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Tuvan Shepherd Dog

The Kadartchy Yt is one of the oldest Molossers in the world, descended from the same ancient root stock of dogs as the Mongolian and Indo-European herders, introduced to the Siberian Plateau by the Asian yak traders and explorers. Highly prized in its homeland, the Tuvan Shepherd Dog is commonly included in shaman prayers and folk tales. This is a natural breed, having remained unchanged for thousands of years in the Sayan and Altai mountains of southern Siberia. Its closest cousins are the Buryat-Mongolian Sheepdog, Serbian Sylvan Dog, Bakharwal Sheepdog and some types of the Central Asian Ovtcharka, but the Tuvan Shepherd Dog is quite unique in many ways, one of them being the fashion in which the puppies are born and raised. Many Tuvan Sheepdog females give birth to their litters either in the snow or inside underground dens, very much like wolves. By natural selection, only the strongest and healthiest puppies survive, which in turn pass their superb genes on to the next generation. However, modern breeders closely observe their dogs and make selections based on personal preference and working ability, rather than cruel natural laws.

The Tuvan Shepherd Dog is a very rare Moloss, its numbers having been greatly reduced in the 20th century, due in part to the urbanization of the region, influx of other breeds into its bloodline, the practice of neutering male dogs for behaviour modification, as well as common poisonings and shootings done by determined cattle thieves. By the early 1960's only a small number of pure Tuvan Sheepdogs survived, most of which were reportedly too old to breed. The interest in these dogs was steadily declining and it wasn\'t until the last decade of the 20th century that salvation efforts were finally put into motion. Russian scientists researching rare indigenous animals of the area reportedly stumbled upon some excellent aboriginal specimens in the late 1990\'s and early 2000\'s. Based on these dogs a revival programme was established, helping the survival of this magnificent breed, which can occasionally be seen competing in Dog Shows in Russia. However, due to the limited number of dogs, the gene pool of the breeding stock is very small and not sufficient to sustain the Kadartchy Yt without inbreeding.

There are 3 main types found within the breed, although presently they\'re all closely interbred. The most common type is the strongly built, wide-chested and agile herding variant, differing from others by being a bit shorter and having a slightly narrower head-type and medium length coat. These dogs are used primarily as alarm dogs, as well as for driving livestock and killing wolves. The very tall and massive, longhaired variant is a typical bear-type Molosser, quite aggressive and territorial, employed strictly for guarding duties, valued as a night time border patrol dog and protector of the Yurta, which is a regional type of igloo. The 3rd type is the hunting variant of the Tuvinskaya Sobaka, which is shorthaired, longlegged and lean, a very fast and tireless runner used for hunting a variety of game, usually kept in packs following their masters, who traditionally hunt on horseback. As was mentioned earlier, most dogs encountered today are crosses of all the types.

The Tuvan Sheepdog is an intuitive and smart breed, even-tempered and obedient, often compared to the GSD for its versatility and trainability. It is friendly and playful with its owners, but suspicious around strangers. While very protective and alert, the Kadartchy is never overly vicious, although many males can be intolerant of other dogs. This is a very resilient and adaptable breed, equally suited for living inside an apartment or in a yard, as long as it receives enough attention and exercise. During the summer months, the dogs lose their dense and richly feathered weatherproof winter coats, which are often used as a cotton or wool substitute in some rural regions. The most common colouring is black with white markings on the legs and chest, although brown, grey, white, black-n-tan and tricoloured dogs exist as well. The average height is around 25 inches, but larger dogs can be found.

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