Callisto’s Shepherd Dog Network on Public TV Η Καλλιστώ για τον ελληνικό ποιμενικό στην ΕΡΤ3

This is the local race of the Molossoid type (of dogs) in Pindos This is a Molossos of Epirus puppy, a bit shy at his first contact with a camera, but reliefed by the touch of Callisto’s associate Alexis Giannakopoulos It is one of the 250 puppies that have been donated to livestock breeders through the facilitation of Callisto. The programme of the Donation and Exchange of Shepherd Dogs has been running for 10 years, taking place in many areas of the country. The Shepherd Dog is the best guardian for livestock against potential damages from wolves or bears. The story of ‘Pardalos’, a Greek Shepherd Dog, is quite touching: He died will protecting the flock from a bear attack that scared all the other dogs away Callisto has founded Network through which Greek Shepherd dogs are exchanged among breeders all-over Greece. ‘‘We record all the areas where transhumant pasture is implemented and there is a problem of conflict between carnivores and breeders We try to identify the problematic areas, the areas where breeders have good dogs, the areas where beeders don’t have good dogs… Here good dogs can be found we try to develop a relationship with the breeders, and to convince them to donate the offsprings of the good dogs to other breeders that they might be situated at a long distance one from another, and thus cannot easily communicate among themselves… We are actually the middle men.’’ Οne of the goals of the NGO is to have the breeding and the conservation of the Greek Shepherd Dogs integrated in a programme by the Ministry of Agriculture and to be subsidised though EU funds. ‘‘We want both buying and breeding such dogs to be supported though European funding, either through the Agricultural Development Programme 2014-2020, (the applications for which are expected to start sometime in 2019) or thourgh a programme of the Hellenic Farmers Insurance Organization (ELGA), or even through both the programmes… As you can understand (buying and breeding dogs) have high costs and breeders should not be the only ones to pay! It is the whole society that wants to preserve Wildlife!’’ After a breeder is granted a dog, Callisto continues to support them, by providing advice, free of charge veterinary checks, and –when nessecary- providing dog food as well. Through the exchange of dogs the breeders also exchange expertise and best practices on how to train a shepherd dog, and why it is important to preserve the Greek breeds of farm animals. ‘‘The breeds of the good dogs , in our country we have the Greek Shepherd dog, the Molossus of Epirus, and a third breed the White Greek Sheepdog, in many cases they have become extinct. All these breeds have been created through the centuries from livestock breeders…. ’’ It is often that Greek Shepherd dogs are the killed by illegal poison baits. In order to tackle this problem Callisto has donated 150 first aid anti-poison kits to breeders in the area of the National Park of Northern Pindos The breeds of the dogs that are used as livestock guarding dogs are three: Greek Shepherd dog, the White Greek Sheepdog and the Molossus of Epirus.

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