Chhimi Dema 

The country by next year could have a native breed of dog, chang-khyi.

The breed has erect ears and tucked abdomen.

The chang-khyi conservation programme is part of the Nationwide Accelerated Dog Population Management (NADPM) and Rabies Control Programme (RCP) launched in March this year.

NADPM programme aims at achieving 100 percent sterilisation of free-roaming dogs, registering, and vaccinating all pet dogs, and controlling the number of feral dogs.

Head at the National Veterinary Hospital, Dr Kinley Dorji, said that the chang-khyi conservation is carried out to save the local dog breed because programme’s aim is to eliminate stray dogs.

“The dog breed will be unique to Bhutan,” Dr Kinley Dorji said.

During the sterilisation programme, healthy and free-roaming dogs were picked up from the dzongkhags for conservation except for dogs from the southern dzongkhags such as Samtse, Dagana, Chukha, and Sarpang because of risks of rabies.

The dogs are currently at a temporary shelter at Semtokha in Thimphu. The shelter would be moved to the chang-khyi conservation farm at Yusipang soon.

The Department of Livestock is awaiting the analysis of DNA profiling of the samples sent to the Republic of Korea with support of the National Biodiversity Centre.

Dr Kinley Dorji said that DNA profiling is carried out to study the presence or absence of imported dog breeds’ genes in the chang-khyi that were picked up from the dzongkhags.

“The pure chang-khyi, without cross with other imported dogs, would be selected for breeding,” Dr Kinley Dorji said.

Yusipang’s chang-khyi farm, in the future, would provide the chang-khyi dogs to those who want to adopt. The dogs would be neutered, registered, and microchipped at the farm before the owners can take them home.

Currently, there are 50 dogs at the shelter that are microchipped for study. A similar conservation farm would be set up outside Thimphu soon.

Dr Kinley Dorji said that this is being done to protect the breed from diseases that could wipe out the population on a farm.

NADPM programme, as of December 18, had sterilised a total of 58,140 dogs and 29,393 pet dogs were registered and microchipped.