The Karakachan people, also known as the Sarakatsani, are an ethnic group native to Greece and Bulgaria that are descended from tribes of nomadic shepherds who tended to flocks of Karakachan Sheep at some point hundreds of years ago, sheep that are believed to be one of the oldest of all domesticated sheep breeds and are known for their remarkable resistance to illness. In order to protect their precious livestock from the bears, wolves, and wildcats that naturally prey on animals like sheep, they utilized large canines with strong natural protective instincts. Although there is no way to know for sure, most historians believe these large canines were originally dogs from Thracia. The Karakachan people had very conservative breeding traditions, and this led to the preservation of the breed with very few contributions from any other breeds. The breed was frequently mentioned by authors in the late 1800s and early 1900s and was known to be quite popular as a flock guardian for both the Karakachan people and other shepherds, and they were sometimes used as border patrol dogs as well. When the farming industry in Bulgaria was nationalized in the 1940s, all of the livestock was moved to communal farms, and the flock guardians were seen as unnecessary, and many of them were exterminated. Fortunately, a few managed to survive and a breed standard for these ancient molosser dogs was proposed in 1991 and approved in 2005. The first Karakachan dogs in North America were imported into the United States in 2004, to Dr. D. Phillip Sponenberg DMV.