Native Dog Breeds of India - Mudhol 

Dr. B. C. Ramakrishna & Dr. P. V. Yathinder




The Mudhol Hound-Karnataka’s Canine Pride

History and origin
Mudhol hounds are native to Northern Karnataka and parts of Southern Mahrashtra and are recognised officially and registered by the Kennel Club of India (KCI). 

History when delved into throws up some rare gems of information regarding our Indian breeds of dogs which have been totally neglected and are now limping back into the limelight due to the efforts of some like minded lovers of the Indian breeds of dogs. When an overall view of the Indian breeds of dogs is taken, they appear to be of two types, i.e. those having the conformation of the sight hounds and the more stocky working sheep herding dogs. Then again these sight hound like dogs bear an uncanny resemblance to the Sloughi, Saluki and the present day Greyhounds. 

Most of the dogs originated from central and western Asia. This again corroborates that the forefathers of the Indian breeds of sight hounds appear to have reached our land in times gone by with the invading hordes who invaded India over a period of time starting about as early as 500 BC. Now this period, spread over more than 1500 years saw various invaders such as the Huns, Kushans, Mongols, Greeks, Persians, Turks and the Moguls invading India to loot and plunder its riches. On the other hand, they also brought with them their dogs, which guarded, shepherded, and also hunted for their masters. These dogs appear to be in all probability the present day Sloughi, Greyhound and Saluki, which have not changed much in their conformation. Indian hounds have a strong resemblance to these dogs being the outcome of selective breeding of these by the local populace. Some authors have made it clear that names such as the Rampur hounds etc. appear to be the name given to the dog belonging to the area where it was more popular.

But then long before the advent of the Moguls, there were many other invaders such as the Persians and Turks who came to India and down to the Deccan, during mid fourteenth century (1347), of whom was an Afghan warrior, Hasan Gangu Bahmani who founded the Bahmani sultanate with Gulbarga as his capital. In 1443 an emissary, Abdul Razack from the court of the Persian king came to Gulbarga. This kingdom extended into the present districts of Mahrastra including Osmanabad and lasted for more than 150 years. The collapse of the Bahmani kingdom gave rise to five feudal states, one of which was the Adil Shahi kingdom with Bijapur as its capital, founded by Yousef Adil Shah who was the second son of the Turkish Monarch. Mudhol formed a part of this kingdom which rose to prominence and was at its peak towards the early 16th century.

Now with this background of history and emissaries running between the Deccan states and Persian and Turkish kingdoms, there appears to have been a large exchange of gifts and more specially dogs of the likes of the Saluki, Sloughi and the Grey hound whose places of origin is all that area comprising of Arabia, Persia and the rest of the countries in between. The dogs in fact followed their masters who were hired soldiers and mercenaries on horseback and on camel to the Deccan from Persia and Turkey etc. So much so, that the forebears of our Mudhol breed came to India more than three centuries before the coming of the Moguls. In the
interim of these three centuries, the incoming Sloughis, Salukis and the Greyhounds had adapted and domiciled themselves to this land of the Deccan and in course of time came to be known by the name of the land to which they lasted for more than 150 years. The collapse of the Bahmani kingdom gave rise to five feudal states, one of which they were adapted. One of which was Mudhol, for it was and is part of Bijapur, which in turn was the capital of the Adil shahi kingdom of bygone days. This goes to show that the hounds have their roots in Mudhol and districts of present day Karnataka and Mahrashtra. Aurangazeb the Mogul campaigned for more than eight years (1636- 1644} in the Deccan to subdue the Marathas, who were fighting for their sovereignty. Aurangazeb saw that these Marathas used their canine companions for guarding and sighting interlopers in their guerrilla warfare. The patriotic Marathas were well known for their love of companion animals, especially dogs, who in turn as a friend recognized neither fraternity or brotherhood while on duty and faced any risk for their masters. These dogs have fought Muslim invaders and the British along side their Maratha masters. The faithful dogs of Chatrapati Shivaji are entombed near his own at Raighad. The faithful dog of Sri Chatrapathi Sahu Maharaj saved him from the jaws of a tiger and attacked the tiger and killed it. This dog jumped into his master's pyre showing the faithfulness and sacrifice to his master. Shri Tulaji Angre and his dogs fought the British on the high seas to protect the Konkan and west coast of India. Thus these dogs belonging to Karnataka and Maharashtra regions are patriots in the true sense of the word. 

During the last few centuries, Mudhol-a feudal state located in the district of Bijapur in Karnataka has developed the Mudhol hound by selective breeding efforts of the ruling family of Ghorpades and their subjects and elsewhere. Legend has it that the Mudhol hounds proved themselves in a hunt, wherein the ruler Srimanth Raja Malojirao Ghorphade and his Lieutenant, Sri Nanasaheb Chandanashiva and their pack of Mudhol hounds fared the best over the rulers of Kolhapur, Sangli, Pattadakal, Baroda and Jamkhandi. It was then that the Ghorpade of Mudhol gave inams to the Chandanashiva family with the clause that they breed the Mudhols for all time and to perpetuate their lineage. These Mudhol hounds were also given to the nomadic tribes who used to move from kingdom to kingdom as an incentive to glean information from the neighbouring kingdoms as to their martial activities. In this regard the Mudhol hounds have gained themselves a niche in the hearts of the local people and of the adjoining districts of Karnataka and Mahrashtra. 

The Mudhols are recognised for their hardy nature and being a keen sight hound, are very much in demand as a companion animal, a hunting and guard dog. The Chandanashiva family entrusted through generations, with the Mudhol hounds, continue to do justice in maintaining them even to this day, having been handed down from father to son namely from Nanasaheb to Vittalrao and on to the present generation consisting of Suresh Sadashiva Chandanashiva and his brothers. The Mudhols are currently being bred and put to use for sheep herding, hunting and as companion dogs. Sri Srimanth Raja Malojirao Ghorpade presented a fine pair of Mudhol hound pups to King George V of England. The monarch was so impressed by the pups that he referred to them as the pups from Mudhol and when they grew up, the appeared true to the hound conformation and were called the Mudhol hound. These hounds gained popularity in their own state and the surrounding areas and began to be referred to the hounds from Mudhol, which has withstood the test of time and continues to date. 

The Encyclopedia of dogs, by Bruce Fogle published by Darling Kindersley of the United Kingdom on page 85, mentions the Mudhol hound as a sight hound of Mahrashtra. Here it will not be wrong to state that Bijapur and Mudhol were a part of the then Bombay Presidency till 1956 when the reorganisation of states took place on a linguistic basis and today are a part of the State of Karnataka. The Indian dogs, a book published by Popular Prakashan of Bombay in 1962, authored by Sri W. V. Soman and with a foreword by the then Governor of Maharashtra. Sri Prakasa, which is a veritable treasure for lovers of Indian breeds of dogs, for Mr. Soman has not spared any efforts to trace the origin of dogs in India from Vedic times to the modern day. He has listed appendices showing the different capabilities of the dog such as its companionship, guarding instinct, hunting prowess and its intelligence in saving the life of fellow humans etc. Further his chapters on the various Indian breeds of dogs amounting to some 23 different breeds are well chronicled including that of the Mudhol on page 89. Dr. Pranesh Jahgirdar, Hony. Secretary of the Bijapur Kennel Club, on a Rotary exchange visit to the USA in 1994 was thrilled to see the Mudhol hound depicted on a dog breeds chart displayed in a veterinary clinic in Waco, Texas. He explained to the clinicians in charge, of the origin of the Mudhol and its current status and capabilities. Ms. Ratna Kapoor, an international canine judge of the Federation of Kennel clubs of India (FKCI) has written in the FKCI journal regarding the Mudhol hound. Dr. Mohd Basheer and Dr. T. N. Ganesh in their book, published in 1989, entitled ",-,"Know your dogs" with a foreword by Dr. Jayaraj, the vice- chancellor of the Tamil Nadu agricultural university, have mentioned the Mudhol hound on page 65. Another popular canine club of western India, The "Indian National Kennel Club" (INKC) have recognised the Mudhol hound since the clubs inception in 1969. Their official journal "Canine Review” has brought out an "Indian breeds Special" with breed standards of the Mudhol hound, published in January of 1995. 

Prasaranga, the publishing wing of the Mysore university has brought out a well documented book on dogs entitled "Naayi" authored by Mr. Harish. The book deals at length with the habitat, breed characters, and utility of the Mudhol hound, which is described in detail on page 202. Thus the hounds, which were domiciled in the Mudhol area- a feudal state, took the name of the land and continue to be known as the Mudhol hound. The ex-rulers of Jamkhandi and Kolhapur being canine connoisseurs have in their kennels; stock of Mudhol hounds which they rear and show. The popularity of the Mudhol breed of hounds in their native tract of Bijapur district speaks volumes as no where, not even a specialty club dog show can bring together as many dogs of the same breed on a day. At the dog show conducted by the Bijapur Zilla panchayat were some 350 dogs on show. 

The Bharat Kennel Club with its headquarters in Madras mentions in its memorandum of the club, the Mudhol hounds along with other Indian breeds of dogs. Leading newspaper of the country, "The Hindu", published from Hyderabad dated lst January 1997 mentions the Mudhol hound in an exclusive article titled "The Mudhol hound -Pride of Karnataka." So much so that the Mudhol hound is today known locally, nationally and internationally as the Mudhol hound.

The Mysore Kennel club, the pioneer kennel club in the state n of Kamataka, the home of the Mudhol hound, thought to provide the Mudhol hound a forum and for a few years since 1990, Mudhols were put on exhibition only, during the All India championship dog shows of the club, for the general public to appreciate the virtues of the Mudhol hound. In time, proposals were addressed to the KCI for registering the Mudhol hound. The KCI under the opinion certificate of their approved judges, have for the past few years, a registry for the Mudhol hounds. The Mudhol hounds have now entered the championship competitions along with their KCI tag since 1993 and have been judged by both national and international canine judges. The Government of Kamataka, considering the historic importance of the Mudhol hound and also its virtues, have launched programmes through their official machinery, viz. the departments of animal husbandry and veterinary services, the zilla panchayats and NGO's to take up selective breeding of and improve upon the Mudhol hound. 

General Characteristics: 
The aerodynamic body is symmetrical and proportionate with an elegant and lean look. Strongly built, with plenty of muscular power, stamina and endurance. Can withstand harsh conditions. 

Temperament: Loves to be independent with a strong will of its own. Does not like interference. Males are sometimes unpredictable and attack. 

Head: Looks small for the size of the body. Long and narrow skull is flat and moderately wide between the ears. Stop is not pronounced, dome absent, long tapering powerful muzzle. Strong jaws with scissor bite.

Eyes: Have an intelligent expression and are coloured dark brown to hazel. They are oval in shape and obliquely placed.

Ears: They are thin, of medium size, mobile, triangular and set fairly high. Carried flat, close to the head. Rose shaped and semi erect ears are also seen.

Neck: It is elegantly arched, long, supple and well muscled.

Body: It is muscular and slightly arched with powerful small loins. Brisket is long and deep, roomy thorax, well tucked in abdomen and a fairly broad back. 

Legs and feet: They are muscular. The forelegs are straight and long from elbow to knee. The hip bones are set wide apart, stifle moderately bent and hocks low to the ground. The feet are of moderate length with well arched with strong pads.

Tail: It is long, set on in line with the body, strong at the base, tapering and slightly curved. Sometimes carried low.

Coat: It is smooth, close and fine.

Colour : All colours including brindle.

Height: Females 23-25 inches, Males 26-28 inches.

Weight: 22-28 kilograms.

Gait and movement: Peculiar gallop, which is more like flying than running. Effortless stride, with the hind legs well under the body, giving excellent propulsion.

The Mudhol Hound Needs a great deal of exercise and requires large open spaces in urban areas for exercising.
Training requires a sensitive approach and lots of tender loving care. They can be used for racing and hunting. They make good and trustworthy companions.

Authors Corresponding address: 

B. C. Ramakrishna and P.V. Yathinder
The President, Mysore Kennel Club, No.630, 17th 'A' Main, 6th Block, Koramangala, Bangalore -560 095. 

Ph: 91-080-5532636, Fax: 91-080-5532766. E-mail: 

The views expressed in this article are solely of the author(s), and any clarifications can be obtained from the author(s).