Sunday, November 09, 2008

Taigans vs Wolves

Here and here are two rather ugly photos of Kyrgiz taigans attacking a tethered wolf. They have caused controversy in both European AR groups and, most recently, in one of our tazi lists. The general consensus appears to be that the Kyrgiz are reprehensible and that they should be stopped (also, everyone apparently thinks that the wolves are killed).

I attempted to add a little to everyone's knowledge but didn't succeed, so I'll try it here.

First, the wolves (and bears, and badgers) used in trials by Kazakhs and Kyrgiz are not killed, as our culture once did in the barbaric "sports" of bear and badger baiting. They are rarely even injured-- the purpose of these trials is merely to see if a hound will stand up to its traditional foe.(Many will not breed from a dog that won't). Some intelligent carnivores like the bear seem to learn to enjoy the whole process, putting on tremendous show without touching the dog at all.

Also, Central Asia has wolves like we have coyotes, and an economy heavily based on stock. It is no accident that it produced both stock- protection breeds and a wolfhound; taigans can and do kill wolves.

"Why don't they just shoot them?" asked one correspondent. Well, under the Soviets NOBODY WAS ALLOWED TO HAVE GUNS. There are a lot of cheap ex- military arms around now, plus fancy ones for the post- Soviet nouveau- riche (I saw an incredible gun and sporting store in Almaty) and things may be changing.

I wouldn't do it myself, and yield ground to no one in my admiration for predators-- see below-- but it is worth trying to see the other guy's viewpoint sometimes.


Anonymous said...

Frankly, I'd rather see Taigan being tested on wolves than trotting around the show ring. At least it shows the instinct is there, even if the dogs are not actively hunted on wolves. I have no problem with such testing as long as no serious injuries are incurred. To me, it is not so different than running your dog on rabbits to 'prove' it's worth. I saw those pictures a while back and, really, what kind of idiot would think the wolves are killed by the dogs? There's no muzzle on the wolf. It has plenty of opportunity to bite. Would I test one of my own dogs on a wolf? I honestly don't know; it would depend on the true risk factor, and I can't know that without seeing the contest myself. I will admit to a certain curiosity about what one of my dogs would do if confronted with a wolf. Wolves, I think, have not been a common pest in the US in so long and are so romanticized that Americans forget it is not like that in the rest of the world.

Anonymous said...

What a kettle-of-fish you have opened up here! Incredibly controversial subject, but good luck to any humane group that thinks they will be able to change such age old customs in another culture.....Would I participate in such a "testing"? No way, I like wolves too much, and I like my dogs too much! No doubt it IS an effective(if cruel) way to test a dog--but I wonder how upset any of these hunters would be if their dogs were stolen and used to train pit bulls for dog fighting(which are, after all, just being used for their traditional purpose!). Even though such "training" using live animals is SUPPOSED to be outlawed in this country(U.S.A.), it still goes on, with bear hunters training their bear hounds, coon hunters with coonhounds, the afore mentioned illegal dog fighting, etc. Anyone who doesn't think it is EXTREMELY stressful and cruel, has to be blind to the obvious. Is it necessary for training? That should be the only question being raised. I would HOPE that the wolves were released after such abuse, and were treated with as much respect as possible--kind of hard to imagine they were if wolves are considered such a problem with the livestock in the area. Yet I HAVE known people with live-caught coons and captive bears, that treated their "training animals" with the utmost consideration other than the actual, stressful confrontations with the hunting dogs--feeding and sheltering them well, releasing them immediately afterward, or(in the case of the bear) keeping them in conditions better than many zoos. But you can bet that none of the animals kept for training dogs are there of there own volition....L.B.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree nightmare,

I fail to see how anyone could expect them not to 'test' their dogs in such a way? They don't have huge numbers of Wolves seeing as they are apex predators, however they do have enough to be a problem with livestock.

They are not in a position to head out and loose wolf by taking a dog that they are not 100% sure will do the job should the opportunity arise. I know what it is like to loose a fox in chance encounter by heading out with an unprepared dog.