Local rare breeds
Local rare breeds are part of the living wealth of the planet. After thousands of years of natural and artificial selection, they are well adapted to the conditions of the environment in which they have been living for centuries, easy to satisfy, with inherited qualities and high viability. They are resistant to diseases and climatic changes and act as a tool for management and maintenance of natural areas and habitats. In recent years, according to the FAO, there is a drastic reduction in the diversity of local breeds in global terms – from 2000 to 2007 each month on breed in the world disappears, and about 20% of the breeds are on the brink of extinction. With the disappearance of each species, not only a unique genetic resource is lost, but also an important component of the ecosystem.
From ancient times onwards different species of animals were bred on the territory of Bulgaria . The ancient Thracians were renowned for their flocks and measured their wealth with the amount of livestock they owned. With the industrialization of agriculture in the twentieth century, however, part of the local breeds were lost forever, and those who have survived until today are endangered.
The Eastern Rhodopes, thanks to traditional farming that is still practiced today, is an oasis of ancient local breeds like Rodopean Shorthorn Cattle, Bulgarian Grey cattle, Karakachan sheep andKarakachan horses. They’ve been able to breed freely and roam around the countryside for centuries and thus contribute to maintaining the unique mosaic landscape (alternating open areas with shrubs and forests) and the rich biodiversity of the Eastern Rhodopes.
Rhodopean Shorthorn cattle
are the breed with the least specimens in Bulgaria. It’s a primitive form of Bos Taurus Brachyceros, left unchanged since the Neolithic age until today. Widespread in the past, today this primitive breed is preserved only in the Eastern Rhodopes.
Bulgarian gray cattle
are an old local breed. According to some research it is derived from crosses of the short-horn Bos Taurus Brachiceros and the long-horn Bos Taurus Primigenius.
is the domestic sheep’s closest ancestor to the wild European mouflon, and is one of the oldest breeds of sheep in Europe. Animals of this breed have been bred from ancient times – ancient authors mention sheep with rough wool kept by the Thracians. The breed takes its name from the Karakachans who have been practicing nomadic farming.
is a local primitive breed of horse, extremely durable and adapted to the hard ways of living. For centuries it has served the Karakachans in their long mountain hikes during their seasonal migrations from summer pastures to winter and vice versa.