The Combai is a breed of Indian hounds that developed around 500 years ago. Known for their immense strength and guarding skills, these large dogs are still used in some parts of the country as a defender of property. Combais have an elongated face with strong jaws, almond-shaped eyes, a long muzzle with the tip having a dark mask. They have a broad chest with a sleek waistline, straight, sturdy legs, and an upward curly tail.
|Other Names||Kombai, Indian Boar Hound, Indian Boardog|
|Coat||Short, straight, rough|
|Colors||Usually tan and reddish brown|
|Group (of Breed)||Hound|
|Weight||Males: around 77 pounds;|
Females: around 66 pounds
Males: 24-26 inches;
Females: 22-24 inches
|Personality Traits||Brave, protective, loyal, aggressive, intelligent, ready to please|
|Good with Children||Yes (if trained from early age)|
|Good with Pets||No (including dogs and smaller pets, if not socialized)|
|Good for New/First-time Owners||No|
|Climatic Conditions||Not good for cold climate|
|Country of Origin||India|
|Competitive Registration/ Qualification Information||Not recognized by any major kennel club|
History & Development
This ancient breed developed in the 15th century India in and around the Dravidian region now known as Tamil Nadu and some parts of Kerala and was once spread throughout the region. Till date, many locals and breed experts presume that the breed existed as early as the 9th century.
Presently, they are only limited to a particular area of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, and in a few kennels. The authenticity of its bloodline is often put to question because of its enormous appearance, especially when compared to the stock available to the modern day breeders of the region.
Combais evolved as a true ‘guard dog’ and was extensively used by the Royals, as well as the commoners for hunting medium to large size games including deer, bears, and bison. Some experts believe that they were even used to guard people’s cattle against leopards, lions, and tigers. Gradually, the dog began to work as a guardian to homesteads and farmhouses against trespassers.
The armies of the Marudhu Pandiyar, the royal brothers who ruled the Sivagangai region of Tamil Nadu towards the end of the 18th century, used the Combai dogs while fighting back the British soldiers that tried to annex the Dravidian kingdom under the British Empire.
Though no major dog registries have recognized this breed, they are still popular in the Southern region of India as both an inviolable hunter as well as a faithful pet.
Temperament and Behavior
Besides its robust guarding instincts, it is known for its loyalty towards its owner and his family. Such traits always motivate it to find out ways to please its master, and would not even think twice to give its own life to save its family.
Combais are athletic and energetic dogs, doing well in open surroundings rather than confined in enclosed places like apartments. Though aggressive to unknown people, they are modest towards their kith and kin, sharing a good rapport with children of the family.
Honestly, they need a whole lot of activities every day. Letting them sit at home idly would only bring out the negative side in them. They need regular exercises, and you are expected to take them out for a long jogging and walk daily for at least a couple of hours every day. The best is if you have a large, enclosed yard in your house where it can run and play without the leash.
This breed has very short hair, and hence, grooming it is relatively easy. Only a couple of brushings per week would be enough to keep it beautiful and clean.
As a naturally-evolved breed, this dog is less likely to pick up issues like most other human-made strains. However, since this breed has pendent ears, their ears might need to be cleaned from time to time to avoid local infections.
- Occasional exhibition of bad temperament to outsiders is not uncommon for them. Hence it is better to begin socializing them with your closed circles, friends, family members and relatives as early as possible. Ask your dear ones to visit your place from to time, and interact with your Combai pup. Let the children play with it, give it a treat from its snacks box, interact and talk to them, and so on.
- Behavioral training is essential. Let your dog learn to differentiate between good and bad behavior. Begin with teaching the basic commands first, including stop, don’t go, come back, sit down, and so on, followed by treats and praises. The next time a friend comes in and your pup starts yapping, ask it to stop by uttering a shhh. As your dog looks at you, praise it, open the door and let your friend in, and give it a snack. This will help your dog associate with a bad behavior (being too defensive or protective) and good (obeying your command and getting a reward, instead).
- Make leash a habit. Every time you move out, interact with unknown people at home, unlock your main entrance, let your dog learn to wear its leash.
Like other large high-energy dogs, they would need around 3-5 cups of dry kibbles, divided into two regular meals.
- The Combai and the Rajapalayam (another Dravidian breed) look so similar that they are often confused with each other, though the former is a much intense guard dog than the latter.