Kombai (Combai) Dog: The Daring Guard Of Tamil Nadu


Kombai dog, alternatively called Combai Dog, is one of the oldest Indian dog breeds known to have stood as a guarding wall for forts and palaces. Kombai dog existed way before written records were kept for Indian dog breeds and happens to come down to use from the 15th century.

A critically endangered Indian dog breed, Combai dog, has its origin in the Cumbam-Uthamapalayam belt of Tamil Nadu. With a growing trend in adopting dogs that come from a non-native bloodline, Indogs are slowly losing their charm and identity. Kombai dog is one such Indie that possesses the temperament of a Pitbull Terrier.

With a strong hunting instinct and the strength to bring a bear to the ground, this Indian royal guard can surpass any other non-native dog breed. However, it is still on the road to extinction and many Indie dog lovers are trying to bring this breed back to extant-ion.

Note: Our intent in DogIsWorld to write this article is to promote the adoption and revival of Indian Dog Breeds. Though there is very limited bona fide information on Indogs, we have tried our best to give you all the possible authentic details pertaining to the same.

Kombai Dog gets its name from the Kombai village of Tamil Nadu.

Kombai Dog Images

Combai dog puppies
Combai dog training

Combai dog leashed
Combai dog staring at the window
Combai dog sitting

Quick Facts

Average Weight: 44lbs to 66lbs
Average Height: 15 inches to 19 inches

Dog Group: Hound Dog
KCI Ranking: N/A

At A Glance

Kombai Dog or Combai Dog is a medium-sized Indie dog breed that is muscular and the shoulder and lean at the back. The average weight of a Kombai Dog male is between 55lbs to 66lbs and between 44lbs to 55lbs for female dog. Kombai dog height at the withers is between 15 inches to 19 inches for both male and female Combai dogs alike.

Kombai Dog lifespan ranges from 9 to 13 years.

Kombai dog is a very adaptable and adjustable Indian dog breed. It can thrive in any space, whether it is a house or an apartment. However, one needs to be very particular about their exercise needs. Kombai or Combai dogs are very energetic dogs and need enough physical stimulation to be happy. If adopting them in an apartment-living is your plan, make sure you give they have a lot of jobs to do.

Kombai dog has a pack mentality and often gets paw-tective about his packmates. This instinct makes Combai extremely shielding about his hoomans. Forget having a good night’s sleep because this breed is going to wake you up in the middle of the night if he senses something unusual. It is usually an adult’s breed but the Combai dog loves children because children love to play. However, children should know how to treat a Kombai because they might become defensive and injure if a hooman-child pulls his tail or shows any sign of danger.

Naw! Kombai's pack mentality makes him treat any un-fur-miliar dog, cat, or mouse protective and in defense, aggressive. Keeping a small pet with a Kombai dog will definitely get ruff and is not a great idea unless you like it ruff! However, Combai can get along with a dog of the same size and temperament if brought up together since puppyhood.

Kombai dog usually barks – one, when he senses something unusual; two, when he is hungry or wants to play; three when he sees a pigeon. Otherwise, it is a quiet dog! As time passes by, you will slowly start to understand the meaning of each bark of your Combai dog.

Kombai dog breed is an indigenous dog and has naturally adapted to the varied climates of the Indian region. It does not need a special car during summers except for the regular how-to-keep-dogs-cool-in-the-summer strategy to avoid extreme heating and dehydration. However, try to keep your Kombai puppy warm during extreme winters since their short coat is not enough to protect them from cold. Provide him with a cozy bed to sleep in and some warm clothes.

Kombai dog breed is highly intelligent which makes it very easy to train this breed. Contrary to the notion that INDogs are not easy to train, they are smarter and equally trainable like the pedigree dogs. Extremely headstrong and independent, Combai dog was known to put a bear to ground WITHOUT HUMAN ASSISTANCE. If trained properly, they can outdo pedigree dogs in obedience and agility.

Kombai dog history tells us that they used to live in jungles and take up fights with lions and bears. If the truth is such, it would be safe to say that Kombai Dog is highly energetic and needs a lot of exercises regularly. A 10 minutes’ walk would not be enough for him. They need a proper 60 minutes of exercise daily which includes a good walk, canine sports, and a lot of playtimes. Additionally, they thrive on mental stimulation. A Combai dog will be a happy dog as long as he gets all of this.

Kombai dog breed has a short coat and does not require special grooming. Brushing once a week is enough to keep his coat clean. Bathing is only required when he gets extremely dirty. Brush his teeth regularly to avoid foul odor from his mouth. Eyes, ears, and nail clipping should be done frequently along with anal cleaning once a month.

There is no dog breed which is 100% hypoallergenic, it’s just that some carry fewer allergens than the others. Kombai dog has a short coat but its fur still carries allergens which can cause allergies to people who are dog-fur sensitive. However, it does not mean this Kombai dog breed is not for you. A little special attention to his grooming can work miracles.

Kombai dog price ranges from INR 9,000 to 20,000. Kombai dog prices in Tamil Nadu can vary from other states because the breed price varies according to the city, availability, and quality. Since Kombai dog puppies are mostly bred in the Cumbam-Uthamapalayam belt, the Kombai dog price in Tamil Nadu may range from INR 7,000 to 15,500 approximately.
However, Indian dog breeds are also available in a lot of adoption and animal shelters free of any cost.

We, at DogIsWorld don’t support buying or selling of dogs and suggest you adopt, not shop!

About Kombai Dog

Combai dog red collar

A perfect blend of South Africa’s Rhodesian Ridgeback in appearance and England’s Pitbull Terrier in temperament, our Indian Royal Guard, Kombai Dog, has been serving as a shield to many palaces and forts since times bygone. It is a storehouse of energy, power, and vigilance.

A medium-sized, short-coated Indian dog breed, Kombai Dog height ranges between 15 inches to 19 inches for both male and female dogs.  The weight of this dog varies according to gender. Kombai Dog male weight is between 55lbs to 66lbs and between 44lbs to 55lbs for female dogs.

Kombai dog is of a unique appearance with a blunt-wedge-like head with a medium-sized, black muzzle and almost no loose skin on the forehead. The muzzle, forehead, and body are in perfect proportion forming an ideal golden ratio. Additionally, Kombai dog has a long trail of hair along his body, a lot like the Rhodesian Ridgeback but a little more subtle.

Bold, fearless, and independent, Combai dog was known to protect palaces which required a not-so-regular attitude. Their robust defending instincts and a pack-mentality make them vigilant watchdogs. Combai dog is extremely thoughtful about his family’s safety and can go to any extent to protect them. This defensive nature comes out as aggression to a lot of people who do not understand a dog’s body language.  He was a guard dog and went around hunting lions, you can’t expect the Kombai dog breed to sit and lick your face all day. He’s got work to do, mate!

Highly energetic, a Kombai puppy cannot live in confined spaces. They need a lot of space to vent out this energy which otherwise may turn into uncontrollable aggression. This does not mean apartment-living does not suit a Combai. It can live in apartments as long as their physical needs are taken care of and their energy is directed towards something productive. 

Kombai Dog History

Combai dog history

To understand the origin of this breed, one needs to turn the clock and go back to Kombai dog history in Tamil. The Combai dog breed was known to have developed majorly in the 15th century in and around the Dravidian region (present Tamil Nadu). People in Tamil Nadu believe that this breed has been living and reproducing since the 9th century but now have narrowed down to the Cumbam-Uthamapalayam belt of Southern India.

However, a lot has been lost in transition and all that we have now are old books that stand as a testimony to the existence of Combai dog. Colonial Jams Welsh in his book the Military Reminiscences (1772) tells the story of how fearlessly a pack of Kombai dog protected the fort of Maruthu Pandiyar Brothers. The British had to put down the dogs in order to barge into the fort.

It is said that they before becoming a full-time watchdog, Combai dogs lived in the jungles where they were used as hunting medium for commoners and often brought bear, lions and wild boars to the ground; a lot like its hunter relative – Chippiparai dog.

Though it is widely opinionated that the name comes from the gorgeous village of Kombai, Madhaviah Krishnan, however, thinks that the name was a reference to the low and fertile lands of Western Ghats. Though the breed is still found in Tamil Nadu, the authenticity of their bloodline is still a hot potato because of its unclear history.

Historian James Henry Nelson in his book Madhura Country (1868) wrote that local rulers exchanged horses for Kombai Dog and Kombai dog puppies.

Kombai Dog Facts Theatre

Parenting Guide And Care

Combai dog parenting

1. Early socialization is a must. Combai dog has faced major complaints about being aggressive. Your Kombai puppy needs to be exposed to various sight, sound, dogs, hoomans, and experiences if you want to raise a goodboi.

2. Kombai dog needs a job to do. Kombai dog needs a lot of activities in small amounts throughout the day. If you idle him most of the tie, he will resort to digging the backyard, tearing your most expensive couch, and even biting random strangers if let open. Give him enough mental and physical stimulation so your Kombai dog goes off to sleep relaxed and tired.

3. Leash Training is an important part. Kombai dog needs to be leash-trained. Since they were bred to be masters of their own mind, it may get very difficult to control them when they are at their worst. Hence, provide you Kombai puppy with leash training since puppyhood. However, do not make it look like a punishment.

4. Not for first-time owners. Kombai dog would be an extremely bad choice for first-time dog parents. If you are a first-time dog owner, I am afraid, you need to reconsider. They are known to be one of the most dangerous Indian dog breeds and can only be controlled by an experienced dog owner.

Suggested:  6 Best Dog for First Time Owners

5. Kombai dog is a moderately apartment-friendly dog breed. Due to their high level of energy, they need a lot of space, like a backyard, to jump and play around. Apartment – living is not recommended for this breed, however, if you still want to adopt one, make sure you are professional enough to tame their aggression and never-say-never attitude.

6. Kombai dog is an indigenous dog breed and adapts perfectly to hot and humid conditions like that of India’s. It does not have a non-native-like dog unless you wish to use the how-to-keep-dogs-cool-in-the-summer strategy. However, try to keep your Kombai puppy warm during extreme winters since their short coat is not enough to protect them from cold. Provide him with a cozy bed to sleep in and some warm clothes.

7. Kombai dog is not a hypoallergenic breed and even though it has a short-coat, he can cause allergy to people who are dog-fur sensitive. However, due to his short and dense coat, he does not require a lot of grooming. Brushing once a week and bathing only when extremely necessary would be enough to get your Kombai dog going.

8. Kombai is a one-man dog which means your Kombai puppy will only listen to your commands. It also means that he may suffer from separation anxiety if you are not around, although Kombai is known to be an independent dog. However, his independent and maverick mind does stop him from being an ideal and protective family guy.

There are a lot of Indian dog breeds that are waiting for you to shelter them. Fierce, loyal, and bold, nobody can teach you the true meaning of courage and unconditional love better than Indies.

Kombai Dog Temperament And Personality

Combai dog temperament

Kombai dog temperament has often been compared to Rottweiler when it comes to fearlessness and aggression. However, if you have ever seen or owned a Rottweiler, you would know that their aggression is never unnecessary. They have a reputation for being cruel and merciless towards their enemies. Which makes them a hopeless dog breed for amateur dog parents.

However, this attitude doesn’t outshine the quality of being faithful and perfect family dogs. Although they are “Velcro dogs” and prefer one favorite hooman, they have a pack mentality. Kombai dog will fight death to protect the entire family from even a minute threat. Their loyalty towards hoomans has been tried and true for centuries which can be a struggle for them if rehoused.

Combai dogs are known to be an adult’s dog and stay within a call with their families. Surprisingly, they get along very well with young adults and love playing with them. However, they may get defensive when it comes to small children who do not know how to handle a dog. Proper socialization with small children, different experiences, sights, sounds and other people in the neighborhood can train them into becoming a gentleman.

Comabi dog can be trusted with other dogs of similar temperament and size if brought up together since puppyhood. Do not make the hideous mistake of bringing this one up with smaller pets. Their prey instinct will drive them to commit an innocent murder. On a sadder note, it is advised to bring up a Kombai dog alone. All they need is hooman affection and attention.

An ideal companion dog, Kombai puppies depend, only emotionally, on their favorite hooman. Mentally, they are very independent and thrive on their instincts. You cannot make a Kombai dog sit if he doesn’t want to. But this attitude does not mean that Kombais are not easy to train. They are very street-smart, adaptable, and intelligent dog breed, which makes it unchallenging to train them.  Their obedience is commendable and will stand out if given a chance to compete with pedigree dog breeds.

Since this breed went through two major changes over time, from being hunters to being guard-dog, they are very suspicious of strangers. Be ready to experience a “ruff edge to his tongue” every time sees somebody he does not like. Due to their territorial aggression, the Kombai breed may start barking and sometimes, even end up attacking strangers they think are a threat to their family. Like any other hunting dog breed, they come with a natural focus towards chasing and attacking which makes leash training has a quintessential part of Kombai dog training.

Kombai dog is claustrophobic and strongly dislikes enclosed spaces. It definitely would not be a good idea to put in him on a leash all the time or keep his cages. It’s a free-bird, uh dog, and will become aggressive if kept chained. It also means that they may not do very well in apartment-living and would require an open space to direct all their energy. However, if you know how to dominate their position and control them without making it look like a punishment, you can freely adopt this breed.

Note: Psychologically, they very sensitive dogs and would definitely not like it if you make them feel un-furthy. This may make them more aggressive and disrespectful towards you. The best way to make them realize their mistakes without hurting their sentiments is praise and positive reinforcement techniques. It always works!

They can be ruff sometimes but they love unconditionally.

Did you know that there are stories of Combai dog holding intruders for almost 12 hours until their master’s order to let go.

Colors and Grooming

Combai colors

Indogs go easy on the pocket and that also includes their after-adoption charges. Kombai dog has a short and dense coat, and even though they shed their coat twice a year – spring and fall – they do not need a lot of grooming.

Brushing your Combai dog once a week and baths only went dirty comprises half of their grooming needs. This breed, just like its heart, has sensitive skin too. Though they require very less brushing, it is advised that you do it thoroughly.

Apart from that, routine maintenance of nail clipping, ear cleaning, and anal cleaning need to be followed.

Look out for foul breath. If his breath smells like urine, your Combai dog is suffering from kidney issues. On the other hand, if it smells like a rotten egg and blood, then it can either be tooth decay or he has been stealing a rotten egg from the dustpan.

Feeding A Combai Dog

Combai puppy eating

Combai dog is an Indian breed and the best diet for them would comprise locally available food. Since they have lived on anything and everything that was available to them for years, their digestive systems are structured to ingest any homemade dog food.

I would personally suggest maintaining a diet that includes rice, chicken, and wheat Indian bread.

A) Puppy (3 months to 12 months)

Kombai puppies would require 4 servings of 100gms rice with half a boiled egg or 50gms of boiled chicken along with the calcium and other supplements certified by the vet.

You can increase the serving by 20gm according to his height, weight, and exercise routine.

B) Adult (18 months to 5 years)

An adult Combai dog would require 3 servings of 150gms rice with one boiled egg or 150gms of boiled chicken.

Alternatively, you can feed him 7 to 8 pieces of wheat Indian bread or a combination of both rice and bread over lunch and dinner respectively.

You can also add dry high-quality food with their meal but they digest homemade food better.

Adding freshly cut fruits like apple, mango, and bananas to his breakfast can give him raw nutrition and energy.

P.S. – DO NOT FEED HIM GRAPES. Grapes is a toxic food for dogs.

C) Senior (9 years to 13 years)

You can continue feeding your senior Combai dog 3 servings of 150gms rice with one boiled egg or 150gms of boiled chicken and or, 7 to 8 pieces of wheat Indian bread.

Senior dogs become slow with a decreased metabolism rate. If you see your dog panting after every meal, it is likely due to a snag in the digestive system. You may then want to move to a senior dog diet.

Note: Do not change their diet suddenly. Do it slowly over two weeks.

Health and Vaccination

Combai dog health

Though there has not been an exclusive study on the health of Combai dog breed, mass parents of this breed have provided testimony of the breed’s excellent health. However, Kombai’s African relative, The Rhodesian Ridgeback, has shown painful spinal health issues like dermoid sinus, and other skin problems. It will be puppy-safe to say that Combai dog breed can also face certain health issues listed below:

1. Dermoid Sinus

Dermoid Sinus is a dog version of the human pilonidal sinus and is thought to be genetic. It is a tube form skin defect which is generally caused due to a partial or complete separation of the skin with the nervous system. Dermoid sinus can be detected in dogs within a year of their birth and such dogs should not be bred further.
Symptoms can be visible at an early age through an unusual opening on the midline of the back with protruding hair which often looks like a swirl. Other symptoms may include a tube-like or rope-like bump under his skin mostly under the opening on his back, mild discharge from the opening, infections, and sometimes neurological concerns.

2. Skin Problems

Combai dog breed is also prone to skin diseases especially rashes, sores, and allergies. It can be a reaction caused due to physical elements like dust, pollen, or mildew.
Symptoms may include irritation, redness of the skin, swelling on the face, in eyes or ear flaps, vomiting, and sneezing.
Skin problems can get serious and further cause diarrhea. To avoid skin problems, keep your Combais neat with the help of a proper grooming routine. If the condition is extreme, it can be cured with medication.

There has never been a skeletal or visual issue recorded in Combai dog it is advised that you get your Kombai dog puppy tested by Orthopedic Foundation for Animal (OFA) and Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) just be safe.

Combai dog is sensitive to anesthesia which is given to dogs during vet-checks up, or c-section delivery. The effect can be both mild and life-threatening and is generally cured through advanced medication. Make sure you rush to the vet is your dog has symptoms like nausea and excessive vomiting after a shot of anesthesia.

Kombai dog puppy should be vaccinated with canine parvovirus and for canine distemper at 6, 8, 10, 12, and 16 weeks of age and then a booster every three years.
Make sure to also get a deworming vaccination plan for your pooch from his vet.
Dog vaccination is a battleground in itself and there is a lot to do before your dog finally settles in. It is recommended that you read our vaccination guide to get a thorough idea of dog vaccination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kombai or Combai dog is known to be one of the most dangerous dogs in India. Contrary to the belief, they are very friendly and thrive on human company. If a Kombai dog is attached to you, he will go to any given extent to protect you. However, the Combai dog has a territorial turn of mind and can get aggressive with strangers that try to barge into his space. This can be controlled by providing you Kombai puppy with proper socialization and obedience training.

“How do I identify my Kombai dog?”, a question that almost every Indie dog owner faces due to no available breeding standards for Indian dog breeds. As easy as we can make it a Kombai dog puppy appears to be brown, piebald, or brindle and has a uniquely black muzzle and nose. Kombai is known to have golden or light brown eyes and a ridge of hair running down its spine in the opposite direction with a comparatively longer tail. Kombai dog is known to be defensive and you can try to roll a puppy on his back. If the Kombai puppy tries to retaliate, you have found your golden needle. A lot of people also test Combai dog by bursting loud crackers in front of him since this breed is known to be loud-noise resistant.

Kombai dog puppy is naturally intelligent which makes it very easy to train. You can start with basic commands like “watch me”, “sit”, and likewise and then eventually teach him obedience. Early socialization and exposure to different people, sounds, and experiences is a very important part of a Kombai dog training otherwise your dog may turn out aggressive and anti-social. Since Kombai dog has a history of being a big-animal hunter, leash training plays a vital role in making him controllable and submissive. Additionally, this is a sensitive dog breed, do not make him feel unworthy, or might just end up taking bloody revenge on you. Try praise and positive reinforcement methods for this one. Kombai dog needs professional hands to tame and if you are a first-time dog owner, this may not be the ideal Indie breed for you.

Since Kombai is a native dog it can be available to you for no money at all in any animal adoption shelter near you. If it stands unavailable in a shelter, you can always buy it for INR 9,000 to 20,000. Kombai dog price in Tamil Nadu may slightly differ from other cities since Kombai dog puppies are bred in that region. However, this Indian dog breed is slowly moving towards extinction, and finding a blue-blood can be a struggle for you.

Did you mean: Where to adopt Komabi dog from? Before thinking about where to buy Kombai dog from, give a thought to adoption. There are a lot of animal shelters that may have Kombai dog up for adoption especially because it is an Indian dog breed. Though Kombai dog puppies are very rare to find, you can always hit the animal shelter for a shot of luck. If, however, you don’t get it there you can contact your nearest vet to give you contacts of genuine Kombai dog breeders.

Similar Breeds

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  1. We adopted a Kombai in 2014. He is with us, his name is Choco. He is the best dog in the world. We have other rescued dogs as well but he is the best.


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