Rampur Greyhound

Linda Simon
Dr Linda Simon (MVB MRCVS, University College Dublin)
 
Photo of adult Rampur Greyhound

A rare breed of dog created by the noble Maharajah in the north of India several hundred years ago, the Rampur Greyhound is a cross between the English Greyhound and the Afghan Hound, or ‘Tazi’. A medium-sized sighthound, the Rampur Greyhound was traditionally admired for its speed and strength and used by the upper classes to hunt wild boar and jackals.

The superior vision of Rampur Greyhounds is one of their main attributes, and they use it to their advantage when out hunting. Typically affectionate with their owners, they are known to be quite protective of them and are often reserved when meeting new people, though this aloofness can be combatted through adequate socialisation.

About & History

A dog with a truly regal history, the Rampur Greyhound is thought to have been developed by Nawab Ahmad Ali Khan Bahadur, who was Nawab (an Indian ruler) of Rampur (a city in Uttar Pradesh in northern India) from 1794 to 1840.

The Nawab of Rampur bred the Afghan Hound with the English Greyhound, creating a muscular and effective sighthound. While the English Greyhound contributed its obedience and speed, the Afghan Hound added strength, bravery and resistance to the local climate. Traditionally used by the Maharajahs (ruling nobility) for hunting purposes, they were thought of as an elite animal. While most famously a hunter of jackals and wild boar, the Rampur Greyhound would also reportedly hunt fierce predators, such as tigers and panthers.

Many of the Rampur Greyhounds originally created were bred back to English Greyhounds, meaning it is difficult and rare to find a pure Rampur Greyhound today. As hunting has now largely fallen out of favour, and with the cost of owning a large dog prohibitive to most local people, the Rampur Greyhound has come dangerously close to extinction. Still used for hunting, this dog has never really been a feature in show rings and is not typically kept as a pet.

In a nod to their national importance, the Rampur Greyhound was featured on an Indian postage stamp in 2005. Today, there are only a small number of Rampur Greyhounds registered within India, with rare reports of any internationally.

Appearance

Rampur Greyhound Large Photo

While roughly the same height as the English Greyhound, Rampur Greyhounds are visibly wider and more solidly built with increased muscling on their body and limbs, and a broader skull. A dolichocephalic breed, they have a long and narrow skull, from which extends small, wide-set, floppy ears. Their imploring eyes range from shades of yellow to amber. Their chest is deep and narrow and their long slender tail tapers to the tip. Their paws are often described as ‘feline’ in their abilities; flexible and providing increased balancing skills.

Males are tall, measuring between 60-75cm, while females are shorter, at a height of 55-60cm. Breed members weigh between 27-30kg. Their coat is smooth and short, with recognised colour varieties including:

  • Grey
  • Brindle
  • Black
  • Fawn
  • White
  • White & Black

Character & Temperament

Gentle and sweet-natured, Rampur Greyhounds are known to form close attachments to their owners, often becoming protective of them. Sometimes too exuberant for their own good, they have a reputation for being over-enthusiastic and this is to be considered if they are to share a home with small children.

At times shy, intensive socialisation when puppies is essential to bring them out of their shell and avoid them developing into overly-sensitive or fearful adult dogs. An under-socialised puppy will often turn into a defensive dog who is distrustful of strangers and may have the potential to become aggressive. Caution is advised if homing the Rampur Greyhound with any small pets, as their hunting instincts remain strong today, and even with other dogs, they can have a tendency toward intolerance.

Trainability

Often forming a strong bond with one owner, they will tend to obediently follow instruction from them. They are moderately easy to train, as they are typically docile and easy-going.

Intensive work on recall training is essential to avoid mishaps in the park, as if they see a prey animal in the distance, they will likely have a strong desire to chase after it. Unlikely to be caught once on the run, one owner claims that his Rampur Greyhound can reach speeds of over 60 km/h. Training should start on an extendable lead, but they should be able to work off-lead given the chance.

Health

Medical data is lacking when it comes to the Rampur Greyhound, though anecdotally they are long-lived, often reaching the age of 14 or 15. Conditions that they are predisposed to include:

  • Osteosarcoma – A malignant tumour of the bone, the osteosarcoma can be more prevalent in Rampur Greyhounds than in other breeds of dogs. Unfortunately, this type of tumour has a high potential for malignancy and has often spread around the body before being diagnosed. An owner may first notice a swelling and pain or lameness in the affected limb. Leg amputation and chemotherapy may be advised, though typically the prognosis is guarded to poor.
  • Bloat – This condition is also known as Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV) and is most often seen in deep-chested breeds, such as the Rampur Greyhound. The stomach twists out of position and fills with air, fluid and ingesta, causing a life threatening emergency and often resulting in the animal going into shock. When this happens, dogs become restless and will usually drool and pant, as well as retch unproductively. Their stomach may be seen to enlarge and will feel tense. Aggressive patient stabilisation, followed by surgery, to correct the twisting is essential to treat this condition successfully.
  • Anaesthetic Sensitivity – Similar to their English Greyhound ancestor, the Rampur Greyhound is more sensitive than the average dog to certain anaesthetic medications and is also prone to suffering from hypothermia (low body temperature) during an anaesthetic. Veterinarians will be aware of this, modifying their protocol accordingly, and this increased sensitivity should not dissuade owners from proceeding with necessary surgical procedures.
  • Bed Sores – As the Rampur Greyhound has thin skin, a low percentage of body fat and their joints are close to the surface, they have little in the way of protection against developing sores when they lie on hard surfaces. Providing thick, padded bedding can help to minimise the occurrence of these horrid ulcers.

Exercise and Activity Levels

While undoubtedly an athletic breed with great physical prowess, the Rampur Greyhound prefers a sprint to a marathon, and while they enjoy exercising, they do not need to be brought out for walks of several hours in duration.

Off lead exercise should only be attempted when the dog can be completely trusted with recall, as their ability to see prey from even a long distance, can mean that they will suddenly give chase without warning. Any garden they are allowed access too must be very secure for this same reason. Ideally, the Rampur Greyhound should not be confined to a small home and is far better suited to a large house with ample access to the outdoors.

Grooming

Due to its short fur, the Rampur Greyhound rarely needs to be brushed, and is a naturally clean dog. Grooming weekly with a soft brush can help to eliminate dead fur and maintain shine.

Tooth brushing is essential in this breed, and not to be neglected. While the Rampur Greyhound will not have its full set of adult teeth until six or seven months of age, starting to get them used to tooth brushing should begin even before this, ensuring they will accept the brush without nipping. Remember to start slow, perhaps just rubbing a finger along their gum line for several seconds and then rewarding them with a tasty treat if they comply. A palatable dog toothpaste may be used to enhance the experience. Each day, the time spent brushing should be built up, until they are eventually having their teeth brushed for at least one minute each day. In some dogs, true tolerance can take months to obtain. Preventing periodontal disease can also be achieved by feeding a hard diet rather than a soft one, and by giving dog chews.

Famous Rampur Greyhounds

Extremely rare and largely unheard of outside of India, the Rampur Greyhound breed has no celebrated members.

Cross-Breeds

While the Rampur Greyhound is often bred back to the English Greyhound, this is not considered a true cross-breed, as the Rampur Greyhound originated from the English Greyhound.

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