Shahsavan Mastiff

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

Origin
Iran
Translation
Francis Vandersteen

A brief presentation of the Shahsavan Mastiff

This hardy working dog is found in northwestern Iran, where it is kept by the Shahsavan tribes as a guardian of their settlements and livestock. Although the Shahsavan Mastiff is very rare and unknown outside its native region, the breed is said to have a healthy population of around 3,000 specimens in Iran. Closely related to the Kars dog of Turkey and the Iranian Mazandarani Mastiff, as well as to the Caucasian Ovcharka, from which it is descended, the Shahsavan Ghafghazi Mastiff has remained pure and unchanged since the 17th century, when it was employed by the Shahsavan warriors to protect Persia's northern frontier. Since then, the wise Iranian Ghafghazi has been a renowned guard dog and companion of the Shahsavan nomads. He follows their caravans closely, protecting the inhabitants, camels and sheep from animals and thieves. Shahsavan Mastiffs move slowly and appear relaxed, taking little interest in the landscape around them, but these powerful dogs react with extreme force when they have to defend the caravan on its way to the markets where Shahsavan merchants sell their famous carpets and works of art. Considered by many to be simply a regional subtype of the Caucasian Sheepdog, this ancient breed is neither standardized nor recognized, but is bred into a coherent type based on physical appearance, temperament and working ability.

Appearance of the Shahsavan Mastiff

The Shahsavan Sage Ghafghazi is a well-groomed breed with a deep torso, broad head and powerful neck. The body is very muscular and powerful, but fairly lean and compact, with a straight back and long, sturdy legs. Some specimens have cropped ears and docked tails, but the majority of Shahsavan dogs are unchanged. The rich coat, perfectly resistant to heat and weather, is thick, hard and heavily coated, often used as a substitute for wool by Shahsavan craftsmen. All shades are common, mainly two-tone, such as white with large black patches and brindle with white markings, but the most popular colors are solid white, cream, fawn and gray wolf. The average height is around 71 centimeters.

Temperament of the Shahsavan Mastiff

Although tolerant and protective of platoon pets, the Ghafghazi Mastiff can be very aggressive towards strange dogs and will not hesitate to engage in conflict, even without provocation. However, although the breed is very aloof and wary of strangers, it is not overly unkind to people it doesn't know. It shows great restraint and discernment between potentially malevolent visitors and those who pose no real threat to the tribe. Gentle with children, loyal and protective, these even-tempered, intuitive Molosses are reliable, obedient working dogs, renowned for their high intelligence, strength and stamina.

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