Let’s Talk Breed Education!
The Quiet Man: THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG IN THE SHOWRING
BY JO LYNNE YORK
T he Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Anatolian or ASD for short, is a work- ing breed of Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) that was created from regional subtypes of landrace Turkish LGD. They are used for the pro- tection of livestock from predators such as wolves, bears, large cats, foxes, and stray dogs. While their primary charges in Turkey have traditionally been sheep and goats, they can generalize, and have been used to protect poultry, llamas, and alpacas, as well as other farm animals. Dog breeders living in rural areas have successfully used them to protect their Toy breeds from coyote and rap- tor predation. Because the breed originates from a landrace, and the breed parent club does have an open studbook agreement with the AKC so that new blood can be brought in from the country of origin, you will see a wider variance in accept- able type than might be the case in breeds with a closed studbook. It is imperative that you understand and keep the purpose of the breed as an LGD in mind when judging. Their working nature is of paramount importance and it has a bearing on every aspect of the breed, not just their behavior in the ring. A PURELY UTILITARIAN PURPOSE This is a breed that was selected for millennia to guard livestock. Let that sink in for a moment. People have been keeping small, hoof stock for thousands of years in Turkey, and they have used dogs to protect those herds. The selection process for weeding out dogs with inappropriate working potential has often been brutal, and the breed is a product of this harsh natural selection environment. Nothing about the Anatolian is extreme or superfluous to the breed’s purpose. Despite having the word Shepherd in their name, Anatolians are not a herd- ing breed. The breed name is a literal translation of the name given to them in Turkey, Coban Kopegi or Shepherd’s Dog. Herding dogs behave in a predatory fashion by stalking, barking and, sometimes, hard-staring or using “eye” to make livestock move where the shepherd wants them to go. Sheep and goats are prey animals, and as such they have a low tolerance for animals and situations that elicit a flight response in them. They are hardwired to move away from highly active, predatory behavior that makes them feel like they’re the next item on a predator’s menu. Picture a Border Collie; active, busy, a coiled spring ready to go off on its next task if you glance at them. Got that mental image? Now, imagine a dog that is the polar opposite of a herding dog in behavior; a large, unassuming, placid dog that can walk into a herd of agitated animals and, simply by being there, bring the “temperature” down.
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THE QUIET MAN: THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG IN THE SHOW RING
When you approach a herd that has Anatolians guarding it, you likely won’t see the dogs until they stand out from the flock and warn you away. They are roughly the same size and color as the sheep and goats they guard.
They are masters of calm and blending in, and when you breed for working dogs, you select for dogs that are loathe to leave home and herd.
Over millennia, Turkish shepherds took the dog—a predator—and selected for behaviors (lower prey drive, heightened suspicion, pronounced maternal instinct regardless of gender, extreme intelligence coupled with a profoundly independent nature) and turned it from a threat into an animal that would protect the flock and be a comforting presence to a herd of wary prey animals. This no-longer-predator is the foundation stock of the dog that is the Anatolian. Whereas the Border Collie is a canine Swiss Army knife that can do almost any- thing well enough, and the Rottweiler is a multi-purpose farm dog that can bring in your cows, pull the cart with the milk to the sale, drive the beef to the butcher, and guard your purse on the trip home, the Anatolian is like a grapefruit spoon; he has one purpose in life, and that is to keep his livestock safe from harm. This purely utilitarian purpose (guarding livestock from things that would harm them) is the sole reason for the existence of the breed. RESERVE AROUND STRANGERS: THE CANINE INTROVERT When you approach a herd that has Anatolians guarding it, you likely won’t see the dogs until they stand out from the flock and warn you away. They are roughly the same size and color as the sheep and goats they guard. They are masters of calm and blending in, and when you breed for working dogs, you select for dogs that are loathe leave home and herd. You, as a judge, want to see the same calm, reserved demeanor in your ring. Puppies will be more accepting of strangers and exhibit far less suspicious behavior than adults, but this “willingness to tolerate” novelty goes away with age. Adult Anatolians will present a dour, sedate, even suspicious demeanor. Do not penalize a dog that does not want to be in the ring. An Anatolian that is made to leave its home and stock, and go out in public at the pleasure of its owner, is an unhappy dog and should not have this held against it. He is being true to his breed. This is not a showy breed, like a Doberman. You will not see Anatolians gaiting down and back and then “nailing a free stack” with enthusiasm. You do not want to see that behavior, as a judge, because it is incorrect for the breed. The only time an Anatolian moves with speed and intent is when it has warned a predator off and the predator has refused to leave. The typical Anatolian reserve translates into a dog, in the best case scenario, that is generally indifferent to your presence and, worst case scenario, completely shuts down in the ring. Some dogs will be avoidant and may move away from you. As long as they do not menace you, and you can touch them, they should be allowed to stay in the ring. Let the handler show the bite (front only) and make your exam as brief as possible. This is not a breed that requires extensive touching. Watching them move should give you a pretty good idea of structure, and you can use the brief exam to determine if what you saw was, indeed, the case.
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THE QUIET MAN: THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG IN THE SHOW RING
Both short and rough coats are shown in the same ring, and neither coat length is given preference over the other. The protective nature of the coat is what is most important.
Bottom line? The Anatolian is not a “hail-fellow-well-met” sort of dog. He is the quiet guy, sitting by himself in the corner of a crowded room, watchful, aware of all the exits and how long it will take to reach them should the need arise. He is the one that will redirect a noisy bar patron (or a predator) who is behaving inappropriately and, if the miscreant fails to heed his warning, then he will show him to the exit with little extraneous fuss and resume his post in the corner. The Anatolian is easily overlooked in a ring full of boisterous Boxers, Dobermans, and Rottweilers, flash- ily posing for bait at the ends of their leads. He is silent when standing next to the woo-woo-ing Samoyeds and Malamutes. He is quiet, strong, and stalwart. These are the traits that have made him the frontline of defense for shepherds for thousands of
with no grooming products having been used. A good brushing is all that is required to have them ring ready. You are less likely to see overuse of grooming products when presented with owner- handled dogs. The only times I have seen dogs in the ring with obvious trimming and product use have been when they were being presented by professional handlers. In short, you are looking for a large (not giant), solid, moderate, well-balanced dog with a quiet, calm, serious demeanor, either short- or rough- coated, and with fluid, functional movement.
years, and they must be viewed as absolutely critical to breed type. A COAT OF MANY COLORS (AND TWO LENGTHS)
The Anatolian comes in two coats; a short coat that is approximately one inch long and a rough coat that can be up to four inches long. It is a double coat, with heavier coat around the neck and shoulders and on the rears of the thighs. Seasonal and regional differences will impact the amount of coat a dog carries. But no matter what time of year or location in which you find yourself judging, Anatolians should always have a double coat with a weather-resistant outercoat and an insulating undercoat. The breed is known for being tolerant of extremes of heat and cold in their working environment, and the coat is purely functional. Rough- coated dogs may have a heavy fringe on the ears and tail, and feathering on the backs of the legs. Both short and rough coats are shown in the same ring, and neither coat length is given preference over the other. The protective nature of the coat is what is most important. Color is the least important aspect of the Anatolian. You may see any color and coat pattern except for merle. The merle gene does not exist in the breed. The most common colors you will see are fawn (with or without a black, blue or liver mask), white, and cream. Fawn will range in shade from a pale fawn, through yellow-gold- en, to red fawn. Coat patterns include brindle, pinto, and Irish or Dutch marked. Some dogs will also exhibit a darker overlay or sable pattern to the coat. As long as the coat is weather-resistant, the color and markings are immaterial. Remember, the coyote trying to make a meal out of your livestock does not care what color the dog is that is telling him to go grocery shopping somewhere else. There is a dilution gene present in the breed. Blue-colored dogs will have dark grey or blue pigment, liver-colored dogs will have brown pigment, and cream-colored dogs will have a flesh-colored pigment that is not pink. Pigment should be complete around the lips, nose, and eye rims. Eyes will always be some shade of brown, from light golden to a dark brown. Blue eyes are a disqualification. As a judge, you have a right to expect the dogs in your ring to be as clean as possible. Anatolians are a purely utilitarian breed and, as such, they should never be shown in an artificial manner. There is NO trimming to be done on an Ana- tolian, other than its nails. Dogs are shown in their natural state, whiskers intact,
ABOUT THE AUTHOR I’m a native Texan and live in Central Texas. I have been showing dogs since 1972. I have been involved with Australian Cattle Dogs since 2003 and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs since 2007. I read about the two breeds in Braund’s Uncommon Dog Breeds book when I was in junior high, and I made up my mind then that I would have both breeds. I teach handling classes two evenings a week and cater to my dogs the rest of the time.
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LARGE, RUGGED, POWERFUL AND IMPRESSIVE THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG Large, Rugged, Powerful and Impressive THIS IS THE ESSENCE OF THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG
THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG IS A ‘WORKING GUARD DOG WITHOUT EQUAL.’
T his is a Working Dog, first and foremost. “Shepherd” is in the dog’s name, but he is not a “herding” dog. He is the shepherd’s dog. An even temperament is sought, and reserve out of ter- ritory is acceptable. Anatolians are not natural “show dogs.” He “shows” by appearing confident, alert, intelligent, and watchful. He goes to shows to please his master, not for making new friends or hearing applause. The Standard calls for “bold, but calm, unless challenged.” DO NOT expect this dog to respond to you with animation. No jig- ging chiclets or baby talk, please! His way is to tolerate your exam. Most of the Anatolians you will see in the showring are livestock guardians, and are shown by their owners. Please allow time to set the dog for exam, with plenty of room between exhibitors. Approach the dog by speaking to the handler, and examine him quickly and efficiently. Always ask the handler to show the bite and teeth. Note: This breed does not have to have full dentition nor are broken teeth a fault. Overshot, undershot or a wry bite is a disqualification; a level bite is acceptable, a scissors bite is preferred. This breed is presented, not shown. A loose lead is a must while gaiting, with plenty of room in between exhibitors. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is an ancient breed, some say it dates back to biblical times. Its origins are in Turkey and throughout Asia Minor. The dog was developed to meet the needs of ancient agrarian societies of The Old World. As the trade merchants in ancient times traveled through- out Europe and Asia Minor, the dogs that traveled with them bred with the dogs in those areas. This breed is a Molosser-type breed derivative with Sighthound. Thus, the Anatolian is large, rugged, powerful, and impres- sive. This is also the reason they are agile and light on their feet—and fast. The breed came about to fulfill the need of shepherds to have their livestock protected. This is a true livestock guardian breed (LGB). It's as easy as that. Over the centuries, the predation protection demands placed on the shepherds helped them to choose their breeding stock “as those who would answer the call.” The ASDs that you see today harken back centuries to those courageous ancestors. They were not chosen for beauty, but for brav- ery, intelligence, calmness under fire, and an instinct to decide what is a threat and what is not. Study the Standard and consider the dog’s purpose. These are key ele- ments in correctly judging our wonderful breed. We at the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America stand ready to help you understand and appreciate our beloved breed.
BY LAURA EDSTROM SMITH CHAIRMAN, JUDGES EDUCATION
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These dogs have a job to do, and they must be built to do the job. The old “form follows function” applies here. • Head: Expression should be intelligent. • Eyes: Are almond in shape, set apart, brown to light amber in color without sag or looseness of haw. Pigmentation of the eye rims will be black or brown. Blue eyes or two different color eyes are a disqualification. • Skull: In proportion with the body, containing a slight centerline furrow, fore and aft, from apparent stop to moderate occiput. With a powerful, squared muzzle. • Neck: Slightly arched, powerful, well-muscled, mod- erate in length with more skin and fur than elsewhere on the body, forming a protective ruff. • Topline: There is a slight nick behind the withers. The back portion of the topline is powerful, muscu- lar, and level, leading to a gradual arch over the loin, sloping slightly downward at the croup. • Body: Well proportioned, functional, without exaggeration, never fat or soft. Chest is deep (to the elbow) and well-sprung, with a distinct tuck up at the loin. • Tail: Should be long and reaching to the hocks. Do not uncurl the tail to measure it to the hock, unless you see it as being very short. (And, for heaven’s sake, do not pull on it.) Set on rather high. When relaxed, it is carried low, with the end curled upwards. When alert, the tail is carried high, making a “wheel.” “Wheel” carriage is preferred. • Coat: According to the standard, all coat colors and markings are acceptable. The coat is a double coat and is anywhere from one inch to four inches in length; somewhat longer and thicker at the neck, forming that protective ruff. A thick undercoat is common to all! Remember the function of the breed: The coat protects from the elements and the predators. • Gait: The gait is powerful yet fluid. When viewed from the front or rear, the legs turn neither in nor out, nor do feet cross or interfere with each other. With increased speed, footfall converges toward the centerline of gravity. When viewed from the side, the front legs reach out smoothly with no obvious pounding. The withers and backline should stay nearly level, with little rise or fall. The rear assembly should push out smoothly, with hocks flexing well and doing their share of the work. SOME NOTABLE PHENOTYPICAL AND STANDARD REQUIREMENTS TO KEEP IN MIND (This is not to be considered a complete listing, just some of the highlights.)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR Having grown up with dogs, Laura Edstrom-Smith purchased her first Anatolian Shepherd, named Early Warning, in 1990. The Anatolian Shepherd's unique abilities as a livestock guardian whose strong maternal instincts make it an excellent companion dog are the characteristics that drew her attention to the breed. ASDCA CH Clearlake’s Early Warning soon became the love of Laura's life. Her life-changing journey with the Anatolian Shepherd Dog had begun. Laura joined the national parent club, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America (ASDCA) in 1990. Over the years, Laura has owned several male and female Anatolian Shepherds. In 1992, Laura began exhibiting dogs. Since 2002, Laura has been successful in the show ring. Her lovely Anatolian Shepherd bitch, with Laura as owner-handler, has won many top honors, including: Best of Breed at the ASDCA National Specialty twice, once owner-handled, Best of Opposite Sex at the ASDCA National Specialty twice, once owner-handled; Best of Breed at the AKC/ Eukanuba National Championship twice, once owner- handled; Best of Breed at the Westminster Kennel Club in New York; and multiple Best of Breeds and Group Placements at all-breed shows, mainly throughout the Southeast. In the past 30+ years, Laura has devoted most of her free time to involvement with her dogs. This commitment has included: Researching the origin and history of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog; learning obedience training techniques, proper handling, and ringside etiquette; and in-depth studying of the Anatolian Shepherd Breed Standard. In 2001, the Board of Directors of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America appointed Laura Education Coordinator. Laura's extensive knowledge and understanding of the Anatolian Breed Standard and her professional career as an intensive-care pediatric nurse (now nurse practitioner), requiring a thorough background in anatomy, made her the most qualified club member to coordinate the ASDCA'S national judge’s education seminars, general education seminars, Meet the Breed educational materials, and other educational programs as requested. She had served in that capacity for about nine years. At the current time, Laura is once again a member of the ASDCA BOD, and again Chairman of the Judge’s Education Coordination Committee as well as Public Education. Laura also writes articles relevant to the Breed Standard for the ASDCA's national publication, the Anatolian Times, and other dog-related magazines. Laura has found it a very satisfying experience coordinating educational programs for the ASDCA as well as for the public. She enjoys being actively involved in a wide variety of AKC educational and conformation events. "My education will never be over, and I am committed to the protection of the integrity of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Standard of Excellence.” Laura’s goal is "preservation not innovation."
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ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG THE
1. Where do you live? What do you do “outside” of dogs? 2. How many years in the Anatolian Shepherd Dog? Showing? Judging? Breeding? 3. What, in your opinion, is the secret to a successful breeding program? 4. The Anatolian is currently ranked #90 of all 192 AKC breeds. Is this a blessing, a curse, or immaterial in your breeding decisions? 5. Do you feel that the general public is provided sufficient infor- mation about the breed? 6. What is your favorite dog show memory? 7. Is there anything else you’ d like to share about the breed? Please elaborate. LESLEY BRABYN I live in Northern Cali-
Is the breed’s ranking a blessing, a curse, or immaterial in your breeding decisions? This is immaterial to me. My goal is to pro- duce healthy, sound dogs with good temperament that adhere to the breed standard and that are better than their parents. The Anato- lian is not a beginner’s dog and I would venture that it is a minority of people who have the space or knowledge to manage them well. I would not want to see the Anatolian become popular as in the wrong hands, it could be disastrous. I would like to see more public outreach targeting agricultur- ally related events: sheep and goat shows, community ag days, etc. While more people are becoming aware of dogs who guard other animals by seeing info about the Cheetah project on TV and the like, many are not aware of the intentional and selective breeding that goes into making that happen. In this day and age of “let’s get a rescue to do the job”, I’d like more outreach about the importance of genetics and selection in relation to purebred dogs, structure, instinct and purpose. My favorite dog show memory? I would have to say that at the moment, it is Tallulah’s Best of Breed win at the Westminster Ken- nel Club this year. In 55 years of showing dogs, I’d never been to Westminster and had no idea what to expect. It is truly a show like no other. The Anatolian is a unique balance of the Mastiff and sight- hound: Too much of the former and you get huge, heavy, cumber- some dogs completely unable to pursue predators over mountain- ous terrain. Conversely, too much like a sighthound results in light bone, lack of body and nothing a predator would take as a serious threat. Breeders need to keep to the middle ground and aim for a large, powerful and athletic dog who can fly up a cliff, intimi- date lurking predators by size and when necessary, dispatch threats with efficiency. Another issue is that the Standard calls for a level topline when moving, yet many dogs in the ring move butt high, with fronts that do not match the rear, resulting in unbalanced
fornia, about 90 minutes north of San Francisco, on the Sonoma Coast where I own and manage a 400 acre organ- ic livestock ranch, along with my husband of 40 years. I am primarily known for my Salukis, which I have own, bred and shown since 1967, Shelties before that. In 2007, my husband and I bought the ranch and needed something to guard the livestock. That’s
when we brought in the Anatolians, initially not thinking we were going to ever show them. But show them we have and they’ve done very well, winning specialties, multiple Group placements and most ending up in the Top Five when shown. Our current Special was BOB at Westminster this year and is the number one Anatolian (breed stats through May), although she just turned two years old. I’ve been judging for 19 years, primarily sighthounds, and more recently achieved permit status for Anatolians. We’ve bred three Anatolian litters, producing nine champions, although the majority of our puppies have gone to strictly working homes. The secret to a successful breeding program is tenacity, a knowl- edge of the practical application of genetics, a good eye for a dog, resilience, a thick skin and luck. Understanding the relationship of structure to movement, participating in continuing education pro- grams as new evidence-based research becomes available and being willing to change your opinion can be very beneficial. A no holds barred assessment of the dogs you use for breeding and their rela- tives is essential. It’s all about selection and the balance of confor- mation, temperament and health factors. Just because you produced a dog, kept it, loved it and finished it, even when its wins might have been big, does not necessarily make that dog worth incorporating into your breeding program and sometimes, you may have to admit that, even if in retrospect.
“THE SECRET TO A SUCCESSFUL BREEDING PROGRAM IS TENACITY, A KNOWLEDGE OF THE PRACTICAL APPLICATION OF GENETICS, A GOOD EYE FOR A DOG, RESILIENCE, A THICK SKIN AND LUCK.”
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Anatolian Shepherd Dog Q& A
detail or a mental image of what they are trying to produce. Don’t be afraid to ask for someone else’s opinion. Lastly, seek out a mentor. Find a breeder who has more experi- ence than you, but similar goals. Ask them to evaluate your dogs, ask their opinions on matings, etc. Have an open mind and be will- ing to receive the insight. I have been very fortunate to find friend- ship and mentorship in Erick Conard of Lucky Hit Ranch. He is a wealth of knowledge and always very willing to share it. A true ambassador for our breed. The Anatolian is currently ranked #90 of all 192 AKC breeds. Is this a blessing, a curse, or immaterial in my breeding decisions? I believe they have been right around that ranking for a few years now, which is a good thing. If they were to move up in ranking, I would hope it’s because more people realize the Anatolian is a supe- rior guardian breed and the need for a good working dog is up. The current ranking doesn’t have much of an impact on our breeding decisions. We will continue to breed dogs that are both structurally and mentally sound, that will perform the job they were intended to do. I don’t feel the general public is provided sufficient information about the breed. Anatolians are not a breed for everyone. Years ago people who were interested in the breed received their information from (mostly) long time breeders. Now with the use of social media, information is more easily obtained, although it’s not always correct information or sound advice. My absolute favorite dog show memory was winning the 2016 National Specialty. That year it was held in California, 3000+ miles from our home. I bought a transit van to accommodate Puck, packed up my dogs and my then 12 year old son and hit the road. We made stops along the way, spending a few days in Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, before arriving in California. It was a huge entry that year, I believe 88 total entries, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. When the judge, Ms. Sharon Newcomb, sent Puck to the front of the line, we were thrilled to say the least. At just shy of 19 months he became BISS CH Tribocie Puck. It was an experience we will never forget. Being a breeder who raises working dogs, I’d like to touch upon the working Anatolian in the ring. Generally, the traits that make a great working dog, do not make a great show dog. When select- ing for working traits, a few of the traits we select for are dogs that are aloof, observant, protective, alert to surroundings, suspicious of strange people and strange dogs, and ones that walk through the livestock with their head and tail down (head and tail up alarms the stock). We do not pick for showy, bouncy, animated dogs, it goes against what is required for them to be successful in the pasture. On occasion, young dogs, extremely confident dogs and highly trained Anatolians will gait around the ring with head and tail up. But, don’t overlook the ones who don’t. When looking down the line up, Anatolians should be rugged, powerful and muscular. A dog that can withstand the elements and defend against large predators. We work very hard to get our working dogs into the ring and have them stand for examination by a stranger. Many working Ana- tolians resent the touch of a stranger. Judges should approach from the side, allow handler to show the bite, the exam should be done briefly and with light hands. Heavy hands, grabbing of the muzzle, direct eye contact, crinkling of paper or use of squeaky toys for animation and response should be avoided. Remember these dogs have been bred for thousands of years to independently protect livestock against predators. They are first and foremost a working breed. I would hate to see the breed divided into two separate types, working vs generic show dog. With continued education on correct working temperament and structure of our breed, judges can help preserve the very thing that makes our breed what it is, working ability.
movement. Unbalanced movement is neither efficient nor effective. And then there is the confusing issue of Anatolian tail carriage: the Standard states, “When relaxed, [the tail] is carried low and with the end curled upwards. When alert, the tail is carried high, making a “wheel”. Both low and wheel carriage are acceptable when gait- ing…”. Some judges will penalize a tail that is not carried high and even curled over the back. Yet, is the dog supposed to be “on alert” in the show ring? My observation in the field is that the tail acts as a flag to the livestock. When there is reason to be alert, the dog raises its tail and the livestock see that and muster around the dog for protection. If the tail is always up and curled, it indicates nothing to the stock as it doesn’t change, whether there is danger or not. Judges need to be aware that the tail serves a critical function: to alert when there is danger. Hopefully, that is not in the show ring. HEIDI KROL We live in Southern
New Hampshire on an 80 acre working farm. I farm full-time and also run a vintage jewelry busi- ness. Our farm consists of dairy goats, heritage breed chickens and pigs, a few Arabian horses and some geese, all protected by our Anatolian Shepherds. I have raised working Anatolians since 1996. However, my husband
spent some of his childhood in Turkey and his family had two Turkish Shepherds (Anatolians) back in the 1970s on their farm. Between the two of us, we have a very long history with the breed. Together we run Stonecoat Farm. We started showing in AKC shows in 2015 when we imported an exceptional example of the breed from Australia, Tribocie Puck. In his first year of showing he earned BISS and GCH titles. Successful breeding programs are developed over a long period of time, not overnight. You must have visions and goals for your program and love and passion for the dogs you are breeding. Addi- tionally, for me, raising a working breed, I strive to produce dogs that can and do work. Those of us who breed working dogs cannot lose sight of the dogs original purpose. One of my main goals is to preserve working ability. The only way I know whether or not my breeding stock possesses correct working temperament is to raise them and evaluate them(over a period of time) in a true working setting. A true working setting for Anatolians, means outside 24/7 protecting livestock in a predator rich environment. Without select- ing for correct working ability, the purpose of our breed will be lost. When I raise dogs in a working setting, I can easily see which dogs are built for it, both in mind and body. Those are the dogs I want to carry on my line. Know your standard and breed to it. The standard is the blue- print for your breeding program. For example, the topline is one of the hallmarks of our breed. The standard calls for a dip behind the withers and a gradual rise over the loin. The topline should resemble a “lazy s” when viewed from the side. Lately, I see a lot of dogs with really flat toplines being put up in the ring. Flat toplines may be a show dog thing, but should never be an Anatolian thing. Stick to the standard, avoid trend breeding. Being able to set emotion aside and evaluate our dogs objectively is also important. Write down the pros and cons of each dog you are considering breeding. Then find a mate that balances that list. Many times, people seek out dogs that are similar to the dog they are breeding, including similar flaws. Not everyone has an eye for
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Anatolian Shepherd Dog Q& A
rename “Fair” to “Normal”. When you have a mammogram and you are over 50, “normal” is the best word ever. I think breeders that have such a strict view are narrowing the gene pool unnecessarily. However, I look at the whole dog – the entire picture. The use of Estimated Breeding Values (EBV) for inherited traits is a tool that I use with every breeding. I research relatives and the offspring (if any) of the subject dog in order to have an idea of what that dog may produce genetically. An established breeder will have their own personal data from breedings they have done and can do research to help fill in the gaps on more distant relatives. EBVs can be used for a variety of traits and improves breeder selection. I also use the co-efficient of inbreeding (COI) calculation in the planning stages of pairings. I value diversity. Yes, it may mean the pups don’t look like carbon copies of each other, but you take exceptional individuals and you bring them into your established lines in the future. There is risk in every breeding decision you make, but if breeders keep breeding from the same dogs, generation after generation, the end result is breeding depression and loss of genetic diversity. To me, a successful breeder plans with a vision in mind, recognizes dogs for what they are, and assesses risk and then breeds accordingly. Is the breed’s ranking a blessing, a curse, or immaterial in your breeding decisions? The ranking of the Anatolian at #90 out of 192, is immaterial to my breeding decisions, but overall very good for the breed to be mid-range. I cannot control what other breeders do. I carefully vet my homes to the best of my ability and I try to encour- age others to breed and show. A little bit of “popularity” is a good thing—without it the number of viable breeding dogs dwindles and breeds become extinct. Having a healthy breed population ensures the health of the breed and provides choices to a breeder. A breeder’s puppy people are the future of the breed. They become the face of the breed going forward. I think it is also important to keep in mind “popular pure bred” doesn’t mean the same thing it did 20 years ago. People with regis- tered dogs are not the majority or common anymore. For example, where I work, there is only three other people with registered dogs. When asked if there is sufficient information available to the general public about this breed, I would have to say yes and no. There is so much inaccurate information on social media that it is frightening. Anyone with a computer and internet connection can become an expert overnight. I literally cringe when I read some of the posts and comments on Facebook. Anatolians have been bred for thousands of years to guard livestock. They are bred to be intel- ligent and independent thinkers, which translates to stubborn and extremely smart. They can easily outsmart an owner. They also don’t mature until two years or much later, which means diligence on the part of the owner to raise the puppy for the dog they want, whether that be a family companion, estate guardian, or a guardian in the field with stock. They are protective and they view situations and think differently than the high-prey drive dog breeds that most people are familiar with. There are just a few good books out there including Anatolian Shepherd Dog: A Comprehensive Owner’s Guide by Richard Beau- champ, which is now available again for purchase.
I live near Richmond, Virginia and I am an accoun- tant by day. My husband and I are weekend warriors when it comes to dog showing, because we both have to work on Monday morning. My kennel name is Sky- view Anatolians and I have been showing Anatolians since 2006 and had my first litter in 2008. Anatolians keep things interesting. Their personali- ties are varied and they are so
smart – you learn something all the time. There are no cookie cutter dogs in this breed—each one takes a different approach to training etc. What works for one, will not work for all. You have to listen to, and learn from, each one of your dogs. I think a successful breeder does three things: recognizes poten- tial and views the whole dog , takes risks, has a plan with goals and a vision A successful breeder recognizes when a dog isn’t going to work out for their program, regardless of whether they purchased it or bred it, which can be heartbreaking. On the flip side, they also rec- ognize a good dog when they see one and they are willing to take a chance on keeping that dog if they bred it, or purchasing that dog if it has tremendous potential. I also think it is important to remem- ber a bitch that nicks well with one stud, may not produce the same quality with another. A good breeder will keep track of dogs pro- duced and note any health issues that crop up and longevity. There is a lot of financial risk to breeding and decisions have to be carefully weighed, but ultimately decisions have to be made in order to move forward. In other words, don’t get stuck in a place where you are afraid to make decisions. An excellent opportunity won’t wait—sometimes you have to go against convenience. I do a lot of planning, and often breedings are thought about years in advance and generations away. Do my plans work out? Sometimes, but a lot of times they don’t and I have to keep my goal in focus. Without planning I don’t have anything to base future decisions on – that’s why planning is important. Planning provides you with a framework for reference and allows you to make deci- sions quickly when necessary. A wise person once said keep two bitch lines going forward. Bitches provide the foundation for a breeding program. Get/keep the best you can. Health testing is important in any breed and provides decision points for the breeder. The results are tools to use in your program. However, the whole dog should be viewed not just the test results. A bitch with OFA excellent hips and skin issues is not going to com- pare to a male with OFA fair hips and is lovely in every other way. I see too many breeders get hung up on OFA “Fair” and won’t breed a dog with Fair hips. Fair means nice, normal. The dog has normal hips. Forty years ago when someone said a lady was fair, it meant they were beautiful. OFA hasn’t changed, but the societal meanings or interpretations placed on a word has. I wish that OFA would
“There is a lot of financial risk to breeding and decisions have to be carefully weighed, but ultimately decisions have to be made in order to move forward.”
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Anatolian Shepherd Dog Q& A
“THERE IS A RANGE OF PERSONALITIES IN THIS BREED AND RESERVE WITH STRANGERS IS NORMAL.”
Breeders are a wealth of knowledge. The AKC information sheet included with registration certificates has good information in it. This combined with the clubs ASDCA (AKC parent club) and the ASDI (Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International) has code of ethics breeders listed and good articles. My favorite show memory is winning Sweepstakes and Best of Winners for a five point major at my first Specialty with my first Anatolian, who was still a puppy. I had only been showing for five months. This breed is a guardian and is reserved with strangers. Reserved doesn’t mean unsocialized, it doesn’t mean the dog has been mis- treated, it doesn’t mean the dog has a bad temperament—it doesn’t mean any of those things. It means they are a discerning guardian and that individual is not as comfortable in chaotic environments. There is a range of personalities in this breed and reserve with strangers is normal. It is written in the standard, “reserve around strangers and off its territory is acceptable.” Judges that approach in a friendly, calm manner and make eye contact with me first and speak to me are greatly appreciated. My acknowledgement of the person approaching means that for the dog—that person is “Okay” and I am at ease. Allowing the han- dler to show the bite is also preferred—not only for keeping the dogs happier, but not encouraging the spread of contagious disease, which has been a concern for the last several years with the canine flu viruses. As someone that has very old dogs and sometimes young pups at home, I am always grateful for that. On the flip side, I have a couple of very socially confident dogs that enjoy attention from people. They know they are at a show. So a judge is going to see a range of personalities in his/her ring. The reserved dog should not be faulted for not being thrilled about being in a show environment. Many of us that show these dogs lit- erally pull them off the field, clean them up and away we go. They have a job outside of dog showing to do. TERESA ROGOWSKI I live in Raymond, Ohio. I have been in dog showing since childhood. My kennel names are HFO Anatolians, HFO Danes, and Tiara Rain Akitas. I also run a meat goat farm, as well as have eggs and hay under the name Green Akers Farm. I am a veterinary technician. I live on a small farm just Northwest of central Ohio, in a town called Raymond. I operate under the farm name of Green Akers Farm and my kennel name is HFO Anatolians. Outside of dogs, I am a veterinary technician in a large practice. I also enjoy horseback riding, hiking, and reading, when I’m not working on the farm. The farm consists of a menagerie of animals: boer goats, belted galloway cattle, a christmas donkey, chickens, penkin ducks, tur- keys, cats, and my other dog breed—Great Danes. Therefore, I don’t get a lot of “down time”. I have owned Anatolian Shepherds since 2008. I was born in to a dog show family, so showing just came naturally. My parents
bred and showed Old English Sheepdogs. My mother likes to tell the story about how she and one of the dogs were pregnant at the same time. The puppies were four weeks old when my mother gave birth to me. The Akita is the first breed I chose to own personally and started showing them in 1993. I have been showing dogs in several breeds since 1993. My personal breeds being Akita, Great Dane and Anatolian Shepherd Dog. I have bred a small number of litters. I usually only breed a litter if I am looking to keep a puppy for myself to show or work. The secret to a successful breeding program? When I look at putting a breeding together, I look for type, temperament, confor- mation, working ability, and health. All of these things as a whole make a successful breeding program. Is the breed’s ranking a blessing, a curse, or immaterial in my breeding decisions? The Anatolian is not for a first time dog owner, so I’m not sure I want to see an increase in popularity. There has already been a jump in popularity ranking since I started in the breed, which was not too long ago. The two Anatolian Shepherd Dog Clubs (Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America and Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club Interna- tional) have done a nice job with information. I would like find a way to make this information more accessible to the public. Perhaps at some events such as 4-H, agriculture events/fairs, and meet the breeds or judges education. My favorite dog show memory? I have many good show memo- ries, but two humorous ones stand out in particular. The first one was quite awhile ago. I was in the ring showing my big male Great Dane (Iceman) on a brand new leather leash. The leash must have had a defect in it because on the go around it broke. Iceman didn’t bother any other dogs in the ring or attempt to jump out. However, when the judge clapped his hands and said, “Here big guy”, he promptly trotted over and buried his head in the judges groin. The judge doubled over, but managed to get ahold of his collar. I apologized profusely. The judge didn’t hold it against us as Iceman was awarded RWD that day. The second is fairly recent. I was in the ring showing my male Anatolian (Sahmi). Sahmi is now seven years old and had been a retired champion for six years. I decided to bring him out to a cou- ple of shows to see about getting his Grand Championship. The first show weekend he was fine. The second weekend he was not really feeling like being shown again and had lagged behind the first two days. The next day I told the judge “I’ll do my best to get him to move faster, but he has just turned seven and has not been shown for a long time”. Well, Sahmi must have been offended by my state- ment, because he decided to make me look silly by acting like a six month old puppy. He jumped up, whirled and pulled my jacket all the way on the down and back. He then grabbed my jacket and presented me during the go around. When I got back to the judge he was laughing and said “Seven huh?”. Sahmi got SD that day to finish his Grand Championship. This breed is loyal, intelligent and independent. The Anatolian is a fast learner, they’re just not going to do obedience as fast or with as much enthusiasm as other breeds. We do have several people in the breed that do other activities (rally, tracking, barn hunt, therapy dog, etc) with their dogs and have been very successful. Many of the Anatolians that are shown in these types of events, as well as conformation, are also working with live stock. The Anatolian is very versatile. They must be socialized starting at a young age.
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JUDGING THE ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD A JUDGE'S GUIDE furnished by CATHERINE EMANUEL, ASDCA President and ASDCA JEC Chair
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is, first and foremost, a working guardian. It is reserved when taken out of its element. This is not to say it is timid. It should be alert, in varying degrees aloof, and most probably disinterested. As a judge, one should be aware of the demeanor and not fault the dog for not reacting to a squeaky toy, a whistle or the clap of hands. All colors, patterns and markings are equally acceptable as well as variations in coat length (1" to approx. 4" length). Pronounced white markings on the face, neck, chest and legs are common. The neck should be slightly arched, powerful and muscular with more skin and fur than elsewhere on the body
forming a protective ruff. Slight feather- ing may occur on the ear fringes, legs, breaching and tail. Pigmentation around the eyes and on the nose must be complete. Lack of pigment is not acceptable. Seasonal fad- ing of the nose is normal. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a muscular and athletic canine. However, the breed is very slow to mature. The judge will notice greater differences in the young males and bitches through their second year, chest noticeably less dropped and body appearing much leaner. Equal consideration, however, irrespective of level of maturity, should be given to all dogs based on overall balance, structure and breed type.
A s the Anatolian Shepherd Dog enters the ring, the judge should immediately be impressed by the dog’s size and soundness. It is a large and for- midable breed. It should be noted that as the dogs first goes around the ring, some dogs will have their tail carried in a wheel and others will have tails car- ried lower. When gaiting, however, the tail should go up and over, some more than others. Wheel carriage preferred. This is indicative of the dog’s awareness in the show ring setting. The information furnished in this article was written and approved by the ASDCA Judges Education Committee and approved by the ASDCA BOD 8/10/13.
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“SIZE SHOULD NOT BE GIVEN PRECEDENCE OVER BALANCE, STRUCTURE AND CORRECT BREED TYPE.”
Variation in body structure is accept- able as long as height, weight and bone are in proportion to overall size. Size should not be given precedence over balance, structure and correct breed type. The skull is broader in dogs than in bitches. The head will also not have expanded to its mature broadness until after the age of four years. Certainly there are exceptions to every rule. The judge should not expect to see a dog that is covered heavily with extra flesh. The profile of the Anatolian Shep- herd Dog, when standing, should show a slight drop behind the withers (not a sway back or weakness in the topline) with gradual arch over the loin, sloping slightly downward at the croup. The topline of the Anatolian will appear level when gaiting. With proper ease of movement, the head will drop, the back will remain strong (no rolling), and the tail will rise. When these three elements come together, the leveling of the topline will become evident to the viewer. Approaching the Anatolian Shep- herd Dog should be from the shoulder and not “head on.” The handler should be allowed to present the bite. It is not in the best interest of the dog for the judge to over handle this breed during examination. This is a working dog and should be respected as one. The judge should make sure ade- quate space between dogs is available in the ring while the dogs are lined up for examination and insure that crowd- ing does not occur during gaiting so each dog’s movement can be seen to its potential. Gaiting should be light and fluid. The Anatolian Shepherd Dog exhibits good reach and drive and covers a lot of ground. There is con- verging toward center line as the gait
picks up. Crossing over in front or from the rear is not acceptable. Although the dog is capable of great speed, the breed instinctively conserves energy. Speed is not necessary or expected in the show ring. It is the desire of the Anatolian Fancy to have the dogs presented for confor- mation judging in their best light. Judg- es passing judgment on our Anatolian Shepherd should be looking for a dog that is large, powerful and impressive, with superior breed type, physically and temperamentally capable of guard- ing flocks from predators. Judges must consider the whole dog and not over- emphasize any one part. General bal- ance is more important than absolute size. An Anatolian Shepherd Dog that is most typical of the breed as defined by the breed standard is not exaggerated; he is the ideal; he is functional; he is perfectly balanced. FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: What color is preferred? The AKC Anatolian Shepherd Dog Breed Standard allows for all coat colors and markings to be equally acceptable. There is no preference given to coat col- or. It should be noted that some colors create optical illusions. Often markings can create the appearance of illusion of a narrow head or an unusual ear set. Should the forearm be equal to or longer than the depth of chest? The AKC Breed Standard reads, “Shoulders should be muscular and well developed, blades long, broad and slop- ing. Elbows should be neither in nor out. Forelegs should be relatively long, well-boned and set straight with strong pasterns.” Specific measurements and proportions are not given. The overall
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balance and functionality of the dog should take precedence over any specific measurement. What is the correct size of the ASD? The AKC Breed Standard states, “General balance is more important than absolute size. Dogs should be from 29 inches and weighing from 110 to 150 pounds proportionate to size and struc- ture. Bitches should be from 27 inches, weighing from 80 to 120 pounds, pro- portionate to size and structure. Neither dog nor bitch appear fat. Both dog and bitch should be rectangular, in direct proportion to height. Measurements and weights apply at age two or older.” When judging the ASD you will see a wide variety of sizes in the ring to include a size difference between dogs and bitches. There is no disqualifica- tion for height or weight in the breed standard. The breed is very slow to mature; therefore, height and weight suggestions are not applicable until the entrant is over the age of two. A six month old puppy may not meet the height or weight suggested in the breed standard. Size is only one part of the dog and should not overrule general balance. Can you tell me more about bites? Anatolian bites may be scissors or level is acceptable. Disqualifications include overshot, undershot and wry bites. Broken teeth and missing teeth are acceptable. Many of the dogs that are being exhibited today are coming straight from their pastures. It is not uncommon for a working dog to have broken or missing teeth as a result of protecting their charges. This should not be faulted. “GENERAL BALANCE IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN ABSOLUTE SIZE.”
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