The Combai is an ancient breed of dog that has its roots in the region of Tamil Nadu, Southern India and has been around since the 15th century. In recent centuries, this breed has become a guard dog, serving farmers in far-flung areas.
However, these dogs were originally used by the Indian royalty to hunt large animals including bears. Others believed that these dogs were first used in the 800’s by the Marava kings (Maravar or Maravan) as their hunting dogs.
At the end of the 18th century, when the Indians were demanding their independence, the Combais defended the fort in Sivagangai (a municipality in Sivaganga district in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu) against the British army’s attacks. As the fort was heavily guarded by the Combais, the British army couldn’t get in until all of the dogs were killed.
Traits and Behavior
Because this breed was purposely developed as hunting dogs, their behavior conforms to its purpose, which is that they are trainable and easily obey the commands of their masters or trainers. A laid back dog, exhibit a calm character, most especially, during hunting time wherein they patiently wait for their owner’s signal to retrieve fowls.
Despite an impressive show of traits and behavior, this breed is not for everyone. While they show good intelligence and loyalty, repetitive training and coaching tires them easily and can be a significant factor not to follow orders. It takes a long time for training to reap the desired results as these dogs mature only after three years.
When they reach maturity, these dogs can be relied on as good pets and companions. They are lively, energetic and fun-loving. They are sociable to humans and other dogs, as long as they were earlier trained to socialize.
Since they are highly intelligent, the trainer must be consistent and firm in his commands for these dogs to become active, faithful, and useful.
Pet Care and Diseases
These dogs are easy to maintain. They are not heavy shedders and, therefore, regular combing or brushing will help. Bathing may be necessary, also regularly, as they are constantly exposed to mud and dirt from the hunting and running that they are involved with.
They are not recommended and not adaptable in apartment living. They need a large, open space to breathe, run around, and use a lot of their innate energy. And since they love the outdoors, they should be given ample time for active exercises like swimming, walking, and running.
Noted health diseases for most hounds include:
- Dermoid Sinus
- Anesthesia Allergies
- Sensitivity to Anesthesia
- Cold Intolerance
- Intolerance to hard surfaces
- Food Allergies
- Hip Dysplasia
- Elbow Dysplasia
- Luxating Patella/Patellar Luxation
- Progressive Retinal Atrophy/PRA
- Demodicosis/Demodex Mange/Demodectic Mange
The Combai stands around 17-25 inches tall and weigh between 30-75 pounds. Compared to other Indian dog breeds, the Combai is slightly shorter and has more powerful jaws. The muzzle is quite long.
These dogs also have a black mouth and much more pendant ears. Like most Indian dogs, the Combai has a short, smooth coat that is usually tan or red-brown with a black mask, and with a dark line along the back.
A Combai can live from 12-15 years. The average litter size is 3-8 puppies. Other names include Kombai, Indian Bear Hound and Indian Beardog.