Saturday, April 12, 2008

Some Real Dogs

A few of us who love the primitive sighthounds worry that the program of breeding them to standard and closing the studbook, as is being proposed in Almaty, could be the first step on their road to ruin. Vladimir Beregovoy has found a scientist and dog breeder in the far western Karatau range, 400 miles from Almaty, who apparently agrees and has some dogs to prove it.

Vladimir B translates V Shakula. I have not bothered to Anglicize further-- I think his passion comes through best this way.

"I will add some more about Afghans and Taigans. You see, they may have very related roots. Whereas Afghans appeared in Europe long enough and became well known there, in Russia and former Soviet republics they (the Afghans) appeared only 1970th-80th. Mainly in Moscow, in Central Russia and in the Ukraine. In Asia [that part, which is known to V. Shakula V. B] they are very rare. Afghan lovers brought several of them from Moscow in Tashkent and in Almaty. Nobody brought them into mountain regions, because it was a show dog. Longhair and stupid. One of my friends (rather his wife), brought two Afghans in our village in 1995-96. I love all dogs, but these were good for nothing. Stupid, whimsical, cowardly and inept. Finally, one of them died and another got lost; it was found later emaciated in the neighboring village (5 km from us) and they returned her back in the city. Not only for hunting, they were not good, they were not good for a life in general. How it is possible to compare with the Taigan, which is like made of steel and whose sole is burning eternal flame of indefatigable hunter, which makes to dog to pursue game for dozens of km and know direction under any weather conditions, even in winter in the mountains? Excuse me, but aboriginal dog is a dog written from a capital letter. I can recognize their past affinity, but taking a Taigan as a mix with an Afghan or with a Tazi or a Saluki or whom other dog is a mistake. I understand Sir Terence Clark meant the appearance. Indeed, eastern sighthounds are generally similar, because they are resembling each other. Another thing is surprising, I know well that 50-60 years ago Kazakhs and Kyrgyz had no culture of breeding at all. Now, there is more superficial activity in the restoration of national traditions, then real work. Speaking seriously, they were simply killing the breed (Tazi included). Aboriginal blood is so strong, anyway, somewhere in remote provinces a real eastern sighthound (unexpectedly) is popping up in all its former glory. The genotype is so constant! I am stunned and ashamed for people, who do nothing, like myself"

Says VB: "Now, he is going to get involved seriously."

Here is one of his taigans, likely the remote ancestor of today's silly show Afghan, He hunts WOLVES with these.

Here is a tazi with some taigan blood. I want one, only black, a common color.

This is our ultimate destination next trip, and I hope to bring back another pup.


Julie Zickefoose said...

What a wonderful, chewy bit of writing. i can hear his accent! I feel the same about the new fad in Boston terriers (a dog that I admit is good for nothing but making people feel good). They're trying to breed a nice, athletic dog that started out around 35 lb. down to 12 lb. If you want a toy breed, get a Yorkie. Oh, and they're shortening the muzzle too, until you can hear every breath the dog takes. Nice. I'll take my well-oxygenated 24-pounder, thanks.

Steve Bodio said...

Particularly good (and doubtless true): "Stupid, whimsical, cowardly and inept"--!

Anonymous said...

Count me in Steve.


Philmac said...

I'd be interested to know of any really "good" web links about Taigan. I've found so few in my searches.

Steve Bodio said...

My favorite is this German one. It has a bit in English, and links; what's more, it has wonderful photos. Jan Scotland, who runs it, speaks some English- I can probably get his email.

Also see this.

Nightmare said...

So, I went outside today to tell my Afghans they were "good for nothing, stupid, whimsical, cowardly and inept," but two of them distracted me by acting whimsical, digging holes and rolling in the dust, while the others were on the kitchen counter stealing food from the cabinet and pushing the down the fence to go after the cheeky coyote staring insultingly at them from across the road. You know, I don't think they were listening.

Phil, the Russian Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Society has newsletters available on their web site, there are several articles about Taigans. Sorry, I cannot make links.

Steve Bodio said...

Not your dogs, Nightmare, nor the Lady With the Black Dogs-- but most modern show Afghans have bred away the fire-- it's "easier".

Come to think of it, I'd keep "whimsical" though, including for mine...

Philmac said...

I did find a nice Polish site with some good info in English as to the history of the breed standard in the former Soviet Union.

Nightmare said...

Oh,I've got a couple of stupid ones. Well, not really stupid, just not as smart as some. I'm not really convinced they have the 'stupid gene', though. I think a lot of breeders make their pups stupid. Pups need to be out digging in the dirt, getting stung by insects, eating stuff, irritating the adult dogs, and getting in trouble. They shouldn't be raised in pens and kennels, no matter how 'enriched' the environment. I think all that stacking and putting pups in weird unnatural postures makes'em grow funny, too. Pups should be allowed to be pups, they make better dogs that way. Part of the joy I have in my dogs is just watching them be dogs, amusing themselves, getting into stuff. I read Merle's Door recently and it really spoke to me; I'd love to fence off our whole twenty acres and let the dogs have the run of it.

This page has a bunch of Taigan links:

Mark Mcbride said...

Great read and it also has me wanting to go there, problem is it is not so easy to get dogs back into the uk.



Steve Bodio said...

Mark: what about from the US? I ma serious about getting at least one, and I'm sure they would work for you (;-))

Nightmare said...

If you're taking orders, I'd like a Taigan, one of the blue colored ones, please. :)

Mark McBride said...

Hi Steve, I could bring one in under the Pet Passport Scheme from you guys that would be great but it would involve you keeping the dog for 6 months before it could travel, that is assuming NM is part of the PPS?

It's really is crippling for us in the UK trying to bring in new blood, if brought a pup via Quarantine I would loose the most important stage in its development for hunting.

Also just to add to what Julie said, even the has been srewed by show breeding they not always poncey little dogs with ribbons in their hair, they were once a real working terrier with real fire in their belly.