Kate Barrington
by Kate Barrington
fast facts

About Kanni

22-25 inches
35-48 lb
14-16 years
not applicable
Best Suited For
active singles, house with a yard, hunters
loyal, trainable, independent, territorial
Comparable Breeds
Greyhound, Borzoi
Kanni Basics

At first glance, you might think he’s a Greyhound. In fact, the Kanni does look remarkably like one of those lithe coursing hounds, but the Kanni hails from South India where he is also known as the Maiden’s Beastmaster. This breed is classified as a sighthound, though it is largely used for coursing game, and it is a royal indigenous breed seen exclusively in black-and-tan or black-and-sable combinations.

The Kanni hails from South India where he is also known as the Maiden’s Beastmaster.


The name Kanni translates to “pure” in Tamil, and it is a name bestowed upon the breed for its loyalty and purity of heart. Also known as the Maiden’s Beastmaster, this breed is a voracious defender of its territory against wild animals and has been traditionally given as a gift to newlywed brides for protection. Though these dogs come in two color combinations, only the black-and-tan version is allowed to carry the name Kanni – the black-and-sable variation is called Chippiparai. Though loyal to a fault, this breed is primarily used for hunting.


The exact origins of the Kanni breed are unknown and it is unfortunately the case that the breed has become extremely rare and there are no current efforts in place to revive it.


Traditionally, Kanni are fed milk for breakfast, corn porridge for lunch, and Ragi porridge at tea time. Meat is only given on a weekly or monthly basis. If you plan to keep this breed, however, it is recommended that you choose a high-quality adult dog formula (or an active or working breed formula) to ensure complete and balanced nutrition.

As a sighthound, the Kanni is an intelligent and trainable breed.


As a sighthound, the Kanni is an intelligent and trainable breed. You must consider, however, that these dogs were bred to work independently so you can expect your dog to be a little willful at times. These dogs are very territorial and loyal, however, so they can be trained for protection as well as hunting. It is best to start training and socialization from a very young age, especially because these dogs can become quite voracious when it comes to defending their territory and their people.


The Kanni is a medium-sized breed, typically growing between 35 and 48 pounds. Males are a little larger than females, standing about 25 inches tall with females standing about 22 inches tall.


Generally speaking, Kanni are shy dogs. When it comes to their family, however, they are extremely loyal and can be very protective. This breed is generally easy to train, but they are prone to independence, so you should expect your dog to exhibit a will of his own from time to time. These dogs generally aren’t known for being destructive, though that is certainly a possibility if the Kanni’s exercise needs are not met.

Common Health Problems

Little is known about inherited health problems in this breed, though some assumptions can be made based on its size and use. These dogs are likely prone to musculoskeletal issues as well as bloat. Some sources also say that they are affected by dental problems, liver disease, tapeworms, and fleas and ticks.

Life Expectancy

The average lifespan for the Kanni breed is very long, between 14 and 16 years.

Exercise Requirements

As a hunting breed, the Kanni has fairly high needs for exercise. These dogs are not intended to be kept as family pets, though their temperament may allow it provided their exercise needs are met. This breed needs at least an hour of moderate to vigorous exercise per day, though more is preferred.

Recognized Clubs

The Kanni is not yet recognized by the AKC. In fact, it is only recognized by the Kennel Club of India (KCI) at this time. The KCI registers this breed with two names – the black-and-tan variety is the Kanni and the rest are known as Chippiparai.


The Kanni is a medium-sized breed with a short, close-lying coat. Common colors for the breed include brown with black, red, fawn, cream, or white coloring. Each coloration has a unique name associated with it. Because their coats are so short, this dog requires very little grooming and shedding is fairly low. They do not require professional grooming but may need to be bathed occasionally if they get dirty out in the field.


The Kanni is a very rare breed, so little is known about statistics such as litter size. Because these dogs usually don’t get larger than 50 pounds at maturity, it isn’t necessary to feed puppies a large-breed formula. Standard puppy food will be adequate until the puppy reaches 12 months of age, at which point he should be switched to an active or working breed formula.

Photo credit: KOMBAI WORLD/Shutterstock; Ikhwan Ameer/Shutterstock; Sadasivam Chelladurai/Shutterstock

Kate Barrington
Kate Barrington

Kate Barrington is the loving owner of two cats (Bagel and Munchkin) and a noisy herd of guinea pigs. Having grown up with golden retrievers, Kate has a great deal of experience with dogs but labels herself a lover of all pets. Having received a Bachelor's degree in English, Kate has combined her love for pets and her passion for writing to create her own freelance writing business, specializing in the pet niche.

More by Kate Barrington