Is there any Kazakh tobets left?
If there is, lets save the breed.
Not long ago articles about Tazy greyhounds and hunting birds, written by venerable aksakal Zhagda Babalykuly, were published in «Маңғыстау» (Mangystau) and «Таным» (Tanym) newspapers, as well as my news story “Alabay”. All of a sudden it appeared that there is a fair quantity of Kazakhs (who, by their nature are hunters) that became agitated by this articles. Some of familiar people told that my article aroused heated discussions. Some people even called me to express their opinion. And sometimes this opinion was negative. They reproached me for lauding Alabay and not giving consideration to Kazakh Tobet. One venerable aged man even scolded me: “So you are Aysaghali? Most of my life I spent abreast Turkmen. So, this Turkmen formerly called Alabay “Kazakh Tobet”. Our Adai tribe, having moved to Kyzyl-Kum brought this dog breed to Turkmen. Not knowing this, how could you call Alabay “a Turkmen dog”?
Indeed, I didn’t have any scientific or historical evidence. Nevertheless, I have something to say about this case.
When I was 11 years old my mother decided to buy a camel from one man. We arrived to the place, now called “Saiyn aul”. I will never forget my feelings, when I first saw a huge like a mountain Tobet. When since 1979 I was working for the newspaper “Communisticheskiy put”, I have repeatedly met these enormous dogs accompanying shepherds. One of that dogs I’ve seen in the yard of Niyetbayev-groom, as people called this man. The dog was a size of a two-year old heifer and of a snow-white color. When we, shivering with cold, left the cab of a non-heated “GAZ-53” truck the first thing we saw was the mountain-sized dog lying on the roof of the barn with sheep. “Usually he all day and night long lies on that roof. When he is near, I don’t have to worry about wolves” – late Zhake told.
There are such words in description of Kazakh Tobet:
Таутөбет (Tautobet). Tautobets (Mountain-tobets) never lie in a kennel. Even if they lie on ice or snow, they never feel cold. From all 116 dog breeds in the world, Tautobets are the largest. Its chest, neck, muzzle are gross, head, mouth and teeth are large, mouth corner always hanging. Hair coat is of two types. First one – hair is thick, long and nappy. It covers all tobtes head, even ears. All the body is covered with a thick undercoat. The second type – hair is a bit shorter and sparse, but with the same thick undercoat. I think, everything aforesaid relates to the Tobet of Zhake.
I don’t remember where, but once I have seen in the desert extremely huge and ferocious dog, accompanying shepherds. In winter of 1980 when the wolves attacked much more than usually, that exact Tobet killed 5 wolves by himself. I wrote about it earlier.
In general, the fame of Kazakh Tobets spread widely, and there are some facts about it. I’ve visited the website www.tobet.kz , opened by the people, interested in saving the traditions of Kazakh nation as well as in hunting aspect and found the following information: “Tobet pedigree stretches from 1121 B.C. The remnants of the unique Tobet breed ancestors are found on the territories from the Eastern Europe to Far East. Nomad image is traditionally associated with horses, but Marco Polo, describing in ХIII century everyday life of the ancestors of modern Kazakh nation couldn’t bypass the unimaginably mighty and huge dogs. «It is the size of a donkey. These dogs are used as a guard dog, as hunting dogs and after all they use it as darught animal ».
In Chagatai ulus he could see breeding of these dogs and counted about 10000 of them.
Also the website contains the information about the constitution and appearance of Tobets. There is no need to repeat the information that any interested person can get after visiting the website. I can only do a short quotation: This is huge, rough-built dog, perfectly adapted to damp acutely continental climate. Average height of a male dog – 72-75cm (sometimes even 80cm), weight – 50-60kg. Head is huge with a massive scull, sharply emphasized superciliary archs and inion. 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…
In 1939 in Kazakhstan the quantity of Tazy came up to 7000 and Tobets – 19000. Nowadays there are about 300 Tazy and 1000 Tobets left, and nobody knows if they are thoroughbred or not. The main reason of breeds disappearance specialists consider the repressions of well-to-do Kazakhs and their moving on from their native places of living with thoroughbred dogs, as well as existed in Soviet times teams of shooting stray dogs. In our opinion, Kazakhs, who didn’t understand the value of these breeds and crossbred them with mongrels, are themselves responsible for Tobets extinction and degeneration. The Turkmen consider Alabays, horses of Akhaltekin breed and carpets as their national patrimony. Kazakh nation has such patrimony too, but we don’t know the real value of what we have. There is still a hope that Kazakh Tobet didn’t disappear and somewhere in distant auls still lives the faithful friend of a shepherd – Tobet! If you have any information regarding these dogs, don’t hesitate to contact us. We can come, take photographs, register the dog and make our best to save the breed form extinction and support its purity. You can write to the “Mangystau” newspaper with a note “for Aysaghali Kydyr” or to my e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org .
The same request is valid for thoroughbred Tazy and hunting birds.
In any case of using information from the website, reference to www.tobet.kz is obligatory
Republic of Kazakhstan,
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