Nomadic hunters and herdsmen in Kazakhstan are trying to save one of the rarest dog breeds in the world: the Tazy, which is also called the Kazakh greyhound.
For centuries, the pastoral nomads of the area have used these dogs to protect their flocks, and to hunt for foxes, rabbits and wolves.
Last week, hunters and herdsman from all over Kazakhstan converged on Astana to show off their dogs and raise awareness of the breed’s plight.
Alexander Berber, the CEO of Kansonar, which is the nation’s hunting society, told a Tengrinews reporter:
“The breed has centuries-old roots. It is our task to ensure this breed does not disappear.”
During the show, the dogs completed exercises that showed off their exceptional hunting skills. The organisers of the show want to define a common standard for Tazys, which they see as the first step in preserving the variety.
Currently, the Tazy or Tazi breed is not a recognised one. However, many believe that setting a breed standard is the best way to gain recognition for the animal, and to ensure that the dogs are not crossbred out of existence.
For centuries, these greyhound-like dogs were considered an essential part of the family, with most nomadic families owning at least one. Today, there are less than 300 left.
These tough working dogs are said to have a warm temperament and are very affectionate with their owners. For this reason, they have always been allowed into the home and, for centuries, were the only animals that were allowed near children.