Kazakhstan: Hunters try to save rare Tazy dog breed

Tazy hunting dogs at a dog show in Astana Kazakhstan Image copyright Tengrinews
Image caption Tazys show off their hunting skills in Kazakhstan

Hunters in Kazakhstan have organised a dog show as part of an attempt to preserve one of the world's rarest breeds - the Tazy.

Bred by nomads for hunting rabbits, foxes and even wolves in Kazakhstan and the North Caucasus, it's now one of the rarest dogs in the world. "The breed has centuries-old roots," Alexander Berber, the CEO of national hunting society Kansonar, tells the Kazakh website tengrinews. "It is our task to ensure this breed does not disappear."

Now, more than 150 of the dogs have brought together by hunters from all over Kazakhstan at the capital Astana. The animals compete in exercises designed to show off their hunting skills, using artificial bait. The first of its kind, the show seeks to help to set a common standard for the breed, which doesn't have official recognition. Without this crucial step to preserve the breed, says Kansonar chairman, Oralbai Abdikarimov, it's in danger of becoming extinct.

The tazy - meaning "pure" - belongs to the sighthound group, with the lithe body of a greyhound and long muscular legs. It's famed as the Kazakh nomad's best friend, and traditionally the only animal allowed to sleep inside the yurt and approach children.

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