Breeders wag the homegrown dog - Manipur kennel club organises canine show to promote indigenous species
|File picture of a terrier at a dog show|
Imphal, Feb. 10: If this group of dog lovers could have their way, pedigreed would be passé and indigenous in.
The United Kennel Club of Manipur, affiliated to the Calcutta-based United Kennel Club of India, has organised a two-day dog show-cum-competition this weekend to raise awareness about indigenous canine breeds and promote them as pets.
Slaughtered for their meat and indiscriminately crossbred, several breeds of dogs unique to Manipur are on the verge of extinction. M. Richard Luwang, who is the organising secretary of the dog show, described crossbreeding as a trend that had spun out of control.
“The objective of organising the dog show is to save indigenous breeds like awang huijao (also known as Tangkhul hui), warak hui and shahui. These indigenous species are on the verge of extinction mainly because of crossbreeding,” he said.
Luwang advocated the adoption of scientific breeding methods by kennel owners to save indigenous species. “We hope to conserve these breeds by encouraging scientific breeding and care. If these species become popular as pets, they could be included in the international list of dog species.”
The United Kennel Club of Manipur was constituted only last year by a group of dog lovers, including IPS officers and doctors.
Wildlife conservationist Salam Rajesh said awang huijao was easily the best hunting dog of the Northeast. “It is a prized breed, very loyal, intelligent and possessing incredible homing and territorial sensitivity. Unfortunately, it is on the verge of extinction because of neglect.”
The British were the first to recognise its value, classifying it as a “peculiar indigenous breed”.
The kennel club has found only four dogs of the species in Imphal homes, but sources said no less than 10 could be displayed at the dog show.
“The breed is now available only in the remote villages in the northeastern part of Ukhrul, along the Indo-Myanmar border,” Rajesh said.
Apart from crossbreeding, slaughter of canines for their meat has led to the depletion of the indigenous dog population.
Dog meat has always been popular with some tribes in the hills, but it is only in recent years that residents of the valley have developed a taste for it.
“A plate of canine meat is priced at Rs 25. Our dogs are being slaughtered for their meat,” Richard said.
The veterinary and animal husbandry department does not have any records on the indigenous canine population and has yet to conduct a survey. Richard said the kennel club intended to conduct a survey with the focus on local breeds. “It will be a cumbersome task, entailing an expedition to the interiors of the state.”
Three judges from Calcutta have been invited to the weekend dog show. Indigenous breeds will be judged separately with the help of some resident experts.
Dog lovers have contributed Rs 1,000 each to organise the show.