Ernar Beken

A dog that became one of 7 national heritages.

ALMATY, 21st of July. Kazinform /Ernar Beken/ - At the present time there are only a few thoroughbred Tobets left in Kazkhstan. If we allude to the ancient rock paintings, it can be contended that the dogs of this breed existed on the territory of present Kazakhstan 4 thousand years ago. This means that Tobet is a living witness of Kazakh history. There is something behind the fact that Tobet is considered one of 7 national heritages of Kazakhs nation. There is too little information about this dog breed in the sources, describing the life of Kazakhs before they turned to the settled way of life, as well as there is almost nothing written about Tobets during the last century. Today we can observe the extinction of the huge male dogs of this breed, who could overcome a wolf face to face and the degeneration of their descendants. “Our goal is to save this amazing dog breed from the total extinction and preserve its population” – says Daukey Daniyar, the owner of “Tobet Kazakhy It” foundation.

The above-named foundation is engaged in Tobets breeding and is one of the few organizations of this kind, that’s why we decided to direct our questions to the director of the foundation – Daukey Daniyar.

- In the first place, could You please tell us about the goals of the foundation activity?

- The main purpose of the nursery – breeding and population increase of Kazakh Tobets. Our goal is also to develop the native qualities of the breed, such as shepherding in the steppe and in mountains. We work on recovering the breed and try to make the new generations of Tobets to be worthy of their legendary ancestors. Also, our breeders pay much attention to the temper and behavior of the dogs. It must, in any situation, be stable to human. At the present time our nurseries contain more than 100 dogs. These dogs are thoroughbred Tobets and are possessed of all the mentioned qualities.

- Where in the world the posterity of this breed still persists at the present time?

- Our searches are not limited only by the territory of Kazakhstan. For the purpose of returning the descendants of Tobets that were taken off form the Kazakhstan, we organized searches in Russian Federation, up to the Baltic Sea. In Kazakhstan we sometimes find people in the neighborhood of Semey and Almaty, who managed to preserve thoroughbred Tobets and to develop their unique qualities. Owing to the oblivion of the traditions of nomadic way of life, Tobets became useless and the people began to forget itheir faithful helpers. Now we have enough opportunities to remind the nation about the forgotten Tobet. However, there are some people that use the uniqueness of the breed for their own profit. The most unpleasant thing is that such people pass off an ordinary big dog, not accustomed to the smell of wolf, half-blooded as a thoroughbred Tobet. Such actions lead to the extinction of the “real” Tobets and their unique qualities…

- Could You please give us a more detailed picture of the unique qualities and temper of this breed?

- Most people separate Tobets into several types. This opinion is wrong. At the end of the past century the specialists, who classified the breeds, ascribed Tobets to the “Central Asian sheep dog”. This breed along with Turkmen Alabay cannot be considered as thoroughbred Tobet. In fact, Tobet can single-handed pasture the sheep flock and challenge a wolf. Kazakh Tobet with its unique appearance and overwhelming size will permanently stick to Your memory. . The average height of a male dog – 72-75cm (sometimes even 80cm), weight – 50-60kg. The breed is perfectly adapted to damp acutely continental climate. The head is huge with the massive scull, sharply emphasized superciliary archs and inion. The forehead is plane and board, transition to the muzzle is smooth, but apparent. The muzzle is a bit shorter that the scull, volumetric, with the broad nasal arch of a rectangular shape. The muzzle almost doesn’t narrow in the direction of the lobe of the nose. The lobe of the nose is huge, of the black color. The upper lip is thick, covers the lower jaw. The lower jaw is board; the cheekbones are massive, strongly pronounced. Ears are usually cut short, low located, small, of a triangular shape. Eyes are small, roundish, well protected by superciliary archs. When the dog bends the head, its gaze turns out from under the brows and creates an impression of menace. Teeth are white and big. The neck is massive, volumetric with well developed and filled hanger. Subcutaneous fat is perfectly developed. Almost all cynologists consider such development of subcutaneous fat as a defense against wolf fangs, whereas we think that this is the result of evolution in rigorous climatic conditions. Tobet’s hair is rigid and tightly appressed to body with well developed undercoat. The length of axial hair – up to 10cm, frequently mane is formed on the neck and whiskers on cheekbones. On the head and frontal surface of legs hair is short. Color is not diverse – black, brown, grey, red with various tints and, as a rule, white and pale yellow spots or free designs. In relations with humans Tobet shows independence, restraint and loyalty. It acts as a partner, but never as a servant in contrast to the majority of other breeds. Tobet cannot bear the unjust punishment and can even leave his master in this case. In most cases Tobet remains reserved and taciturn. Towards the strangers Tobet is mistrustful, but not malicious and shows the aggression only in case of inappropriate treatment.

- What is the use of Tobets at the present time?

- Nowadays Kazakh shepherds bear huge losses. One of the reasons – wolf attacks. In the filed the bounty for 1 wolf comes to $10-14. The specialists offer the better variant – Tobets breeding. In the past Kazakhs wrapped the dishes for dog feeding into the wolf skin, so the dogs got used to the wolf smell pretty fast and were not afraid to challenge them. If our shepherds could use Tobets, the benefit will be great. I’d like to mention, that for the purpose of promoting the breed, in 2008 our foundation have issued a book, entitled “Tobet Kazakhy It” in three languages: French, Kazakh and English. In this book the materials regarding Tobet conformation, history and the current situation are gathered. This book is the result of our researches

- What are you aiming for in the future?

- Our goal is to save the breed and to restore the population of Tobets as well as to help the breed to secure it’s place in Kazakhstan and in the world. We are doing what we are doing not with a commercial purpose or profit of any kind. We are driven by patriotic incentive. This is the challenge to the time itself. Scientifically, the extinction of one animal species is the extinction of the one branch of life. I hope that our activities will benefit to preservation and recovery of the pride of Kazakh nation – Tobet.

- Thank You for the interview!


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4000 years together. Magazine "Dorogoy"
Dog breeding by Kazakhs
The exterior of Kazakh Tobet
Kazakh white
One of 7 national heritages
Friendship of the two dogs (story)