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    A 4000 year old canine pedigree

    Tracing the … Cretan Hound

     

    Cretan hound

 

The Cretan hound is the most significant representative of the autochthonous Cretan fauna. It has been with us for more than 4000 years and is probably related to an ancient Egyptian pointer breed. It is believed that the Egyptian pointer was transferred to the island of Crete by ancient Cretan seafarers to evolve into a genuine breed of hounds, the oldest in Europe. The Cretan hound is part of the history of Crete, a true representative of its age-old fauna.

The "Kritikos Ichnilatis"  is a type of primitive hound, that hunts by a combination of scent, sight,  speed, and probably hearing also. The Cretan breed , scents, sees, probably hears its quarry, and once it has detected it, pursues it by running, catching, potentially killing and bringing it back to the hunter.  
 
"Kritikos Ichnilatis" (Cretan Hound) belongs loosely to a wide family of primitive hunting dogs distributed throughout  the Mediterranean. They tend to have erect ears, and combine sight, scent, coursing (running), pointing and retrieving abilities.  They  all vaguely originate in North Africa, and are very ancient, though Kritikos Ichnilatis is potentially an even older breed and with a somewhat different combination of bloodlines. For example Kritikos Ichnilatis has a rather curled tail, and tends to come in a wider variety of colors than its distant relatives  that are usually fawn (various shades of yellow) or fawn and white, and have straighter tails.  

Unfortunately, the inexorable socio-economic development of the island left its indelible marks on this species as well. However, the Cretan hound managed to survive in Eastern Crete, on the heights of Mirabelo and Ierapetra (Dikti range), the range of Sitia (Thrypte area) and on the Zeros plateau, in the company of shepherds and sportsmen. Currently, the number of Cretan hounds is approximately 150.

( full article in STIGMES issue #50)

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