Bow wow for the Indian canine

The Rajapalayam or the Caravan Hound might not ring a bell in comparison to its popular counterparts like the Labrador, German Shepherd or the St Bernard. A recent study reveals that the dog's origins are closer home, in China where wolves were domesticated, centuries ago. We salute some of our home-bred canine stars. The Guide draws up a paw-packed line-up of Indian dogs

According to a recent study that was printed in online publication Heredity, man's best friend evolved from wolves in south-eastern Asia, in the region near China's Yangtze River. With this study, experts are now sitting up and taking notice of this part of the world. Buoyed by this sudden interest in the region, The Guide decided to look closer home, at India, at some of the most popular dog breeds that the subcontinent is known for.

Caravan Hound


Appearance: This breed is usually white in colour with light pink skin. They are beautiful dogs with a tall and slender body. They have a short and dense coat and a deep chest. The hair is soft on the head but coarse on the body. It may be about 65 cms tall and 25 kgs in weight.
Characteristics: It is a typical boar hound, which was used for hunting wild boar and hare. They are strong and powerful and if trained properly can make excellent guard dogs. The dog needs plenty of freedom and space.
Life span: 12 years (approximately)
History: It is believed that the Rajapalayam may have been one of the dogs used in the breeding of the modern Dalmatian. It is also known that this dog was used during the Carnatic Wars to attack the British cavalry in their stables.


Rampur Hound

Caravan Hound
Appearance: The Caravan Hound has a long body and a long head. The jaws are long and powerful. The ears are long and the nose is large and black in colour. The eyes are dark hazel in colour. They are large and oval in shape. The neck is long and muscular. The forelegs are long, straight and well boned. The dogs are 68-72 cms in height and the females are 64-68 cm tall. They are fawn, red, cream, black or interspersed with white. They have a high-footed gait.
Characteristics: They are ever alert. They make for excellent hunting dogs. They are very fast
and have a lot of stamina. They can adapt to any climate.
Life Span: 10 years (approximately)
History: It is an ancient breed native to the Deccan Plateau of western India, mainly covering Karnataka and Maharashtra. The Afghans, Pathans, Persians and Arabs brought through the Khyber Pass many hounds like the Afghan and the Saluki when they came into India. The Caravan Hound probably owes its ancestry to these dogs. They followed the nomads with their caravans and thus got the name Caravan Hound.

Mudhol Hound

According to a recent study in Heredity, wolves were domesticated in
Asia, near the Yangtze River

Mudhol Hound
Appearance: It is a keen sight hound and a very hardy dog. It is similar to the Caravan Hound but slightly taller. The head is small in proportion to the body. It has strong jaws with a scissor bite. The neck is elegantly arched and the body is muscular and strong. The Mudhol Hound female is 57-62 cms tall and weighs 22-28 kgs. The male is 65-70 cms tall. It may be of any colour.
Characteristics: This breed needs a lot of exercise and movement. It cannot be managed in confined areas. They are ideally used for racing and hunting, though they make good companions. They are also used as guard dogs. The movement is effortless and they look like they are flying when they run.
Life Span: 10 years (approximately)
History: The Mudhol Hound also belongs to the Deccan region, including Karnataka and Maharashtra. The breed is called the Mudhol Hound, after a small town in Bagalkot district in Karnataka. Legend goes that Sri Srimanth Raja Malojirao Gorphade, a former ruler of Mudhol, presented a pair of hound puppies to King George V of England. The King was impressed with the puppies and named them the hounds of Mudhol.

Appearance: The Chippiparai has a streamlined body. The dog is about 50 cms tall and weighs 15-20 kgs. The head is domed and long, while its ears are small. It has dark eyes. The chest is deep and its legs are long and straight. It has a short coat that is very close. They are found in different colours, white and fawn being the most common.
Characteristics: It is a hunting dog and enjoys the outdoors. It does not like to be petted or fed by anyone other than its master. It has an independent mind and needs very little grooming. It is resistant to climate change and requires little food. It is intelligent and makes for an excellent watchdog.
Life Span: 12 to 14 years
History: The Chippiparai is native to South India.

Rampur Hound
Appearance: It is a sight-hound. It is powerful and has strong jaws. The front legs are straight, but the hind quarters are long muscular and powerful. The males are 60-75 cms in height and females are 55-60 cms in height. They weigh about 27-30 kgs. They can be black, grey, brindle, fawn or white.
Characteristics: The Rampur Hound is extremely powerful and can even bring down a large bull. The hound is a powerful hunter and can hunt vermin, deer and jackals. The breed loves human companionship and is well adjusted to other dogs. It has clean habits.
Life Span: 10 years (approximately)
History: This hound belongs to the Rampur region, of Northern India. His Royal Highness Ahmed Ali Khan Bahadur bred these dogs by combining the blood lines of very powerful but ferocious Tazi, brought in by the Afghans and the English Greyhound that was more obedient but less resistant to the varying climactic conditions. He gave the name 'Rampur Hound' to the dogs he bred. From its Tazi ancestors it got its looks and stalwart character, and from the English Greyhound it got its speed.

5 facts about dogs
1) Dalmations are born white; the black spots emerge later.
2) Dogs possess about 100 different facial expressions, most made with the ears
3)Regardless of breed, all dogs are direct descendants of wolves and technically of the same species
4) Every minute, dogs take ten to thirty breaths.
5) The Basenji is the only bark-less dog in the world.

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