Taking the Bankhar puppies for their vaccinations.

Mongolia: Bankhar Dog

During my time in Mongolia, I had the pleasure of meeting Doug Lally and Devin Byrne from The Nomadic Guardians Foundation. The Foundation’s purpose is to protect and restore the Bankhar, an ancient dog breed indigenous to Mongolia.

A cousin of the Tibetan Mastiff, the Bankhar has been used for centuries as a livestock guardian by Mongolia’s nomadic herders. However, during the country’s Soviet occupation, the Bankhar population dropped significantly and in many regions of the country the Bankhar lost its place in the nomads’ culture.

Mongolian Bankhar demands kisses!
Mongolian Bankhar demands kisses!

Instead, herders came to rely on guns and poisons as a means to defend their flocks, which has had a terrible impact on the country’s populations of wolves and snow leopards.

A beautiful Bankhar I met during a horse riding trip.
A beautiful Bankhar I met during a horse riding trip.
A Bankhar in Terelj shows his Husky friend some love.
A Bankhar in Terelj shows his Husky friend some love.

The Foundation aims to turn this situation around via a program of breeding, genetic testing, and education programs, to produce a purebred population of Bankhar and reintroduce them back into the lifestyle and culture of Mongolia’s herding families. Success will mean not only the preservation of an important part of Mongolia’s cultural history, but it will help stop the decline of Mongolia’s precious wolf and leopard populations by providing herders with a non-lethal method to protect their livestock.

The heart-melting eyes of a Bankhar.
The heart-melting eyes of a Bankhar.

The Bankhar are magnificent dogs, physically imposing but with sweet temperaments. The day I visited, Doug and Devin were preparing the 19 puppies born in recent months for a trip to the vet for their latest round of vaccinations. Needless to say, there are few things cuter than a carload of puppies.

Carful of puppies. Nothing is cuter.
Carful of puppies. Nothing is cuter.

For more information and to follow the Foundation’s progress, follow their Facebook page here.

Can I please take one home?
Can I please take one home?
Saying hello to the pack.
Saying hello to the pack.
Hugs with Aslan, proud father of many of the Foundation's Bankhar puppies.
Hugs with Aslan, proud father of many of the Foundation’s Bankhar puppies.

6 thoughts on “Mongolia: Bankhar Dog”

  1. Beautiful dogs, and HUUUUGE! It makes the Husky look like a bitty Shiba, haha. What a cool way to help bring back the wild populations of native predators. Unfortunately, in N.A., people didn’t care too much about the wolf population, and now bison and deer are eating all of our national parks. 😛

Leave a Reply to Alex Hurst Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>