Mudhol hounds join India’s elite protection force on trial

Canine Research and Information Centre of Veterinary varsity handed over two pups to SPG authorities

August 19, 2022 09:54 pm | Updated August 20, 2022 02:55 pm IST - Belagavi

A file photo of Minister Govind Karjol handing over Mudhol pups to Indian Air Force officers.

A file photo of Minister Govind Karjol handing over Mudhol pups to Indian Air Force officers.

India’s elite protection force, the Special Protection Group, which guards very very important persons (VVIPs), including the Prime Minister and Central Ministers, is the latest entrant in the list of agencies trying to induct the Mudhol hounds.

The Canine Research and Information Centre (CRIC) of the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fisheries Sciences University (KVAFSU) handed over two pups to the SPG authorities who visited the centre a few weeks ago. The SPG will raise and train the litter and induct them on an experimental basis.

With this, the CRIC has supplied puppies to the remount veterinary corps of the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Border Security Force, Central Reserve Police Force, Seema Suraksha Bal, and Central Industrial Security Force, apart from several State government agencies. Outposts and vigilance squads of the Police and Forest departments in Karnataka are also engaging Mudhols.

“The canine units of these agencies are breeding and training our pups. We have received very positive feedback from all these agencies. Several agencies have come back to us for more dogs,’’ Sushant Hande, director, CRIC, told The Hindu. Unlike other popular breeds of dogs, the Mudhols are sighthounds. They can notice the minutest movement from 2 km away. The CRIC issues pups after verifying the genealogy and after implanting a microchip under the collar of each dog. This lets the handlers track the animal’s movements and health.

“The CRIC was the first agency in the State to win the Make In India award for indigenising the process of induction of dogs into security agencies,” recalled B.V. Shivaprakash, director of research, KVAFSU. The experience of the Indian Army was so successful that it created awareness among other agencies about the unique native breed and the contribution of the CRIC.

“Mudhol dogs have broken the national testing standards set by the government for induction into various security agencies. Our native breeds have higher tenacity, and disease resistance than exotic breeds. Their adaptability to changing environmental conditions is also larger than others. We have studies and records to prove this,’’ Prof. Shivaprakash said.

Prof. Shivaprakash said the centre plans to expand its research and development activities. “We are presently focussed on the protection of the native habitat, and propagation of the breed by working with the breeders. However, in the next phase, we will take up genetic studies to map the genes of the breed,’’ he said. The centre was established at Thimmapur village near Mudhol in Bagalkot district.

“The word Mudhol has attained such a brand value that it has become a byword for agility, speed, and vigilance. That may be the reason why the Central Excise and Customs Vigilance Department chose the name ‘Mudhol’ for its newsletter. We feel proud of it,’’ said Basavaraj Nelagave, commissioner, GST, Belagavi range.

A cross-breed

Developed and patronised by the Mudhol kings in the early 20th century, the Mudhol is a cross between the Afghanistan Caravani hound and local breeds. The kings granted large tracts of land to the Chandanashiva family in Mudhol, asking them to protect and propagate the breed. Now, several landless farm families in Mudhol taluk breed the dogs. The CRIC awards certificates of authentic parentage to the breeders, and procures the pups from them to be sold to buyers.

From SC/ST funds

Suresh Honnappagol, the former Vice-Chancellor of the KVAFSU, established the CRIC using funds meant for SC/ST welfare in 2011. This was because most of the breeders were from these communities. “We ensured that the revenue earned through the CRIC activities such as certification and procurement were shared with the breeders. This has more than doubled the income of an average breeder, Prof. Honnappagol said.

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