The Kanni alias Chippiparai is rare indigenous South Indian dog breed found in the state of Tamil Nadu. Native people in Tamil Nadu also call it as Vettai Naai (Hunting Dog) It is used primarily for hunting hare, wild boar and deer. It is also used for guarding the home and farm. The Kanni is found in and around Tirunelveli, Pollachi, Kovilpatti, Kazhugumalai, Kileral, Kodangipatti, Sivakasi, Rajapalayam, and Rajapalayam, as well as surrounding villages such as Thalavaipuram, Muthulingapuram and Madurai. The Kanni is kept by families who do not sell them but may gift them if a promise is made to look after them well. They are not allowed to roam on the streets and are brought up as pet animals. The breed is now extremely rare, and is on the verge of extinction. Efforts to revive the breed have been taken up online by a group of enthusiasts in Tamil Nadu.
Appearance The typical color is a fawn, reddish brown, slight black tinged coat, silver-grey, black and tan with very limited or no white markings and long curved tail. Other colors, particularly variations of grey and fawn, also occur. This is a medium dog, around 25 inches at the withers. It has a short coat that is very close; on the whole the coat if kept groomed has a shine on it. A shining, shell-like appearance is greatly desired. This kind of coat makes it ideal for hot climates. This hound is also less prone to ticks and fleas, with their short coat providing easy detection. The overall appearance is very similar to that of the saluki but its tail shows difference between another breeds.
The Kanni is a robust animal needing little or no veterinary care. It is so active during young stages. It does need lots of exercise, as it was and is a breed meant to hunt. The Kanni is an intelligent breed and a wonderful watch dog. It is usually shy but will always defend its home or master, if the need arises. Contrary to the belief that it is a one-man dog, it gets along well with people if it is properly socialized. The breed loves human companionship and it hates to be in isolation. It is capable of great speed and can overtake a hare with ease. They are a silent breed and are not nuisance barkers. The Kanni dogs are extremely faithful and easy to train but they will always think independently when on a hunt. The Kanni is a treat to watch and, when seen running, it is a breathtaking spectacle, almost floating through air. It is not a fussy eater, and eats to live and not vice versa. It is easy to groom and does not shed much due to its short coat length.
Health Generally the breed is healthy. Though sturdy enough to cope within limited means and harsh weather conditions, the breed does suffer from cold weather. They have certain general health issues such as sensitivity to anesthesia and food allergies.
Future of the breed The breed is rare in dog show circles and the blood line may be lost soon if steps are not taken to ensure its survival. Efforts to revive the breed have been taken up online by a group of enthusiasts in Tamil Nadu.