Kanni Dog: A Maiden’s Perfect Beastmaster


Kanni dog or as the legend calls it, the Maiden’s Beastmaster, has a legendary history along with its rapidity. Do not confuse him with a Greyhound because it looks remarkably resemble one of those graceful hounds.

Slowly fading into the depths of extinction, Kanni is a rare Indian breed found in the Tirunelveli, Thoothkudi, and Virudhunagar districts of Tamil Nadu. “Kanni” is a Tamil word that means “pure”, referring to their loyalty and purity of their heart. While Maiden’s Beastmaster remains our favorite, this breed also goes by the names Karun Kanni, Paala Kanni, Pottu Kanni, and its black-and-sable variant Chippiparai.

A sight-hound, Kanni dog was believed to have been bred for coursing and hunting small games like hare, wild boars, and blackbuck. It is known to be one of the fastest dog breeds in the world. I repeat, in the world.

A great round of a-paw-se for our Usain Bolt 2.0!

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 about the same.

“With proper training Kanni dog running speed can reach up to 65 kmph.” 

Kanni Dog Images

Kanni Dog Chained
Kanni Dog Puppy
Kanni Dog Puppy Chained
Kanni dog looking up
Kanni dog puppy in garden
Kanni dog in garden leashed

Quick Facts

Average Weight: 48lbs to 66lbs
Average Height: 23 inches to 27 inches

Dog Group: Hound Dog
KCI Ranking: N/A

At A Glance

Kanni is a medium-sized dog with an average height of 23 inches to 27 inches. However, Kanni dog height and weight vary for female and male dogs respectively. The weight of the female dog is between 48lbs to 55lbs and between 55lbs to 66lbs for the male dog. Kanni dog height for a female is between 23 inches to 25 inches and between 25 inches to 27 inches at the withers for the male dog.

Kanni dog lifespan ranges from 14 to 16 years and is known to live for exceptionally longer dog years.

Kanni dog thrives on physical exercise. They are known as one of the world’s fastest runners and need a lot of open space to vent their running drive. Enclosed spaces and pent up energy can make this breed extremely aggressive. Additionally, this breed is adapted to a village or farmhouse setting and city life does not suit them. This breed is an outdoor breed and living in an apartment can make them the worst dogs to domesticate.

Kanni dog is known to be an introvert but when it comes to his family, it can become highly protective and loyal. They are not very indifferent to strangers but they are highly intuitive and would not hesitate to attack anybody that feels like a threat. Kanni may not be your ideal choice if you have young children at home. They were bred to hunt small games and this instinct might drive them to chase hooman kids too. Additionally, this breed may also do poorly in a family where his exercise needs are not met. If given the required exercise with lots of love, he will become one of your absolute favorites.

Kanni dog has a pack mentality and history stands testimony they were generally adapted to live in a pack of different dog breeds. This makes Kanni dog a good pet sibling with 3 to 4 dogs of the same breed or dog group, if brought up since puppyhood. However, it is advised not to pet other smaller pets with Kanni or that pet will end on a very sad and brutal note.

Kanni dog is not much of a speaker and would bark only when it is extremely necessary. Barking is a dog’s way of communicating his experience and a dog parent needs to understand dog language. You will hear a Kanni bark only out of territorial protection, excessive boredom, or when he smells something unusual.

Indie dogs have been surviving the hot and humid climate of India since times unknown that makes them attune to the varied weather of tropical India. Kanni dog can resist humid conditions but their coat is not made to resist cold. Keep your Kanni puppy warm during winters by providing necessary clothes and letting him stay indoors. This also makes them less prone to any major health issue. An Indie would know how to adapt to any given natural condition of India and they have been doing so without your help, just by the way!

Kanni dog, being a sighthound, also the fastest one, makes him a highly intelligent and trainable Indian dog breed. But first things first, you cannot make a Kanni dog do things. You need to keep in mind that they have free will and were bred to work independently. Expect a Kanni puppy to be willful and do exactly what you "did not" ask him to do. Kanni dog is very particular about defending what he calls his territory and may sometimes become wolfish in protecting it. Professional training from an early age can help this breed become a little obedient.

It is not an Indie dog if he does not have high exercise needs. Indogs were used to street-living before people became aware of them as a distinct breed. This lifestyle has made them work day in-out in search of food and shelter. It would be too safe to say that though they are getting all the puppy-fame now, their work-a-pawl-lic nature has stayed with them. Needless to say, Kanni dog needs a lot of exercises and open ground to run about especially because they are known to be runners. Kanni dog breed needs an hour of ruff training on the big grounds without any interference.

Indie dogs are known for less grooming needs. Kanni Dog grooming neither needs a lot of effort nor does it require enough cash to burn. This breed has a short, close-lying coat with fairly low shedding. They hardly need any professional grooming but may need a bath every time they get dirty in the field.

100% hypoallergenic is a myth and even though Kanni dog sheds way lesser as compared to other dog breeds, they are still prone to carry allergens which can cause allergic reactions to people who suffer from dog-fur sensitivity.

Kanni dog price generally ranges from INR 10,000 to INR 20,000. However, since it is an Indian dog breed, it may be easily available to you in rescue centers.

Indie breeds are slowing decreasing and are almost on a verge of extinction. We at DogIsWorld support Indian dog breed revival and would suggest you adopt Indian breeds (not shop). Additionally, we would love it if you could support the cause by making people around you aware of Indie dog breeds.

Adopt and Aware!


Kanni dog in garden

Kanni dog, a sighthound with a master’s in running degree, is aerodynamically built with a lean body and abdomen tucked enough to make his ribs visible. Kanni dog appears broader at the whither moving leaner towards the end with a whip-like curved tail that almost resembles a half English mustache. What is distinct about Kanni dog is their triangular ears and muscular, strong legs made to bear all the burden of the world. Two pairs of legs that may look extremely fragile but can outrun a cheetah in seconds with a speed of 65kmph.

Kanni dog breed size is medium and appears not more than 48lbs to 66lbs in weight and between 23 inches to 27 inches in height. However, there can be a slight difference in Kanni dog height and weight as per the gender. The female dog weight ranges between 48lbs to 55lbs and between 55lbs to 66lbs for the male dog. Kanni dog height ranges between 23 inches to 25 inches at the withers for a female dog and between 25 inches to 27 inches at the withers for the male dog. This fragile demeanor makes Kanni dog one of the world’s fastest dog breeds.

Kanni dog breed comes in the shy category of dogs but can shed all its timidity when it comes to defending its master and territory. They were bred to hunt small games like rabbits, wild boars, and blackbucks which makes them highly intuitive and wonderful guard dogs. You cannot expect a Kanni dog to give even the slightest of attention to what you have to tell him but would become extremely cautious if he smells anything unusual odor in the air.

Since Kanni dog breed is a hunting dog, he may not do very well in a family with small children and may end up hunting your child for you one day. The same instinct goes for smaller pets like cats and hamsters. Kanni dog breed has an overpowering pack-mentality and would thrive better 3 to 4 dogs of the same breed or group.

The energy of this dog is uncontrollable and once your pooch has an urge of running, there will be no bringing him to a halt. Though an Indie, Kanni dog breed has always been brought up single-handedly by people living in the village and outskirts. This makes them typically poor dogs for both apartment-living and a city settlement. Additionally, this is the worst dog for first-time dog owners. You should rather reconsider. However, if you are an expert in bringing up Indies, the Kanni dog breed is all set to become your next favorite.

A healthy dog with a strong immune system, Kanni dog lifespan ranges from 14 to 16 years, living an exceptionally longer dog year.

“Did you know that Kanni dog uses its long and whip-like tail for balance during A high-speed chase?”

Kanni Dog History

Kanni dog history

Kanni dog history has been recorded as “Vetta nai” or hunting dogs in Tamil narrative of times bygone. An ancient sighthound, Kanni dog was known to originate in the Southern uplands of Tamil Nadu and was selectively bred by Zamindars (aristocrat or landlords) for hunting purposes during the medieval period.

With the advent of the British in India, the fame of Kanni dog skyrocketed and rapidly started to spread outside the upland pockets. Eventually, this breed shifted from hunting to hunting games and sports. However, after the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, Kanni slowly started to move towards extinction. 

All hail to admirers and enthusiasts who are burning the midnight oil to revive Kanni dog breed and other Indies!

Kanni dog history is not limited to hunting but is also attached to one local practice too. Traditionally speaking, this dog was given to newlywed brides for protection against wild animals and drunkard husbands! Hence, the name – Maiden’s Beastmaster. Kanni dogs come in a lot of colors but particularly the black-and-tan was given to brides. This also led to wrongly naming this breed color as Kanni both in dogs and goats (in future).

Native breeds still call every color breed Kanni, Kennel Club of India has registered two different breeds for two different colors. The black-and-tan is registered as Kanni dog and the black-and-sable as Chippipirai.

But both are equally adorable!

“It is largely believed that the famous Maruthu Pandiyar brother’s hunting pack also included Kanni dog along with Kombai dog.”

Kanni Dog Facts Theatre

Parenting Guide And Care

Kanni dog parenting

1. Early socialization is a must. Kanni dog is very shy and indifferent to strangers. Due to its natural territorial instinct, it can become aggressive and voracious with anybody who seems like a probable intruder. It is necessary to provide a Kanni dog puppy exposure to different people, sight, sound, and experiences. It is also extremely important to make your Kanni dog puppy aware of good and bad people.

2. Kanni dog demands high exercise needs that include intense sessions. This breed is prone to boredom and destruction when left alone. Since it is a hound dog it needs a lot of space and exercise to stay happy which makes Kanni dog breed a perfect pet for the village. Enclosed spaces and apartment living may not be ideal for this one. They need a big field to run about and dirty themselves.

3. Kanni dog breed is intelligent and has an independent mind. However, that does not overpower the fact that they are always eager to please their master. Kanni dog training can come easy if you have prior experience in dog training. It is mostly modeled on clicks and whistles since that was the trick used to direct them while hunting. But due to their strong will, it can be difficult to get your Kanni dog puppy to concentrate. Keep training short and crisp with frequent intervals. Continuous training may bore them and they may resort to destructive habits.

4. Do not retrain them into crates because this breed is claustrophobic and it may turn out really bad for his temperament and mental growth. They may also see the crate as a way of punishment and completely abandon the idea of performing to your commands. Positive reinforcement is the best for the Kanni dog breed. Leash training is not vitally needed as they are used to hunting freely. You can instead choose a hunting sport exercise for your hound. However, you may potty train them if you want them to behave with their pooping habits.

5. Kanni dog can adjust to a hot and humid climate without an inch of discomfort. However, due to their short coat and they need to be kept indoors and provided with warm clothes during winters.

6. Kanni dog breed has a pack mentality and has been known to live happily with dogs of the same breed or group. It is known that during the reign of Maruthu Padiyar, several other dogs were a part of his pack – Kombai dog, the royal guard, Rajapalayam, the guardian of fields, and Kanni dog, the hunter. History stands witness to the pack-mentality of this dog and it does very well with 3 to 4 dogs by its side.

7. Kanni dogs are mostly adopted in a pack to keep large fields off rodents and Indian hares or serve as a guard dog.

Personality And Temperament

Kanni dog personality

Kanni dog can be quite a nosey one with a will to know and give a bit of advice for everything that is happening around. Interestingly, this makes him a strong-willed dog that can take independent decisions when his master is not around. On the contrary, this can also be a major challenge when it comes to Kanni dog training. Their independent will can make it very difficult for them to concentrate and only an experienced hand can train them into becoming a better pet.

Kanni dog can be really shy and indifferent to strangers but are very kind and loyal towards his family. This breed was used for hunting which has developed a subconscious territorial disposition of Kanni dog. If they sense an intruder on what they call their personal space, they will show no mercy. Their speed is unparallelly fast. Forget hares and wild dogs, Kanni dog breed can protect your field even from a human trespasser. This also makes them a courageous and strong guard dog and a lot of farmers in the Southern upland of Tamil Nadu are known to have domesticated Kanni dog breed to protect their farms.

Do not leave your Kanni dog alone. They are prone to boredom which can result in destructive habits like chewing shoes and tearing up your favorite furniture. Isolation and insulation can make a Kanni dog uncontrollably ferocious and aggressive.

Getting a pack of Kanni dog will not only give major Hunter Squad goals but also help them thrive independent of human contact. Kanni dog has a reputation for chasing small games like hares. So, it would not be intelligent to bring them up with small pets like cats or even young human children. You may wake up to find a dead ferret or an injured kid by your bedside.

Kanni dog barks only when it is necessary and does not come out as an aggressive breed until their exercise requirements are properly met.

Colors And Grooming

Black and Tan

Kanni dog breed has a lot of coat colors, each with a unique breed name. Traditionally and historically, the black-and-tan remains the breed standard for Kanni dog.

Indogs go easy on the pocket that also includes their after-adoption charges. Kanni dog has a short, close-lying coat with fairly low shedding. They hardly need any professional grooming but may need a bath every time they get dirty in the field.

Routine maintenance of nail clipping, ear cleaning, and anal cleaning needs to be followed.

Look out for foul breath. If his breath smells like urine, your Kanni 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. Brush his tooth regularly just like you brush yours.

Feeding A Kanni Dog

Feeding a Kanni Dog

Since Kanni dog is an Indian breed, the most suitable diet for their digestive system would comprise of locally available food. They have lived on anything and everything available to them for years, their digestive systems are structured to ingest any homemade dog food.

However, traditional owners and animal shelters have personally suggested maintaining a diet that includes milk for breakfast, corn porridge for lunch, and Ragi porridge in the evening.

A) Puppy (3 months to 12 months)

Kanni dog puppy would require 4 cups of high-quality dry dog food along with the calcium and other supplements certified by the vet.

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

B) Adult (18 months to 5 years)

You can reduce Kanni dog food for an adult to 3 servings of high-quality dry dog food.

Alternatively, you can feed him milk for breakfast, corn porridge for lunch, and Ragi porridge in the evening.

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

You also include meat and rice in his diet. However, the amount needs to be altered according to height, weight, and exercise routine.

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 Kanni dog 3 meals – milk for breakfast, corn porridge for lunch, and Ragi porridge in the evening.

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

Kanni health

Though there has not been an exclusive study on the health of Kanni dog breed, mass parents of this breed have provided testimony of the breed’s excellent health. However, Greyhound, the English doppelgänger of Kanni dog has shown painful health problems like Bone Cancer and Pannus. It will be puppy-safe to say that Kanni dog breed can also face such health issues as listed:

1. Bone Cancer

Bone cancer is a common health condition found in dogs breed especially the Hound Dog Group. Studies have shown that approximately 85% of canine bone tumor is bone cancer and has claimed a lot of hound lives.

Clinical symptoms can be anything from lameness to loss of appetite, sleeplessness, weight loss, or reluctance to exercise.

A common treatment is through medication but if the condition worsens, the dog may require to undergo surgery.

2. Pannus

Pannus or chronic superficial keratitis is a hereditary eye disease that targets the cornea or clear part of the eye. It generally affects middle-aged sighthounds.

Pannus has one major symptom that is a non-painful, pink layer on the top or outer layer of the eye.

Common treatment includes topical corticosteroid but we suggest you take your dog to the vet as soon as you see something of a similar sort developing over your pooch’s eye. You vet may also recommend sunglasses as a way of UV light protection. 

3. Skin Problems

Kanni 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 pooch 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 tumor or visual issue recorded in this breed but it is advised that you get your Kanni dog puppy tested by Orthopedic Foundation for Animal (OFA) and Canine Eye Registration Foundation (CERF) just to be safe.

Note: Look out for cuts and bruises on your dog’s body since they are prone to running fast and completely careless about the surrounding threats.

Kanni 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.
There is a lot of field to over when it comes to dog vaccination. It is recommended that you read our vaccination guide to get a thorough idea of dog vaccination.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kanni dog breed is an intelligent dog and easily trainable if you have prior experience in dog training. Kanni dog training should be modeled on clicks and whistles since traditionally this trick was used to direct them while hunting. But due to their independent will, it can be difficult to get your Kanni dog puppy to concentrate. Keep training short and interesting at frequent intervals. Continuous training may bore them resorting to destructive habits.

Did you mean: Where to adopt Kanni dog from? Before thinking about where to buy Kanni dog from, give a thought to adopting one. There are a lot of animal shelters that may have Kanni dog up for adoption especially because it is an Indian dog breed. Though Kanni 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 an Indian dog breeder.

Kanni is a medium-sized dog with a broad shoulder, lean torso, and a whip-like tail. The breeding standards generally accept a black-and-tan dog as a purebred Kanni dog but there may be other colors too. Kanni dog has a graceful gait. Look out for how your Kanni dog puppy runs – his body should be low with forelimbs crossing the rear limbs – almost like a cheetah. Additionally, look out for a rectangular body with a smooth coat and dark skin.

Similar Breeds

Kombai Dog

Chippiparai Dog


Hello Readers,

That was one of the closest and well-researched pieces of information on Kanni dog.

Kennel Club has introduced a distinctive native breed dog show to promote Indie dogs. You can always use this as a way to promote native breeds.

If you have any questions or concerns about this breed, let us know.

If you are an expert and have a first-hand experience with Kanni dog breed you can reach out to us in the comment section below.

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