The Taigan, also known as the Kyrgyzskaya Borzaya Taigan, is a breed of domestic sighthound dog that originated in Kyrgyzstan, although it can be found from Central Asia to Northern Africa today. The exact origins of this breed are largely unknown, because the Kyrgyz people who developed the breed were mostly nomadic. The modern form of the Taigan is designated as a mountain breed that is built for working in the Tian Shan mountain range.

The Taigan received its first standard in 1964, after the USSR was invaded by the Germans in 1941. In this native area, it has been used for a type of hunting known as coursing. This type of hunting supported collective farms, which took in large amounts of fur from the animals that the Taigan hunted. However, after the Soviet Union attained independence in 1991, the Taigan was no longer primarily used for coursing as a means of acquiring wealth, but for survival. The breed also attained recognition as a national symbol by the new upper class community and was given a new standard by the Cinologist Council of the Kyrgyz Republic in 1995.

The Taigan differs in size depending upon the sex, with males reaching an average height of about 2.1 feet and females reaching a height of about 1.9 feet, but larger individuals are accepted by the breed standard. The most common coloring of this breed is white and black, although individuals can be black, brown, white, yellow, or grey in color and darker areas of fur often hold white patches. The long fur is soft, thickens during the winter, and is wavy along the ears. This breed is distinguished by a curl at the tip of its tail, which consists of jointed vertebras on the base of the tail that do not allow the curl to be undone.

Because the Taigan holds slightly larger lungs than other sighthound breeds, it can work at elevations of up to 13,123 feet above sea level, hunting ibex, marmot, foxes, and roe deer, among other creatures. Although it is not recognized by any major kennel clubs, it is recognized nationally in many countries including Russia, Poland, Estonia, Hungary, and its native Kyrgyzstan.

Image Caption: Taigan (Hunderasse, Ursprung Kirgisistan, keine FCI-Anerkennung), Rüde, aufgenommen in Bischkek, Kirgisistan. Credit: Jan Scotland/Wikipedia