Karakachan Horse - Karakachan Dog - Karakachan Sheep





The native Karakachan species of horse, sheep, and dog are among the oldest of domestic animals in Europe, providing a genetic bridge between modern high-productive breeds with their ancestral, undomesticated ancestors. These three species were originally selected in a way and under conditions that can not be repeated, creating animals with extremely strong vitality and excellent adaptability to a variety of living conditions. All three species exhibit a natural balance, evidenced by their physical strength, structural proportions, solid temperament, and legendary toughness. They rarely become ill and are not dependent on any particular dietary regimen.

The Karakachan horse, sheep, and dog must be preserved for several reasons. First, they are a resource for veterinary researchers in the fields of immunology, nutrition, reproduction, etc. Second, they are a source of genetic material for the future of their species. Third, they continue to play a crucial role in the economic livelihood of local, low-productive mountainous regions. Last but not least, the three Karakachan species are an integral part of Bulgarian culture and customs.

To its credit, the Karakachan sheep is quite hardy, resistant to disease, and capable of surviving severe mountainous terrain and conditions. These sheep have adapted to
long treks on high mountain trails. Karakachan sheep wool is also used to make traditional handicrafts and other products

To its credit, the Karakachan horse is irreplaceable in the mountains. The horse is still used in the logging industry to carry wood down to the settlements without damaging the integrity of natural forest ecosystems.

Inexpensive to maintain, these horses graze year round; they do not require special winter housing or feeding. Steady of foot and of temperament, the Karakachan horse is also ideal for riding and recreation, particularly in mountain regions where other breeds of horses are not so even-tempered.

To its credit, the Karakachan dog has been both historically and traditionally the only effective and most suitable protection against flock predators. Despite the trend to turn other European livestock guardian dog breeds into show dogs and family companions, the Karakachan dog has not lost its instinct nor its irrefutable working abilities.

True to their purpose, these dogs are devoted to their owner and selfless on the job.

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translated and edited by Leslie Rugg