Homes and gardens

The call of desi dogs

Reena, with her protruding eyes, small snout and deep chest, belongs to the Kanni breed. Her owner S Mageshwaran of Pannamparai village in interior Tuticorin district is proud of her vigilance and agility. “She’s a great guard dog. Any stranger who enters the village is at her mercy. She has chased away robbers a number of times,” he beams. Rock, Reena’s brother, is also equally fierce and the duo is among the few Kanni dogs left. “With increased inflow of foreign breeds, native breeds have been relegated to a secondary place. However, in rural areas, there are people who continue to raise local breeds,” says Mageshwaran, who is a fourth generation pet owner to raise Kanni dogs.

To encourage owners of native dogs to showcase their pets, the Madurai Canine Club (MCC), in association with Native Dog Breeds Speciality Club, Coimbatore, has curated a show exclusively for native breeds in its upcoming 31st and 32nd All Breed Show, scheduled to happen at the Gandhi Museum on February 10. “Although people are willing to opt for native breeds, they need to be organised under a certified body such as the Canine Club of India (CCI). And the aim of our show to bring owners and pets under its ambit,” says S Ramanathan, secretary of the Madurai Canine Club, that has been doing dog shows since 1998. “We are expecting 200 Indian dogs from Chennai, Madurai, Tiruchi and other states as well.”

Southern Tamil Nadu boasts of native breeds such as Kanni, Kombai, Chippiparai and Rajapalayam, all named after places. “There’s a need to protect these breeds from extinction and dilution; certification is the only way to register the parentage of the dogs and maintain a pure blood line. Right now, the breeding of these dogs is happening in a haphazard manner and there’s a lot of dilution,” says Ramanathan. “For instance, Rajapalayam is now easily available but there’s hardly a certified method followed to breed them. Hence, a buyer is confused in identifying the real Rajapalayam.” Through certification, the lineage of the dogs are stored in the database of CCI and can be traced any time in order to know the history of the dog. It will also avoid in-breeding among dogs of the same parentage. In-breeding is said to cause genetic disorders among the pups.

Maintaining a pure blood line will lead to stronger characteristics and sharper features in dogs, points out Ramanathan. “Passionate villagers who raise native dogs are hesitant to come out to the urban areas. Our show aims to break this mindset. They are also unaware of the market demands for native breeds and hence middle men benefit in the trade. The pups are bought for cheap and the dealers sell them for higher rates. A Rajapalayam pup is sold for ₹20,000 in the market,” he says.

Rottweiler, a German breed comes from a town of the same name, is today found even in remote villages here. It has become a fad to raise dogs of the breed, says Ramanathan. “But why don’t we find a Rajapalayam or a Kanni being raised in foreign countries?” He adds, “That’s because these breeds do not have international accreditation. MCC has taken efforts to get the same for Rajapalayam from the Fédération Cynologique Internationale and it will be the first Indian breed to get the recognition. Caravan and Mudhol hounds are breeds from Karnataka that are also in the process.” Similarly, MCC has also started litter-inspection facility in the town, so that buyers can confidently go for pups from Madurai and surroundings. There were at least 10 to 11 native breeds in Southern India of which only a few are known today, says Ramanathan. “The Ramnad Mandhai is a breed that’s not found any more. Likewise, breeds such as the Rampur hound, jonangi or pashmi have become rarer. It is to such breeds that we hope to make the native dogs show a regular feature.”

Native breeds:

“Our native dog breeds are sight hounds that descended from Pariah dogs, that were in turn bred from Egyptian hounds. They have sharp eyesight and hence are great watch and guard dogs apart from being good hunters,” says Ramanathan.

Rajapalayam -- Belongs to Rajapalayam and was used as hunting dogs by the Nayak dynasty. They are basically boar hunters, easily trainable with a good temperament and are loveable dogs.

Kombai -- the name means a dense forest and the dogs comes from Theni district. Also called Karumoonji, they have a black nose with a reddish coloured body. They are fierce guard dogs that can even confront big cats, good at chasing and hunting

Chippiparai -- descendant of Sloughi and Pashmi breeds. They are good at hunting small animals like hares and double up as watch dogs that are alert always. With a slim and slender tucked-up loins, deep chest and long feet, they cover lot of distance with appreciable endurance and agility.

Details about the dog show:

Madurai Canine Club’s 31st and 32nd chamiponship dog show and the 3rd speciality show of native breeds will happen at Gandhi Museum on February 10 from 9 am to 6 pm.

The judges are David A Ojalvo from Argentina and Marie Patten from Australia for the Champioship show and T Preetam from India for the native breeds show

As an incentive to dog owners who showcase native breeds, the club is also offering a hamper worth ₹1000. Entry fee is ₹1500 for other breeds and ₹500 for Indian breeds.

To register, visit or call 9791301264. Last day for registration is February 5.

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Printable version | May 22, 2022 5:04:22 pm |