The words Dog Breed Info with the letter D inside of a black paw print

Rajapalayam

Information and Pictures

A skinny, tall white Rajapalayam dog is standing on a tiled surface and it is looking up. Its mouth is open and its tongue is out and it has a long tail. There is a sky blue wall behind it.

Tom the Rajapalayam at 1 year old from India

Other Names
  • Indian Sighthound
  • Poligar Hound
  • Rajapalayam Hound
Description

The Rajapalayam is both muscular and long limbed giving this dog a sense of balance. They are slender and have an elegant head with an elongated muzzle and a sharp forehead. Their jaw is known to close on a perfect scissor bite that is perfect for a war dog. They have loose skin under their short, smooth coats but no wrinkles or dewlap. Soft ears hang on the sides of their head and their eyes are dark brown. Their tail is longer and appears to be boney because of how thin the end of the slightly curled tail is. This dog comes in a variety of colors including solid brown, solid black, and spotted although the most popular and well known are the white dogs. It is said that some breeders of this dog often discard puppies of different colors because they want all Rajapalayams to be pure white.

Pronunciation

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Temperament

While they are known to be extremely loyal to their owner, the Rajapalayam is usually wary of strangers. This breed is a good guard dog. It is very important to socialize them as a puppy. Since they have strong hunting instincts, they should not be trusted with small pets such as cats or small rodents.

Height, Weight

Height: 25 – 30 inches (65 – 75 cm)

Health Problems

Deafness is common in this breed. Because of their long legs, they may be prone to joint problems or hip dysplasia. Prone to skin problems.

Living Conditions

Will do okay in an apartment if sufficiently exercised, but does best with at least an average-sized yard.

Exercise

The Rajapalayam needs a daily walk or jog. While out on the walk the dog must be made to heel beside or behind the person holding the lead, as instinct tells a dog the leader leads the way, and that leader needs to be the human. These dogs are energetic and lively and are in their glory when allowed to romp and play, especially if their owner or a companion dog joins in the fun.

Life Expectancy

About 9 to 12 years

Litter Size

About 5 to 8 puppies

Grooming

The Rajapalayam need little grooming and are average shedders.

Origin

Originally bred to hunt boar and used as guard dogs and in wars in India. The Rajapalayam were dogs of royalty.

The Rajapalayam dogs got their name because they were derived from Southern India, specifically in Rajapalayam.

The Rajapalayam is also called the Poligar Hound and was given this name because of the Poligar clans. Poligar clans were said to have owned this breed back in ancient Southern India. They received a reputation of being fierce, aggressive, and harmful due to how they were trained. Poligar clans were known for robbing people while on the road and often used their dogs as attack dogs.

There is not much known about the history of the Rajapalayam. Some say the Rajapalayam originated in the Nayak dynasty of Tamil Nadu while others say that the Rajapalayam was brought to this region by the Nayakars in the time of the Vijayanagara king’s reign. In the last theory, no one knows exactly where they originated from before the Nayakars.

These dogs were traditionally used as guard dogs, hunting dogs, and war dogs although some had them simply as a companion dog.

As guard dogs, they were known to protect rice fields, houses, and farms in India. They also were known to guard the border of Kashmir along with the Indian army.

The Rajapalayam was able to hunt large game and was most known to hunt wild boar. In one story, it is said that they were able to kill a tiger in order to protect their owner.

A well known legend suggests that when these puppies were born, they were thrown in a dark pit in order for them to grow up on their own and were only taken out once fully grown, making them temperamental towards humans. According to this ancient method, only the strongest would have survived.

Because of their already aggressive reputation, they were picked up by the army and used in war. As war dogs, they were known to fight in the Polygar and Carnatic wars against the British from around 1799–1805. They were fast, aggressive, and dedicated to their task which made them a great fit for the war.

This breed still lives today in rural or small villages in Tamil Nadu, India although they are slightly different from the original Rajapalayams. Some say the Rajapalayam was used to breed the modern day Dalmation although it has not been proven. There are current efforts to revive this breed and save it from complete extinction.

Group

Hound

Recognition
  • DRA = Dog Registry of America, Inc.
  • KCI = Kennel Club of India
A man in a white shirt standing outside on a red patio holding a red leash that is connected to a large breed shorthaired white dog with ears that hang down to the sides, a long tail and a long body. There is a satellite dish behind them.

"Mark the Rajapalayam Hound at 7 years old is from Tamil Nadu, India. He is tall at 29.5 inches and weighs around 38kg. He is a calm, intelligent and alert dog. He is a little headstrong. Rajapalayam were dogs of royalty and were used in hunting as well as in wars. This breed is probably the most intelligent hound from India. They even do not touch the food given by outsiders. Due to inbreeding many dogs suffer from skin and hearing issues. They are not very choosey breed, they can eat whatever the owners provide. They are a big hounds so need good space and a good amount of excersise. Rajapalayam have height between 26- 29 inches and weight around 30-35 kg."—Picture Courtesy of Ajit Roy

Front view - A skinny tall white Rajapalaym dog is standing on a step, there is a wall next to it. The dog is looking up, its mouth is open and it looks like it is smiling.

Tom the Rajapalayam at 1 year old from India

A long legged skinny white Rajapalaym is dog laying on a tiled floor and it is looking up.

Tom the Rajapalayam at 10 months old from India—"Tom is very good and is an attractive dog, but when a stranger comes to the house he won't allow anybody to enter the home. He is a great hound and an adorable pet."

A long snouted white with tan Rajapalaym dog is jumping up against a persons body and it is looking up.

Tom the Rajapalayam at 10 months old with Cutie his female friend

A white with tan Rajapalaym dog is standing up against a bannister in a wall.

Tom the Rajapalayam at 10 months old from India

The right side of a skinny tall white with tan Rajapalaym that is standing up against a person.

Tom the Rajapalayam at 10 months old from India

Side view drawing of a tall, thin tan dog with a very long tail, a long muzzle and v-shaped ears that hang down to the sides standing.
Front view drawing of a cream colored tall dog with a black nose and ears that fold down to the sides sitting down.