Mudhol Hound s are native to India, having developed in the western region of the Deccan Plateau, which includes parts of Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Andhra Pradesh. For centuries, this breed has served as a companion, hunter, and guard dog for both royalty and peasants. Throughout its existance the breed has been known by a variety of names to include the Mudhol Dog, Caravan Hound, Karwani, Lahori Pashmi, Pashmi and the Pisuri Hound.
Accompanying early traders, mercenaries, and invaders, the Mudhol Hounds ancestors came from central and western Asia, arriving in India via the mountainous Khybur Pass. A key trade and military route that linked Central and South Asia, the Khybur Pass provided entry to the Huns, Mongols, Kushans, Persians, Greeks, Turks, and other hordes that invaded India as far back as 500 B.C. The Mudhol Hound is a descendent of some of the dogs they brought with them--probably the Sloughi (from North Africa), the Saluki (from the Middle East), the Azawakh, the Greyhound, and the Afghan Hound. These breeds were crossed with the local Indian dogs and developed into India’s native hounds. Often these new breeds were named after the region in which they were developed, including the Mudhol Hound.
This breed of sighthound is named after the small town of Mudhol, in the Bagalkot District of Karnataka (part of the Deccan Plateau). Legend has it that Sri Srimanth Raja Malojirao Gorphade, who was once ruler of Mudhol, gave King George V of England a pair of these puppies. King George is said to have inspected them, approved of their conformation as befitting of sighthounds, and named them Mudhol Hounds.
But in many villages in the Deccan Plateau, the Mudhol Hounds are known as Karwani or Caravan Hounds. This name originated from when Indian villagers first saw the forerunners of the breed running alongside the caravans of their masters as they travelled from place to place. Some argue that the name of “Caravan Hound” is more appropriate than “Mudhol Hound” because the breed is not only native to Mudhol, but to all of the western Deccan Plateau as well. When the breed was first recognized by the Kennel Club of India, the name “Karwani” was changed to the English translation of “Caravan” and registered under the breed name of “Caravan Hound”.
Regardless of the name, this breed was and is valued for its ability to excel at its tasks, under conditions grueling enough to thwart many other types of working dogs. Mudhol Hounds look much like the Sloughi, the Saluki, and the Greyhound, with the graceful gait of the Azawakh. The Mudhol Hound hunts like the Saluki, sprinting after its prey, able to make turns in mid-air and change its course in a heartbeat. The hunter has to follow closely behind the Mudhol, though, because it tends to eat its prey, instead of retrieving it.
Mudhol Hounds are bred to withstand harsh weather, navigate rugged terrain, while doing demanding work. They have been developed for speed, strength, and endurance to chase and kill hares, jackals, blackbucks, and chinkaras, while traversing through deep sand or in rocky mountain regions. They have been and are expected to be dependable and efficient guardians of both their owners and their owners’ livestock and property.
Mudhol Hounds are considered true patriots of India because of the role they have played in the fight for Indian freedom and independence from its many occupiers. During the 1600s and 1700s, when the Mughal Empire (the Mughals were descendants of Ghengis Khan) was at its peak of power, the Marathas, a group of Indian Hindus, fought against the Mughals for independence. Marathas, known for their devotion to canine companions, used Mudhol Hounds in their guerrilla warfare to guard and sight interlopers. The Mudhol Hounds, fearless and devoted to their masters, fought against British and Muslim invaders alongside the Marathas. Chatrapati Shivaj, who led the fight for, founded, and ruled the Maratha Empire, had his dogs buried near his own grave at Raighad, which was the capital of Maratha. Sri Chatrapathi Sahu Majaraj, grandson of Chatrapati Shivaj and also a ruler of the Maratha Empire, was saved from a tiger by his faithful Mudhol Hound who attacked and killed the beast. Shri Tulaji Angre fought the British on the high seas, with his dogs on board, to protect Maratha independence. Mudhol Hounds were favored by royal families, but they have never been a pampered breed, always living a rugged existence.
The Mudhol Hound today teeters on the edge of extinction, but efforts are underway in India to turn the situation around. In 2007, the Mysore Kennel Club of Bangalore, headed by B.C. Ramakrishna, hosted a dog show as part of an effort to preserve the endangered species. The exhibition featured only Mudhol Hounds and was held at Lokapur in Bagalkot District. Two hundred fifty-five Mudhol Hounds were entered; “Raja”, a dog owned by Lakshman Auradhi of Melligeri in Mudhol taluk, won overall champion. Raja also won at a national championship held in Chennai three months prior to the Mysore Kennel Club show. First prize for a male went to “Havlya”, owned by Kallolappa Talwar; first prize for female was awarded to “Julie”, who belongs to Somesh Gasti of Lokapur.
A more far-reaching effort was spearheaded by Govind Karjol, Minister of Minor Irrigation and Social Welfare for Karnataka, in 2008. He proposed the formation of a Mudhol Hound Research and Information Centre, under the auspices of the Karnataka Veterinary, Animal and Fishery Sciences University of Bidar (KVAFSU). The State government sanctioned the project, which has the support of the Indian Council for Agriculture Research, and donated forty acres to the University at Thimmapur Village, near Mudhol in Bagalkot District, on which to build the center.
The existence of authentic and sound breed specimens suffers due to poor breeding practices and lack of health care. The KVAFSU is addressing this problem through economic and medical approaches. The University has networked with kennel clubs throughout India and offered to supply them only authentic, certified Mudhol Hounds, in a move to eliminate the middlemen. Currently, people come from Mumbai, Chennai, and Bangalore to buy puppies for cheap prices directly from dog breeders in and around Mudhol. These purchasers then sell the puppies in large cities for exorbitant prices. This practice exploits the breeders of whom Vice Chancellor Suresh Honnappagol says, “ninety-five percent [are] backward, small, and marginal farmers”. It also risks the purity, health, and quality of the breed, which are compromised by lack of financial resources, ignorance, and desperation on the part of breeders. This situation inevitably means a dearth of solid breeding practices and a lack of proper health care for the dogs.
The KVAFSU surveyed Mudhol Hound breeders in and around the village of Mudhol and organized them into The Mudhol Dog Breeders Association (MDBA). KVAFSU provides the group information about dog shows, and already KVAFSU certified dogs have won at state and national competitions. The MDBA has more than 700 registered dog breeders and a database for suppliers and purchasers. The MDBA members sell their dogs through KVAFSU to purchasers, so that the University can ensure breeders get a fair price.
The University consults with Mudhol Hound breeders, encouraging them with cash incentives and marketing information. Veterinarians make regular visits to them to guide them through proper breeding practices and care for their dogs. Hundreds of families are already participating in this program. Similar programs exist to support livestock, but this one is the first of its kind for companion animals. Supporting and encouraging the breeding of the Mudhol Hound “involves the livelihood of hundreds of families in and around Mudhol,” states Honnappagol. The work of the KVAFSU will not only economically empower poor farmers, but will preserve, protect, and improve the breed now and in the future.
On November 25th, 2010, what reporters termed a “megadog show” of a single breed was held at Ranna stadium at Mudhol. The Mudhol Hound dog show was well attended, with exhibitors and others connected with the show numbering over a 1,000, and more than 700 dogs exhibited, hailing from Bagalkot, Belgaum, Bijapur, and other districts. Dog lovers came from Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Mangalore. Prizes were awarded according to gender and age groups. The best dogs were selected and microchipped for showing at the FCI/KCI Madras Canine Club’s Centenary Championship dog shows at Chennai in December, 2010. The judges for Best In Show were Drs. B.C. Ramakrishna and S. Yathiraj. BIS went to a female owned by Sri. Mahantesh Chavan of Bagalkot. Second BIS was won by a male, owned by Adveppa Dhundappa Jingi of Mudhol town.
Today, kennels dedicated to rare native Indian breeds have cropped up, in a quest to protect and promote Mudhol Hounds and other endangered dogs. Conserve Kennel is one such place; started in 2009 it sits on forty acres. The owners, brothers P.S. Kumar and P.S. Ravi, have twenty different native Indian dog breeds, so far, including the Mudhol Hound. The brothers cite inbreeding, which causes genetic problems, as one of the main reasons for the endangered state of so many of India’s native breeds. Most of their dogs are Champions, but Kumar and Ravi wish they had more competition. They say that in most dog shows, only five to ten percent are Indian breeds; they are hoping to change that.
Mudhol Hounds excel in conformation trials, lure coursing, and open field trials. The Kennel Club of India (KCI) recognizes the breed as the Caravan Hound, while The Indian National Kennel Club (INKC) registers it by the moniker Mudhol Hound and has recognized the breed since the club was formed in 1969. The INKC’s official journal published breed standards for Mudhol Hounds in January, 1995.
Mudhol Hounds are winning an increasing number of dog show prizes nationally and internationally. Awareness of the breed and solid programs to improve breeding practices are building hope that the Mudhol Hound will not fade into extinction.
The appearance of the Mudhol Hound should convey a balanced conformation of power, grace, and symmetry. Their lean, aerodynamic bodies are designed for strength, speed, and stamina. Even though the male Mudhol Hound stands 24-30 inches tall and the female 22-28 inches in height (measured from ground to withers), these dogs only weigh between 48-62 pounds.
Mudhol Hounds come in two coat varieties; the smooth coated type has fine hair that lies close to its body, with no feathering. The silky coated variety has hair that feathers on the ears, legs, the back of the thighs, between the hock and the heel, and on the underneath side of the tail. Their fine, taut skin reveals their muscle tone. Any coat color or combination of colors is acceptable. The most common hues are those that allow the dogs to blend in with their environment, providing natural camouflage. These include fawn, fallow, red, cream, as well as any of those combined with white.
The Mudhol Hound has a flat skull that is moderately wide between the ears, and a tapering muzzle. The head, viewed from above, is wedge shaped. The stop is not pronounced; the muzzle is well filled under the eyes. The length of the foreface, measured from the inner eye corner to the nose tip, is slightly longer than the length of the skull.
Mudhol Hounds’ ears are set high and hang close to their skulls. Their fine textured ears are triangular in shape and slightly rounded at the tip. When these dogs are at attention, they raise their ears at the base; in action, the ears may fold back. Their oval eyes are obliquely set and have a piercing expression; eye color ranges from black to hazel, in accord with their coat color. Eye rims and noses are solid colored, in hues ranging from black to liver, with liver more common on lighter coated dogs. Their strong jaws are long and close in a scissors bite over full dentition.
Their long necks, which are muscular, supple, and elegantly arched, are well let into their shoulders. This breed’s muscular shoulders are clearly defined at the top at an angle of about forty-five degrees and well laid back. They have somewhat narrow, deep chests that do not go below the elbows. Dogs of this breed are slow to mature and therefore they may not develop the full depth of chest until somewhere between the ages of three and five years. The ribs are well sprung out from the spine, flat along the sides, and angled backwards about forty-five degrees. They have broad backs with slightly arched loins which are wide, deep, and strong. The abdominal muscles are tight. The Mudhol Hound’s narrow and flat sided body is slightly longer than its height.
The Mudhol Hound’s leg bones are fine, dense, and never round. The forelegs are straight and long from the elbows to pasterns. The upper arms are equal in length, with the elbows carried well forward and below the line of the brisket. Pasterns slope slightly; elbows, pasterns, and toes do not turn inward or outward. The hip bones are wide set with stifles moderately bent. The hocks stand approximately in a vertical line with the tail bone. The hind hock joints are broad, set high, and well let down. Stifles and hocks do not turn outward or inward. Their croups slope moderately at about a thirty to thirty-five degree angle. Their strong tails are low set and not too long. Mudhol Hounds carry their tails in a semi-curve, but not over their backs; when they are excited they may carry the tail horizontally.
They have long hare-like feet on which the two center digits are elongated. Their strong, supple feet are well knuckled, never flat, and have thick pads. The front feet may either point straight forward or turn out at a slight angle. The gait of the Mudhol Hound is light and effortless, with a long stride in which the feet are raised high. At a gallop, their pasterns are bent; when at a trot, pasterns are at a forty-five degree angle from a horizontal plane. Mudhol Hounds carry their heads forward in an elegant manner when trotting, forming a graceful line from their noses to their tails.
Mudhol Hounds are a working breed; they are intelligent, sensitive, reserved, loyal, and courageous. They require a tremendous amount of daily physical exercise and they must be treated with respect and gentleness. If these requirements are not consistently attended to, this wonderful companion can turn into a difficult and even dangerous dog.
These large sighthounds are first and foremost hunters and love to be working outdoors. The Mudhol Hound requires a great deal of exercise every day to be mentally and physically healthy and well adjusted. If you cannot provide enough outdoor activity for your dog, this is the wrong breed to own. Long daily pack walks are a must; in addition, they need to run in a safe, enclosed outdoor area once or twice a week, for an extended period of time.
These dogs should never be allowed off leash outside of an enclosed, safe area because they are bred primarily as hunting dogs and may take off after prey, regardless of how well they have been obedience trained. Their strong hunting instinct also means these dogs are probably not safe to have around small, non-canine pets. If properly trained, they can do well with livestock because they have been used and bred to protect and sometimes herd livestock animals.
They are gentle, loyal, and affectionate with those they know well, but wary toward strangers—to the extent that they do not like to be touched by them. Their aloofness towards people they do not know well, combined with their courage, devotion, and loyalty toward their owners and family, make them good watch dogs. If Mudhol Hounds deem it necessary, they will do whatever they have to, to defend and protect their home and the people they love.
Once they get to know those outside their families, they are affectionate and gentle with them as well. In spite of their natural reserve, Mudhol Hounds need interaction with their humans and to be included as an integral part of the family. This breed cannot tolerate being crated for long periods of time and does not do well when left alone all day.
Even though Mudhol Hounds are independent and can be stubborn and strong-willed, they need to be treated with sensitivity, kindness, respect, and fairness at all times. Young Mudhol Hounds in particular, need to be treated with gentleness. If Mudhol Hounds are treated harshly they may become nervous or vicious and difficult to handle. Training and socialization need to begin when the dog is a puppy; training should be firm and house rules should be clear and consistently enforced. Make sure your dog’s daily walk is a pack walk, with your Mudhol Hound heeling beside or behind you at all times, in order to continually reinforce that you are the pack leader.
This breed is not suited to apartment living because they require a great deal of exercise in large open spaces. A home with a large, enclosed yard, or a home in the countryside are better living environments for Mudhol Hounds. They are most happy when they are outdoors (but not living outside, apart from their family). This breed does not like cold or wet climates and fares best in tropical environments. In fact, in cold weather, Mudhol Hounds need doggie coats and possibly boots for protection.
The Mudhol Hound is a low maintenance breed in terms of grooming. This breed sheds an average amount, so brushing your dog’s short coat once a week will suffice to remove most of the dead hair. The weekly brushing keeps their coats and skin healthy by distributing the natural oils, and also imparts a lustrous sheen to the hair. Bathe your dog only as needed and use mild soap; bathing too frequently or using harsh shampoos can remove the protective oils from your Mudhol Hound’s skin and coat.
Mudhol Hounds are a rugged breed; for many centuries these dogs have been expected to live and to work hard in harsh environments. Only the strongest have survived and the result is that Mudhol Hounds are hardy dogs, suffering from no known breed specific health issues. They have a lifespan of approximately ten to fifteen years.