In the 68th edition of his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ session on 30th August 2020, PM Modi hailed the role of dogs in various security operations. The PM laid special emphasis on the services of Indian breeds of dogs; he also urged people to adopt Indian dogs rather than foreign breeds. He had mentioned several Indian breeds among which, ‘Mudhol Hounds’ was one.
After its mention in the session, this native canine breed rose to fame among dog lovers for its extremely obedient nature, outstanding sniffing skills, hunting capacity and its agility.
Mudhol Hounds can run at a speed of around 50 KM/ hour and can sniff any object from a distance of 3 KMs. Due to these abilities, this breed had instantly grabbed the attention of the Indian Armed Forces and they had shown keen interest in recruiting these dogs for service.
Mudhol Hounds are being raised at Canine Research and Information Centre (CRIC) in Mudhol taluk of the Bagalkot district, which is the only center in the country to raise this breed. This center comes under the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries University (KVAFSU), Bidar.
This breed of hounds was first introduced in the Indian Army’s inventory back in 2017. Six Mudhol hounds had undergone rigorous training at the Army’s Remount and Veterinary Corps Centre (RVC) in Meerut for more than a year; after which they were given to the Army by the KVAFSU.
At that time, the director of the CRIC, Mahesh Dodmani had said, “It will be the first Indian breed to serve the nation. All these years, the armed forces used Labrador, German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds.”
Also, recently in February 2021, the Indian Air Force had decided to get the Mudhol Hound into its service for the first time, to keep flightless birds and animals away from the runways as a way to reduce such accidents which took place at the time of flights.
Deputy Chief Minister of Karnataka, Govind M Karajol had handed over two male and two female Mudhol puppies to the Indian Air Force in February via the CRIC.
These dogs are also serving in border areas of the country, including Rajasthan and Kashmir. Besides the armed forces, the police departments of Andhra Pradesh and Rajasthan have these dogs recruited for security.
After the armed forces, even the National Security Guard (NSG) showed interest in the breed and had taken some puppies for training. These dogs are largely purchased by farmers too for protecting their crop from stray animals and for the security of their farmhouses.
Nevertheless, the recent conclusions of field trials of Mudhol Hounds conducted by ITBP (Indo- Tibetan Border Police) and SSB (Sashastra Seema Bal) on the directions of MHA’s Police K9 cell have revealed that Mudhol Hound, despite its loyalty, agility and health is essentially a sight- hound breed with a nervous temperament that easily gets distracted by the presence of any moving object and prefers to chase it rather than concentrating on following the trail of scent which is an essential requirement to be a police dog.
The conclusion reached by the ITBP and SSB experts says, “This breed doesn’t fulfill the requirement of a police dog due to its temperament and poor trainability.” This inference has been submitted to the MHA police K9 cell, which reportedly has shared it further with the PMO.
In an article published in the National Police K9 journal released in January 2021, observations made by the Assistant Commandant (vet) from SSB’s Dog Training and Breeding Centre, Alwar and the Commandant (vet) from ITBP’s headquarters stated that, “The breed has the tendency to forget past training and tends to run away if kept off- leash during training/ practice.”
In the meantime, the field trials of three other Indian dog breeds are underway. While CRPF is conducting the trials for Combai and BSF for ‘Rampur Hound’, different breeds of the ‘Himachali Hound’ or mountain dog breed- Gaddi, Bakarwal Hound and Tibetan Mastiff are undergoing trials for ITBP, SSB and BSF.
While various Indian dog breeds face trials and undergo trainings for serving the nation, we as citizens can adopt these dogs and learn much more about them. It is high time we embrace Indian breeds as our loyal friends and hail them for their special qualities!
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