Our first night on our Virginia farm, our Horned Dorset Sheep were attacked
by dogs, and the results were devastating. The entire flock, with the exception of one sheep, was injured, and
several were killed. While nursing what was left of our injured flock, we began immediately to search for livestock
guardians to help protect our goats, sheep and calves from predators. Our research led us to two kinds of livestock
guardian dogs, the Maremma, originally from Italy, and the Bulgarian Karakachan.
Our livestock are now protected by seven livestock guardian dogs, two Maremmas
and five Karakachans who give us tremendous peace of mind just knowing that they are "on duty" twenty-four hours each day.
While we are extremely pleased with the performance of all of our guardians,
we have chosen to focus on the rare and endangered Bulgarian Karakachans for further breeding. It is estimated
that there are only about 700 of these dogs worldwide, and only a handful in the U.S., five of whom work at Running River Ranch. We started with three, and in February 2007, ventured to Bulgaria to adopt and bring back two more unrelated pups, Rila and Pirin, from distinctly different bloodlines than our first three Karakachans, further broadening and improving the genetic base of our breeding stock.
The Karakachan Dog is one of Europe's oldest breeds. Its
ancestors started forming as early as the third millennium BC. A typical Mollos, created for guarding its owner's
flock and property, it does not hesitate to fight wolves or bears or coyotes to defend its owner and his family in case of
dog is named after the Karakachans - nomadic shepherds of Thracian origin and the oldest inhabitants of the Balkans.
Due to their conservative stock-breeding traditions, they managed to preserve some of the oldest breeds of domestic
animals in Europe--the Karakachan sheep, the Karakachan horse, and, of course, the Karakachan Dog.
The Karakachan Dogs are brave, powerful and loyal, and we have found them to
be invaluable as livestock guardians. For these reasons, and because they are an ancient, hardy and unfortunately
endangered breed, their preservation and survival has become one of the important objectives of Running River Ranch. Please be sure to visit our For Sale page for availability of pups.