The Sentinel Mudhol Hound

First Indian breed to be inducted into the Indian Army, the Mudhol Hound is a true desi breed of dogs. Considered as one of the royal breeds in the country, the Mudhol Hound is perfect for hunting and companionship

The lean, muscular and tall Mudhol Hound is known for its intelligence and obedience. This is one of the few breeds with multiple names such as Caravan Hounds, Maratha Hounds, Pashmi and Karwani.

ORIGIN: Historically, hounds are believed to have been originally bred in the Middle East. These hounds accompanied the Middle Eastern traders on their travels through the Indian subcontinent, via the Silk Route, providing security to the traders who travelled across the ancient civilisations, dealing with jewellery, precious stones, rare spices and more. The hounds guarded the caravans the traders travelled in and hence, one of the initial names for the Mudhol Hound is Caravan Hound. These hounds were later crossbred with other breeds of hounds such as Greyhound, Sloughi, Saluki and more, to develop the next generation of dogs with enhanced hunting skills.

The Mudhol Hounds soon became popular with the Indian royalty, given their swiftness, stamina and hunting and tracking skills. Even Shivaji Maharaj, the great Maratha king and warrior, trained these hounds and made them a part of the Maratha army. Apparently, Shivaji was so close to his hounds, that they were buried next to his samadhi at the Raigad Fort in Maharashtra, christening them as Maratha Hounds. The interbreeding of the hounds continued with Persian and Turkish dogs, which also gave rise to the feathered variety of the Mudhol Hound that later came to be known as Pashmi and Karwani.

With the British invasion, Indians were introduced to the European breed of dogs, which were popularised over time. This diminished the importance of the native Indian breeds, including the Mudhol Hounds. However, it was in the 1920s, through the interest and initiatives of Shrimant Rajesaheb Malojirao Ghorpade, a benevolent king from Mudhol, Karnataka, that this breed was revived. He observed that the local tribes and the surrounding villages bred these hounds and trained them for hunting. He formulated programmes that nurtured these dogs and tried to restore them to their former glory. The highlight of Ghorpade’s initiatives came when he gifted two Caravan Hound puppies to King George V in 1937. This helped in capturing the Britishers’ attention, so much so that King George V named the breed Mudhol Hounds.

DESCRIPTION: At first glance, the Mudhol Hound shares similar characteristics with the Greyhound in appearance. Tall, muscular and lean, their aerodynamic bodies are built for speed, stamina, endurance and agility. One of the most key characteristics of the Mudhol Hounds is that they are sight hounds i.e. they do not rely on smell to track and hunt their prey. Weather- wise, this lithe breed lives through tough tropical conditions and is mostly disease resistant. However, they face difficulty surviving in extremely low temperatures.

Usually, the Mudhol Hounds have a smooth coat, with fine hair that lies close to its body, sans the feathering. While Pashmani, the feathered variety of the Mudhol Hounds, has a silk
coat that feathers around the ears,
legs and the tail. The most common colours of the coat are white,
brown, fawn, cream or any colour combination with white.

Build-wise, these hounds have a long and narrow head, with an elongated skull that provides them with a vision of 270°. Their nose is either black, brown or pink, with partial pigmentation. It rests on a long muzzle with a powerful jaw that packs a very painful scissor bite. Mudhol Hounds also have lop ears, with a narrow hip and a deep chest.

ACTIVITY: Mudhol Hounds are hyperactive dogs. They require constant exercise, more than their human counterparts! Since they are hunters, Mudhol Hounds prefer to be outdoors most of the time. If you, dear potential parent, have an apartment or a flat, then it is advised not to bring this breed home. Mudhol Hounds don’t just require physical activity, they require mental exercise as well. If trained well, then these hounds can complete specific tasks under 40 seconds.

TEMPERAMENT: These Indian hounds are gentle, affectionate and loyal towards their masters and the people they recognise. However, they don’t mingle well with strangers, to the extent that they do not like to be touched by them, which makes them excellent guard dogs. Most importantly, a Mudhol Hound will ferociously defend his master and property at any cost.

It is not advisable to house these hounds in case there are other smaller pets present, as their natural hunting instinct will kick in and they can chase and hurt your smaller companions. Yet, the hounds can do well within the vicinity of livestock if they have been trained to protect and herd the livestock animals.

HEALTH: As mentioned earlier, Mudhol Hounds are disease-resistant. They are expected to be a rugged breed as they work hard in harsh environments. They do not suffer from any known breed specific health issues and have a lifespan of approximately 10 to 12 years.

GROOMING: Mudhol Hounds are low maintenance in terms of grooming. They shed an average amount of hair, thus brushing their coats once or twice a week should be sufficient. The weekly brushing also helps in keeping their skin healthy by distributing natural oils that add a glossy finish to the coat. Experts suggest that pet parents should use mild soap while bathing their hounds, as the usage of harsh soaps can damage the skin and coat.

Interesting Trivia: Travelling back in history, we found a custom in ancient Egypt. It stated that when the Egyptian Pharaohs died, their pet hounds were often buried with them. Additionally, these revered hounds also found their way as motif decorations on Egyptian antiquities. Returning to the recent past, a special postal stamp was published in the honour of Mudhol Hounds. Priced at Rs15, these stamps feature the Mudhol Hound in white colour.

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