Turkish Collars

[ Konya style Turkish Collar on Aslan ]Aslan modeling a Turkish collar of the style typically seen in Konya, Turkey.

You do NOT want to stand very close to him when he wears this as the spikes have actually been chiseled to fine points at the ends by the Turkish smithy who fashioned this example.. The spikes on this collar are three inches long. On some other collars of this type, they are much shorter.

This collar (see below) features a central sheetmetal band in the shape of a 'C', which fits around the neck by it's spring action. It has a metal 'D-ring' type catch on one opened edge of the 'C' which catches on the upturned, curled edge of the other end of the 'C'; forming continuous band when placed on the dog's neck. The spikes themselves are elongated pieces of about 7.5 inches in length, placed together in an 'X' pattern. These 'X's are riveted together at their centers onto regular intervals on the main band of the collar, and finally the edges are bent upwards to create the rather awesome looking spikes.

[ The Konya-style Collar ]

Different regions of Turkey feature collar styles unique to the areas; commensurate with the individual style and skill of the ironsmith as well as the quality of materials at hand. Iron, other metals, even wood in the poorer locales have been used to fashion spike collars.

[ Aslan in iron collar ]Here, Aslan models one of the most common types of collars seen on Turkish guardian dogs. It is made of iron, and quite heavy.

Since the spike collars are fit to the neck quite snugly, or the dog matures and fills the collar, Anatolians exported from Turkey, who have worn these collars, have sometimes had to be sedated to facilitate cutting to remove their collars.

In Turkey, the dogs seem to adapt quite well to wearing the collars. I have no idea how often man or beast is injured inadvertently by noncombatant dogs wearing the collar. I do suppose that the dog learns not to scratch that part of his neck with a hind foot, too carelessly. While some of us abroad are lucky enough to have one or a few of these collars, it really isn't practical to leave these things on our dogs, so they are usually saved for educational exhibits, wall hangings, and sometimes as radio antennas by HAM enthusiasts!.
An opened link-style, welded iron collar is shown in the photo below. This collar, opened, is 26 inches long and the spikes are 1.5 inches. Solid iron, it is quite heavy! Links can be added or subtracted because of the linked construction style. Normally, only one link is open just a bit more than the other links in order to provide the area from which to put the collar on the dog - tilting this link and its corresponding keyhole just enough, it usually is quite simple to place the collar on the dog. The shape of the open link keeps the collar from being too easy to remove when it fits properly, and it is quite difficult for the collar to simply fall off.

[ Opened cast iron collar ]

The purpose of the collar, as used in Turkey on their livestock protection dogs, is to protect the throat of the dog from injury should the dog go face-to-face in combat with a wolf. A fighting Anatolian in action is quite an active dog, so it would seem that the collar can protect much more than the dog's neck as it lunges about.

Stories of tradition in Turkey suggest that the spiked collars were placed on flock protection dogs after they had proven themselves worthy by killing a wolf. However, this is not necessarily accurate. Good protection dogs often prove their value more subtly; since presence of predators in an area, coupled with the conspicuous absence of predator losses is proof enough to the experienced shepherd that the expected work of the guardian dog is being done. Perhaps collars were specially made and placed on particularly favorite dogs, thus supporting the stories of legendary dogs earning these collars, but the presence of the collar doesn't necessarily mean that the particular dog has dispatched a wolf. From another view point, the collar on the dog could very well be a contributing factor to the fact that predator losses have not occurred since even a brief fang-to-fang skirmish could have otherwise resulted in serious injury to the unprotected dog, opening the potential for real trouble for the flock.

Traditionally, odds are generally stacked against the predators, since those which dared mingle among the defenseless stock usually found themselves face to face with small multiples of guardian dogs, rather than singular guardians - which is more typical in the USA. Further, shepherds of the old world generally lived with their dogs and herds in a seasonally nomadic cycle - while guardian dogs of the USA are generally given a lot less direct supervision and less handling and training, yet in the USA, the dogs get lots of pressure to perfectly fit a modern American livestock guardian paradigm . . But that's another story.


If you're interested in obtaining your own Turkish Collar
(or Kilim Dog collars or Turkish carpets)
Ornamental Collar
Visit Andrea Jacob's Taking My Time.

See more pastoral guardian spiked collars at
Marco Petrella's Vreccale Museum

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Turkish Dogs - particularly Anatolian Shepherd Dogs


This page by Janice Frasche'   all rights reserved.
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