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Saturday, November 29, 2008

UK Anatolian Hip scores and sad stuff about cognitive function

Excellent Hip conformation in an Anatolian Shepherd Dog
(this is Semavi Burali "Bertha")

Caroline Southen has some updates on her November blog about Anatolian health. She's also updated the complete list of UK Anatolians that have ever obtained BVA hip ratings. The ratings include pass and fail, not just the good ones. Sadly, there are not more breeders in UK that check hips, and dysplastic dogs are commonly bred together. An international comparison of hit ratings is here.

There was a heartbreaking article in The Scientist just over a week ago, about two little twin girls who have a rare genetic disease called Nieman-Pick Type C (NPC). You do need to sign in as a free account holder to read the free article... here is an excerpt from this one to get you started.

What can two little girls teach us about Alzheimer's disease?

By Alison McCook

When you meet identical four-year old twins Addi and Cassi Hempel, you might notice something about the way they walk. They used to run around like other toddlers, but now they are more wobbly, more uncertain, and walk with their legs somewhat wide apart, as if aboard a boat. They can sway in any direction, losing their balance. They fall more often than they should.

They will notice you, and smile. They don't say words but they talk, a rhythmic, nonsensical babble from which a crystal-clear sound occasionally escapes: "ice cream," "paddycake," "four." Their heads have a slight bobble, and they sometimes can't angle their eyes downward, so they fall again.

Unlike most children, who get better at things with time, Addi and Cassi's gait will get worse, and they'll reach more for railings and furniture for support. They'll fall more, adding to the bruises that already dot their elbows and knees. The few steps in their parents' newly renovated house will become impossible; when walking gets too difficult, they'll use a wheelchair. They're not potty-trained, and likely never will be.

They will stop saying words, and may stop speaking altogether. Soon, they'll start to forget things they once remembered; like which bed is whose in the room they share, or who their parents are. They may start to have seizures. As their condition worsens, their swallowing will deteriorate, and their parents may place them on feeding tubes. In several years, they will likely die - first one, then the other. [to see the rest, go here...]

Reading the whole article put me into such a reflective and sad mood. While it's not quite the same thing, I remember reading "Flowers for Algernon" in a science fiction anthology of best selling stories. It was in the sixties when I used to read just about anything that didn't wiggle out of reach if I'd grab it. I understand there was later both a book and a movie based on the short story and these had changes in some details of the story. But never mind them!! I want to read the short story again. ah... found a copy of the original short story (circa 1959). Yay. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 11/29/2008 11:20:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Natalka Czartoryska!

Natalka with Hisar Yasak (sire: Anadol Yali of Hisar x dam: Havuz Dalga)

Natalka with Anadol Yali of Hisar (sire: Capar of Anadol from Seacop x dam: Korumak Tyana of Anadol)
You are not forgotten.

(mouseover each pic to see the names of the dogs)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/25/2008 05:42:00 AM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Blogger aslanit sent us a woof // May 26, 2008

The Italian descentants of Yali and Jumbo(?) pictured here with Natalka,and of course myself,join in this happy birthday   

Anonymous Anonymous sent us a woof // August 31, 2008

Pretty. The lady's not so bad either.


Monday, May 19, 2008

What is a Kangal Dog? And AdorableTakas Anatolian Shepherd Dog Puppies

Anatolian puppy meets Central Asian Ovcharka.

These photos are from when Lilli's recent litter was 3 weeks old. Ah, the epitome of cuteness! :)
You can visit her website here:

Takas Anatolians, Australia

Takas Anatolians, Australia

Takas Anatolians, Australia

Takas Anatolians, Australia

Takas Anatolians, Australia

All so cute!

Lilli has done a wonderful job creating a brief anthology from different sources, showing similarities and differences between some of the various fawn shepherd dogs of Turkey.

Holy Grail, Batman!
There are some dog lovers and fanciers that go on about how the Kangal Dog is pureblood, and emphasizing that the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is more generic. In fact there are several books written by laymen who love these Turkish dogs and who have a variable collection of theories. Many actually speak of purity without looking at the source of the 'kangal' dogs they are observing or merely generalizing about -- and then they argue among themselves, "What is a Kangal Dog?", in an effort to make it distinct from the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

The Truth? Both have had the same rough start with preconceived ideas based on limited numbers of dogs observed; where dominant colors and coats suddenly produced recessives and somehow had to be explained. While one group, the Anatolian Shepherd folks simply accepted the diversity en route to achieving various kennel embraced ideal forms or others adopted an 'anything goes if the dog works' approach (wildlife conservation efforts, protection of livestock from predation), the other group (Kangal lovers) emphasized that their version is 'more pure'.


And they embraced a narrower standard within which they defined the color of their ideal dog.
Color is an important characteristic of the Kangal Dog. In Turkey, non-standard colors or patterns are indicators that the dog is not a purebred Kangal Dog. The true Kangal Dog color is always solid and ranges from a light dun or pale, dull gold to a steel gray, depending on the amount of black or gray in the outer guard hairs and in the soft, cashmere-like undercoat. This basic color is set off by a black mask which may completely cover the muzzle and even extend over the top of the head...

...Disqualifications: Solid black, white, or chocolate colored dogs; dogs with piebald, brindle, or other parti-colored patterns; white markings on the face other than the small white spot on the chin.
Faults: Poorly defined black mask.
A stricter standard is a useful tool in the artificial race to accomplish 'purity', to make it appear as though it has always been there. Compliance ensures removal of healthy genetic diversity via the route of eugenics/culling. A good demonstration of this loss of healthy diversity is that such strains of dogs tend to have more health problems than the more diverse group. Here are some breed stats from the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals.

Kangal Dog Registry Rank Evaluations Percent Abnormal Percent Normal

Anatolian S.D. Registry Rank Evaluations Percent Abnormal Percent Normal

Most anyone will probably not consider it normal for animals to have the ball of their hip located too far outside of its socket. Some affected dogs hold it together by being muscular in their youth, while others lacking in this compensation, may never make it to their first birthday.

It has only been in recent years that some of the new age Turks (not the traditional working shepherds) have begun to embrace this Western concept of "purity". Amusing when one realizes that such a concept of purity is only about 200 years old based on the work of breed specialists and enthusiasts of the Kennel Club. The Turks didn't invent it, but some have adopted the system somehow believing that it is superior and many do not realize that many breeds have developed problems because of narrow breeding.

Certainly, historically, distant villages of the sprawling Ottoman Empire never had meetings to decide what color their dogs should be. They were probably too busy fighting each other? --or surviving somehow, until Mustafa Kemal Ataturk came around and tried to nationalize them all.... But that's another story. However, National Pride is a big thing... the concept of purity in the Kangal has become such an urban legend that national pride is associated with this, and some people no longer question it.

At least the genetics of the dogs themselves speaks volumes, as you will see below. And many old shepherds embrace the truthfulness of variety that they have always known. They did not breed to a standard, they bred what they liked, or more accurately, the dogs that they liked and kept, bred themselves. They did not register dogs and often they kept no pups or just a few in a given litter. What is really changing however, is that the population that has been so dependent on the working dogs is disappearing. It is now easier for the well-to-do, to turn to the dogs as a hobby and to embrace new ideas, and entertain national pride.

The history of the breed as told by the Ministry of Turkey makes it clear that there has been no historical documentation:

When we studied history of Kangal Dog, we could not find any documents about Kangal dogs. There are several rumours about Kangal dogs. According to one rumour, the dog was derived from lion and tiger during Asur and Babil periods and were petted in order to provide protection against wild animals and use in wars and were grown up with great care...

Kangal foundation stock
Above is a Kangal Dog imported by David Nelson as foundation stock.

How does the dog above, compare to these other fawn dogs also called 'Kangal Dogs' below?

What is a Kangal Dog
Young Kangal at a show in Istanbul.

What is a Kangal Dog
Kangal puppies at the Ulas breeding center.

What is a Kangal Dog
A blind, unweaned, 2 week old puppy being shown at a Turkish Kangal Dog Festival.

What is a Kangal Dog
A collection of Kangals headed to the showring at the Festival.

What is a Kangal Dog
Another dog shown as a Kangal at the same Festival.

What is a Kangal Dog?
Well then, what kinds of dogs are these?
--- To find out, see Lilli's pages on these dogs here and here.

The latter link is a special page primarily discussing issues in Australia where what basically happened is truly astounding.

Registered Anatolian Shepherd Dogs were first microchipped and then they were lined up to be judged by persons with no expertise in Turkish dogs. After this day, they were to be here on forward as either Anatolian Shepherd Dogs or as Kangal Dogs. Dogs were split into a new registry that was formed for the Kangal in Australia.

Isn't that amazing? Appointed judges viewed each dog and arbitrarily decided on the breed each dog would be. Some dogs ended up in a different breed categorization than their parents or littermates. (Hey Vern, let's put the blonde children on this side of the bus and the brunettes on the other!) In Australia, as it continues to happen in Turkey, some of these 'pure' Kangal Dogs still produce longer coated dogs or variations that do not satisfy the purists. Rather than concede the dogs are "Anatolians" all along, they simply call these dogs 'mismarks'. The name "Anatolian Shepherd Dog" has been made into a media target of scorn and this evolves from the vendetta of some Brits, who continue to rail against a person who realized the diversity of these dogs, namely Natalka Czartoryska. Whether one embraces her opinions or not, the dogs continue to produce so called "mismarks" nevertheless, and we can safely say that most of them never knew the lady.

But record keeping and pedigrees are only as honest as the people that keep them, and large numbers of these dogs are being bred, particularly in Turkey. The FCI requires a certain quota of registered dogs before a country's application to be FCI recognized can be accepted.

The off colored dogs and the ones with rough coats are apparently initially registered as kangal, to boost the numbers in order to rapidly meet the FCI quota. No DNA testing is necessary. This sort of paper play has occurred in the United Kingdom as well. Individual dogs that are not culled immediately, can be sold with false pedigrees to hide the identity of the supposedly pure parents (and mask the dishonesty of the breeder). While some may feel that these lies do not hurt the humans, in the long run, these will hurt the dogs. We are already seeing that rough coated dogs from Turkey in Kangal enthusiast areas, are getting the rough end of the stick when they are placed.

In the USA, despite that some Kangal Club members have been on genetics lists for a few years, they still insist on this peculiar purity that is only found in Kangal Dogs. They continue to explain away their own mismarks and poor orthopedics with various arguments, avoiding the fact that the same patterns have been recorded for thousands of Anatolians, long before Turks began to document their dogs and discover the same variations.

My high school genetics teacher would probably have flung a chalk board eraser at their blank heads for this stubborn pursuit of some Holy Grail. Alas, while claiming historic purity is a cool thing, it sure isn't honest or even genetically realistic in these dogs.

Boz, Geller Calendar
Boz, another beautiful Kangal Dog. This one from 2005 Geller Turkish calendar.

Dozer in Turkey
Dozer, a nice solid dog for sure!
How do these dogs compare to each other? Same breed, ya think?

Go figure!
Check out Lilli's pages above! :)
She's much more succinct!

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/19/2008 01:56:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cappadocia, Turkey

Fairy Castles - In Cappadocia, Turkey

A Moonscape Carved by Nature and Man
-an article about Cappadocia in the travel section of New York Times today.
Check it out!

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in Cappadocia

Here are a few Turkish dogs from Cappadocia. These photos were among several others in an article that appeared in our club newsletter a few years ago.

At left is a beautiful male brindle pictured with his owner who is known for the quality of his dogs.

The article is beautifully written, a fun read.

It helps to illustrate the open honesty and appreciation that is felt for these wonderful dogs.

If we get the article online at the club website, I'll put a link to the story from here. :)

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/09/2007 11:17:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Cheetahs and Shepherds Rest Farm

Check out the month of October at the blog at Shepherds Rest Farm. One of the youngsters bred by Shepherds Rest Farm went with his breeder to Africa! Information on the cats and cheetah conservation program are being blogged there.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 10/24/2006 05:40:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Traditional Yal, Turkish Dog Food Recipe Request

A call out to gather some traditional Turkish 'yal' recipes and any trivia associated with regional or seasonal yal makings.

Yal in a letter
From a 1982 letter written to Natalka Czartoryska

Yal is a gruel that is prepared and fed to Turkish shepherd's dogs. With all the changes there are in nutrition criteria, there's still benefit to be had by learning about the traditional recipes and their regional variations.

Shepherds Rest Farm has blogged a recipe and cooking instructions for yal.
Check it out -- & leave some comments there.
Shepherds Rest Farm: Recipe for Yal


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/20/2006 10:07:00 AM | Permanent link | (4) Comments

Blogger Carina sent us a woof // September 21, 2006

Kewl! And thank you for the link to the other blog too.   

Blogger Carina sent us a woof // September 21, 2006

Oh - doing a quick search before going off to work I found this link:
You probably already know of it but I saved it to look through his other materials.   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // September 21, 2006

Carina, yep, I'm familiar with the link!

I'm looking forward to anything you can share, now or in the future! :)

The best perspective is the one with all eyes open!   

Blogger Shepherds Rest Farm sent us a woof // September 21, 2006

Thanks for the great comment regarding ASD diet in Turkey, including all the foods they might consume in additional to Yal!

In regard to longevity, I understand that the working dogs in Turkey are lucky to live to be 2 years old, since they really do have ongoing encounters with large predators. So any studies in their country of origin regarding diet, as it relates to longevity, would be almost impossible.   

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Warning: Ankyloglossia in ASD & Kangal Dogs Spreading Worldwide

These affected cases are being exported out of Turkey, so the recessive gene is spreading. I have not heard if we have affected ASDs or Kangal Dogs in the USA. The most recent case, 2006, is in Germany and one prior to that, 2004, is in Finland and the first case I read about was reported in Turkey in 2003.

So it is coming if it hasn't already arrived.

See a pic (click to enlarge 125K)
From JAVMA, Vol 223, No. 10, Nov. 15, 2003 - Scientific Reports: Clinical Report, 1443

Note from the ages of the affected dogs, that the trait is apparently well established in related breedings since the affected pups obviously did not all come from the same mother. Possibly from sisters owned by the same person. Since the trait is probably recessive, this means that the sire also supplied genes to cause expression of the trait.

Many Turkish dog importers have brought dogs to the USA over the recent years. Because the trait behaves as a recessive and apparently has modifiers as to degree of expression, it can be hidden until the gene in one dog meets up with another dog carrying the same gene and they each donate the recessive to the pups in their litters.

We do have enough increase in COI numbers in the USA going by some of my calculations (with well over a thousand Turkish dog pedigrees in my database), that such recessives will turn up soon if we have them. Puppy buyers are brutally honest when breeders are hush. We need to know if this is happening in the USA and which bloodlines to avoid. Puppy buyers must continue to be honest where breeders have not. It takes a community to protect our breed.

Here are the cases from the earliest reports to the present one.

(UPDATE: for clarity: these pups would have been born before the 2003 peer review and publishing of this article, depending on how long documenting the case and peer review took - sometimes as long as one year - perhaps the birthdate of these pups was 2002)
First reported case that I know of was in Turkey, published in Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association in Nov 2003. The article from the Journal was sent to me by sharp-eyed Audrey at Shaman's Anatolians.
Department of Surgery, Akdeniz University, Faculty of Veterinary
Medicine, Burdur, Turkey.

Two 8-month-old and one 7.5-month-old Anatolian Shepherd dogs were examined because of excessive drooling and poor weight gain. The 2 older dogs were full brothers, and the younger dog was their half sister; all 3 had the same sire. Physical examination revealed that the dogs were unable to protrude their tongues properly. In all 3, the tip of the tongue was notched and deviated ventrally when the dog attempted to protrude the tongue. In addition, a thin tissue band between the sublingual surface of the tongue and the floor of the oral cavity was seen; this tissue band extended from the lingual frenulum to the gingiva of the mandibular incisors. Frenuloplasty was performed to correct the complete ventral ankyloglossia. Immediately after surgery, the tongue was more mobile, and during recheck examinations, the dogs appeared to be able to use their tongues normally and could protrude their tongues when panting. They had gained weight and weighed almost as much as their healthy siblings. In all 3 dogs, the tip of the tongue retained a "W" shape.

WHERE did the German puppy that needed surgery come from? Who bred the dog? How related were the parents? WHO were the parent dogs? Were others in the genetic trail affected by the trait? Are there owners in Germany being tightlipped about it?

Here is where it is chilling ------ If it happened in some dog's great Aunt, that could very well mean that the speaker's present dog is a carrier even if "they never had babies like that!" This very simple genetic fact can be an infuriating topic. I did talk to a few Turkish dog owners and sellers about some white puppies that were born. These pups were blood relatives to ones being sold in the USA and abroad as KANGAL DOGS. Since the aunt or a distant cousin was WHITE, and because their own dog wasn't -- they didn't think their dog was a carrier of the trait. In fact one of the Turkish dog traders that helps import dogs to the USA got tightlipped and angry about the white puppies being revealed and started up a stupid hissy fit with some cronies, including one guy that is a rocket scientist that apparently knows next to nothing about genetics. One ASDCA breeder of ASD and Kangal Dogs who had purchased related dogs from the same strain also played the 'huh'? "that's not what my broker said"...

(UPDATE: Checking my notes - These puppies were born early in 2003 and obtained from a Turkish member of parliament who breeds Kangal Dogs originating from SIVAS, Turkey)
An affected puppy and its unaffected littermate turned up in Finland in 2003. As far as I know, the affected one wasn't serious enough to need surgery. The dogs seemed a bit small but I don't have an update on them.

Sadly... my friends, this IS the way Ankyloglossia is going to spread in the Turkish dogs all over the world and it is happening NOW. . .

This is a case published in Aug 2006 in a German Vet periodical.
Kleintierpraxis Reinle und Grundmann, Well am Rhein, Deutschland.

Ankyloglossia, commonknown as tongue-tie, is a rare congenital oral anomaly in dogs. A complete attachment of the lingual frenulum to the floor of the oral cavity leads to limited mobility of the tongue including problems during eating and swallowing. In humans ankyloglossia is a common anomaly in newborn infants. In our report a 5-month old Anatolian Shepherd dog was surgically treated and full function of the tongue could be achieved with a horizontal-to-vertical frenuloplasty.
2007 - 2010 coming to a Turkish dog litter near YOU...

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/12/2006 09:42:00 PM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Blogger silentsurfur sent us a woof // September 13, 2006

Thank you very much for you very informative and interesting post. It's giving a complete over view about Ankyloglossia.

Dog Training Lessons   

Blogger Karen sent us a woof // October 19, 2006

Whoa! That's an eye-opener. Thanks for the information.   

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Turkish Dog Evolution: Concerning Kangal Dog, Akbash, Kars, Turkish Mastiff, Yoruk, Malak and Anatolian Shepherd Dog

Turkish Dog History is still in the making. :)

The list of classifications and subclassifications of dogs associated with native shepherds of Turkey continues to grow. The Kangal Dog, Akbash Dog, Kars, and Turkish Mastiff, then the Malak, plus the Yoruk and the Anatolian Shepherd Dog are among current classifications of strains and/or (in some cases) breed divisions that have evolved via different sources in the past two decades from widely scattered native landraces of shepherds' dogs or coban kopekleri of Anatolia.

Click to see Malak article
Go to Malak Article

A Turkish-born researcher and traveler, Guvener Isik (website: has published two new articles about the flock guardian dogs in Turkey. One is a recent interview with Turkish Kangal Dog enthusiast and published author, Dogan Kartay, touching on issues of FCI recognition of Turkish breeds. The second article is an exploration of the heavy boned, massive Malak which Kartay mentions during his interview and the possible influences of this dog on other subtypes all across Turkey. Isik has published the Malak article previously (in Turkish) but the article is timely so it has undergone an English translation. Isik has many other articles (much of it is in Turkish) and has used his own collection of photos taken at location in some of his work. It is wonderful that he has taken the time to try to bring more understanding of the dog situation in Turkey to both Turkish and international interests alike.

See the articles linked below. Many thanks to both Isik and to Kartay for helping to bring more light to these subjects!
Taken from his website, Isik writes:
The History or Story Behind This Site

I have been around these dogs and the necessary life style since my childhood. It is obvious that there several views about this subject without any tangible and rational arguments. Most of the information available is time and content wise based on very limited research and is repetitive. Visiting a few villages and flocks for a few days in a limited geographical area and drawing outcomes through the collected or available data would give one a limited portion of the whole picture. This approach in the past gave two basic results: One is considering the whole shepherd dog population of Turkey as one breed "Anatolian Shepherd Dog", the other one is creating new breeds like "Akbas" without looking the meaning of the word and the extent and the content of its usage. The above second international approach affected the Turkish public and consequently manipuated city Turks and Turkish Academicians to accept a new breed. To me this is a breed inflation not a discovery. The Kangal side of the confusion started in Turkey and affected some clubs in other countries. So far there is not any clear remark in Turkey that clarifies the qualities of Kangal Shepherd Dog. Is Kangal a dog from only Kangal region? Is any dog from that region a Kangal? We can say "Yes" to the first question. We should say "No" to the second one, because there is variation of types in that area. Then it must be a type of dog, which can be mostly found in that area in its best form. There is no consensus on the subject, because we are referring to different qualities by using the same word. Recently any fawn colour dog with a black mask goes as a Kangal, and the local strains are being negatively damaged by this attitude.

I am actually concentrating on the Yoruk dogs. They are terribly ignored and even the name "stray" is used in order to elavate the importance of the major two famous strains. I am not intending to create a new breed but bring out whateverelse Anatolia offers. I am here to introduce them to you for them to be recognised.

Others involved in Yoruk dogs

We are a group of people who are trying to locate and preserve the best specimens of these dogs all over Turkey. We definitely deliberate over the traditional methods during the process of our endeavour to perpetuate these dogs. What we feed, how we choose and test are all based on conventional practices.

In Izmir: Aral Altay, Muzaffer Colakoglu
In Denizli: Halil Cokak, Ismail Kara, Ibrahim Kayis, Mehmet Kayan
In Sapanca: Vet. Murat Ilgaz
In Isparta: Mehmed Pir

To me, in order to do a good job of learning about these dogs one needs sensitivity to traditions (both current and past trends); enthusiasm about genetics and actual pedigree research; population & locale studies including formative environment; patiently reading perspectives from different peer and enthusiasts groups -- and the list goes on with other materials. A multidimensional approach!

Examining Turkish Dogs
Isik examining a Turkish dog. Puppies examining Isik.

Check out the puppy up on the dirt bank! An independent LGD in the making? :)

A female with a litter
From Isik collection: a female Kangal with portion of her litter.

For some, it is often 'safer' to just freeze a point in time with one's assumptions and speculations and to go no further toward the truth.

Foundation stock of Turkish breeds to from Kangal Dog, Akbash & Anatolian Shepherds -- and the produce from these dogs, even if acquired from the same areas (often they were not) were not consistent and homogenous, regardless of whether one sings for Akbash, Kangal Dog or ASD.

Foundation stock: Kangal Dog
A Kangal Dog from American Kangal Dog Club founder's foundation stock

Foundation stock: Akbash Dog
Another early foundation stock dog. American Akbash strain

At any rate, many new enthusiasts in these dogs are seeking better understanding. I'm glad that many realize there is so much more to learn! Knowledge, sharing information and being honest will help us all work together to preserve these wonderful dogs. :D B)

Links to the Articles:
Guvener Isik's Interview with Dogan Kartay
Malak and furthermore Greyhound Turca

Related from this blog:
Bozkir Canavari: The Steppe Monster
Previous Turkish dogs blog post with some genetics info

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 9/05/2006 11:11:00 PM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Blogger Carina sent us a woof // September 08, 2006

I will perhaps be in Turkey for a visit next year...if I do I am definitely going to try getting out to see some dogs! :)
If you recall, I spent five years growing up in Turkey and well remember the guardian dogs. One had to be careful when walking in rural areas, because they could be quite ferocious and vigilant about strangers approaching.
I have long wanted an Anatolian, but city living just doesn't seem fair for a flock-guardian dog of proper temperament.   

Blogger Arlene sent us a woof // January 28, 2007

I would LOVE to have another Kangal puppy. Fates will probably not allow it as I can't afford to get one from a reputable breeder in the States and won't be getting to Turkey any time soon. I dream of the day though...   

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Anatolian Shepherd Dog on Finnish TV Show

Kirsi and her Anatolian, Semavi Kale Kadim, recently appeared on Finnish TV. The show was about how Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGD) can be helpful in managing a balance between wildlife conservation efforts (predators) and keeping livestock.

Here are some captures from the Real Player version of the show (so they are a bit fuzzy!).

Here's Kirsi taking Kadim out to be filmed for the interview

Kirsi during the interview

A capture of Kadim from the show

Kadim apparently had a good time being a TV star for the day. He did some silly things that were filmed in the interview, but I was told that few of his antics (regarding personal grooming) were not part of the final cut. ;) Ah the life of a TV star. California Boy does Good. :)

Good job Kirsi, and well done, Kadim! :clap:

And now, for a picture not so fuzzy!
Here's Kadim in a winter scene at home. He's showing off a concho studded collar in weather more typical of Finland!

Kadim models his "Cowboy Cool" concho collar!

Previous link on Kadim in this blog
See the Real-Player Video here. (14 minute video which in Finnish - click the "katso jutun real-video" link)
Visit Kirsi's blog- Kiramet anatolianpaimenkoirat

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 7/15/2006 03:20:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Bozkir Canavari: The Steppe Monster

Bozkir Çanavari: The Steppe Monster is the latest of articles available online, written by Guvener Isik in the ASDI newsletter (Anatolian Shepherd Dogs International, Inc., Choban Chatter ).

It is an authorized English translation of a chapter from the Turkish dog book, Turk Çoban Köpegi Kangal by Dogan Kartay. Thank you Dogan Kartay and Guvener Isik for doing this work!

This chapter explains a little about the mystery and intrigue behind some of the wolf/shepherd dog hybrids of Turkey, the parents of which "can be karabas, akbas or crosses of these two. The possibility of the survival of the cubs from the Çanavar parents is greater in the steppes."

It has been generally understood that wolf crosses have occasionally been used in the breeding of some of the shepherd's dogs, so this makes for some fascinating reading for Turkish dog fans! The robust health and the original diversity of these dogs, the hardships and the cultures behind them can be really appreciated here. Warnings about character of the cubs/puppies are mentioned as well. (lest anyone think that wolf/dog hybrids come without risk)

Here's another bit from the article...
Male Wolf and female Kangal pairs are bred under the control of the villagers of Yesildag region that is in the west of Beysehir Lake, which is located, further north of Toros Mountains.
location of Yesildag, Turkey

I'm really into maps, so I'm always referencing areas when specific regions are mentioned. This helps put a lot of what is said about Turkish shepherd dogs into clearer perspective. The Toros Mountains is the Turkish name for the Taurus Mountains and the region mentioned above can be seen here just at the northern edges of the Toros Mountains and between Konya (east) and Isparta (west) just south of Lake Beysehir...Map of Yesildag TR

Here's a photo of a twisting, winding road to Yesildag going around Lake Beysehir.

Road to Yesildag
Courtesy Lux's World

Here's a fascinating satellite map which helps put the rough terrain into a little more perspective. Pink spot is approximately Yesildag.

The region by USDA satellite

Boone and squeaky toy

Boone ponders a squeaky toy that is not a Steppe Monster.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 5/27/2006 04:10:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Turkish Stray Dogs

On my homepage for the past year, I've featured a link to the Stray Dogs Campaign Foundation (SDC Foundation) which is a supportive fund and awareness raising organization for stray dogs issues such as one in Turkey known as Sahipsiz Hayvanları Koruma Derneği (SHKD, or, Society for the Protection of Stray Animals). It's long been about time to write about the Turkish stray dogs issue here.

Be forwarned. The photos and reports on this link are disturbing and quite graphic. They show abuse, poisoning, mismanagement and professional corruption even among some veterinarians and some Turkish government officials who are entrusted local issues pertaining to the enormous stray dogs problem of Turkey. To really grasp the size and context of the issues, you'd have to see these reports.

As with all animal care organizations, Foundation (SKHD) needs money to carry out their programs. Turkish shelters and veterinary facilities often have little to no funding and few regular custodians able to care for the massive numbers of stray dogs.

If you'd like to donate or to buy items that support their cause, visit this page.

A little about the Stray Dogs Campaign Foundation information from their own pages:-

The SDC Foundation:

Started in 2003 as a private initiative by Mrs. Linda Taal, it now has resulted in the StrayDogsCampaign Foundation, founded on April 16th, 2005.

The aim of the StrayDogsCampaign Foundation, as is established in the articles of association, is:

  1. collecting money for organisations that dedicate themselves to the cause of solving the stray dog situation in the urban area's of second and third world countries by means of Catch, Neuter and Release.

  2. developing all sorts of activities that are related to the above in the broadest sense.

Considering the huge scale of the problems, at this point in time the Stray Dogs Campaign Foundation focuses solely on the situation in Turkey.

In Turkey, stray dogs in the cities have been ubiquitous for as long as people can remember. They were part of a sort of accepted ecosystem, cleaning up the edible refuse that humans left at the dumps, accepting food left out for the dogs to eat, or given handouts from the back of restaurants and homes. Some of the dogs could be quite tame and friendly, others quite skittish. See a 2003 Article about SHKD at MyMerhaba (THIS link may load veeeeery slowly but gives a good background).

The situation now has taken on new dimensions as more people move up in life, leisure and think they would like to keep a pet. When the pet doesn't work out, often they are just released so that the neighborhood can provide support for the dog. Of course, this increases the numbers and diversity in types of strays that go on to reproduce.

For the Turkish situation, it seems to work best if stray dogs are captured, neutered, then returned to where they live so that they can at least continue to live in relative cleanliness rather than in overfilled, high maintenance cages where there is higher risk of disease and too few volunteers or officials, and available food to care for them. It is more cost effective than maintaining shelters. The continuous neutering of stray dogs is believed to have effect in helping with some control of the overpopulation program.

Another program in Turkey is FETHİYE HAYVAN DOSTLARI DERNEĞİ (FHDD) which has a website. "Fethiye Friends of Animals Association" states on it's pages:
[Our] aims are to care for stray dogs and cats by implementing a Neuter and Return program, which is a humane no-kill method that eventually reduces the number of strays that are endemic in most Mediterranean countries to acceptable levels. This then results in a harmonious attitude between the local population and the animals."
Progress in Turkey?

Linda Taal of the SDC Foundation has written me that the Turkish government has accepted a new animal welfare bill, the contents of which bill sound pretty good. Here quoted, is the bill:
It is a principle that the owners of cats and dogs being fed and accommodated in communal areas are expected to have them sterilised in order to prevent uncontrolled reproduction. Furthermore, those who wish to breed from the said animals must register all young animals born and are responsible for their care and/or distribution.

Those who sell domestic animals and pets are obliged to take part in certified training programmes arranged by the local authorities in relation to the care and protection of these animals.

Those who produce and trade in domestic pets are obliged to take precautions in relation to necessary anatomic, physiological and behavioural characteristics in order not to endanger the health of pet owners, the mother selected for reproduction or her young.
Linda continues, "However the bill its not implemented. Even with all possible law to refer to, municipalities go on poisoning and killing, people go on breeding and dumping."

Furthermore, according to the FHDD's website:
The Turkish Government has not passed the necessary Animal Protection laws that will in future forbid local authorities from the indiscriminate poisoning of stray animals. Our message to these authorities is that there is an alternative now available to them – the adoption of a Neuter and Return program.
Changes for the better? ...or not? ---

There are Turkish dog enthusiasts who are attempting to get a Turkish Kennel Club started in Turkey and would like to have the club recognized by Federation Cynologique Internationale (FCI). In the United States, the AKC is our equivalent kennel club, in the United Kingdom, it is The Kennel Club. Australia, New Zealand also have theirs. The FCI serves the rest of the world. These major clubs accept registration papers between each of their registering bodies.

FCI is an organization that is in some ways a purebred dog enthusiast's metaphor to the United Nations, but primarily deals with the regulations regarding breed standards, competitions, as well as compliant record keeping methods in member countries (FCI is not a registry). Only one dog club in each accepted country can be a member club under the FCI and they must abide these regulations and keep registration paperwork in order. Many countries as yet, including Turkey, do not have a national dog club or registry. Often this is due to cultural issues, priorities or tradition with regard to attitudes toward dogs or general affluence or its lack. (note: I'm sure any ingrained dog enthusiast will mention, some even if not pressed, that the bureacracy in many dog clubs doesn't exactly represent the epitome of civilization!)

One advantage of there being an acceptible registry in Turkey would be that Turkish Dog enthusiasts like myself would be able to get registered dogs directly from Turkey which qualify to be AKC registered. This would enhance the biodiversity and genetic health of our dogs. Recognition of Turkish dogs without going through the maddening process we currently endure would be wonderful! But at what cost for the other dogs in Turkey? The principle movers and shakers in this pursuit are indeed Turkish enthusiasts for the big dogs such as the Kangal and the Akbash dog.

Is Turkey ready for a Kennel Club? Would this create more problems for stray dogs, for small and larger purebred dogs? Would it be a good idea for FCI to recognize a Turkish Kennel Club? Some feel that with more official regulations there may be improvement in the dog situation. But you have to wonder... if Turkey is not enforcing the rules they already have, and do not penalize their own government and animal care officials for mass poisonings, shootings and abuse of stray dogs, what happens then?

If you have an opinion on this matter and want to write to the FCI and let them know your opinion:

Address for FCI
Federation Cynologique Internationale
Place Albert 1er, 13
B-6530 THUIN

More reading on Stray dogs of Turkey:

UPDATE AUG 2, 2006
China is an FCI country, yet their method of handling their rabies problem by violent public beatings of the dogs is just totally unacceptably barbaric. Report on China's Dogs and Rabies

With that sort of background and China not losing it's FCI affiliation, what can we hope for Turkey? :(


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 4/23/2006 11:56:00 PM | Permanent link | (2) Comments

Blogger silent bibo sent us a woof // April 28, 2006

in Taiwan,we also have stary dogs problem.Taiwan's volunteers has been looking for support from overseas.expect to adopt the dogs,I don't know what can I do.... :-(   

Blogger Semavi Lady sent us a woof // April 30, 2006

I think all countries have a stray dog problem, however most countries do not have to worry about government employees indiscriminantly extermination of dogs on one's own street. This doesn't happen everywhere in Turkey, but it does happen.

See Turkish News...

from above:
"Until recently it was common practice for municipalities, including those run by pro-secular parties, to poison strays with strychnine-laced meat or to shoot them dead. With pet ownership spreading among middle-class Turks, pressure has been mounting on authorities to treat animals more humanely"

This is the crux of the matter. External pressure which prevents the International (FCI) acceptance of the Turkish national breeds, until Turkish municipalities cease this abuse, may be the best way to motivate Turkish government to stop this abuse by their own employees.   

Monday, March 27, 2006

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Population stats

Every year, I update some spreadsheets with some AKC breed popularity statistics and post some of the highlights on my website.

To see more in the way of breed statistics, trends and charts, such as the following:
Rate of Growth til 2005
Go here.


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 3/27/2006 05:31:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

OFA and health records on Anatolians

I've updated my online copy of the OFA database of ASDs. These are dogs which have public health testing results available at the OFA site. Cardiac, thyroid and CERF are among some of the tests that some breeders or Anatolian Shepherd Owners have done. In six months time, there have been 49 additions to the database. This doesn't mean 49 more dogs were tested, but that some dogs with multiple tests were added.

The link for the page is Anatolian Shepherd Dogs from OFA database

If researching an individual dog or a kennel name to get background information on the ratings of their dogs, the alphabetical layout of the reports is pretty helpful. I note that some names are misspelled and others have been corrected.

Ruya, my sweetie

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 3/22/2006 06:43:00 AM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Breed Standard Revisions: UK

The breed standard for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog in the UK was revised in 2005 to accept all colors of the breed without specific wording for color preferences. Many kudos to all of those that helped to make this happen!

The official description of Color in the standard at this time is -
All colours acceptable, with or without black mask and black ears.
Websites are slowly catching up. However, many are cobwebs that are not updated on any regular basis. The current standard for The Kennel Club (UK) can now be viewed at this link... Discover Dogs - Working - Anatolian Shepherd Dog, which is at The Kennel Club site.

Those of us in the Anatolian community who surf into a site with the outdated standard might take a moment to write a brief note to websites that feature the wrong standard and point them to the corrected standard above.

Now some commentary... The changes above put the standard almost into alignment with the FCI, Australian, and other breed standards for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog around the world, but there are still problems.

  • The coat length is still specified as short (and dense); however rough coats are also correct for the breed.

  • The specification for only a black nose is also incorrect and conflicts with the change in standard that equally accepts all colors. For if all colors are acceptable, that means that the liver color and blue dogs who have well pigmented noses would still be penalized, for it is not genetically possible for them to have black noses.


Semavi Lady woofed at @ 2/16/2006 06:03:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Thursday, November 24, 2005

Carnivore Damage Prevention News

Not exactly a new link but one that should be getting more coverage because of its educational value, Carnivore Damage Prevention News has a newsletter about various aspects of wild carnivores around the world. CDPNews No 8 / January 2005 is available online and is fascinating reading about the successes and problems in the use of livestock protection dogs as implemented around the world. Below is an image from one of the reports in the newsletter.

Anatolian in Namibia
Anatolian in Namibia, photo courtesy of Cheetah Conservation Fund

There are other archives and files available on other wild Carnivore subjects as well..

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 11/24/2005 01:45:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments

Sunday, October 02, 2005

What Every Dog Breeder Should Know - Claudia Orlandi Ph.D.

Available from AKC Canine Health Foundation is a home study program for dog breeders.

"ABC's of Breeding: What Every Dog Breeder Should Know!" author Dr Claudia Orlandi uses this workbook to help teach dog breeders fundamentals of breeding at her seminars around the country.

Now available for home study! Approximately 372 spiral bound, standard (8.5 x11) pages, including the "flash cards" and study material. Large print and well thought out approach helps to make the material easier to assimilate.

Basics of genetics are covered -- and even better, dog specific material gathered from trusted canine genetics reference sources provides valuable insight for both the new or experienced dog breeder. Even those that have been breeding dogs for a while may gain a better perspective about practical and applied genetics. Useful insight for evaluating pedigrees may help breeders in making the right choices with promising dogs -- leading to better focus, quality and goals in their programs.

Here are a few scans from this workbook to whet your appetite... :)

"Inheritance of complex conformation traits may be inherited differently in different breeds." - from the workbook

Sample traits. I've blurred some these to encourage you to obtain your own copy! I've left the recessives unblurred because people seem confused about the fact that there are desireable recessives.

An extra teaser page from the book...
There is so much more.

An extra perk! A student of this program can complete the workbook at their own pace and then go on to earn a "Certificate of Completion" for their efforts. To obtain the certificate, the exercises at the back of the workbook should be completed and submitted to AKC. (instructions are in the workbook)

How to get the book?
The price with shipping from one website I saw earlier this year (2005) was $32.95 with checks made out to AKC/CHF (Canine Health Foundation). The author, Dr. Claudia Orlandi suggested ordering it directly from AKC/CHF. The CHF as of this writing, doesn't have the "store" running on their website, -- where the book might possibly be a 'clickable' purchase in the future. Erika Werne, Director of Canine Research & Education (AKC/CHF) sent me email details on how to obtain the book either by postal mail (mail them a check), or to order by phone (with a visa card). I was able to order mine over the phone for total cost $25.00 USD including shipping & handling. Took about two weeks to arrive.

What to ask for when you order -

"ABC's of Breeding: What Every Dog Breeder Should Know!"
by Dr Claudia Orlandi

Dear Janice:

Actually, you can call the toll free number below and order with a visa. The address Claudia gave you is correct, but our PO box works better, since it comes directly to us rather than going through AKC's mail room. That address is P.O. Box 37941, Raleigh, NC 27627-7941.


Erika Werne
Director of Canine Research & Education
AKC Canine Health Foundation

"Double the Dollars for Dogs" - In 2005, every dollar you donate to the Endowment Challenge will be doubled by the AKC! Please contact us for more information about how you can ensure that we meet our goal of helping our dogs live longer, healthier lives.

Hat tip to Kathy Gerlach (Gerlach Ranch Anatolians) and Allison Southards for mention of the book which was originally obtained at a seminar. It sounded like a very promising reference... which sent me sourcing for it
. :)

I highly recommend this book for ASD breeders both as a reference and study guide. I believe that if the information is assimilated and put to good use, this will help us improve the quality of current breeding programs and help in the preservation of the best in our magnificent breed.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 10/02/2005 02:31:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments