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