Picture of Mudhol Hounds being used by SPG and other security forces

NEW DELHI: As part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “Make in India” initiative, the Mudhol Hound breed of Indian dog has been inducted into the Prime Minister’s security for their strong hunting and guarding skills, apart from agility and loyalty, by the Special Protection Group (SPG), an elite group of security officers protecting the Prime Minister of India.

The Mudhol Hound breed, native to Karnataka, is considered to be one of the most superior breeds of Indian hounds available in the country for their excellent hunting skills and instincts that distinguish it from other dogs. “This is one of the best Indian breed dogs that can be used in the security of one of the highest dignitaries of the country because of their strong sense of instinct that can even detect a terrorist and kill them if the need arises. They can very much be used for hunting down terrorists. After training they are also able to detect suspicious individuals from a crowd; they are able to detect bombs and drugs too. They are by nature hunters and their basic instinct is to hunt animals. This gives them excellent hunting and guarding skills. They are among the most superior hound breeds available in India,” Dr Mahesh Akashi, Professor from the Canine Research and Information Centre, Timmapur, Karnataka, told The Sunday Guardian.

Dr Akashi also said that the Mudhol Hound has a strong sense of smell, which is 10,000 times more than humans and also a strong vision that is almost 5,000 times more than humans, which make it a perfect dog to be used by the security forces as the dogs are highly vigilant and attentive.

Asked how this breed is different from Labradors or for that matter the German Shephard that is currently used by other security forces in the country, Dr Akashi said, “Mudhol Hound is an Indian breed and has adapted very well to the Indian environment. They are extremely loyal and are a low maintenance breed, unlike that of Labradors or the exotic breeds.”

The Mudhol Hound can grow up to a height of 34 inches, generally looks slim and tall in appearance and weighs up to 28 kg. They are easily available in India and are very adaptive to the Indian environment, requiring less maintenance. Their monthly keeping cost can range from somewhere between Rs 4,000 and Rs 6,000. The SPG selected the Mudhol Hound to be part of the elite group of security detail in April last year and was pressed into service for the Prime Minister’s security from December last year, after training them for over six months. The SPG had zeroed in on this particular indigenous canine breed after a careful study of the qualities of the breed. Currently, four Mudhol Hounds are used by the SPG for the Prime Minister’s security. Sources also say that the SPG had studied two other breeds of Indian dogs, one of them being the Rampur Greyhound. However, they finally decided on the Mudhol Hound for their excellent hunting skills and instincts.

The Mudhol Hound is already being used by the Indian Army and the paramilitary forces in different parts of the country. The Army has taken around 20 Mudhol Hounds to the India-Pak border, while the BSF is also using a couple of them. It is believed that the Mudhol Hounds were first bred by Raja Malojirao Ghorpade of the Deccan kingdom of Mudhol, present day Karnataka. It is a common dog in the Bagalkot area of Karnataka. According to the Canine Research and Information Centre in Karnataka that raises this breed, Indian security forces have already taken 40 Mudhol Hounds and pressed them into service and training. The India Navy has also sent requirements for this breed to the institute which will be met in the coming months.

According to Dr Akashi, the dog is taken by the respective security forces from the institute at the age of four months and are trained for a minimum of six months, after which they can be inducted into service. “The dog can be trained for two years and then put to service. The Army is training them for one and a half to two years before putting them into service. Many of our dogs are posted in the border areas. They can serve in the security forces for at least six to seven years and generally have a life span of 10 to 15 years,” Dr Akashi said.