BRAHMANBARIA, Nov 5: The Sarail Hound is a unique breed of dog that very closely resembles the Grey Hound and is found mainly in Sarail upazila of Brahmanbaria district. At present the 'pure Sarail Hound' is facing a devastating future leading to possible extinction.
Sarail hounds were originally bred as hunting dogs to chase hare, foxes, and deer. It is a gentle and intelligent breed whose combination of long, powerful legs, deep chest, flexible spine and slim build allows it to reach speeds of 40 to 45 miles per hour, making them the Ferraris of the dog world.
They are used in anti-crime activities and they also participate in many other dog sports, including lure coursing, conformation, obedience, and agility. Beyond their grace and speed, people love them for their sweet, mild nature.
Although there is lack of authentic information about the origin of the breed, but some researchers assume Sarail Hound to be a Fusion of Arabian Hunting dogs, Greyhounds and Wild-dogs.
Nobody seems to know for sure how this unusual canine landed in Sarail over 200 years ago when communications in this part of the hemisphere were extremely perilous.
Legend goes that Zamindar Dewan of Sarail one day set out for Calcutta (now Kolkata) on his convoy of elephants. At one point during the painstaking journey he met an Englishman with an unusual dog. Fascinated by the canine's looks and agility, Dewan convinced the Englishman to give up his dog in exchange for an elephant.
Later on a hunting trip the dog was lost in the forest. But weeks later the dog wandered back to Dewan's palace. To the surprise of the caretakers, the dog was pregnant. Eventually, it gave birth to several puppies. Some say the puppies were the results of the dog's mating with wolf or jackal.
Since then, the breed started becoming famous throughout the country and the globe as Sarail Hound gradually. But pure-bred Sarails have become increasingly rare.
While talking to this correspondent, Tapan Lal Rabi Das of Chouragoda village at Noagaon Union of Sarail said that he is the only individual trying to rear the Sarail Hound.
Das claims that Zamindar Dewan Monwar Ali presented two hounds to his great grandfather Kali Charan Rabi Das over a hundred years back.
From that time, they have been rearing and breeding the dogs for commercial purpose. He has 15 of them. A six-month old pure Sarail puppy could change hands for as much as Tk 30,000 or more, he added.
Some people are crossing the local dog varieties with the partial Sarail Hounds just for commercial gains.
Now it has become difficult to rear the dogs due to threat of theft and they enrage neighbours as well. Hence, he needs to tie them up with chains inside the room, he said.
Due to lack of financial support and proper maintenance, the breed is on verge of extinction. Das, is also facing accommodation problem for the dogs as he is keeping them in his own living room.
Therefore, he urged the government to recognise this breed as a part of the country's heritage and take initiatives to save it from extinction.