Native Turkish Livestock Protection Dogs: Predation Control at Work
We have used two native Turkish breeds of ” shepherd’s dogs” to guard our goats and other animals, including chickens, sheep, and cattle, since 1985. We have both puppies and occasionally started dogs available to the right kind of farms. When we sell – or co-own – an animal, we continue to mentor our owners and share information from our experience and our other owners, who vary from range operators to small farmstead owners to suburban families. As with dairy goats, selecting the breeder you buy from can be as important as the breed you select.
The white Akbash Dog first became known in the U.S. when imports made by David and Judy Nelson arrived from Turkey and went directly to the USSES (USDA Sheep Experimental Station) in Dubois, Idaho. There, Akbash Dogs proved to be very aggressive toward wild predators, easily bonded to and trustworthy with their flocks, aggressive to strange dogs, and less aggressive to people than some other breeds in the study. Although in the 1980s, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Association claimed that Akbash Dogs, white and both long and short coated, were Anatolians, USDA researchers Dr. Jeff Green and Roger Woodruff noted that the two breeds performed differently and should not be “lumped” together.
The “other” Turkish native breed has been the subject of DNA studies and as a result was shown to be unrelated to the Akbash Dog or any other Turkish breed (the Tazi , the Kars Dog). This certainly belies the more recent claim (beginning in the mid-1990s) that NOW the Anatolian Shepherd was the same as the Kangal Dog. A breed like the western Anatolian Shepherd cannot claim to be first the same as the Akbash and then (and currently) the same as the Kangal Dog.
More mastif like in disposition and appearance than the Akbash Dog, American sheep producers have found it to be an excellent line of defense against large predators (bear and cougar). Likewise, the breed also serves as family protectors in areas where these predators threaten humans involved in outdoor activities. Kangal Dogs from our farm are guarding goats and sheep in Namibia, Africa, from cheetahs: a win-win situation so that herders have no need to kill the cheetahs to protect their livelihood
We currently have both started Kangal Dogs (both older puppies and young adults) available to the right homes. In addition, we are taking reservations on a new litter of Akbash Dog pups. All our dogs are UKC registered and bred for the following priorities: disposition and behavior(bite inhibition, bonding to livestock/families, and innately protective) and sound conformation (a necessity for good disposition). We also encourage interested people who wish to work with these specialized breeds as responsible, ethical breeders to contact us.
Contact us if you are interested in either of these native Turkish breeds. We plan our breedings around the reservations that we have, which means that most of each litter is spoken for even before they arrive.