, do not produce body odor.
- Only bathe them if they have hunted for something and have carried home a nasty smell.
- They have short hair but shed all year and they do LOVE to be brushed.
These dogs are very agile and muscular. This is why they need a high protein diet with extra calories. Since they are always running around, they are very unlikely to gain any weight. Though recent studies, suggest that dogs can survive on plant based protein, we advise you not to make them vegetarian as it can increase the chances of fracture for dogs that run as much as the Rajas.
Rajapalayams are versatile dogs but it is important to socialize them at a very young age, or they may grow up to be very aggressive. They can be kept as family dogs as long as they are trained from a very young age.
It is said that Rajas form a strong bond with one member of the family. However after talking to many Raja owners, we found out that they can be affectionate to others if trained at a young age. But remember, that at the end of the day, they are guard dogs and will bite if they feel threatened.
Since they are high energy dogs, you should only keep them if you have enough space for them to run around.
Rajas make a great addition to the family, but they are not for novice owners. These guys don’t like repetition and this is why they want someone who can always keep them on their toes.
We hope this helped. The Rajas are indeed a majestic breed and its a shame that only a few of us know about them. Let’s spread the word and more sure more Indians know of the Rajapalayam- the great Indian Warrior dog.
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