Jim and I have been invited to speak at an international conference on the use of aboriginal/primitive dogs that will take place this summer in South Africa. We’ll be giving one presentation to the general session (on the use of Aziats/Central Asian Ovcharkas to guard domestic sheep in the Rocky Mountains) and two poster presentations (one on the benefits and challenges to the use of livestock protection dogs, and the other on the use of LPDs in association with large carnivore populations). While we look forward to sharing our experiences, we’re excited at the prospect of being with other people who live in close association with working dogs around the world. Our friend Guverner from Turkey is expected to attend, as well as our friends Atila and Sider from Bulgaria. Having this group in one room is reason enough for us to make the effort to attend. We’re told that an expert on C.A. Ovcharkas from Tajikistan plans to attend also.
The dogs in the image above are Turkish lions – native Kangal dogs working to protect a sheep herd that are just out of the frame. These are adolescent pups. (As always, click on an image for a larger view.)
The next two images are of guardian dogs in Mongolia – typical of the dogs we saw in our travels there.
The next three images are Spanish mastiffs, ,working to protect sheep, goat and cattle herds.
This is a Transmontano Mastiff in Portugal.
And last but not least, the Bulgarian Karakachan.
The upcoming Africa trip was unexpected, and we are using the opportunity to travel there to acquire the remaining images needed for a black-and-white photography exhibit I’ve been working on for seven years. United States Artists is backing the exhibit project, called Portraits Of Pastoralism, and this crowd-source funding program is doing a funding challenge for us through March 20. If you are interested, have a look at the project page, and be sure to watch the video where you’ll see some of the images in the exhibit, as well as a sheep busily picking my pockets as I try to talk seriously about the project.