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(2) Isha female rajapalayam.jpg
Rajapalayam Hound, Indian sighthound.
NotesRecognized by the Kennel Club of India.
Dog (domestic dog)

The Rajapalayam, also known as the Polygar Hound, Shikkar Hound, or Indian Ghost Hound, is a southern Indian dog breed.[1][2] The breed is named after Rajapalayam, a town in the Virudhunagar, Tamil Nadu.

Four commemorative postage stamps were issued on 9 January 2005 by India Post for four breeds: Himalayan Sheepdog, Rampur Hound, Mudhol Hound (Face value 5 each) and Rajapalayam (Face value 15). The Rajapalayam dog is known to live up to 12 years of age.


Adult male
Adult male
Fully grown adult male
Fully grown adult male

It is a large dog, usually measuring about 65–75 cm (25–30 inches) at the withers and weighs 30 – 45 kg. Mostly found in the centre of Tamil nadu, the Rajapalayam was bred to be the complete hunter and estate guardian with features that allow it to excel. Primarily used to hunt wild boar independent of the handler, the Rajapalayam is unique in two ways. First, it fulfills the functions of a bay dog as well as a catch dog; secondly the Rajapalayam can hunt by sight as well as track by scent. While hunting they can be relentless pursuers that are not intimidated by complex terrain or bodies of water. After finding their prey, the dogs take it down and bring it back to the handler. If the dog is unable to bring down its prey, it injures and corners the target till the handler can get to it. This dog can hunt alone, in pairs, in a pack, or with its owner.

Rajapalayams tend to be more muscular and heavier boned than most sighthounds, but they share the deep chest and basic body structure that exudes speed and physical ability. Its facial structure is considerably different from that of a Caravan Hound, with a slightly larger head and more powerful jaws. It has a slightly curled tail.

Rajapalayam Puppies
Rajapalayam Puppies
A young adult female Rajapalayam dog
A young adult female Rajapalayam dog

An extremely handsome and graceful dog, the Rajapalayam has a double suspension gait, similar to the trotting of a thoroughbred horse. The staple colour is milk white, although faint brown markings are quite common, and the pink nose is standard.

Eye color can range from golden to brown and green. Puppies born with whitish or blue eyes are usually deaf and should not be bred. The coat is single, short, and fine; these dogs don't do well in very cold climates, but excel in the heat of South India or tropics.

While many Rajapalayam dogs suffer from mange, it rarely is serious, as mange is actually caused by mites, so it is basically a matter of preventing mites rather than a breed issue. Otherwise, the breed is robust and low-maintenance.

Rajapalayam dogs have a pink nose, button ears, whiptail and golden eyes. They have a gait similar to that of a horse and were also used during the Carnatic Wars and Polygar war against the British cavalry. They aren’t fast runners, but are tireless and steady over long distances. There were reports that the Indian Army in Kashmir had them as guard dogs. [3]

Future of the breed

The pure Rajapalayam used to only be found in isolated pockets around southern Tamil Nadu. A dog breeding unit was established at Saidapet, Chennai, during 1980–81. This unit primarily rears native breeds such as the Rajapalayam dog, Combai dog, kanni, and Chippiparai.[4] To create awareness and encourage dog lovers to rear native breeds, the Animal Husbandry Department of the Government of Tamil Nadu participates in dog shows. Localities have established a cooperative, and interested families receive female dogs and the expertise that is required for large-scale breeding. The Indian Postal Department has brought out postage stamps on the Rajapalayam dog breed,[5] as well as the Mudhol Hound, Rampur Hound, and the Himalayan Sheepdog. The Kennel Club of India has taken up the cause of the Rajapalayam. With the club's cooperation, the "Save the Rajapalayam Project" has been launched. These initiatives have successfully brought the breed back from the brink of extinction.

It is important to research properly before purchasing or adopting a puppy, because many unethical breeders are giving customers inbred and genetically compromised puppies.

See also


  1. ^ Raja et al "Phenotypic characterization of Rajapalayam dog of Southern India" Indian Journal of Animal Sciences 87 (4): 447–451, April 2017
  2. ^ Raja, K. N., et al. "Cytogenetic Profile of Rajapalayam Dog Breed of Southern India." Indian Journal of Animal Research OF (2017).
  3. ^ Joshi, Abhishek. "Rajapalayam Dog Breed". Dogwithblog. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  4. ^ "Every Dog has His Day". The Hindu. February 12, 2007. Retrieved November 16, 2014.
  5. ^ "INDIA - CIRCA 2005: stamp printed by India, shows dog Rajapalayam, circa 2005". 2005. Retrieved 29 April 2014.