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Adventure tour to mastiff dog show

Tibetan mastiffIn an effort to conserve the breed, a dog show was held at the high altitude areas ofnorth western Bhutan

In an effort to conserve the popular Bjopchi or the native Tibetan mastiff (Bjopchi) on royal command, a dog show was organized by the ministry of agriculture last week at Lingzhi and Soe in north western Bhutan, where the species is reared to guard the house and other property.

Although no survey has been done to ascertain its population, it is said to have reduced over the years, because of cross breeding with other dogs, especially stray dogs.

The demonstration in Soe and Lingzhi was to identify the native Bjopchi breed through its physical characteristics and behaviour.  To ascertain the real breed, livestock officials put the dogs inside a ring, and watched carefully for more than five minutes.

The Tibetan Mastiff is an aggressive well-built dog with a broad head and muzzle and nose.  Its V-shaped ears hang forward close to the head.  It measures from 61 to 76cm in height and weighs between 48 to 82kg with thick fur around the neck and shoulder, the Tibetan Mastiff lives up to 10 to 14 years.

Off the 100 dogs brought to the Lingzhigewog centre, livestock officials identified around 70 that possessed those characteristics.  From 36 dogs, around 10 were selected to have the bloodline of the breed in Soegewog.

The best ones were awarded a trophy worth Nu 1,000.  While the owners got Nu 100 each, the dogs were given anti-rabies vaccine and de-worming tablet.

Thimphudzongkhag’s dy. chief livestock officer, Dorji Drukpa, said the programme was to promote the Tibetan mastiff population in the country, through educating nomads on the importance of the breed.

“As the Bjopchi is gradually declining, we’re working on to protect its breed on royal command,” Dorji Drukpa said.

The livestock department also plans to visit Merak and Sakteng in Trashigang, to find the dog and cross breed with those in Soe and Lhingzhi.  At the national level, breeding will also be carried out at Yesupang.

“Once we have a good numbers of Bjopchi, we’ll sell to dog lovers within and outside the country,” Dorji Drukpa said.