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Early Afghan Hounds - The Kennel Club Of India
(By Steve Tillotson July 2012)

A view of the bridge built in the 1850's by the East India Company
across the Ganges canal at Roorki (alternate spelling = Roorkee) Kennel Club India Origins Roorki

In my previous writings on Afghan Hounds and India I have stated that we have found it extremely difficult to obtain information from India about Afghan hounds. When you consider the legacy of India and that it was the primary home of the British Military (which included Major and Mary Amps, Major Bell-Murray and many other breed pioneers who Exhibited their newly discovered hounds in places such as Lahore (The birthplace of the Kennel Club Of India) this lack of information is all the more surprising. I have endeavoured over the years to establish breed contacts in India, but have thus far failed. So, if per chance, this article should catch the attention of Afghan hound enthusiasts in India I would be most grateful to hear from them.

I recently (again) visited the Kennel Club Of India's website and studied the history of the club as documented on their website. The full article as posted by The Kennel Club Of India can be found here. So with deep appreciation to KCOI for documenting their history, I am able to learn more about India and can relate some of the items in their history to people and aspects of breed history.

Not only as a researcher do I struggle to find information on India and Afghan hounds. The Kennel Club Of India has had to work very hard to establish the clubs origins. The KCOI website states -

"How the Club originated is hidden in obscurity. As far as we know, it was in or about the year 1896 that a group of European dog-lovers joined together and started a club which they called, The Northern India Kennel Association. Judging from the name, it sounds like a Provincial Club although popular opinion considers it to have been an All India Club. How many members the Club had on its books, who formed the Executive Committee and what the functions of the Club were, are not known. The Club was affiliated to the Kennel Club, London, on March 20, 1900 but whether they had any embodied Rules to govern them is not known. It would not be wrong to assume that they subjected themselves only to a gentlemans code for day to day functioning. They were undoubtedly holding dog shows at Lahore and had held at least ten such shows up to the year 1907"

However, thanks to KCOI research efforts we can establish a timeline, as follows

    1 Kennel Club Of India Timeline
  • 1906 Northern India Kennel Association established. Organized Dog Shows commence under their jurisdiction (Dog shows were held earlier, since 1896 in Lahore, then India, now the capital of the Punjab in Pakistan)
  • 1908 In December, the name Northern Indian Kennel Association was changed to Indian Kennel Association, and under this name they held the 11th Lahore Dog Show on the 5th and 6th February, 1908. The office of the Northern India Kennel Association was then in Roorki, with Lord Minto the then Viceroy as President, Rev.H.W.Bush as the Chairman and Lt. Col. W.Daswon, I.M.S., the Secretary.
  • 1926 The year 1926 is a red letter day in the history of the Kennel Club of India, for in the jolly issue of the Indian Kennel Gazette we find the words, The I.K.A. is dead. Long live The Kennel Club of India.
  • 1929 It appears that on the 1st February 1929 the first set of rules as revised (from the prvious IKA rules) in terms mentioned above came into force.
  • 1950's during the 50's the Kennel Club Of India moved to Coonoor and then later to Madras (Chennai) where it remains today

  • 2 Indian Kennel Gazette Origins
  • The Indian Kennel Gazette was founded in 1902. It appears that the Rev. H.W. Bush, who was then the Secretary of the Northern India Kennel Association, was the Editor of this Journal.

We also learn that Indians were not originally allowed to become members of the Indian Club. It was very exclusive (mainly inclusive to Europeans) but had a couple of Maharaja Indian nobiity members. Sometime around 1940 this skewed membership exclusivness changed

The above KCOI information is revealing about some well known names in the foundation years of the breed -

Rev H.W. Bush, we first hear of in 1951 in Clifford Hubbards "Afghan Hound Handbook" where Hubbard informs us that Rev H.W.Bush authored an article for "The Kennel Encyclopedia" in 1907 which included a photo of Zardin and of a puppy, presumed to be a Zardin offspring. We learn from Hubbard that the Rev H.W.Bush was an authority on oriental hounds. Well, now some 60 years later we can read on KCOI's website that Rev H.W.Bush was one of the first Chairman of the forerunner to KCOI, so Rev H.W.Bush certainly had the credentials to support his reputation as an oriental hound expert.

We also read on KCOI website about Col Mariott who was a president of the KCOI and who imported in 1928 (from India) the Afghan Hound named Lakki Marwat who was owend by Mrs Eileen Drinkwater (Geufron, UK) and proved to be a very important foundation era sire to the breed. Photo Lakki Marwat, India 1928

Lord Minto was the President of the Indian Kennel Association for the years 1908, 1909 and 1910, and from 1926 to 1931 and he was also Viceroy of India from 1905 to 1910.

So you can see from the above the influence of the British in the establishment of Indian pedigree dog history. In later years, other foundation breeders such as Clara Bowring woud visit India and return with Afghan hounds.

Mary Amps, wife of Major Amps was not initially allowed to be with her husband who was stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan, as the British Military deemed Kabul to unsafe for wives of serving officers. The Amps were "newlyweds" at the time. As a peace offering and companion to his wife stranded in Lahore, Major Amps sent her the Afghan Hound Khan Of Ghazni along with another Afghan hound. Later Mrs Amps established a kennel in Peshewar (originally part of India but now part of Pakistan). Mary Amps showed her Afghan hound Ch Sirdar Of Ghazni at the Lahore shows.

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