Mud­hol hunt­ing dogs for In­dian de­fence forces

Mud­hol hounds are the prod­uct of three dis­tinct breeds: the Sloughi, the Saluki and the Grey­hound. All of which are sight hounds.

Alive - - Content - by G.V. Joshi

The lean and lanky indige­nous Mud­hol breed of hunt­ing dogs (hounds) is all set to be signed up by the In­dian Army for guard duty by the end of 2017.

While the Army is ex­pected to for­mally an­nounce the in­duc­tion of Mud­hols in De­cem­ber, train­ers at the Re­mount Vet­eri­nary Corps (RVC), a de­fence forces in­sti­tute in Meerut have been train­ing eight Mud­hol pups for the last two years and they are very happy with the re­sults.

RVC per­son­nel have re­quested the Kar­nataka Vet­eri­nary, An­i­mal and Fish­eries Sci­ences Univer­sity (KVAFSU) based at Bi­dar in Kar­nataka for a sec­ond batch of eight pups. KVAFSU’s con­stituent unit Ca­nine Re­search and In­for­ma­tion Cen­tre (CRIC), for Mud­hol dogs is based at Thimma­pur near Mud­hol, in Ba­galkot dis­trict of Kar­nataka.

In the words of an RVC of­fi­cer,” We started their train­ing at sev­eral lev­els: obe­di­ence, pe­riph­ery guard­ing, ex­plo­sives and mine de­tec­tion, risk per­cep­tion and as­sault. They have sur­prised us with their per­for­mance.”

The strengths

“They have en­durance, stamina, sharp­ness and agility. They are known to with­stand trop­i­cal cli­mate and are dis­ease-re­sis­tant. They have keen vi­sion, while their strong jaw packs in a scis­sor bite. They trained dogs will be sent to op­er­a­tional ar­eas like Jammu and Kash­mir for con­fir­ma­tion and test­ing. If the re­sults were sat­is­fac­tory, they are ex­pected to be drafted by the Army.” He fur­ther added.

In the words of Dr Ma­hesh Dod­mani, di­rec­tor of KVAFSU’s CRIC,”The Mud­hol dogs are beat­ing their ex­otic coun­ter­parts

hol­low at all tasks.”

“Mud­hol dogs can com­plete a task in 40 sec­onds, while, a Labrador or Shep­herd takes 90 sec­onds. They have been trained to sniff out re­search and de­vel­op­ment ex­plo­sive (RDX).They could track en­emy move­ments along the border, sniff out drugs and weapons, do guard and as­sault duty, ex­plo­sive de­tec­tion, search and res­cue and in­fantry pa­trolling. He fur­ther added.

The last king of Mud­hol, Malo­ji­rao Ghor­pade who passed away in 1939, brought the Mud­hol hound into promi­nence. He even pre­sented a pair of these hounds to King Ge­orge V, when he vis­ited Eng­land, who chris­tened them ‘Mud­hol hounds’.

A breed

Mud­hol hounds are the prod­uct of three dis­tinct breeds: the Sloughi, the Saluki and the Grey­hound, all of which are sight hounds (hounds that pri­mar­ily hunt by sight and speed) in ca­nine jar­gon.

The Sloughi is found mainly in North Africa now, while the Saluki, a hairier ver­sion of the Sloughi which was once found in a large num­bers from the Mediter­ranean to East Asia, is a pop­u­lar breed reared in al­most all dog-lov­ing coun­tries. The Grey­hound, which has been pop­u­lar in Europe and Amer­ica for a long time, was likely to be one of the breeds that Malo­ji­rao saw on a visit to Eng­land, which led him to recog­nise the na­tive In­dian dogs found in his king­dom as hounds.

In fact, Mud­hol hounds as they are also called have be­come so pop­u­lar again that a postage stamp with face value of Rs five was re­leased by the In­dian Postal Depart­ment in 2005.

With its long slender body and grace­ful fea­tures, this tall dog has emerged as Mud­hol town’s mas­cot.

Re­searchers at the CRIC have iden­ti­fied 23 breeds of dogs as na­tive to In­dia, of which only seven ex­ist, and the cen­tre plays a sig­nif­i­cant role in breath­ing new life into an im­por­tant breed.

The other ex­ist­ing breeds are the Pashmi (north­ern Kar­nataka), Ra­japalayam (Tamil Nadu), Car­a­van Hound (Ma­ha­rash­tra), Jananangi (Andhra Pradesh), Chip­pi­parai (Tamil Nadu) and the Ram­pur hound (Ut­tar Pradesh).

Kar­nataka’s Mud­hol Hound be­comes first desi dog to join In­dian Army.

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