The Bankhar Dog is a livestock guardian dog breed native to Mongolia that has a history stretching back thousands of years. Traditionally used by nomadic herders to protect livestock from predators such as wolves and bears, these dogs have played a crucial role in Mongolian culture and economy. Historically, the Bankhar was a well-respected and essential part of the Mongolian nomadic lifestyle. However, with the growth of urbanization and industrial agriculture in the 20th century, their numbers significantly declined. In the early 1990s, due to this drastic decrease in population, conservation efforts were undertaken by organizations such as the Mongolian Bankhar Dog Project (MBDP) to restore the breed to its traditional role in Mongolian society. The Bankhar is not a purebred dog, but rather a genetically diverse landrace dog that has been shaped over time by the regional and cultural environment in which it lives.
Little is known about genetic conditions associated with the Mongolian Bankhar breed. However, degenerative myelopathy, hip dysplasia, and progressive rod-cone degeneration are common conditions from which many other dog breeds are known to suffer.
Bankhar dogs are renowned for their loyalty, intelligence, and independence. They are instinctively protective, which makes them excellent guardians for livestock, but this can also make them wary of strangers. It's important for potential owners to know that these dogs need a job to do, otherwise they can become bored and potentially destructive. Despite their protective nature, Bankhars are also known for being gentle with their immediate family, including children and other pets, if properly socialized. Their strong protective instincts make early socialization and training especially important.
In Mongolia their diets consist of solely boiled livestock innards, rice or noodles, and bones.
Bankhars are extremely hardy and resilient dogs, well-suited to the harsh Mongolian climate. They have a thick double coat to keep them warm in winter, and they're accustomed to living outdoors year-round.
The name "Bankhar" means "guardian" or "watchdog," a testament to the breed's traditional role as a livestock guardian.