icon
Auto Translate

Feature story

Breeding dogs to support local farmers

Overview

Ábrahám Szép is a kuvasz dog breeder, the volunteer founder and manager of the Kuvasz-őr! (Kuvasz-Guard) Large Carnivore Conservation Programme. Kuvasz is a large Hungarian dog especially bred for protecting herds. Ábrahám was born in Transylvania, and throughout his childhood he learned a lot on the rules of coexisting with large carnivores such as wolves and bears. After getting established in Hungary in 2009, he graduated at the Szent István University as a Wildlife Conservationist. In his opinion it has to be stated clearly that large carnivores are not to be toyed with, they can easily become dangerous for humans. He firmly believes that predators are essential and key species in the wilderness.


Story by

Ábrahám Szép

Contact

Occupation

Conservation/Nature Parks

Location

Albertirsa

Province

Pest, Hungary


Chapter 1

starting point

Three large carnivore species have returned lately to the mountains of Northern Hungary to regain area as their natural habitat: wolf, lynx, bear. Wolves are the most frequent there, they have already settled in the region.

Diversity of species, including large carnivores, is the beauty of Earth. We have to learn to coexist with them

says Ábrahám Szép. Livestock breeders have to prepare to keep away wolves from their pastured animals and safeguard them from potential attacks. Besides electric fences and human presence, livestock guarding dogs are an effective solution. Traditional Hungarian guarding dog species, Kuvasz is an excellent partner of farmers to keep away large carnivores from the pastured livestock and is a key player of problem free coexistence.

Chapter 2

approach

Ábrahám tries to enable a relatively conflict-free coexistence between humans and large carnivores in the rural regions of Northern Hungary by providing farmers with Kuvasz dogs. As a trained wildlife conservationist, dog breeder and hunter he easily finds his way to assist the work of various stakeholder groups. He also uses his experience as a game warden and with livestock keeping to reach the local farmers and offering them a practical solution. His programme is present in the whole northern area and he is not alone. Several other kennels in Hungary are willing to share Kuvasz puppies free of charge for a greater good. Ábrahám nowadays carries out his pioneering work in cooperation with the Bükk National Park Directorate and the Hungarian Kuvasz Breed Care Association. 

Livestock guarding dog

Livestock guarding dogs defend the herd against attacks by wolves. They feel like part of the herd and obey the herd owner.  The dogs live permanently outside and defend "their" herd against all intruders from the outside. Well-trained livestock protection dogs are no danger to walkers and hikers, but these should lead their dogs on a leash. To make this work, well trained herd protection dogs are required, which are adapted to the type of grazing livestock. This requires regular checks made by experienced people so that the dogs do not start to behave incorrectly.

ASZ_4_2.jpg

Report your experience with this tool

Blanca Berzosa

24.08.2018

This was a non-binding measure implemented by Fundación Oso Pardo in the frame of LIFE COEX (LIFE04NAT/IT/000144) in 3 provinces, including transboundary wolf population. In Portugal other beneficiary (Grupo Lobo) also carried out similar activities in contiguous region in the Provinces of Salamanca, Avila and Segovia. It specifically involved Farmers, Livestock risers, Administrative staff (government). It operated for 4 years (from 2004 to 2008) and received financial support from EU funds.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Mrs Jasna Jeremić.

Gavril Marius Berchi

24.08.2018

The project ended log time ago, and since than no projects dealing with wolfs were implemented in Croatia. This was a non-binding measure implemented by State Institute for Nature Protection in the frame of LIFE III CROWOLF in municipality / municipalities in the Gospić. It specifically involved Farmers. It operated in 2005 and received financial support from EU funds.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Christian Pichler.

Christian Pichler

24.08.2018

This was a non-binding measure implemented by Österreichischer Bundesverband für Schafe und Ziegen in municipality / municipalities in the Nationalpark Hohe Tauern, Kals am Großglockner. It specifically involved Farmers. It operated for 5 years (from 2012 to 2017) and received partial financial support from EU funds, Provincial goverments, Ministry of Environment, WWF.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to László Patkó.

Zsofia Joo

24.08.2018

This was a non-binding measure implemented by Kuvasz-Őr! in the frame of László Patkó in a transboundary region in the North Hungarian Mountains. It specifically involved Livestock risers. It operated in and received financial support from Own funds, Private donors.Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Dr LUDDENI Véronique.

Beatrice Jouenne

24.08.2018

www.polegrandspredateurs.org NGO working on nature protection/conservation. Thanks to livestock guarding dog, this project aims to support sheep breeders whose herds are victims of lynx attacks. An important step of the project is to learn breeders the educational protocol of dogs. During this project, we developed another protection tool: the multi-herd guarding dog. We educated a dog in order to place him one season after another with different farmers whose herds was attacked. This dog was effective immediately and stopped lynx damage. After this test, the Pôle Grands Prédateurs proposed to breeders to take one or two puppies to replace him. In this context, breeders had the experience of a livestock guarding dog, knew the benefits, and could better apprehend the arrival of a new dog on their farms. Since 2015, the Pôle Grands Prédateurs is no longer a breeding pole for livestock guarding dogs. The association continues its action of support to the sheep breeders by being a platform of discussions and putting in relation breeders who look for dogs and breeders who have puppies to place. We also take in charge directly pups placement. Besides, we organized a lot of communication actions around the theme of “livestock guarding dog as a tool of prevention against lynx predation”. We realized a documentary about this subject in the Jura Massif in 2015/2016. Since 2017, we organized projections and debates with this film for a large audience (general public, naturalists, elected officials, schoolchildren, breeders ...). This was abinding measure implemented by Pôle Grands Prédateurs in the frame of Assistance to sheep breeders – livestock guarding dog and personalized support in Sheep breeders from the French Jura Mountains in the French Jura Mountains. It specifically involved Farmers, Livestock risers. It operated for 8 years (from 2007 to 2015) and received partial financial support from Own funds, Other sources, Public funds (State).Please reply to this post for more information or reach out directly to Jean-Marc Landry.

Chapter 3

outlook

Kuvasz is an ideal lifestock guarding dog, it is very good to prevent potential conflicts. A wolf strength equals the strength of three Kuvasz dogs, so these Hungarian dogs are effective if they protect the livestock as a group. Farmers who already work with Kuvasz have had very positive experience as they can report decreased number of conflicts.

Hungarian Sheep and Goat Breeders Association
Hungarian Kuvasz Breed Care Association

1/2

Submit story

Would you like to contribute a story?

Let us know!
Breeding dogs to support local farmers

icon

    Please select the province you live in.

    This will allow us to show you information specific for your county.