WRITING STYLE: 4.5/5
ENTERTAINMENT QUOTIENT: 4.5/5
From times immemorial dogs have been hailed as a man’s best friend. Throughout history, there have been umpteen instances where dogs have proved their undisputed loyalty to mankind. Being a dog lover myself (I am the proud owner of a Labrador retriever called Argo and a Pug called Haachi), I jumped with joy when “The Book of Indian Dogs” was offered to me in exchange for an honest review. Now, my readers should please forgive me if I am not so honest in this review. My love for dogs is certainly bound to enhance my liking for this book but I am sure that this is a small crime you will be able to forgive me for.
In “The Book of Indian Dogs”, S. Theodore Baskaran, a well-known dog lover and noted naturalist and conservationist, talks about the topic closest to his heart – native Indian dogs. This book is a lay man’s rough guide to native Indian dogs and is a great way to boost the popularity of the much neglected Indian breeds. I used to count myself as a dog lover but my knowledge of Indian breeds was only restricted to knowing two breeds – The Mudhol Hound and The Rampur Hound and even though the breeds Lhasa Apso and Himalayan Mastiff were quite familiar, I did not know them as Indian breeds.
Theodore writes with great detail and precision about the various Indian breeds, their current struggles, their importance in culture and their mentions in our history. In doing so, he does not make the book dull or boring but rather writes in a way which makes the subject even more exciting than one would probably have thought it to be.
“The Book of Indian Dogs” starts with a brief intro on the origins of the domesticated dog. Thereafter, the book is divided into 3 prominent sections – the history of dogs in India, the contemporary scene and a guide to Indian dog breeds. While talking in detail about the Indian breeds, Baskaran classifies these in 3 categories – Working Dogs, Companion Dogs and Hounds.
The information on each of the 25 breeds listed in the book is detailed and is supported by colour photographs/sketches of them. The book is not academic in nature and only aims at providing general information. This I believe is a bonus point, because academic books can be really boring and dull.
The way in which Baskaran manages to introduce the readers to the plights of the now-in-danger-of-oblivion Indian dogs is remarkable. The book highlights the successes of a few communities, individuals, government bodies in bringing a few of these breeds back into popularity but maintains the fact that there is still a lot to be done for the preservation of their original gene pool.
This book is a delightful read for any dog lover and I am sure once having read about the various wonderful indigenous dog breeds, only a few will be able to resist the temptation of owning one. Had I been introduced to the book a bit early, I myself would have got my hands on a Mudhol Hound or a Rajapalayam.
Needless to state, “The Book of Indian Dogs” will be every dog lover’s delight and hence comes as a must read from me. Every dog lover should and must read it. I end this review by rating it 4.5 out of 5 stars.
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