Namibia and Kenya are homes to one of the world’s last remaining populations of cheetahs. However, cheetahs have decimated livestock herds for years, resulting in a bloody human-wildlife conflict that has further endangered the already vulnerable species. But did you know why a conservation Fund imported Turkish Kangal Dogs to Nambia and Kenya?
The Cheetah Conservation Fund imports Turkish Kangal dogs to Namibia and Kenya to protect livestock, which reduces cheetah killing by farmers by reducing the number of animals lost to cheetahs.
When and Why was the Livestock Guardian Dogs Necessary?
It is necessary to trace the evolution of Livestock Guardian Dogs alongside the early domestication of sheep and goats to understand how and why they evolved. When nomadic peoples began to settle, they needed Molossoid dogs to protect them from predators. These solid and brave dogs evolved into the various breeds of Mastiffs and Livestock Guardian Dogs we know today.
People began domesticating wild animals around 9,000 BC, resulting in today’s breeds of sheep and goats. This ensured a more consistent food supply. These formerly wild animals lacked aggression, were manageable in size, were social, and sexually matured early, with high reproduction rates. (Source: The Kennel Club)
The Evolution of Livestock Guardian Dogs
The Fertile Crescent had produced villages by 1,000 BC, and because the horse was primitive at the time, these nomadic people traveled between villages primarily on foot. As a result, these historic commercial routes were developed town by the town. Nomads, along with their flocks and Livestock, Guardian Dogs, migrated from these ancient routes into undiscovered countries.
Generations of Livestock Guardian Dogs escorted generations of sheep and goats as they slowly drifted along these trading routes that expanded in all directions from the Fertile Crescent and beyond. As a result, both the dogs and the flocks would have adapted to their circumstances.
This trade reached Egypt, which was part of the enormous Assyrian Empire at the time, and it’s possible that some of it expanded even further thanks to the seafaring Phoenicians. However, because these nomads also went further into Europe, much of the migration was done on foot. (Source: The Kennel Club)
When Did Livestock Guardian Dogs Become Popular?
According to Roman historian Marcus Terentius Varro, livestock guardian dogs were utilized during the time. He wrote that they were most likely descended from a Molossoid dog that was primarily white at night, so it could be easily distinguishable and less likely to be mistaken for a wild animal and hurt by a huntsman.
They could be used alone, in pairs of one male and one female, or in big flocks with numerous Livestock Guardian Dogs. These canines were carefully bred from families of dogs that intuitively linked with sheep flocks rather than the shepherds who looked after them.
These dogs keep an eye on everything so they don’t get caught off guard. One or two dogs are frequently seen patrolling further out. These canines were agile enough to follow down fleeing wolves yet powerful enough to battle them if required. (Source: Jane Dogs)