These dogs would not do well against large North American wolves, and they certainly wouldn’t do well if they had to fight off a pack of them.
We like to talk about how wolves will kill dogs that encroach upon their territories.
What we don’t recognize is that there are dogs that would do the same if they were also kept in large packs.
It’s a somewhat disconcerting concept.
But think about it. People have run dogs in packs against wolves centuries. Throughout history, I bet more dogs have killed wolves than wolves have killed dogs.
These numbers would be hard to prove, but if you think about it, it might make some sense.
Humans have trained hounds and guard dogs to specialize in hunting wolves, but very few wolves actually specialize in hunting dogs.
These wolves certainly do exist, but predation isn’t the main reason why wolves kill dogs. The main reason wolves kill dogs is to protect their dens and offspring. They will also kill dogs that come in to mate with wolf bitches.
But dogs are killing wolves because it’s predatory behavior, and predatory behavior is always fun.
In the same way many dogs enjoy chasing squirrels, these tazi are enjoying the wolf chase and kill.
It’s somewhat disconcerting to think of dogs killing wolves in this fashion and for these reasons.
But humans want to kill wolves with dogs. It is humans who have trained the dogs to course the wolf.
It is humans who maintain the packs for this purpose.
I cast no moral judgment on people who hunt wolves in this traditional way.
I didn’t live as a pastoralist in a former Soviet Republic in which firearms were strictly controlled.
The people of Kazakhstan needed dogs that could help them control the wolves under these conditions.
Wolves are complex creatures that always bring up complex questions.
So are dogs.
So are people.
When all three are mixed together, the issues become that much more difficult.
And these are issues we’re going to have to deal with as wolves begin to make a comeback across their former range.
Thanks to Sam Rizzardi for posting this video in the readers’ group on Facebook.