422 – Exploring the Caravan Hounds of India
Exploring the Caravan Hounds of India
Neil Trilokekar (in photo with Caravan Hound puppy) returns for part two of this fascinating conversation with host Laura Reeves. The Caravan Hounds story is equal parts intrigue and investigative work through the mists of time, with a frisson of danger and a large helping of reverence for the common man.
“First and foremost it’s a hunting dog,” Trilokekar said. “They hunt largely for hare and fox. Fox ’cause it’s a vermin and hare for food. In the old days, they would also take blackbuck which is type of gazelle, but that doesn’t really happen these days. So it’s a hunting dog, but it also is general alarm around the property. They are not aggressive. They’re not supposed to be super guardy or aggressive.
“(They are a) typical sighthound. Reserved, kind of cat-ish in their mannerisms. Personality wise, they are reserved like most Asiatic sighthounds. Most of them, they’re raised in a very rough manner, the ones that live in villages. But they still end up being very easy-going dogs. They know how to interact with the world. I’m very impressed with their characters.
“(The Caravan Hound is) a very ‘dry’ dog. Lean dry musculature. Minimalistic in design, if you think about it that way. Very square or even slightly shorter than they are tall. Very deep chested with a really good tuck up. Not a very long loin, it’s a fairly moderate loin. The top line is fairly level more like an Afghan type top lines. Fairly level or there might be a very slight incline from the Withers up to the hip bones, not sloping down from the Withers sloping slight incline and the hip bones are prominent. Angulation is very moderate. They have very refined head. There’s two basic head types in the breed, but even what they call the more moderate head is a very refined head to begin with.
“Thin skin. The coat is a very unique coat. Nearly the only breed that I’ve felt the coat on which is kind of the same is some Shar Pei have a similar coat that they call a horse coat. That really hard bristly hair. I think some of the Chongqing Dogs might have a similar coat too. It’s very sparse. It’s almost hairless on the undersides and it looks glossy when you look at it from afar like it gleams but you touch it and it’s got like a bristly harsh feel to it. It’s a very short coat like you can see the skin through the coat. That’s definitely a very unique and prized characteristic of the breed.
“Colours, they are usually very drab colours so they blend in with the land over which they work. They work over black cotton soil largely and so you get a lot of blacks, you get a lot of seals, shades of seal and also some of the dogs work over red soil so you get Reds and fawns and occasionally get a grey. Not blue, not a dilute like a grey, grey. Generally, a lot of old hunters and breeders, village people, they do not accept brindle and they do not accept parti colours, ’cause those are thought to have been brought in with Greyhound influence. There is not high incidence of feathered caravan hounds. Out of all the people I know and they had a meeting of 50 different people that have known the breed for years and years there was two people that have seen a feathered caravan hound born.”
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