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Markanov, N. A. Ohotnich'i sobaki
(The hunting dogs), Tashkent, 1993

Thank you Sergey Mstislavovich Ivanov, (
for the following article)

The following is a description of the breed found in a book in Russian devoted to the hunting breeds. This is not the official standard. With great thanks to Sergy we are hoping to get a copy of the official standard soon .The description below is quite close to the standard.

The Taigan belongs to an ancient group of central Asian swift dogs. They were formed in the unique mountainous environment of Kirgizia. The Taigans are distributed in the Tien-Shan mountains. The Taigan is designed for hunting in cross-country at the altitude of 2000-3000 m. The Taigan possesses a high speed, good sight and scent, capable to chase the game for long distances, working on the track as well. The Taigan is used to hunt fox, marmot, badger, and wild cat. He successfully hunts the ungulate animals, too (antelope and mountain goat). A couple of strong, well cooperating Taigans are able to delay a full-grown wolf. Sometimes, hunters use the Taigan together with the golden eagle.

The main features of the breed.

The Taigan is a dog of middle and above-middle height. The height of dogs varies from 65 to 70 cm, of bitches -- from 60 to 65 cm. Both dogs and bitches are 1-2 cm higher at withers than at sacrum. The index of length of dogs is 105%, whereas that of bitches is 107%. The behavior is balanced, active. The Taigan is usually calm, even phlegmatic, but is easily exited having seen the game.

The coat color: black, black with white spots (but not specks), red, gray, sand (of different shades), white, dappled. Any specks are considered to be a defect. Nose must be black at any color of the coat.

The coat is soft, silky, long, thick; on the muzzle, on the front surfaces of the skull, on the forelegs starting a bit higher wrists and to the down, is short. Long hair is developed on the back side of the head, on the neck, shoulders, sometimes coming down to the wrist. Long hair is sometimes wavy, and rarely -curly, developed on the back part of the skull, on the neck, and on shoulders, coming down almost to the wrist, well-developed on the thighs. Relatively hard hair is on the feet, which makes an impression of "shoes". So-called "bourki" (long hair on the ears) is developed on the ears (5-8 cm, sometimes longer.)

The skin is solid, elastic, without any folds. Muscular system is well developed, especially on the back legs, along the back and around the loin. The skeleton is strong but not heavy.

The head and neck. The head is long, "dry", somewhat massive, wedge-like at a look from up to down with somewhat massive skull part. Both the sinciput and occiput crests are slightly pronounced. The stop is hardly pronounced. The muzzle is straight, and, sometimes, a "Rome nose" is found. The lips are tightly adjoined to the jaws. The ears are hanging, thin, without any folds, rounded at the tips, located at the level of the eyes. The "bourki" must be well developed.

The eyes are quite large, oval in shape, oblique, dark-brown at any coat color.

The teeth are strong , white, large. The bite must be scissors-like.

The neck is long, "dry", hold straight, somewhat narrow at the sides. The chest is wide, oval in shape, in a "cross-section" narrower at the sternum. The sternum must be at the level of the elbows. The back is either slightly arc-shaped or flat, wide, muscular. Behind the withers, so-called "pereslezhina" (a sort of a pit) is pronounced.

Legs. The forelegs are "dry", bony and muscular, straight and parallel at a look from the front. The elbows must be oriented exactly backwards. The postern is either slightly inclined or perpendicular to the ground. The back legs are straight and parallel at a look from the rear, standing backwards and a bit wider apart than the forelegs. The joints are well developed, especially the hock. The muscles must be well developed on the back legs. The paws are oval, the toes are tightly compact, the nails are oriented to the ground. Between the toes, hard hair is developed.

The tail is "saber-like", neither thick nor long,. On the tip, there is a "ring", which cannot be unfold due to the three joint vertebras on the tip. The ring must not be lower the hock. The tale is hold hanging while standing and at the level of the back or higher while the dog is moving. Hair is not too developed on the tail.


So, basically, this is the description of the Taigan. As you can see, the Taigan is fairly similar to the Afghan Hound, but bears a number of different features, such as remarkably shorter coat, the long hair does not grow below the hock nor the wrist. Some sort of "shoes" due to the long hair on the paws is noticeable in many Taigans. There is the ring at the end of the tail, which cannot be unfold, but I've seen a lot of dogs whose rings can be unfold, that is not essential at my point of view. The body is slightly longer comparing to that of the Afghan. This feature is thought to be significant due to the possibility to stop abruptly while chasing downhill having such a construction of the body. The hunting features of the swift dogs in the former Soviet Union are considered to be very important. Both the Afghan Hound and the Taigan are used to hunt in Kirgizstan. There are some Tazy as well. But unfortunately, the hunters do not like to attend dog shows for some reason. For example, there were only a couple of Taigans last show (June, 1997). I hope that it will be changed.

Some enthusiasts still keep breeding the Taigan and the breed is traditional in that region. Actually, the Afghan Hound used to have a similar appearance, as you know. It seems to me that the longer coat has been developed during the breeding in the West. I suspect existing some link among the Taigan, the Tazy the Saluki, and the Afghan Hound, it just gets obvious at a look at these breeds. Actually, as you certainly know, the Afghan imported from Afghanistan by the Englishmen in last century was very similar to the modern Taigan and to the aboriginal Afghan imported by the Russians 10-15 years ago.

Sergey Mstislavovich Ivanov, 1998

Editor Note:

We are very grateful to Sergey for providing us with a copy of this very interesting description. Sergey can be contacted directly at (

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