Showsight Presents The Anatolian Shepherd

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.”

S HOW S IGHT M AGAZINE , J ULY 2019 • 273

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