The Irish setters were not from Ireland and the German Shepherds were not really from Germany at Sunday's Championship Dog Show organised by the Mysore Kennel Club at the Bangalore Veterinary College. That was perhaps why a pack of six silvery white Mudhol hounds were the cynosure of all eyes at the event. They were born and trained in the arid plains of Mudhol taluk of Bagalkot district.

Accompanied by Mahesh S. Dodamani, assistant professor of Canine Research and Information Centre of Mudhol, six farmers and their loyal hounds made the 500-km journey to the State capital for the show.

“I did not know that there is such a craze for dogs here,” said an amused Bhimsi Goregol as he caressed his hound, Sundari.

Priceless

“For us these dogs are our lifeline. Without them our farms will be overrun by wild animals,” said Mr. Goregol's friend Raju Bandivaddar. Shooing away a group of pesky children who were taunting his dog, Maruthi Pandit Talwar said, “He won several prizes today. I was offered Rs. 23,000 for it by one man today. Obviously, I refused.”

Answering a group of dog enthusiasts who had gathered around for training tips, Dr. Dodamani said, “I notice that many people own Mudhols in Bangalore. Please do not get one if you do not have the space for it.”

He said these hunting dogs needed to run at least five to six km a day. “If you cannot run along with it, making the dog follow a motorbike is a good option,” he said.

Venkappa Navaligi another team member, however, advocated more conventional training techniques. “Mudhol hounds are hunting dogs. The best training for them is hunting real game,” he said, much to the horror of some animal lovers in the small audience.

Spare the stick

Many others surrounded K.S. Sanu and his prize-wining Rottweiler Vicky for tips. “Use the stick and spoil the dog. It will trigger extremely negative results,” he stressed.

Rottweilers are very proud and powerful animals, he continued. “If you beat them, they will challenge you,” he said. According to Mr. Sanu, the idea is to be stern and strict with rottweilers not cruel and punitive.

Other star attractions at the show included a Siberian husky, a schnauzer and several breeds of mastiff.

While the dachshunds, golden retrievers and Labradors patiently tolerated the petting from complete strangers; people knew better than to mess with the rottweilers, German Shepherds and dobermann.

A large pack of loud and curious strays barging into the arena provided some comic moments.