Monday, October 16, 2006

News From Owners: Kangal Dogs and Children

One of the things that we have learned over the years is that our owners teach us a lot about the breed. Dogs, like family members, are unique. What works for one may not work for another, but when you work within a breed, you have a better chance of extrapolating based on another owner's experience and another dog's behavior.

One of our owners in New York has called his Kangal Dog the "do anything" dog. Baskin is a family/farm companion that accompanies his owner or his wife when they go riding. He never strays far from them in their woods and is typically responsive to voice commands (don't try this in high traffic -- people, cars, or other dogs -- areas!). We have photos of him taken at Niagara Falls and at shows (where he earned his championship by winning points in group placings!) as well as on the farm.

Another couple who had bought a Michigan farm that had once been a horse farm contacted us about a puppy about 2 years ago. They seemed like a wonderful potential home. The fencing -- decorative split rail -- concerned us. They put invisible fence in behind it -- I still voiced my concern. Last week we had a great conversation -- Nala loves the new baby -- and by the way, the invisible fence has proven perfect. She never challenges her boundaries.

Another family here in Texas has a new baby and a very attentive Kangal Dog! No sign of jealousy but concern if the baby sounds unhappy! We have long observed with our dogs that the protectiveness they show toward their livestock charges translates into a similar response to children.

The experience of our young buyers mirrors our own -- with our children decades ago and now with our grandchildren! The photo above is of "Glam," one of our imported (from Turkey) Champions. We were fortunate when the family who imported her decided that her protective instincts were more than they needed in a suburban situation (they kept their male and sent us Glam). She is protective of her goats and her children! The photo was taken by Nancy Rix on her Florida farm.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Taylor Farms and Turkmen Kangal Dogs
In the late 70s we, my husband and I, moved to the country and began a family. A milk cow, some chickens, then some goats and some geese were all a part of our life. Then when we both began working off the farm and being gone all day, we found that maurading dogs -- and ocassional coyotes -- were a threat to our animals.

In time, our veterinarian talked us into finding an Akbash Dog. Then a Turkish friend told us that we needed "the famous dog of Turkey" and asked if we would accept a Kangal Dog if he brought us one as a gift. We said yes, and he did, and we did. That was in 1988, and we have had Kangal Dogs ever since.

Livestock guard dogs are as unique as herding dogs are. We use both and are continually amazed by both. The purpose of this blog is to share some of our ongoing experiences with the Turkish livestock guardians -- and those of our less communicative owners and fellow Kangal Dog enthusiasts!

Now the question is: Where should we start?