Snow Lions: from Tibet to KazakhstanBy Pictolic https://pictolic.com/en/article/snow-lions-from-tibet-to-kazakhstan
The Tibetan Mastiff is one of the oldest breeds that served as guard dogs in Tibetan monasteries and helped nomads in the Himalayan Mountains. Since the first mention in ancient times, this breed has always been surrounded by myths and legends. We will try to reveal some of them and tell you about how these wonderful dogs got from Tibet to Kazakhstan.
1. The history of the opening of the nursery "Gangsen" began in 2000, when its founder Alexander Gritskov went to travel to Tibet to study history, culture and traditions. After living in Tibet for 5 years, Alexander became imbued with the spirit of this truly amazing country, and also entered the Tantric Institute, where he studied Buddhist philosophy.
2. His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the majestic temples, and the very nature of Tibet have become a part of him, and Tibetan mastiffs have become for him the physical embodiment of calm power and natural grace. (Pictured: Alexander at a meeting with His Holiness the Dalai Lama)
3. After that, he had the idea to engage in the revival and popularization of Tibetan mastiffs in his homeland — in Kazakhstan. Alexander gathered a team of specialists, and in 2013, in an ecologically clean foothill area in the suburbs of Alma-Ata, a nursery of Tibetan mastiffs of the so-called lion-like type (draw-chi) was opened under the name Gangsen, which means "snow lion" in Tibetan. By the way, the nursery has a representative office in Tibet itself — in the Tse Chok Ling monastery in Dharamsala, where Alexander lived for 5 years.
4. For the development of pedigrees on the purebred line in Kazakhstan, the kennel staff spent a lot of money and effort on the selection and delivery of dogs from the best kennels in China and Tibet.
5. Tibetan mastiffs are natural guards protecting their home and family. At the "top of the world" — their homeland in Tibet — these dogs guarded the houses of monks, herds of Tibetan yaks and Tibetan monasteries from wild snow leopards and enemy invaders. The true history of the breed's origin has been lost in time, but historians claim that the Tibetan Mastiff is one of the oldest purebred dog breeds.
6. Even Aristotle and Marco Polo (in the famous notes about a trip to Asia in 1271), among many other authors, praise the natural strength and power of Tibetan mastiffs — both physical and mental. Even the barking of the Tibetan mastiff is considered a unique and highly valuable feature of the breed.
7. The most outstanding dog handlers, fascinated by the origin of the Tibetan mastiff and its place in Tibetan culture, intensively studied it. There is an opinion that the Tibetan mastiff is the ancestor of all breeds belonging to the Molossian group. The first known Tibetan mastiff to reach the shores of Western Europe was a dog sent in 1847 by Lord Harding (who later became Viceroy of India) to Queen Victoria. Later, in the 80s of the XIX century, Edward VII brought two dogs with him to England. And in 1898, an officially registered litter of the Tibetan mastiff appeared in the Berlin zoo.
8. When hunting, the Tibetan mastiff was equated to a pack of 20 greyhounds and hounds — this is the price assigned for one Tibetan mastiff in exchange. One Tibetan mastiff is able to cope with a leopard, a couple of dogs can already fight on equal terms with a tiger and even with a lion. In war, a Tibetan mastiff could match two lightly armed foot soldiers. But ordinary peasants could not afford to have such a dog: a considerable tax was paid to the royal treasury for its maintenance.
9. Over time, interest in the breed did not fade, but only increased. Now Tibetan mastiffs are among the ten most popular dog breeds in the world, and are also the most expensive breed. This year in China in Zhejiang province, a Tibetan mastiff puppy was sold for 12 million yuan (almost $ 2 million)!
These dogs have rightfully won a place in the hearts of people all over the world. And upon closer acquaintance with them, it becomes clear why.
10. Newborn Tibetan mastiffs look like small and defenseless lumps weighing less than 1 kilogram. At the age of 2 to 4 months, puppies are actively exploring the world. Any lesson they receive at this age is remembered by them for the rest of their lives.
11. Gradually they grow up and become stronger, become strong and reliable guards, excellent defenders of the family and loyal companions. The Tibetan Mastiff is a powerful and heavy dog of strong build with strong musculature, abundant hair and a mane around the neck. Some adult dogs can reach 80 kg or even more. They are distinguished by enviable health and longevity — adult dogs practically do not get sick and live on average up to 16 years.
12. As it turned out, Tibetan mastiffs are also very talented actors. In the fall of 2014, representatives of the Gangsen Nursery took part in the filming of the historical film "Marco Polo" by the Weinstein brothers.
13. "It was a useful and interesting experience not only for dogs, but also for us," the kennel recalls. — A lot of impressions, the unfamiliar and often stressful situation that prevailed during the filming did not affect our pets. All the time they spent on the set, they maintained a truly Tibetan calm and equanimity."
14. Bred for the harsh climatic conditions of Tibet, this breed does not need specific care or special nutrition. Dogs have good health and stable mentality, calm character and high intelligence. They are easy to learn, very sociable, but not intrusive. They communicate well with representatives of other breeds. And in relation to children, they show love and a kind disposition.
15. At the same time, Tibetan mastiffs have a strong will, and their training may take a little longer than usual. Dog handlers never tire of being amazed by their quiet dignity, greatness and gentle beauty. In their opinion, the Tibetan mastiff is a truly devoted and noble being.
Photo and text: Gangsen Nursery and Tibetan Mastiff Club of Kazakhstan
Keywords: Legend | Breed | Dogs | Tibet
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