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Kashmiri Sheepdog

The Bakharwal Dog is an ancient working breed found in the Pir Panjal mountain range of the Kashmir Himalayas, where it has been bred for many centuries by the Gujjar nomadic tribes as a livestock guardian and settlement protector. Belonging to a leaner variety of Asian Molossers, the Kashmiri Sheepdog is related to some types of the Tibetan Mastiff and dogs of Central Asia, but is claimed by the Gujjar herdsmen to be much older than any other breed of the region. While this is debatable, the black-n-tan colouring and physical build of the Bakarwal Mastiff have led some authorities to link a number of old Molossers to this dog, namely the Hyrcanian Mastiff, the Molossos tis Epirou, the Sylvan, the Tuvan Sheepdog and the Siah Sag variety of the Iranian Sage Mazandarani, as well as the European descendants of these breeds.

Rugged, courageous and serious, the Bakharwal Dog is a resilient and serious working breed, commonly seen following the large herds of goats and sheep during the Gujjar migrations in Pakistan. While easy to train and reportedly very intelligent, these Molossers are quite protective of their masters and confrontational with strange dogs, but they aren't overly vicious or uncontrollable. Deep-chested, muscular and agile, the Kashmiri Sheepdog has a straight back, broad shoulders and long legs. The body is strongly boned, with a powerful neck and large head.

The medium length flat coat is very thick and densely undercoated, providing suitable protection from the harsh climate of the area, as well as from predators. The most common and valued colourings are black, black-n-tan, fawn and red, but some tricoloured and piebald examples can be found too. A variety of sizes can be encountered, from specimens that are 24 inches tall to those exceeding the height of 30 inches at the withers.

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