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.
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.”
“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’.
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.