Society

The comeback of Indian native dog breeds

Mudhol Hound   | Photo Credit: K GOPINATHAN

Amar is used to the curious glances. He stands tall and poised refusing to let his attention be distracted by the noise surrounding him. His energy is palpable but he sits calmly as his master, Mohan Rao has commanded him to ‘stay’. He is not a breed that you would often see in the city’s dog shows.

Amar is a Chippiparai who recently participated in the pet show organised by the Vizag Pet Lovers Club. Standing tall amongst the many Saint Bernards, Labradors and Pugs, this one-and-half-year-old Chippiparai was one of the five native dogs that made an appearance. According to city-based dog trainers and breeders, Visakhapatnam which for long has had a fascination for foreign breeds is now opening up and adopting dogs of Indian native breeds.

Sound as a hound

When Sheela Nagar-based Ramachandra Raju was looking to adopt a dog , he looked up various foreign breeds that are known for guarding skills. But he remembered how his grandfather had always told him about Indian native dog breeds and their legacy of being good guards.

Pashmi Hound

Pashmi Hound   | Photo Credit: M Sathyamoorthy

“I researched about various Indian breeds and learnt that sighthounds are excellent guards. They have a stronger sense of sight than smell and are very alert,” he says. Ramachandra has two Pashmi hounds, Tara and Sounja, whom he brought from Pune, Maharashtra.

Mohan, a professional dog breeder and trainer, says that there are several advantages of adopting native breeds. “The native dogs have a stronger immune system and have higher resistance to diseases,” he says. He adds that several trainers and breeders across the city who are suggesting the adoption of native breeds are educating people about these breeds and helping in their adoption.

Mudhol hound

Mudhol hound   | Photo Credit: M Karunakaran

“Two or three out of every 10 people agree to adopt native dogs. This is much better than the earlier when most of the people were even unaware of native breeds. They saw no difference between stray dogs and the breed dogs,” says Somu Suresh, another dog trainer who has been in this profession for 20 years.

On guard

Skilled, sturdy and well adapted to the country’s tropical climate, these dogs are much easier to maintain than the exotic breeds like Saint Bernards or Huskies that do better in colder climes. “Since they are well adapted to the climate, they have lesser medical complications compared to the other breeds. However people are hesitant to adopt them as they are not the usual chubby and furry dogs that they want to flaunt on social media,” rues Mohan.

Well known native Indian dog breeds
  • Chippiparai
  • Indian Pariah
  • Mudhol Hound
  • Rampur Hound
  • Indian Mastiff
  • Rajapalayam
  • Kombai
  • Gaddi

Over the years, there have been attempts by various organisations to promote awareness about native breeds.

For instance, in 2005 the then Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Dayanidhi Maran, released four stamps on Indian dog breeds. Celebrating the canine heritage of the country, postage stamps of Rajapalayam, Mudhol Hound, Rampur Hound and Himalayan Sheepdog were released.

In 2017, the Indian Army announced that it will be inducting into its rank Mudhol Hounds— a breed believed to be bred by Ghorpads of Mudhol, a kingdom that was based in North Karnataka.

Several animal welfare organisations are working at the grassroot level to popularise the adoption of native breeds. “Various dog shows are now allowing free entry of native Indian dogs. The Kennel Club of India has slashed the entry fees for native Indian breeds to half the price charged for foreign breeds. Many pet shows are having a separate category for the native breeds to promote their adoption,” says Ramachandra. He adds that if everything goes according to the plan, the city might soon have a dogs club dedicated to native breeds.

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Printable version | Jan 20, 2021 5:55:13 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/society/the-comeback-of-indian-native-dog-breeds/article26149887.ece

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