A canine victory

Print edition : June 18, 2004

Ch. Right Staff of Harase Garten, a Dobermann, owned by C.V. Sudarsan, wins The Hindu Trophy for the Dog of the Year for the show season 2003-2004.

CH. RIGHT STAFF OF HARASE GARTEN, a Dobermann, won The Hindu Trophy for the Dog of the Year for the show season 2003-2004. Imported from Japan and bred by Mariko Harase of the famous Harase Garten Kennels in Japan, this elegant dog is owned by C.V. Sudarsan of the Magic Million Kennels in Chennai. The Hindu Trophy was instituted in 1980 by S. Rangarajan, Managing Director, M/s Kasturi and Sons. The trophy is awarded to the dog that obtains the maximum points over a show season, which starts with the South of India Kennel Club show held at Udhagamandalam during the second weekend of May every year.

Ch. Right Staff of Harase Garten.-PICTURES: KATHIR NARAYAN

Sudarsan is an International All Breeds Judge and a committee member of the Kennel Club of India, the sole body for all canine affairs. He is also the secretary of the Madras Canine Club.

There are around 50 clubs affiliated to the Kennel Club of India, which has chosen 23 premier clubs and awarded them special show status. Each of these 23 clubs conduct two shows simultaneously and those competing for The Hindu Trophy and other major trophies have to exhibit at all the 46 shows.

The exhibitor who secures the maximum number of points at the 46 shows is declared the winner. A Best in Show (BIS) is awarded 10 points, the second BIS is awarded 8 points and the third and the fourth BIS are awarded 6 and 4 points. Further, while exhibiting more than once under the same judge, only the highest points secured can be taken into account.

As the show season in India is mainly between December and February, often there are two or three shows being held at different locations over the same weekend and competitors often miss out on the other shows.

Sudarsan's journey to victory this year has been difficult. It started with winning a BIS and second BIS in Cochin. The next show was in Hyderabad, which was followed by one in Bangalore a week after. The dog was then taken to Noida, Coimbatore, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Chennai, Agra, Bangalore and Jalandhar. In the final leg of the journey were Mumbai and Chandigarh. Without a respite, the dog was exhibited continuously at 26 shows every weekend across the country.

C.V. Sudarsan and S. Siddharth with the winning dog.-

Great care was taken during this period to maintain the dog's weight and coat condition, apart from continuing its regular exercises. The ordeal finally ended at Chandigarh, where the dog was declared the winner, when it beat his closest competitor, a beautiful German Shepherd imported from Germany, and a V-7 at the Seiger Show held there, by a clear 30 points.

The success of a dog in the show ring depends not only on its quality, but also the manner in which it is exhibited. Unless it is handled efficiently, it could easily lose. Most winning dogs abroad are invariably handled by professional handlers. In India there are very few professionals. This year's prize-winning dog was handled by S. Siddharth, Sudarsan's son, who was largely responsible for its win.

Sudarsan has been involved in the sport of dog shows for almost 30 years now. Though he has owned several breeds in the past, the Dobermann remains his first love. He has been breeding and showing Dobermanns for more than 20 years. As judge on the Kennel Club of India's panel for more than two decades, he has visited more than 16 countries spanning five continents. The biggest show that he has judged is the Brisbane Royal in Australia, which had almost 6,000 dogs. His ambition is to judge at least once in every country.

Sudarsan has been a successful exhibitor and his exhibit has won the Dog of the Year award on three different occasions - Standard Smooth Dachshund Ch.Sans Craintes to Reckon With, in 1985-86; Dobermann Ch.Rising Star of Harase Garten, an import from Japan in 1994-95; and Ch. Right Staff of Harase Garten, another import from the same kennel in Japan, this year. He has also won Reserve Dog of the Year twice, Dog of the Year Bred in India thrice and the Puppy of the Year once. Sudarsan has owned, bred and exhibited several other breeds such as Pugs, Dachshunds, German Shepherds, Fox Terriers, Beagles, Bulldogs and Labradors. He currently houses several Dobermanns, Bulldogs and Pugs.

Bulldog breeding is considered most difficult as the females do not deliver the natural way, and have to have caesarean section operations. As this has been the trend generation after generation, they seem to have lost their maternal instinct and hence are very poor mothers. Sudarsan last year helped deliver a litter of eight puppies by caesarean section and was perhaps the only person in India to have succeeded in saving all the puppies delivered at the same time. He has specialised in the art of saving orphaned puppies by using the method of tube feeding and providing artificial methods of mothering, which is considered very crucial for the first 10 days of a puppy's life.

A dog lover since childhood, Sudarsan has developed a passion for dogs irrespective of whether they are pedigreed or not. His ultimate aim is to start a shelter for unwanted dogs on the lines of those he has seen abroad. All this will need a lot of funds, which he hopes to raise with the help of friends and well-wishers. He is a Chartered Accountant and is now a businessman.

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