Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guardian Angel

Welcome Lexie, our newest addition.

As I started to post the first images of her, I got asked repeatedly what breed she is. I didn't answer this right away, because I think it needs a bit of explaining.

Lexie is a Karakachan Dog. Never heard before? Neither did I until recently....

The Karakachan Dogs are one of the oldest, if not the oldest breed of dogs in Europe, with ancestors going back to 3000 BC!

The Karachachan Dogs were successfully bred for centuries on the Balkan Peninsula to protect livestock, property and it's owner. They are named after the Karakachans, nomadic shepherds of Thracian origin and the oldest inhabitants of the Balkan who brought the dogs eventually to Bulgaria.

Due to the conservative breeding of the nomadic shepherds the breed remained unchanged for centuries. 

After WWII, the communistic government nationalized farms and placed all livestock in communal farms rendering the Karakachan Dog useless. The communistic government then ordered an extermination program of the dogs...killing the dogs and selling their pelts.

By 1957 the breed was very close to extinction......
A few though were saved....and now being protected by conservation programs, they survive in the Bulgarian mountains guarding flocks from wolves and bears.

The most actual numbers I could find state, that there are about 600-700 Karakachans in Bulgaria and about 200+ in the US and Canada.

Although Lexie gets along very well with the little dogs and I posed her here in a rather un-Karakachan like chair, she is definitively an outside dog. Always staying close, always having an eye on all the animals.

When Lexie is grown she will be approx. 28 inches/70 cm tall and weigh about 80 lb/45 kg.

There is not much information on the web about the Karakachan Dog, these are the ones I found most helpful:

The Karakachan Association of America

Karakachan Livestock Guardian Dogs

Five Springs Farm

BBPS Semperviva

Karakachan Dog

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