By Arthur

This breed of Russian sighthound has many names. It is also called the Tazy, the Tasy, the Tadzi, the Taji, the Tasi, the Tazii, the Mid-Asiatic Tazi, the Mid-Asiatic Borzoi, the Mid-Asiatic Greyhound and the Sredneaziatskaya Borzoya. There are two local variants, the Khazakh Tazi and the Turkmenian Tazi. A courageous dog, it is used for hunting in the desert regions east of the Caspian Sea, where it is employed to pursue small game, including gazelle, hare, fox, wildcat and marmot. It is also prepared to tackle larger animals such as deer and even wolves. The main centre for this rare breed is the Kirhiz steppe country.

The Tazi is found in Kazakstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. It is similar to the Saluki, but is more strongly built. It is a hardy, fast and robust greyhound, with sharp reactions. Its coat is short, soft and straight and it has a fringed tail and long, fine hairs on its ears.

In the past, Tazi dogs have always been greatly prized, and their ability to obtain food has sometimes meant the difference between life and death for their owners. It is said that at one time a sin. gle pure-bred Tazi was worth 47 horses. However, modernization has meant that their role has been greatly reduced and their. numbers have dwindled alarmingly. Furthermore, because the Tazi dogs were blamed for the disappearance of the local deer, they were severely persecuted in the 1970s, being pursued in jeeps and helicopters and ruthlessly culled. Now, only a few enthusiasts stand between them and extinction.

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