In Turkmenistan, every special occasion, wedding or birthday is celebrated with a dog-fight. The tradition has been handed down from pastoral days, when the shepherds used fights as a means of training their hounds to face wild animals in the Karakum desert. Nowadays, the fight takes place inside in a purpose-built pit. The dogs are shown to each other before being released by their owners. It never is a fight to the death, only until one of the dogs is seen to cower. Animals are too precious and well-loved by their owners. The season lasts nine months with weekly combats and the final in early May. The breeder of the champion is assured fame and fortune simply by renting his dog out to stud.