The Combai is a strong, alert dog who looks almost like a dingo. This canine has a rich short coat that is close fitting to their strong muscular body. Like the Rhodesian Ridgeback, they have a ridge of fur that runs down their spine. They are native to Southern India, specifically to the Tamil Nadu region. As a working dog breed, they originally were used by the Indian Royalty to hunt bear, tigers, and other dangerous animals. These days this attractive dog is used as a guard dog for rural farmers, householders, or as a companion dog. The Combai is becoming a rare dog, even in their homeland, with many experts believing them to be on the verge of extinction. Many Indian dogs have been dominated by the European Breeds that many people have seen as more fashionable and valuable than the native dog. In their favor, the Combai dog is known to be fierce towards their enemies, and intensely loyal to their family. They have a natural resistance to disease and parasites in Southern India which has produced a strong and hardy animal. They love to be close to their family, and are known to be gentle and tolerant with small children in their family 'pack'. Eager to please their master, this dog has an intensity and commitment that is highly valued by their owners.
An ancient breed, the Combai is believed to have a lineage traceable back to the 15th century or even earlier. This dog, with their rich red coat and black mask, was a popular breed in ancient times. People valued their strength and eagerness to please and employed them to hunt wild boar, deer, and even bears. Some people believe that this dog was used by the army of the Marudhu brothers, who were also known as the Marudhu Pandiars. They headed the revolt against the British subjugation of the Kalaiar Koil of the Sivakasi Kingdom at the beginning of the 19th Century. The Combai does not take kindly to strangers so they make ideal guard dogs and will fight to the death to defend their owners, to whom they have total loyalty and devotion. One can imagine how fierce in battle these loyal dogs were. Throughout the centuries they have been kept primarily by the nobility of Southern India who used them mostly for hunting. The breed was extremely skilled at bear hunting and was commonly called the Bear Dog or Bear Hound. Apart from bears, this athletic dog hunted all major game species native to the area, including lions, tigers, and leopards. The dog's success at hunting these dangerous creatures earned them great acclaim and respect. As the centuries passed and the Indian nobility slowly lost a great deal of its power, the Combai became popular as a guard dog for rural farmers. As time passed and the battle for survival in India changed, a population explosion resulted that spread out over the land and pushed the remaining prey to their limits. Suddenly the Combai had no purpose; there was nothing left to hunt, so they became a guard dog. During this time of change, the numbers of this magnificent dog began to fall and they have never recovered. Pure bred Combai are now so rare that most dog experts agree that extinction is looming fast for this creature, unless something is done soon to save them.
The Combai is a hardy breed of dog with an athletic, lean, muscular body built for hunting. With strong jaws and powerful legs, this allows them to take on animals that are twice their size or more. Their compact body is well proportioned; they have long, strong legs and solid shoulders and a thick muscular neck. Their wedge shaped head has a long tapering muzzle, with a black mask around their mouth, ears and eyes. They feature a ridge of fur that streaks along their back, much like the Rhodesian Ridgeback has. The eyes are round, and a rich brown or amber and they have a very expressive, intense expression. They miss nothing; this dog is constantly alert to everything that is going on. Coloration can vary quite a bit on the Combai, but they are primarily a rich red, tan or chestnut brown. This coloration is attractive with the dog's darker points highlighting their face. The tail is long and feathered, often curling up a little and is held quite high. This sight hound is a beautiful dog that has a long history, but an uncertain future as they struggle to hold their own amongst a plethora of imported dog breeds.
Although some think that the Combai dog is savage or has a ferocious temper, this dog has a great family history as a kind and affectionate pet. In the past, the Combai was used to track and hunt not just any old prey, but prey that was known to be ferocious. For example, they were used by Indian Royalty to hunt wild boar, bears and tigers, not to mention the solid bison. These animals far outweighed the Combai in size and stature, but it was the sheer tenacity of the dog, and the focus to do what their owner had requested them to do that has earned them the reputation for being savage. There is no denying that the Combai will defend their owner and family members without any regard for their own life. But at home, this is a quiet dog that only seeks to be left alone by strangers and who loves interacting with its people. This dog has an innate sense of who is welcome and who is not. The Combai strives to please their master and responds to the mood and command of their leader right from youth and onward. Being an active dog, they require a lot of exercise and mental stimulation to keep them happy, and they are easy to train as long as you are consistent in your methods, and you make the dog respect you as the leader, without resorting to physical means to do so. Beautiful in appearance, and well loved by their owners, this impressive dog is worth any effort to save the dwindling numbers.
The Combai dog is an active dog used to working for a living. Therefore, they need a good walk at least once per day if they are kept as a companion dog. They love to run free so a large yard would be ideal, although they can adapt to apartment living as long as they get out and about during the day. The Combai is suspicious of strangers, and will not allow them on your property without your permission, so this trait has to be taken into consideration for your place of living. They will engage with children and adult family members in games, as they love to be with their family. This dog would be ideal for a fitness guru who loves to run, as they will have a willing friend to accompany them. Mental activity is also important, so provide a few tasks that the Combai has to work out, and this will keep them happy for hours. As chasing is a great love of this dog, it is best to keep them on a leash, just in case the instinct to run hits them and they take off after a cyclist or the neighbor's cat. They are perfect for country living and will keep your home vermin free. But, they are no couch potato and need an active family that can match their energy.