Bulgarian Karakachan Dog

He is not recognized by the F.C.I.

Origin
Bulgaria
Translation
Francis Vandersteen
This breed is also known as
Karakachansko Kuche
Bugarski Goran
Bugarsko Planinsko Kuche
Bulgarian Mountain Dog
Karakachan Mastiff
Karakacanac

Brief historical summary

The roots of the close friendship between humans and domestic dogs go back to ancient times. Tribes living on the Balkan peninsula worshipped dogs and horses, and the Proto-Bulgarians offered sacrifices to dogs. Injuring or mistreating dogs was considered a serious crime and severely punished. Such an attitude towards animals led to the emergence of different types of sheepdog from the dawn of time by nomadic breeders. This had an influence on the Karakachan dog's ancestors, of both local and foreign origin, enabling the creation of converging forms. The appearance of some of these forms on Bulgarian soil is closely linked to war campaigns and the movement of bands from different European and Asian regions, and the movement of dogs with them.

Karakachan Dogs are closely related to Tibetan Mastiffs, Mongolian and Middle Asian Shepherd Dogs, Caucasian Dogs, Shar-mountain Dogs, Turkish Shepherd Dogs Karabash and Akbash, Tatra Shepherd Dogs and Carpathian Mountain Dogs.
The Karakachan dog owes its name and the final formation of its type to Karakachans. The name "Karakachan" is of Turkish origin and means "the black fugitive".
According to most scientists, the Karakachans are Hellenic descendants of the Thracians. Their home became the mountain of Pind in the Epir region, whose name is linked to the huge dogs used in fights with lions and elephants. Wandering with their herds across the entire Balkan peninsula, the Karakachans mixed their dogs with the ancient ones, a process that lasted hundreds of years. Harsh living and cruel selection have made Karakachan dogs irreplaceable friends of human beings.

The first official mention of the Karakachan dog came in 1938, when an article on the breed was published in a German dog magazine. Today, comparatively typical examples of this breed can be seen in the alpine regions of Bulgaria. Unfortunately, there is a huge variety of types, and important characteristics such as height at withers, coat length and color, and head length and width vary too widely. With the exception of the external anomalies typical of most types, i.e. lack of frank temperament, Karakachan Dogs excel in their close family relationships. The breed's hallmarks are calmness, moderate aggression, unique bravery and self-esteem.

General appearance

Karakachan Dogs are harmoniously developed, massive dogs with well-built body parts. Their appearance suggests power and respect. The musculature is strong, the bone structure full but not rough, the angles dry. The bravery and self-esteem of this breed combined with its exceptional loyalty make the Karakachan Dog a unique friend to humans.

Head

Cranial region

Head
Strongly proportional to overall appearance. Its length is about 40% of the height at the withers.
Skull
The skull is longer than the muzzle and divided by a shallow line. The slope of the forehead is apparent but not steep.

Facial region

Nose
The nose bridge is straight and the nose is large and black.
Muzzle
The muzzle is solid, increasing at the base.
Lips
The lips are thick and sticky, with the upper covering the lower.
Jaws and teeth
Teeth are large and white.
Eyes
Small, light, dark-brown, deeply set eyes.
Ears
Ears are low set, small, V-shaped, hanging, and close to the skull. They are covered with short, thick hair.

Neck

Short and powerful. Closely linked to the head and trunk. The angle between the neck and the line of the back is about 30 degrees. The neck skin is free of dewlap.

Body

Body
The length of the body is 4 to 10% greater than the size of the withers.
Withers
The withers are low, long and muscular, slightly visible.
Back
The back is straight and broad, with powerful muscles.
Croup
The croup is comparatively long and has a slight slope.
Chest
The chest is deep and broad, proportional and rounded. The girth is at least 20% greater than the height at the withers.
Side
The abdomen is muscular and strong, with little tuck-up.

Tail

Not very high and close to the hocks. It is covered with long, rough hair. Normally carried low. When the dog's movements are accentuated, it comes over the back.

Limbs

Forequarters

Generality
Straight and parallel.
Shoulders
The shoulder blade is long and free, closely connected to the trunk. The angle between shoulder blade and shoulder is about 105 degrees; and the angle between shoulder and forearm is about 145 degrees.
Elbows
The size of the elbow is about 55% of the size of the withers.
Forearm
The forearm is dry and muscular.
Pastern
The metacarpus is broad, strong and sloping.

Hindquarters

Generality
Parallel, stronger and longer than the front legs.
Upper thigh
The hips are covered with well-developed muscles and are free and moderately long.
Hock
The hock is normally long, massive and sloping.

Gait and movement

A characteristic movement is the alert trot. The joints are wide apart.

Skin

Dense and flexible, strong and without dewlap.

Coat

Hair
The breed can be divided into two types according to hair length : shorthair - with hair no longer than 6 centimeters, and longhair - with hair longer than 6 centimeters.
The hairs on the neck, withers, back, four feet and tail are long and rough.
The hair on the trunk is straight and hard.
Hair on body and front of feet is short and strong.
Colour
Black, mottled, gray, brown, chestnut, yellow, tiger and rarely white.

Size and weight

Height at withers
Males are 63 to 73 cm at the withers, females 60 to 70 cm.
Weight
Males weigh 40 to 50 kg and females 35 to 45 kg.

Faults

• Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and its ability to perform its traditional work.
• Faults listed should be in degree of seriousness.

General faults

 Head insufficiently broad.
 Ears not close to skull or high set.
 Dewlap on neck skin.
 Insufficient width and depth of chest.
 Tail higher than hock.

Disqualifying faults

 Missing teeth, except for one of the first premolars.
 Size below that indicated in the standard.
 Symptoms of degeneration.
 Phlegmatic temperament.

NB :

• Any dog clearly showing physical or behavioural abnormalities shall be disqualified.
• The above mentioned faults when occurring to a highly marked degree or frequently are disqualifying.
• Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.
• Only functionally and clinically healthy dogs, with breed typical conformation should be used for breeding.

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