1) Ancient dog
The Bankhar should not be called as a dog breed, but as a landrace. That means, that it evolved naturally over the time by adapting to its natural and cultural enviromnent. It is not a wild animal, it is still domesticated dog, but it can be said, that the Bankhar was not evolved by a man, but that it rather evolved next to a man. They co-evolved with humans for their specific utilization in specific environmental conditions. And it is undoubtedly extremely old and ancient dog, thousands of years old.
2) Livestock guardian
Believed to be one of the oldest of all the livestock guardian dogs, the Bankhar may be considered the progenitor of all the livestock guardian dogs we have today. For thousands of years, nomadic Mongolian herders have relied on the Bankhar to protect their livestock from dangerous predators such as wolves and eagles. Bankhars live, sleep, and breathe alongside the livestock, willing to sacrifice their lives to ensure their safety. Most of the time, their mere presence is enough to deter intruders. They use their deep voice and scent marking to ward off potential predators. As livestock guardians, they are invaluable to Mongolian herders.
3) Special connection
The bond between the Bankhar and its owner is truly remarkable, often described as a strong and special connection. In Mongolia, Bankhar dogs are believed to possess a spirit similar to that of humans. There is a belief that Bankhar dogs can reincarnate as humans in their next life, and vice versa, which is considered a great honor. When a Bankhar passes away, its remains are traditionally placed on top of a mountain, bringing them closer to the gods. Bankhar dogs hold a special place among Mongolian nomadic families
While the Bankhar is a working dog, it is also a loving and loyal companion. They are never aggressive towards people and are docile and trustworthy with their own families. Similar to other livestock guardian dogs, the Bankhar is an independent thinker, making training a bit challenging. However, they can learn basic obedience commands fairly easily. Bankhars can be affectionate partners for children, but it's important to never leave any dog breed alone with young children unsupervised. With proper socialization from an early age, Bankhars can coexist with other dogs and pets. Socialization plays a key role in raising a strong and protective dog like the Bankhar.
According to a Buryat legend, the Bankhar dog's origin is associated with a giant who descended from a mountain accompanied by an enormous dog. It is believed that all Bankhar dogs are descendants of this giant dog.
Bankhar dogs have accompanied Mongolian nomadic tribes for thousands of years, and due to the relative isolation of Mongolia, they have not been extensively crossed with foreign breeds. In the past, Bankhars were widespread in Mongolia. However, during the communist era in Mongolia between the 1920s and 1990s, the nomadic lifestyle was discouraged, causing many people to abandon their traditional lifestyle and their dogs. Consequently, most Bankhar dogs were released or exterminated.Also, some foreign breeds were introduced to Mongolia and the remaining Bankhar dogs were often time crossed with other breeds, such as the Tibetan Mastiff. There are only few remaining pure Bankhar dogs and this breed is extremely rare and it is almost impossible to find it outside Mongolia. But their numbers are slowly increasing and the future of Bankhar does not look the worst.
The Bankhar is strong, big and powerful, but it should not be overly masive. It should not be as huge as for example Tibetan Mastiff and the Bankhar should rather be more athletic, which is far better for their nomadic lifestyle and livestock guardian work. The average height is typically between 26-33 inch, which is 66-83 cm and weight between 80-125 lbs, which is 36-56 kg. Females are naturally slightly smaller than males.
8) Coat and color
The Bankhar has a long and dense double coat that adapts to the weather. In colder regions of Mongolia, the coat is extremely thick, while in warmer regions, it is lighter. The Bankhar was not bred for a standardized appearance, so it can come in various colors. However, the most prevalent coloration is a combination of black and mahogany, often accompanied by mahogany spots above the eyes and a white patch on the chest. This coloring is also known as the "Mongolian Four Eye Dog."
The Bankhar is very independent dog and it does not need much care from people. Even with limited maintenance, the coat of Bankhar will stay in decent condition. But of course, regular brushing will help to remove all the dead and loose hair, to redistribute natural oils all over the coat and it will keep the coat in best possible condition. No other grooming is required. Just like with all dogs, you should regularly check their eyes, ears, nails and teeth and clean them or clip them if needed.
The Bankhar is for such a big dog surprisingly healthy. It is most likely due to the fact, that they have very high genetic diversity and probably because they evolved naturally, basically by surviving of the fitest. Weak and unhealthy Bankhar dogs would have it very hard to survive in Mongolia. That said, the average lifespan of Bankhar is around 15 years, which is just excellent for big dogs. And they do not suffer much from any serious health issues, even the joint issues such as hip dysplasia are extremely rare.