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The History Of the Breed

Over many hundred years the taigan have not been bred in a strict control and their features have been developed rather through the geographical isolation than through a thorough breeding plan Over many hundred years the taigan have not been bred in a strict control and their features have been developed rather through the geographical isolation than through a thorough breeding plan. The problem for the breed purity were the newcomers to the territory to present Kyrgyzstan in the 19th century and new dogs which were brought by them as they started mating with the taigans kept traditionally. Some conscious hunters tried to do their best to keep their dogs away from casual mating, but alas there were not so many of them. When the fire-arms turned to be easily available, when the transport became easily accessible, when industry started to develop and the massive movement of the people became an every day reality, the taigan lost its meaning in the traditional Kyrgyz society, but luckily it did not disappear.

The origins of the taigan standard might be traced in the instructions of the minister of Industry of the Soviet Union in 1947, which said that each of the former Soviet Republics was supposed to have its own dog breed. In 1964 professor S.A. Miniukhin elaborated the first taigan standard, which was adapted by the Kennel Council of the Soviet Union. A bit sooner, in 1953, J. I. Shereshevskiy published a book in Moscow, entitled “Hunting with sighthounds”, which was result of vivid hunting traditions with the dogs of this type. The hunters using sighthounds were organized in kolkhozs (state-founded cooperations) which guaranteed them partial state financial support for their activities. Alas the breed purity was not the clue for the kolkhoz functioning and one could encounter mongrels of the Kyrgyz taigans and the centralasian tazis, which of course, led to worsening the condition of both breeds. Thus the standard elaboration was supposed to be the first step to stop the disadvantageous situation.

The idea was not successful, but in the 70s of the 20th century a new big threat appeared. Under pretext of limiting infectious animal diseases, the new instructions were issued, which ordered to shoot any dog without custody. The problem about the Kyrgyz sighthounds was that they have never been neither enclosed, nor kept on leash. If based on the instruction, anyone could have shot any taigan running freely as if they were wild animals. Such a policy might have caused the definite disappearance of the breed. This inconvenient situation made the canine experts think of how to save the breed from extinction. The left-over population was studied and it was revealed that pure-bred taigans are present only in very remote mountainous regions.

When the canine experts erroneously announced that the breed had been extinct, enormous interest in the taigan burst. Just then many dog lovers had an idea of buying the last living taigans. The commotion about the breed provoked massive import of taigan-like looking dog from Kyrgyzstan. Moreover the Russian-language speaking hunters when leaving Kyrgyzstan did not like to leave their dogs where they belonged, but they were taking them away or they were selling them to dog sellers.

Only very small groups of the breed lovers understood how serious the situation was. Some of them started to travel throughout Kyrgyzstan, collect typical taigans and placed them in trustful hands. Thanks to this activity, it became possible to register pure bred taigans starting from 1987 in Department Of Dog Hunting of the Fishing and Hunting Union led by the biologist Almas Kurmankulov. Two dogs of this breed came to Moscow to the Exhibition of the Agricultural Industry Achievements and these became the base of the breeding in Russia.

Next the taigan related interest was awaken by the Gorbatchev’s liberalization of the Soviet Union. Widespread interest of the Kyrgyzs in their own culture made them see the national sighthound as the element of the Kyrgyz heritage.

After regaining the independence by Kygyzstan the new standard was proclaimed on the 1st of February 1996. In 2001 the National Society Kyrgyz Taigan was funded and subsequently it was supported by financial founds of entrepreneurs and hunters. The society archives the data on the registered dogs, organizes the breed reviews and the working trials. Moreover it signs contracts with the taigan owners, which pass to the society rights for choosing correct breeding partners for their dogs. Thanks to this activity, at present every single puppy is evaluated by a canine expert and every single adult taigan must get a hunting certificate. (c) Marcin Błaszkowski 2008 - All Rights Reserved
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