Taigan (Kyrgyz Sighthound)
The Taigan is a highly robust and agile hunting dog native to Kyrgyzstan that is able to run at 60 km/h speed. It belongs to the group of Sight Hounds but it’s truly versatile as far as it concerns hunting. The breed has substantial exercise requirements and won’t be a right choice for keeping it in an urban apartment.
The Taigan used to live alongside indigenous people in Kyrgyzstan steppes for hundreds of years. It’s very likely that the dog was invented as a result of crossing different types of eastern Borzois though it’s impossible to trace back its exact lineage. There is a fascinating legend about the creation of this breed. It alleges that the breed originated from the mythical bird dog. Once upon a time an egg was snatched for the nest of the highland vulture Kumai. A puppy appeared from the egg and it gradually grew in proclaimed saviour of the local folk from raging wolves packs. It was declared as a native treasure since it has rescued the whole tribe from the threat of starvation. In honour of this deed the dog was granted a name Taigan, which designates «catch up and kill».
The Taigan was an indispensable part of the nomadic households and its prime hunting and guarding skills served as sound guarantee of human survival in this harsh terrain. Main source of nourishment for Nomadic people was livestock and the results of hunting were only a welcomed addition to their ration. The household usually included two dogs: one was used for hunting and the other for protecting and herding the livestock. The list of its prey objects was incredibly long and contained badgers, marmots, hares, wolves, wildcat and various hoofed animals.
The Taigan is an extremely hard-working and durable breed and it’s capable of effectively working at several thousand meters altitude of its mountainous native country. It’s hard to overestimate its importance as an excellent wolf’s exterminator, which helped to maintain the population of this predator at a reasonable level.
The Taigan came through hard times when local folks started to live a more settled life. The dog has lost its main application as a superb hunter and this led to considerable drop in the breed’s popularity. Lots of animals became homeless and were wiped out in attempt to reduce the number of stray animals. In the first half of the XX century some fanciers initiated extensive efforts in order to save the breed from its full extinction.
In 1930s the Soviet dog’s experts began to register the remaining members but this practice was abruptly interrupted during the German attack in 1941. In 1964 USSR set up the first Taigan standard. Kyrgyzstan obtained its independence in 1991 and its population by and by returned to the nomadic lifestyle. The breed restored its former position and acquired lots of admirers among the affluent people in rural areas of its homeland. Nowadays the number of dogs is increasing year by year and it’s considered as a national treasure of Kyrgyzstan.
The Taigan was developed to be an unparalleled hunter and has strong tendency to make its own decision while chasing a prey. This devoted and even-tempered dog demands respectful treatment to itself and won’t tolerate master-servant kind of relationship with its owner. It’s important to win the dog’s obedience with kindness and patience without using abusive tactics in up-bringing. The breed loves spending time with older children but it’s probably too boisterous for a toddler.
The vigilant and clever Taigan will become an outstanding watchdog, which will be capable of discerning the difference between a friend and an enemy. This good-natured animal won’t make up a good guardian since it lacks natural aggression, which is essential for this role.
The Taigan is generally friendly towards other canine animals but it won’t back down in case of a provocation. Anyway the initial meeting of the strange dogs should be closely supervised by the owner in order to prevent a nasty incident. As the skilful hunter the Taigan possesses a strong hunting drive and all stray cats will be perceived by it as prey objects. In case the dog has been living with a home cat (or other animal) since its puppyhood it will accept it as the integral part of its family and will treat it as such.
The breed is pretty demanding in the aspect of physical activity and requires a spacious yard to roam and play so it won’t do very good in apartment setting. Moreover it has to be seriously trained and socialized to become a well-mannered member of society. That’s way the Taigan is not an ideal option for a novice dog owner.
The most common problems for the breed include:
· canine hip dysplasia;
· patellar luxation;
· frequent muscle strain;
· sensitivity to anaesthesia;
· skin allergies;
· food allergies;
The Taigan has a gorgeous hair, which should be properly taken care of. On the whole the dog’s coat requires moderate amount of efforts to attend compared to other breeds with resembling fur. The owner should brush the Taigan on a regular basis to prevent its coat from matting and tangling.
Apart from it common care practices should be conducted systematically and thoroughly. The dog needs bathing only occasionally, perhaps once in three months.
The Taigan is fairly trainable breed due to its willingness to make a good impression on the owner. It learns quickly and effectively basic tricks and with some additional effort from its trainer the dog is able to achieve remarkable results in various types of dogs sport.
The training regimen should be based on the principles of consistency and regularity and should contain plentiful food incentives and praise. The dog isn’t responsive to brute methods and screaming and usually turns into distrustful and wilful animal if treated in such a way.
This excellent athlete requires impressive amount of daily exercise in order to feel happy and satisfied. The owner should take the Taigan for a walk of at least an hour long. The dog is an avid runner and should be allowed to roam the surroundings unrestrained from time to time.
That’s why this breed would greatly prefer to live in the countryside rather than in the big city. Without sufficient amount of exercise the dog tends to become disobedient and develops the nasty habits of on-going barking, chewing, digging, etc.