The Book of Indian Dogs Hardcover – Import, 20 Feb 2017
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About the Author
A lifelong dog lover, S. Theodore Baskaran has raised many dogs, including two Indian breeds. He has been associated with the Kennel Club of India, Chennai, and was a member of the show committee. He was instrumental in bringing out a set of four postage stamps on indigenous breeds of dogs.
Baskaran is a well-known naturalist and conservationist. He served two terms as a trustee of WWF India and has been an honorary wildlife warden in Chennai. His book The Dance of the Sarus: Essays of a Wandering Naturalist was published in 1999. He edited a book on Indian wildlife, The Sprint of the Blackbuck. He writes frequently on conservation for The Hindu and Frontline. He has also contributed to important anthologies such as An Anthology of Indian Wildlife, Waterlines: Rivers of India and Voices in the Wilderness. He writes on conservation in Tamil in magazines like Uyirmmai and Kalachuvadu and also has three books on conservation in Tamil to his credit. He believes that to make conservation a people’s movement the discourse has to be in local languages.
Baskaran’s other scholarly interests include film studies and art history, areas in which he has published books and articles. His book, The Eye of the Serpent, won the National Award for Best Writing on Cinema, 1997. He was awarded the Iyal Virudhu for Lifetime Achievement in Tamil Writing by the Canada-based Literary Garden.
He is a graduate of the National Defence College. He retired as Chief Postmaster General of Tamil Nadu. He lives with his wife in Bangalore.
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One of the reasons I wanted to get an Indian breed, apart from the fact that I’m Indian and want to support local everything, is that I wanted a companion dog, not a hound or a hunting dog, a companion dog that can, well, keep me company. And I wanted one that was used to the climate around here. Alas, this didn’t help there as it seems most companion dogs are very used to comfortably cold climates and it easily gets to 42 degrees around here. But where it did help was satisfying my curiosity in learning about the different Indian dog breeds, especially with these pictures included.
Indian breeds are mostly hunting dogs or hounds used for guarding. They’re long and lean, muscular and , unless in a cold climate, not too heavy. Some experts estimate that we have more than 20 varieties, some say less. But what they all agree upon, including Baskaran, is that they are in desperate need of revival. Like the Jallikattu protests which took a turn towards protecting native cattle breeds and rejecting imported Jersey cows, we need to stop importing Huskies and start loving the native breeds.
The author laments about how many breeds have vanished and these were such amazing hounds. None of them needing to be tied up and each one of them sturdy and excellent, only giving in to human neglect. And, the worst of ALL disasters, human apathy.
I absolutely adored this book and while I am still at a loss about buying a native breed (They are so scarce that there aren’t any available for adoption) because all the ones that suit the climate of the city I’m in are dogs that need wide open spaces. All in all, an absolutely wonderful little read. If I’ve rated it less than 5 stars it’s only because I wished there were more details and more stories associated with these dog breeds. A must read for every dog enthusiast in India.
Landrace fanciers looking to learn more about primitive type dogs in the country will be sorely disappointed.
Barely skims over important topics such as evolution, and domestication; The section on 'History' section is largely tedious, and the author needs to spruce up his knowledge of the newer, and more important developments in the field of canine science.
As is typical for a 'conservationist', there is a certain bias when it comes to dogs and wildlife; the author seems to think that spay & neuter drives to control urban free ranging dog populations are largely futile, and seems to support the barbaric, mass-killing of stray dogs.
Largely disappointing as a 'guide', and fails as a reference.
Major Soman's long out of print classic, 'The Indian Dog' is a much better treatise on the subject. Highly recommended, if one can hunt down a copy.
WORST is the appendix on strays; he suggests that ABC programs are useless and supports the view of mass extermination of strays, quoting statistics and the views of inhuman monsters like certain people in Kerala who have been raging a campaign for mass killing of dogs. It would have been a balanced view if he had asked for the views of NGOs working in the field. It has been proven internationally that mass culling is ineffective. He scantly mentions the need to effective implementation of laws to regulate dog breeding, of strict measures to be taken for pet management. Who caused the multiplication of stray dogs? Us. Is their one Indian city where garbage is properly disposed off? We can spend billions on statues, Malls and highways, but can't we ever learn to dispose off our wastes? We dump it on the streets and that's where stray dogs breed. ABC program has been successful where it is implemented; unfortunately the program is not given the importance it should be.
And why 'breeds'? Breeds are just mix and match by humans and unnatural. The author has cleverly found a gap and tries to make a quick buck. Disappointed and angry. Maybe people who are totally ignorant about Indian dog breeds would buy this book, perhaps buy a Kombai or Rajapalayam to show off. That's what this book is all about. Humbug and show-off!!
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Most recent customer reviews
The book is very shallow on detail.Read more