|Dog (domestic dog)|
The Kombai is described as a lean, long, muscular, powerful and athletic dog that stands around 71 centimetres (28 in). They have a short, smooth coat that is usually reddish-brown in colour, with a slightly lighter-coloured saddle and a black muzzle. They have dark eyes, the mid-length ears with bent tips typical of sighthounds, and a fine muzzle. The breed has a long, tapering tail that is carried curled over their back.
The Kombai is described as highly intelligent and extremely loyal to, and affectionate with, people they are familiar with, being particularly sweet-natured and tolerant of children with whom they allow particularly rough play, but when aroused by strangers or unfamiliar dogs they can be ferocious, making them excellent guard dogs.
The breed originated in the Ramnad district and is named after the town of Kombai. It subsequently spread throughout Southern India. The Kombai was traditionally kept by zamindars and others for coursing a variety of game. When hunting it is particularly robust and athletic, easily clearing hedges and other obstacles.
The Kannada Vokkaliga zamindars of Kombai presented Tipu Sultan and Hyder Ali with these dogs for their army. The ferocious dogs were trained to rip the hamstrings of enemy horses. Tipu sent the town an idol of Ranganathaswamy in gratitude.
There are conflicting reports about the status of the breed; some reports from the 1960s stated the dog was popular and numbers were increasing, whilst others from the same period described them as practically extinct. A Tamil Nadu state-run dog-breeding facility did take up the cause of breeding the Kombai, along with a number of other local breeds. However, it was reported they suspended their Kombai breeding program when owners who had purchased dogs returned them, finding their character ill-suited to keeping as pets.
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- Morris, Desmond (2001). Dogs: the ultimate dictionary of over 1,000 dog breeds. North Pomfret, VT: Trafalgar Square Publishing. p. 326. ISBN 1-57076-219-8.
- Soman, W.V. (1962). The Indian Dog. Mumbai: Popular Prakashan. p. 91.
- Kolappan, B. (8 September 2014). "Bid to popularise ferocious Kombai". The Hindu. Chennai. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
- Umachandran, Shalini (30 Sep 2015). "Tipu a misunderstood patriot: Historians". India: The Times of India. Retrieved 25 March 2021.