they are a true “thinking breed.” Anatolians have been bred for thousands of years to live with livestock and to protect them from danger—with little or no direction from humans. To do this, they must look at any given situ- ation and decide what, if any, action needs to be taken, depending upon the threat level that they perceive. I have found the Anatolian Shepherd Dog to be the most intelligent animal—not just dog—that I have ever come into contact with. I say this being fully aware that there are many in the dog world who will disagree with me about this. What many people think of as examples of great intelligence in dogs are learned/trained behaviors that the dog they are referring to will do as quickly as they can to please their master. We must remember that humans have been breeding most dogs with great emphasis on pleasing us for a long time and the vast majority of dogs have a very high drive to do exactly that. This behavior is something that those dogs have an inbred need to do. This is “dependent” behavior, as the dog is always looking to its human for direction and approval for their actions. While this is certainly not a bad thing for these breeds, it is a much different story for the Anatolian and, in general, for the majority of other livestock guarding breeds. Anatolians have been bred, out of necessity, to have the ability to make decisions on their own to accomplish whatever their task may be with little or no need for direction or approval. They do not have a high drive to please people. They do have a very high drive to make sure that their charges (animal or human) are always safe. Having said all of the above, I must also tell you that if you have an Anatolian as a companion dog (pet) and do the good socialization and obedience training, that you should do with all dogs, but which is vitally important with our breed, you will find that your Anatolian will likely learn all the things you want it to know, as fast or faster than any dog you have “IT IS GOOD TO REMEMBER THAT FIRST, LAST AND ALWAYS AN ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG IS A GUARDIAN.”
had before. However, they will virtually never do those things as quickly or with the same level of enthusiasm as other dogs due to the fact that they do not have the same inbred need to please that other dogs have. Anatolians do what you want because they have learned to love you and trust your judgment, not because they must do so. It is good to remember that first, last and always an Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a GUARDIAN. If necessary, they will give their lives to protect the animals and/or people they consider to be their charges or family. If that should ever change, the breed will be lost. CS: This is a no-frills dog that is an efficient, calm worker. They are extremely intelligent and very loyal to owners. Their reserve outside the home means that you will not see showy ASDs. 9. And, for a bit of humor: What’s the funniest thing you’ve ever experienced at a dog show? KE: I had a puppy lift my skirt up in the ring playing. She was so proud and gaited perfectly with my skirt in her mouth. I may have been embarrassed, but she won Win- ners Bitch and couldn’t have been happier. DLG: I find it funny (and sad) that I can walk into the build- ing with an Anatolian and I part the crowd like Moses parting the water, while her tail is wagging and she is so happy to be there. We did a television interview for a local show and my young Anatolian was playing and lov- ing on the Boston Terrier that was sitting next to it. They can have good, stable temperaments, if you buy from a reputable breeder and socialize them. GL: This occurred many years ago at a States Kennel Club show (before the Anatolian Shepherd Dogs was accepted by AKC). Our old foundation stud, Ch. Birinci’s Khan II and I were competing in a show in Ohio that was being held in a very large indoor equestrian arena. During the last round of Group Judging we were running around our ring when I tripped in the soft footing of the arena and went tumbling head over heels. Khan stopped dead in his tracks, staring at me with his head cocked to the side as if to ask if I was okay or not. When I quickly got to my feet to continue, Khan immediately started off around the ring and took his place in the line-up, stack- ing himself perfectly. I arrived beside him a few seconds later! It turned out that the judge had never seen our little mishap and we went on to take a Group One that day. I’m sure the judge wondered however, why my jacket and trousers had so much dust on them. Yes, Anatolians really can show, and a few of them, like Khan, actually seem to enjoy it. I believe that more than anything else, they enjoy it because they are happy being with their owner/handler and know that it makes the owner/han- dler happy, too. CS: At the time it was not funny but now it is—catching on fire in a PortiJohn.
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