When a breed doesn’t work out in one capacity, it’s not necessarily a failing of that breed, but more often than not, unrealistic expectations of the breed.
A few years back, we mentioned on these pages that Indian para-military forces were considering Mudhol Hounds for their canine squads. We applaud India for looking to their native breeds to fill different capacities, but we weren’t entirely surprised to recently read that the Mudhol hounds were found unsuitable for policing duty.
In 2018, the ITBP and SSB took eight Mudhol Hound puppies and gave them basic obedience and training in the detection of explosives and narcotics. The dogs were deployed in the anti-Naxal grid in Chhattisgarh and on the Indo-Nepal border, but findings from the trials conducted by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), India’s primary border patrol organization, and the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), the border guarding force of India deployed along its border with Nepal and Bhutan, concluded that these dogs, while intelligent, loyal, and agile, had the wrong temperament for the work.
Mudhols are sighthounds, and what was described as “nervousness” in the article we read is, in our view, just a sighthound being a sighthound: Easily distracted by the presence of any moving object, and preferring to chase it rather than concentrating on following the scent, a key requirement for any police dog. In a report that came out in January 2021, it was reported that the Mudhol hound tended to forget past training, was inclined to run away if kept off-leash during training/practice, and because of its long and narrow head, could easily slip out of his collar and escape from the handler’s control.
Choosing this breed for police work likely seemed like a good idea at the time because the Mudhol hound is adapted to India’s hot climate, has the stamina to run long distances, is easy to groom, loyal, and low maintenance. That said, it’s still a sighthound, and what some saw as negatives are actually attributes in a different setting.
Field trials with three other Indian dog breeds are still underway. While the Central Reserve Police Force (India’s largest Central Armed Police Force) is doing the trials for Combai and BSF for Rampur Hound, different versions of the Himachali Hound or mountain dog breed – Gaddi, Bakarwal Hound and Tibetan Mastiff – are being assessed by Indo-Tibetan Border Police, the Sashastra Seema Bal, and the Border Security Force.
Image found on Pinterest and happily credited upon receipt of information