The below excerpt from the book, "Guardian of Anatolia:  The Kangal Dog of Turkey" by Marion James.   The interesting quote shows how the Kangal has to be so different than most Livestock guardian dogs due to the climate, the nature of predators to protect against and the harsh environment this breed operates in.


Kangal & Shepherd Boy With Sheep Flock

     "When I hear the phrase shepherd dog, I often think of a charming program that was shown in Britain on a Sunday afternoon, just when people were settling down for a snooze in front of the television. “One Man and His Dog” showed sheepdog trials. In beautiful British countryside -- often Wales or the Lake District -- a shepherd would wait at the foot of a hillside and by using a series of whistled commands, cause his smart dog to round up the sheep, drive them past a number of obstacles and into a pen. The pair who picked up the least faults would win.

I would enjoy the idyllic scenery and be amazed at the intelligence and obedience of the dogs. Chosen for their suitability for the task in the English countryside, these would often be border collies or springer spaniels.

Transferring the scene to Turkey, you can keep the images of an intelligent and obedient dog, but need to change the image of the scenery. This is no idyllic “One Man and His Dog” beautiful rolling hills, where the only difficulties are those created by the people who put the markers out on the trial course.

The rolling Anatolian plain is a vast steppe, with mountains and boulders. It is not well-populated, and settlements can be far away from each other. Instead of lush grass growing in England’s gentle rains, the Anatolian plain has sparse scrub, so flocks often have to travel miles to find sufficient grazing for the sheep. In Anatolia the flocks can be out in all types of weather conditions: from sub-zero temperatures in the winter to the blazing heat of the summer sun.

Of course the biggest difference that makes this no picnic is the range of formidable enemies and dangers that face the Anatolian shepherd and his sheep. Finding water can involve a long trek, and perhaps traveling down a very steep slope. Predatory wolves, jackals and eagles are common. Bears and wildcats are less so, but still a possible danger, particularly as many nights the flock sleeps out on the mountains, their quest for pasture and water having led them many miles away from the nearest village.

While the British sheepdog breeds would themselves quite likely fall victims to these predators, the mighty Kangal is ideally suited by its size and temperament to guarding the flock, and the shepherd. They do not work alone -- a Turkish version of the program would have to be titled One Man and His Dogs -- but in pairs work with other pairs to patrol the area around the flock, barking to signal any danger."

Category: Dogs
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