Iranian Ashayeri Sheepdog
Sage Ashayeri is an ancient shepherd dog of the Bakhtiari and Qashqai tribes of Western and Central Iran. Traditionally used as a flock defender, the Ashayeri Sheepdog also makes an excellent wild boar and bear hunter, as well as a valued wolf killer, when used in packs. Reserved and intuitive, it is fairly aggressive towards strange people and dogs. There are two main variants, primarily separated by coat type, but there are some physical differences too.
The Qashqai variant is a lean and smooth-haired dog, whereas the dogs bred by the Bakhtiari tribes have longer coats and tend to be more mastiffy in appearance. Some believe that these two types should be recognized as separate breeds, since interbreeding between the Qashqai and Bakhtiari dogs is no longer as common as it was in the past, allowing these variants to evolve in different directions from eachother over time. Although not numerous, the urban population of the Sage Ashayeri consists of both types and their crosses, effectively enforcing the ties between the Bakhtiari and Qashqai variants. Ashayeri Sheepdogs can be found in some cities within and outside Iran, where they're kept as property guardians and pets. The breed remains fairly unknown in the West and no efforts have been put into any type of official recognition as of yet.
Regardless of type, the Sage Ashayeri has strong legs, muscular body and a powerful neck, making this rugged Iranian breed an impressive working Moloss, prized for its superb speed, courage and resilience. The tail is usually docked, but there are many examples with their tails intact.
Usually bicoloured, the Iranian Ashayeri Sheepdog comes in yellow/white, red/white, brown/white and the very popular Border Collie-like black/white colouring, but solid fawn, brown and grey dogs are fairly common. There are also some brindle and tricoloured specimens to be found, as well.
Quite smaller than most other breeds of the region, it rarely exceeds 20 inches in height.