The Chippiparai is a breed of dogs that originated in India and was a favorite to the then Royals. These sighthounds are presently very rare and might very soon lose its pure bloodline because of the intensity of crossbreeding by the new breeders. These hunter dogs have a compact, and streamlined body with a broad chest, slightly roached at the back and a little tucked-up at the belly adapted for chasing game. Their head is slightly domed and long; the eyes are dark, while the muzzle is pointed towards its nose. They have small ears overlapping at the tips. The legs are straight and long, while the tail is thin and bony.
|Coat||Short, coarse, thick|
|Colors||Fawn (most common), reddish brown, black, silver-gray; white-marking specimens are rare|
|Type||Sighthound, Hunting Dog|
|Group (of Breed)||Purebred|
|Weight||33-44 pounds (full grown male/female)|
Males: 63 cm (average),
Females: 56 cm (average)
|Personality Traits||Brave, loyal, energetic, whimsical, willful, obstinate, protective|
|Good with Children||Unknown (may be good)|
|Good with Pets||No|
|Good for New/First-time Owners||No|
|Litter Size||4-7 puppies at a time|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||Not registered|
History & Development
The Chippiparai dog gets its name from the ‘Chippiparai’ region in the Virudhunagar district, close to Madurai in Tamil Nadu. History has it that, this dog was bred mostly by the then royal families of Tirunelveli and Madurai, as well as the affluent class, continuing to be the embodiment of royalty and dignity up to the present time.
They are believed to be genetically linked with Egyptian breeds, Sloughi and Saluki, both of which had attained stature as royal dogs of Egypt. They were brought to Southern India via sea route and were made to mate with the local breeds, which is how the Chippaparai breed probably originated. The physical resemblance of this breed with the Saluki also advocates this theory.
The Chippiparai gained much patronage and popularity and was mainly known to be fierce hunters. They were initially employed for this purpose as they could efficiently catch their prey, kill them, and bring them to their masters. They were expert in hunting mostly deer, wild boar, and hare, but would even capture smaller animals and birds like gazelle, squirrel, bustards, and pheasants.
However, with the gradual decline of the Dravidian royalties in those areas, the dog began to lose its stand. Another reason for a decrease in their popularity was their Egyptian lineage which was looked down upon by the conservative higher caste Hindus of the region.
Presently, they occupy a limited area in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, while a small population exists around the Periyar Lake in the South Indian state of Kerala. They have not yet gained recognition as a standardized breed by any major kennel club.
Temperament and Behavior
These are one man dogs, being extremely dedicated to their owners or handlers. Some individuals would not even enjoy being handled, fed or petted by anyone else but their masters. They are at times stubborn and would often display an independent demeanor.
Chippaparais are protective of their territory or domain, defending them at any cost, thus excelling as great watchdogs. These intelligent dogs possess a natural hunting instinct and detest being left alone for prolonged periods, resorting to destructive activities in such cases.
Being active by nature, they need a lot of exercises, without which, they might often display restless behavior, often projected through their natural urge for hunting. Take your dog for long walks twice a day, and allow it to run around without its leash in a large space like a courtyard, etc. But make sure, the place is enclosed, or else a squirrel or a robin might easily lure it out.
Chippiparais shed less as they have a short coat, which is also easy to groom. You can brush them once or twice every week. Bathe them if you think it is necessary.
They are sturdy and healthy, and do not suffer from any issues specific to their breed. However, they might catch a cold easily. Some individuals might also be sensitive to food allergies and anesthesia.
Considering their obstinacy and independent nature, Chippiparais need a thorough training in obedience right from the time you bring it home. Praise your puppy or give a treat every time it succeeds in picking up an instruction. When you are out with your dog, never allow it walk ahead of you, but instead, make sure it is your dog that is following your footsteps. Since your dog has a one-man instinct, socialize your puppy from time to time, especially with humans, even after it grows up. You might also want to get your dog accustomed to smaller animals right from an early age.
The good news is, the Chippiparai is not a fussy eater. A medium breed like the Chippiparai needs about 2-2½ cups of dry dog foods daily.
- S. Theodore Bhaskaran, a South Indian film historian and wildlife conservationist, published his research work – ‘The Book of Indian Dogs’ in May 2017, where he intricately traced the history of the Chippiparai, along with other Indian dog breeds.