Tibetan Hound

By Arthur

Tibetan Hound sometimes known as the Sha-Kyi, this little-known breed is employed to hunt large game. It has also been called the Tibetan Hunting Dog.

Tibetan Hound is unusual for a Him. alayan dog, being a comparatively short-coated animal in. a cold country, where every other local breed has long hair to protect it. But, presumably, for it to be fast-running in the hunt, it cannot be too heavy and has to sacrifice comfort to speed.

The only description of the dog that we have is as follows: The ears are drooped and hang forward, the coat is short but thick, and the tail is usually carried low but is raised up and curled over the back when the dog is active. In colour it is a creamy grey. The head is long and is smoky black in colour, shading gradually into the creamy grey of the body. The dog is about the same size as an Airedale.

It is used to hunt bharal (a kind of wild sheep), serow (a wild goat) and musk deer. With the bharal, it pursues the game towards cliffs, where the prey stops and defends itself, trying to butt the dog over the edge. Apparently this technique sometimes works with wolves that are rash enough to charge the prey and come within range of the dangerous horns, but the Tibetan Hound is trained to keep the animal at bay and not to make that final move. It continues harassing the animal al and barking at it until the hunter arrives to shoot it at close quarters. (The guns used are so poor that a long-distance shot would fail, so the assistance of the hound is crucial to the success of the hunt.) Sometimes the hound, which has very keen sight, will spot some game in the distance and strain to be let off the leash, but if there is no suitable place for the dog to corner the quarry, the hunter will hold it back.

A German visitor who encountered Tibetan Hound described it as ‘less hairy than ordinary Tibetan dogs, lean, swift as the wind, and indescribably ugly’, a quality that is rare among sighthounds.

The most likely reason for the absence of more detailed information concerning Tibetan Hound breed is that it is kept exclusively by tribal nomads and is therefore not often encountered by foreign visitors. The tribes said to be involved with this breed are the Khampas.

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