By Sonia Kelveri Philippou
Kypriakos Lagonikos hunts hairs or small game . It’s courses also and hunts the game
mainly by sight. His nose is nevertheless noteworthy. Kypriakos Lagonikos is especially
skilled in coursings and race tracks, yielding good results particularly in longer distances as
is a stayer dog. He is also a very good companion and a loyal watch dog.
Kypriakos Lagonikos is an original hunting breed. His origin not only goes back to the
times when the Otomans conquered the country but according to archeological findings this
type of sighthound dog exist since 1400 B.C in Cyprus.
Kypriakos Lagonikos gives the impression of strength; bone structure and musculature very
strongly developed. Is elegant but at the time is very sturdy. In its appearance, it is a lot
similar to some Asiatic sighthounds who are it’s ancestor with clear power shows it has
adapted to the hard and dry grounds of Cyprus especially in summer time.
What is really noticeable is the archetypal colour that exists in Kypriakos Lagonikos, a
black and tan. The tan markings on the legs are brindle.
This breed , used to exist , among other sighthound breeds, mainly in the area of Mesaoria,
A flat valley , quite dry almost in the centre of Cyprus , that lies on the borders mainly from
Nicosia to Famagusta and Kyrenia mountains . The word "Mesaoria" (sometimes spelled
"Mesarya"), means "between the mountains" in Greek. For the most part, the Mesaoria is a
flat, bare plain, with few trees except for those planted as windbreaks . Due to
deforestation much of Mesaoria is covered with calcium carbonate that has been compacted
in to hardpan. The combination of the soil and the high temperatures that can reach over 40
degrees in summer made hunting difficult for many breeds. The locals used the Kypriakos
Lagonikos for hunting purposes only and kept very strong hunting bloodlines that could
survive the unfriendly and hard environment.
It is interesting to study how locals kept the bloodlines alive until today after the Turkish
invasion in 1974. In the area of Mesaoria there were lots of small villages and the local
villagers were breeding not only Kypriakos Lagonikos but also another breed who has it’s
origin back to the dessert fringed Salukis called Mallouroftas.
But according to the locals the Kypriakos Lagonikos was and is until today of higher
respect and esteem because of their versatile capabilities in hunting and their hardiness.
In 1974 most of the locals abandoned their homelands letting the Turkish troops take over.
Mr. Andreas Panayi Hadjigavriel (Stakos), a local from the village of Ashia left his
home and all his belongings to the Turks and moved as a refugee to Achnna. He managed to
take him , with him his wife , his children and 2 of his beloved dogs ( a pair) few photos and
some documents, to a village across the so called green line (border). His heart was still at
his home, his yard, his dogs that inherited from his grand father. A grand father that gave
him the dogs under the promise that he will pass them over to his own grand son. His grand
father also inherited the dogs from his own grandfather and so on. He decided to take a risk
and over 7 years he kept sneaking to the occupied Cyprus, putting his own life in danger to
try to bring his dogs to the Greek side. He was sure that his dogs could survive and hunt for
themselves. He called for help and made a group of supporters from his area that owned
dogs before 1974 to bring back and save the Kypriakos Lagonikos.
After 7 years of risking his life he managed to bring many dogs and continue to breed.
Mr. Andreas Panayi Hadjigavriel has records from his grandfather about dogs. The son of
Astrapi ( thunder) was Sifounas ( typhoon) and the daughter of Sifounas was Kataigida (
storm) and so on.
Today on the island there are more than 300 dogs. They are bred still by the Mesaoria
people and it is almost impossible to buy them. They are bred for them, they are bred to
preserve the breed , to hunt and to keep save the local inheritance and legend.
In early 2004, Mrs. Eva Maria Kramer a famous specialist sighthound photographer came
to Cyprus and studied the breed. She took a lot of photos and saw this breed in real work
and was amazed. Mr. Stelios Makaritis an all rounder judge from Greece helped
Mrs. Sonia Philippou a Cyprus Judge to go round various villages and measure and took
detailed records of around 50 Kypriakos Lagonikos . For 5 years I was trying to study the
breed and convince the breeders to let the Cyprus Kennel Club to record the breed. It was
not an easy thing to achieve as these breeders were so protective over them. But at the end
she gained their trust and let her go with them to see them working. A hunting work which
is a piece of art. A traditional ritual saved through the centuries. Usually 2 men (father and
son – in the the case of Mr. Andreas his son Fotis goes with him) go out hunting with the
pack (must be 7-8 dogs together out hunting) The one goes on one side of the valley and
the other on the other side to send the dogs with the command ‘’ Houri” a derivative of the
ancient greek word thoria which means to see. Nowadays Mr.Andreas grandson: Andreas
Junior who is only 7 years old goes out with them to be taught the secrets of this amazing
archeatypal breed. After all his grandson will inherit all the dogs as a tradition.
|A pack of
Julietta has a
|Lambros is a