| On sweltering days along tha Wang Rae Cannal, which runs through several villages in the Bang Rakam district of Phitsanulok, the water teems with able-bodied swimmers of all shapes and sizes. They come for the same reason : a bit of relief from heat. They are also on the lookout for food --- fish, in fact, a staple of the villagers who live here.|
Those hoping to cool off on the presence of sexy bikinis will be disappointed --- the swimmer here wear noting at all. But since they are Bangkaew Dog, one of Thailands most famous breeds, all is forgiven.
They love bathing, especially during the summer. After exhausting themselves by running around and playing with their mates,the dog dive into the canal and take a bath. After that they lie in the sun until their hair is dry, said Pratueng Kongcharoen, former headman of Chum Saeng Song Kram village, through which the Wang Rae Canal passes.
Apart from their swimming skills, the dogs are also adept at cathing fish. Sometimes, they help us cath fish, which we ferment in a jar make to fish sauce, The dog help us earn a bit of income, he said with a smile.
On hunting trip deep into the forest, villagers also take dogs with them. To camousflage their scent, the dog roll themseleves in stinky debris.
Though raised as domesticated pet for years, the dog still has its wild instincts. When sleeping, they keep their ears close to the ground.
They have keen ears --- they can hear noise clearly from a distance . They can even diffentiate the steps of their master from those of a stranger. The dog remember the sound belong to their masters vehicle. They will rush out to welcome him or her.
These are some of the good traits of the Bang Kaew dog. A breed that has captured the hearts of many dog fans.
The breed is popular with dog connoisseur, and the dog farming business has become lucratives in Phitsanulok, where the breed originated. Several dog club have been
established to preserve and further develop the breed.
More than two decade ago, after heavy interbreeding had threatened to make the pure breed a thing of the past , Dr Nisit Tangtrakarnpong and a group of villagers in the Chum Saeng Song Karm community, dedicated themselves to resuurecting the breed.
Several villages in the native area of the Bang Kaew Dog had been made accessible by raod, and thus many foreign types og dogs had been introduced which were intermixing with the indigenous breed, said Dr Nisit , a veterinarian with the Office of Livestock in Phitsanulok.
When he launched his conservation project, called Bang Kaew Khuen Thin ( Bang Kaew Goes Home) in 1983,he visited the Bang Kaew village first.
I found only a few pure Bang Keaew dogs. I talked to the villagers about my project, but no one was interested. I tried again and again but to no avail, so I left the village.
Undeterred , the vet visited Chum Saeng Song Kream village instead and he found a large number of genuine Bang Kaew Dog there .Under a joint effect with the village headman and the villager , the conservation project became a reality.
We formed the Bang Kaew Dog Conservation Club and launched a selective-breeding programme to find the most perfect breeders for the project. To prevent croos-breeding , we encouraged villagers ta raise the native breed, and all agreed, Pratueng said
Dr. Nisit said local legend had it that Bang Kaew Temple was the place of origin of Bang Kaew Dog --- hence its name.
Luang Puu mak was the abbot of the monastery . He was very kind to the animals. Several species of wild animals took refuge there . inclunding domesticated dogs and wild dogs The intermixing amoung these breeds resulted in new breed --- the Bang Kaew Dog Dr. Nisit said
The Bang Kaew Dog has several prominent characteristics , inclunding long hair, a bunchy tail, a pointed mounth, erect, short, ears, a balanced body , straight and strong legs , and hair of various colours. It is also loyal, brave and a lover of freedom.
Geography played a crucial role in preserving the species. Villagers lived on raft, in the old days, since the area was always flooded. Consequently, the dogs had limited opportunities to mix with other breeds, and thus the indigenous breed was maintained quite naturally.
Dr. Nasit said the breed experienced a resurgence in popularity some 15 years ago when Ngarm Seenil --- a Bang Kaew Dog --- parachuted with his master , jumping out of a plane at a height of 300 metres . His valiant story made the headlines.
In thoes days, military dogs played a crucial role in militarty training endeavours. Ngarm Seenil was put into a military training course with three other foreign breeds and he was the most remarkable four-legged student in the class . He showed no signs of excitement during the parachuting .After he landed , he continued to perform his duties excellently, Dr Nasit said
Six years later, the then two-year-old Chao Keng --- one of the students in the tough military training course --- broke the previous record set by Ngarm seenil by parachuting from a height of 3000 metres.
After his feet touched the ground. Chao Keng dashed to his teacher and then greeted me with a wagging tail. He looked overjoyed after his triumphant performance, said Kissana Worawutipreechawet, Chao Kengs owner.
The Bang Kaew Dog also has a soft side. Thai rath , in its March 30,1998 edition , ran a story about how one of the dogs acted as a surrogate mother to seven piglets.
Normally , the mother doesnt allow puppies from other dogs to nurse --- sometimes the puppies are bitten to death. But in this case the dog made an exception . The puppies and the piglets had to share --- we can learn a bit about sharing from this, Dr. Nisit said
Dog admirers flock to Phitsanulok in search of a pure-bred Bang Kaew Dog. To meet the soaring demand, the number of dog farms has mushroomed across the province. And hundreds of Bang Kaew Dog from Chum Saeng Song Kram village are raised on these farms.
In 1991, several scholars in the filed were invited to define the Bang Kaew Dogs good traits ; the final criteria was announced in 1998, with approval from the office of Livestock in Phitsanulok province.
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