Friday, September 07, 2007

Dog Trials in Russia and Asia

I am probably going to stir up trouble here but I am feeling a bit ornery after all that below. Besides, I am missing the Primitive and Aboriginal Dog Breeds Conference in Almaty, where many of my friends have gone.

I have heard a lot of talk lately about some images going around that lead me to believe that misinformation is circulating.

A series of pictures of Kirgyz taigan dogs-- a mountain relative of my tazis-- ran in a German paper, apparently alleging that the dogs killed tethered wolves (I don't read German) and demanding an end to the practice.

I honestly don't know if the Kirgyz killed that wolf but I rather doubt it. In Russia and Kazakhstan, field trials for dogs are much more rigorous (to say the least!) than they are here. Every hound, laika, and teckel (dachshund) must stand up to and face its traditional quarry. But at least in those two countries the "quarry" is kept more or less as a pet, and they try not to injure them. I have been told that the intelligent bears in particular learn to be noisy and scary without making contact-- as do experienced hounds. They become "actors".

Not my way; I gave up even coyote coursing long time ago. I am too sentimental. But I think this is one case for some real cultural relativism. They certainly make some fine dogs over there.

(Actually I find the Mongolian Kazakhs use of wolf cubs-- which ARE killed-- to train eagles to be much crueller. But herders do not like wolves, especially when they are common. These are nomads in hard landscapes, not rich ranchers.)

Here are some trial photos from Kazkhstan.

A teckel goes after a badger.

Scooping up the badger after the trial.

A bear and Laika.

Maybe later we'll get to how some nomads demand that the FEMALES of their herding breeds fight for twenty minutes before they are allowed to breed!

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