Dogs are said to be the most loyal and faithful among all the other pets in the world. Their sense of care and belongingness is highly commendable amongst pet lovers.
In India, most dog breeds have been trained for guarding livestock and property since ancient times. Their training is made tough keeping the various surroundings in mind.
Some breeds are even used by the Indian Army for their highly exceptional features and characteristics. The selection of dogs is made considering the intensity of danger they would be facing.
In today’s article, we will learn about the dog breeds used by the Indian army. So let’s get started.
1. Great Swiss Mountain Dog
Despite being well-muscled, the dog is agile enough to perform the all-purpose farm duties of the mountainous regions of its origin.
The Greater Swiss Mountain Dog is sociable, active, calm, and dignified, and loves being part of the family. It is relatively healthy for its size and tends to have far fewer problems than more popular breeds in its size range.
Their life span is around 11 years and their weight can go up to 64 kgs.
Being alert and vigilant, they make good watchdogs. They tend to notice everything in their surroundings and are quick to sound an alarm.
Faced with a threat, they will stand their ground and put on a show that will intimidate those unfamiliar with the dog.
They are confident and comfortable in unfamiliar locations and are stable around strange noises and unfamiliar people.
2. German Shepherd
German Shepherd is a breed of medium to a large-sized working dog that originated in Germany.
It has a domed forehead, a long square-cut muzzle with strong jaws, and a black nose. Despite its wolf-like appearance, it is relatively considered a modern dog breed.
German Shepherds are moderately active dogs and are described by breed standards as self-assured.
The breed possesses a willingness to learn and an eagerness to have a purpose. However, they can become overprotective of their family and territory, especially if not socialized correctly.
Due to their strength, intelligence, trainability, and obedience, German Shepherds around the world are often the preferred breed for many types of work, including disability assistance, search-and-rescue, police, and military roles.
They are curious, which makes them excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions.
The Labrador Retriever or Labrador is a British breed of retriever gun dog. It is a medium-sized breed with a broad head, strong jaws, and a powerful and muscular built body.
Due to its short and dense water-resistant coat, the dog does not get cold when taken into the water in the winters. The Labrador is highly loyal, obedient, and playful. It was bred as a sporting and hunting dog but is widely kept as a companion dog.
However, if trained properly, they can prove to be good guides or assistance dogs, or for rescue or therapy work. Labradors are powerful and indefatigable swimmers noted for their ability to tolerate the coldest of water for extended periods.
Due to their high intelligence and excellent sense of smell, they are used for difficult missions to detect bombs and grenades.
One of the greatest examples of bravery depicted by a Labrador is Zanjeer. It was one of the detection dogs and played a major role in detecting arms and ammunition used in the 1993 Mumbai serial explosions.
4. Mudhol Hound
The Mudhol Hound, also known variously as the Maratha Hound, the Pashmi Hound, the Kathewar Dog, and the Caravan Hound, is a breed of sighthound from India.
It has a long and narrow head, broad between the ears with a tapering muzzle. It possesses a short and dense single coat. Furthermore, it weighs from 22-28 kgs and its height can go up to 35 inches.
In 2005, the Mudhol Hound was one of four Indian dog breeds featured on a set of postage stamps released by the Indian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology to celebrate the country’s canine heritage.
Mudhol Hounds are good family companions and go well with one person in the house. However, their high prey drive makes them less tolerant toward other smaller pets.
Treating them with kindness and respect is important, or they turn out to be very aggressive as they get older.
Mudhol hounds are used by the Indian Army for border surveillance and protection, sniffing out Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs).
Bakharwal is an ancient working dog breed found across the Pir Panjal Range of India, where it has been bred for many centuries by the Bakarwal and Gujjar nomadic tribes as a livestock guardian dog and settlement protector.
However, their numbers are depleting and the tribes that breed them have appealed to include them in the endangered species list.
It is a powerful, heavy bone, medium to large size dog. It is an agile and sturdy breed, a typical mountain dog with a furry coat and plumy tail that gives it a majestic look.
Likewise, it is mostly in black with white at the toes and chest.
Bakharwal dogs are very protective and loyal towards their owners and their properties. They take their duty as a guardian very seriously and can be extremely dangerous when they sense a sign of threat in the surroundings.
The Indian army is training this Ladakhi breed for various operational roles.
6. Belgian Malinois
Also known as the Belgian Shepherd, a Belgian Malinois is a breed of medium-sized herding dog from Belgium.
The breed descends from a common type of shepherd dog found throughout Western Europe that includes such modern breeds as the Bouvier des Ardennes, Dutch Shepherd, and German Shepherd.
In addition to their historical role as herding dogs, these dogs are used for a variety of purposes, including disability assistance, companionship, guarding, detecting, guiding, and police work.
The Belgian Malinois earned special repute after Cairo, a US Navy SEALs Malinois assisted in the search and killing of Osama Bin Laden.
The Indian army wanted to procure these dogs for urban warfare as well as to bring down casualties in the fatal funnel — doorways where soldiers cannot see the other side.
7. Cocker Spaniel
The English Cocker Spaniel is a breed of gun dog. It is an active, good-natured, sporting dog breed, standing well up at withers and compactly built.
The word cocker is commonly held to depict their use to hunt woodcock. It has a characteristic expression showing intelligence and alertness. Its eyes are dark, and its lobular ears reach “a bit past” the tip of the nose when pulled forward.
Cockers are compassionate, determined, kind, intelligent, athletic, alert, and resilient and make great family pets.
This breed seems to have a perpetually wagging tail and prefers to be around people; it is not best suited to the backyard alone. Cockers can be easily stressed by loud noises and by rough treatment or handling.
Incidentally, one Cocker Spaniel was mentioned by PM Narendra Modi in his Mann Ki Baat speech.
Sophie, a Cocker Spaniel, along with Vida, a Labrador, was awarded the Chief of Army Staff ‘Commendation Cards’ on the 74th Independence Day. Sophie is an explosive detection dog who assisted the army by sniffing out the presence of an initiator that is used for making an IED.
Dogs have proved their worth in every field, from portraying various roles in the arts and film industry to being trustworthy and loyal companions to the Indian Army.
Most of the breeds are given early training to make them capable of handling difficult missions. I hope you found this article informative and had a good read.