Hubballi: Mudhol hounds, which were on the verge of extinction, are much sought after now, thanks to the Canine Research and Information Centre at Thimmapur village of Bagalkot district.
The hounds have gained popularity within two years of setting up of the centre, which has taken effort to preserve and promote the breed. Thousands of dog lovers flocked the first Indian Dog Breeds Specialty show in Bagalkot where more than 300 dogs were taking part. The farmers sold each hound for more than Rs 10,000, indicating that the market for the local breed is growing rapidly and there is a potential for more.
The centre has been encouraging breeding and reproduction of Mudhol hounds by providing puppies to more than 350 families in Bagalkot district. The centre is also supplying food and free medical care to these hounds apart from giving adequate training to the farmers. The families can sell the puppies after caring for the hounds for three years. As the business is lucrative, more families are taking up breeding of these exotic dogs. There is a big demand for the dogs from different parts of the country and abroad. The centre is also creating awareness about these hounds by holding dog shows in major cities.
Mudhol hounds were brought to India by Persians, Arabs and Afghans several centuries ago. These hounds are one among 32 breeds recognised at international level.
These hounds are known for its ability to endure extreme weather, ability to smell and hunting skills. Some sections of people, especially hunters, are involved in breeding of hounds in several villages in Mudhol, Bilagi and Jamkhandi of Bagalkot district.
“The shepherds have contributed majorly for the survival of the species over several decades. But, they used to sell the puppies at throwaway price just two years ago due to lack of awareness. Now, several families are taking the initiative to breed the hounds. Breeding the hounds has become an alternative source of income for poor dalits”, said Mahesh Doddamani, assistant professor and head of Canine Research and Information Centre.