A Made in India hound for the Army

Field tested: A Mudhol at the Belgaum centre.   | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

It is a Make In India initiative with some bite. The lean and lanky indigenous Mudhol breed of hunting hound is all set to be drafted by the defence forces for guard duty by the end of the year.

This dog variety was initially bred by Ghorpade kings of the erstwhile Kingdom of Mudhol (now in Bagalkot, North Karnataka) back in the 1920s, by crossing Persian and Turkish varieties with local dogs.

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 putting eight Mudhol pups through their paces for two years now. They are happy with the outcome.

RVC personnel have asked the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU) for a second batch of eight pups.

An RVC officer at Meerut says, “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 lithe breed has endurance, stamina, sharpness and agility. It is known to live through harsh tropical conditions and is disease-resistant. Also, Mudhols are sight hounds with keen vision, while their strong jaw packs in a scissor bite.

The Mudhols currently training at Meerut will go to operational areas like Jammu and Kashmir for validation and testing. With satisfactory ratings, they are expected to be drafted by the Army, the officer says.

Mahesh Dodmani, director of KVAFSU’s Canine Research and Information Centre (CRIC), which has 54 of the dogs, says the breed is beating its exotic counterparts hollow at tasks. He visited Meerut recently and Brigadier B. Parasanahalli, in-charge of training at RVC, is scheduled to visit CRIC in November.

“It will be the first Indian breed to serve the nation. All these years, the armed forces used Labrador, German Shepherds and Belgian Shepherds,” says Dr. Dodmani.

Mudhol hounds, he says, can complete a task in 40 seconds, which takes a Labrador or Shepherd 90 seconds. RVC has trained Mudhols to sniff out research and development explosive (RDX).

Mudhols 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.

These dogs, however, do not tolerate very low temperatures. CRIC scientists think they would adapt in two generations.


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Printable version | Jan 25, 2022 2:43:30 AM |

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