These boys are big and have the breed traits that distinguish the breed from the general population of mixed "sheepdogs" in Turkey. These males were selected by me in Turkey because they have many of the traits we admire -- have admired -- since 1988 when we got our first Kangal Dogs as a gift from a Turkish friend.
Dost is shown lying in the pasture with Zara, who know resides on the Malone Angus Ranch in Arkansas. Dost has sired one litter since his arrival - the dam was Zara. We are getting great reports back from the owners in Oklahoma, Florida, Montana, New Jersey, and Missouri.
BEARS - Oh my!
The Dost son, Cenghis, was purchased as a small farm guardian and companion by a family in New Jersey. While walking near the heavily wooded farm, he and one of his owner's adult daughters came upon an adult black bear, which he promptly treed. Then -- to the shock of the young woman (who is accustomed to bears) the 350 lb. bear began coming down the tree. The woman retreated, concerned for not only her safety but that of the 5.5 month old Cenghis! Cenghis responded to his mistress' distress by attacking the bear, grabbing and biting at its hindquarters. The bear came down the tree only to run away, dragging Cenghis a few yards.
When Don, Cenghis' owner, recounted this story, first I was shocked that the dog was not smart enough to avoid physical contact with the bear. However, when I learned of his daughter's distress and understood that she was calling to Cenghis (probably NOT in a calm voice), I understood. Cenghis only knew that his human was distressed -- he had no experience with face to face bear encounters. His only instinct was to protect his distressed companion -- by attacking the bear if that was what was needed.
Over the years we have learned a good rule of thumb. If you want to "disengage" your dog from a threatening situation, you have to be calm and "disengage" yourself. A respected dog trainer and breeder friend, Malinda Julien, summed up the situation for me: If you are yelling, your dog thinks you are a cheer leader!
West Coast Bear
Cenghis is not the only one of our Kangal Dogs to have protected his owner from bears. The Deviny's live in Washington, surrounded by forrest, some of it National Forest. Rita loves to trail ride and specifically got a Turkmen Kangal Dog as a riding companion. "Dev" (Turkish for "giant") first encountered and treed a black bear that was just a few yards from their backyard.
"Dev had been outside all day; in fact, I couldn't get him to come in. Finally it was really getting dark and I knew I had to make him come inside. We have too many large predators for me to leave a 5 month old puppy outside." Rita was tired of Dev's coy "keep away" game, but she was shocked by her pup's behavior this time when she called him. He was staring at her (she thought) and suddenly his hackles went up, he showed his teeth, and he charged!!! Directly past her -- into the trees, where she heard crashing. Used to bear sounds, Rita understood instantly what was happening. Her young Kangal Dog had treed the bear that had been in the area of the house all afternoon.
That was in 2004 - today Dev is still his owners' pride and joy. In fact, Rita and Bill have a reservation for a second Kangal Dog to join Dev. Their puppy is one of our current litter by Ch. Turkmen Davut and out of Ch. Turkmen Raki. Davut is a 1/2 brother to Dev. Their mother is the wonderful Ch. Turkmen Tasi's Mystique (Missy). Dev was sired by another one of our Turkish imports -- not a dog from Germany or England or even France where Kangal Dogs are registered with (and certainly bred to) Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.
That sire was Ch. SVF Kaptan of Turkmen. Though he is now gone, he has left us with some of our best individuals. He was not perfect but he outproduced himself in his offspring. He was selected at the age of 10 weeks in 1999 in Turkey out of a sire and dam that I was familiar with and had first met in 1996.
In the meantime, Tecer, one of our other 2007 imports, has proven to be very attached to his goats. He has sired one litter out of GCH Arzu -- we have gotten back such great reports from the two pups that the mating produced that we are looking forward to repeating that mating this fall.
One of the Tecer-Arzu pups went to Georgia where she protects poultry, miniature goats, and the Swafford family from intruders. She is bonded to her livestock but is equally protective and devoted to her owners' young son.
Jess wrote in an email about Ceyda. In it he said, "I wanted to tell you that Ceyda is doing great. She is beautiful. Her structure is flawless. She has really become a wonderful part of our family. I need to take some pictures and send them to you. She has really started to be protective of things. She barks at strangers and can be very intimidating to someone walking near the fence. That is exactly what we wanted. She is so sweet though. When I go in the fence she comes to me with her head down submissively until she sees that I want to play and then she gets very hyper and we have a big time playing together. I feel like she really loves me (and the whole family). I feed her only once a day and she would rather play with one of us than to eat her food. She'll take a bite or two and then she wants to play while we're back there. I already feel that she would do what it took to protect us. "
Ceyda's sister, Keeva, is in Arizona where she is the protector for an Orthodox Abbey. She is the guardian for the Sisters as well as the goats and property there. This summer a second Turkmen pup will join Keeva.