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BATTLEFIELD

- only for people with strong stomachs and genuine interest in useless debating.... :)
This page contains more about the 'ASD vs. kangal vs. akbash vs. kars vs. whatever' controversy!

I'm sure anyone with sound mind will find this page quite ridiculous and I agree whole heartedly, I do feel a bit degraded to have been dragged into this fighting in public. I'm not very happy about turning my web-site into a battlefield, but as long as Sue Kocher sees it fitting to 'correspond in public', I feel obliged to respond, in the name of fairness.

I apologise in advance to everyone new to the Turkish shepherd's dogs, çoban köpegi. You probably find all this fighting quite scary and confusing, even appalling. But, please, don't be bothered by it and don't worry whether your dog is 'right' or 'wrong', just love and value them. Not as status objects nor ego boosters, but for what they are - like I do and most of the people I know. Those with interest in this dispute, those who have the strength to wade through it - I hope you find it at least a little bit educating!


Sue,

I'm not even surprised to see what you are doing, it fits the picture. But, do you think it's correct that you publish MY TEXT on your site and link my site without asking my permission for it? I haven't bothered to find out if it's legal, but that's not even the point, the point is: do you really feel that you have done right? As educated as you claim to be, you seem to have some serious lack of common good behaviour and deciency. You seem quite threatened by the truth on my web-site, thus your strong reaction.

It has been very disappointing to see that most of the 'educational' kangal related web-sites & articles ignore the truth by, for example, disregarding scientific facts regarding genetic rules concerning the inheritance of coat colour and length.

It's very easy to refer to 'pure breeding dogs' when these are dogs bred without any records. As long as there are no records, one can pontificate on how pure these dogs have been for centuries! But, for the last few decades there have been kennel records kept all over the world, and these records clearly indicate that there is no such thing as a separate, pure breeding, only fawn & short coated Kangal Dog. On many sites the urban legend of the kangal dog seems to be backed up by misrepresentation of the truth, and sometimes the rantings on those sites can remind one of a little terrier, -- not much to say, but bark, bark, bark...


Well, folks, here we go again:

THE DISPUTE: One or several breeds of çoban köpegi.

>>>Kirsi, when I first saw your web site, it made me very sad. Frustrated too, but mostly sad. I have had long email talks with you, and I believed you to be sincere.>>>

I'm glad you have found me to be sincere, I believe I am. Unfortunately, I'm not sure if the same quality can be found in you.

>>>I really must believe that you do not understand the damage that you are doing by lobbying the FCI to hybridize all the the regional sheepdog breeds of Turkey...... Kirsi, so very many breeds of domestic animals that were developed for specific purposes in history have been completely wiped out or endangered... There is plenty of information available on the web, and all of the experts agree: maintaining biodiversity requires maintaining whole families, species, and yes even BREEDS of plants and animals....>>>

All you say above sound so appealing, in fact quite pompous too in this context. All the organisations you mention do very important work and the references are correct in regards to endangered original species of animals and plants. Unfortunately, it has very little to do with the reality in this issue, as kangal is not a separate original breed. Your basic flaw is that you are trying to twist the reality to delude people to believe that kangal is the 'one and only original one'. But as this is not the case, most of what you say lacks both logic and truth. Think about the history of these Turkish dogs, not the 25 years within a government kennel, but the thousands of years with the Turkish or actually with the Kurdish shepherds. The dogs you call kangal obviously came from dogs that I call Anatolian Shepherd Dog and not vice versa. If I consider the origin of all Turkish working dogs, where they came from and how they looked then and how the dogs, which still can be found on that area, look today - I think that Anatolian Shepherd Dog is just as it should - a true coban köpek, an indigenous breed. 'Bred' simply to do a job, which they still today are capable of doing - not for anything else, not for looks - not for status - not for some town's or klan's 'mascot'. The original population of çoban köpegi looked like Anatolian Shepherd Dogs, kangal is a variety created from that pool, and only recently has it come so popular in Turkey. By recently I mean decades compared to the thousands of years of the existance of working çoban köpegi on that area, not even yet resided by Turks or called Turkey back then.

What you are trying to do, is to establish a breed, the 'one and only true' breed from Turkey, by choosing a variety of the çoban köpegi. You ignore the origin of these dogs, and then you claim that the variety is the original one. Where did kangal come from? Do you think that kangal was created in a vacuum, that it just popped out? Perhaps from an egg? Even Darwin would probably be quite surprised if you were able to prove that kangal is not a created variation from that original pool of çoban köpegi, which still can be found with different colours and coat lengths.

I understand if it's difficult for you to comprehend what is meant by indigenous breeds, such dogs don't even exist in every country. They aren't always so very homogenous by appearance, their function has been more important than their looks. In Finland we have e.g. the Lapdog from Lapland. The Lap people are an old group native to the Arctic Circle, the area they populated has always been known as Lapland, although it never has comprised a separate country. Lapland includes parts of northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and even a bit of Russia. The Lapdog is an ancient Nordic spitz type of dog still used for herding of reindeers. It comes in several colours, standard says 'any colour' but of course not all colours exist in the breed. They also have some differences in conformation, but nevertheless - it is one breed. Some breeders (showtype) prefer some specific colour or exact size in their lines, but to my knowledge no one has ever seriously thought about splitting this breed into several ones by preferences based on colour or region. Their registry is 'open', so new blood from unregistered working dogs is still taken into it. Those dogs are judged critically by a council of experts until they are accepted, so no 'street dogs' are allowed into the registry.

You seem to accept that there is only one Tazi in Turkey, I find it quite surprising. All the arguments you have for kangal vs. other çoban köpegi don't apply for the sighthounds in Turkey? Well, I think that you are quite correct in regards to Tazi. For example, the breed we know as Afghanistan Sighthound today, consists of more than one type of sighthounds within Afghanistan. There are at least three variations, a mountain type, a plateau type and the rare short coated 'luchak'. To my understanding no one has ever tried to split them by these variations, even though the show and the runner types nowadays do differ quite a bit. But, that is due to preferencies in choosing breeding stock - not that they would be different breeds. Their breed standard also says 'all colours', there are a couple of dominant colours, the rest are quite rare. The breeders today have chosen to concentrate on some colours, but no one is denying the existance of the few rare recessive colours.

>>>I have been studying the principles of genetic diversity for many years now as an amateur ecologist, environmentalist, teacher, and activist.>>>

Your point here being... er... what? Boasting about yourself? As you say, you are an amateur. What about the trained and skilled geneticists, biologists, long time breeders etc. who do not agree with your 'facts'. I openly admit that I'm a novice in regards to breeding, genetics, dogs, Turkish dogs, repairing cars, cooking, ironing and lots of other things in life. I've been 'into' ASDs a bit over ten years now but I feel that I'm only starting my journey. Sue, what makes you such an expert on all matters? You act like you were 'next to God'. First you lot create some mumbojumbo yourself and then you make references to it, like it was proven scientific facts? Hmmm... Unfortunately, a couple of years in the breed, one litter of 4 puppies etc. doesn't convince me of your expertise.

>>>Kangal Dogs in Turkey are dogs from a particular region of Turkey, with a particular conformation and coat type. That is a simple fact, and I think you are quite aware of that. And by the way, it is Kangal with a capital K--as befits a proper noun in Turkish as well as English.>>>

Just a colour variety of the çoban köpegi - not a separate breed. 'Created' by the people within that area from the original çoban köpegi and strongly supported by western fanciers. And kangal being a generic name such as çoban köpegi and not a breed name - is not a noun.

>>>...A Kangal Dog is a Kangal Dog--a purebred Kangal Dog has a certain coat length and a limited coat color range that is recognizable to just about any Turk... ...The Turks themselves see no dispute on the issue. Their view is clear: a Kangal Dog is a Kangal Dog..>>>

There is no Turkish kennel club and up to very recently dogs were not classified in any way except by function. Maybe that's why the original Turkish dog stamp issued in 1973 says çoban köpegi (shepherd's dog) and not Kangal. If the kangal had truly been a 'breed' at that time (not so long ago), surely it would have been so labelled. A very small minority of Turks are interested in 'doggy issues', like breed names etc. And even smaller minority of the shepherds care about the names or the looks. You speak so highly of the 'collective Turkish opinion', what about the 'simple' Kurdish shepherds and their working dogs. Are their dogs just mongrels or pariah dogs if they don't happen to be fawn, even though they've been 'bred' for thousands of years to do their job?

My guess is, that no Turk is so fanatical about the definition of a kangal as western purists.

When two 'kangal-pure-fawn' dogs are bred together they, according to you, don't produce a white dog, but why not breed a fawn and a white dog together or a fawn and a red dog together, if these non fawns are turkish shepherds' working dogs with correct temperament, conformation and good health? Where is the 'questionable purity' in them. Probably the turkish shepherd in some remote village doesn't even know that he should question his working dogs purity somehow. You say that Turkish people collectively consider kangal as the only right dog. Is it possible that it has become a sort of folklore? "Go to Tipperary... go to Kangal...."

Many Turks seem to think that the most valuable characteristic is that the dog has to be able to kill a wolf = to be a proper guardian, and if used by shepherds then that's what makes a dog a kangal. The concept of a 'breed' or the colour of a dog is less important.

There are lots of kangals in Germany, a great part of those do not fulfil any breed standard, not ASD and not kangal, they truly are street dogs. For example sizes of these kangals vary from 60 cm to almost 90 cm, so the only thing common there seems to be the fawn colour and black mask. And in some cases, not even that. Major part of these kangals are imported by Turks from Turkey, shouldn't they know how a kangal looks like? According to your own words:"I am sure you realise that there are LOTS of Turkish workers in Germany who are poor and ignorant. No doubt many hope to pay for their trip home by bringing back puppies that they can sell off as "Kangal Dogs" to the silly Europeans." So, the Turkish people are right about their dogs only when it suits your purposes, otherwise they are just 'poor and ignorant'?

>>>If you truly believe that these very different regional breeds are "the same", I wonder then why you do not also believe that ALL of the livestock guardians in ALL of Europe are "the same"? What's the difference between a longhaired Anatolian and the typical Caucasian Ovtcharka?>>>

A lot of people seem to agree that Turkish shepherds' dogs are progenitors for various mastiff type of breeds. I'll jump even further in my speculations and think that they might be progenitors for several other LGD breeds/types of flock guarding dogs. The region of nowadays Turkey + Central-Asia was the cradle of LGDs and the one place where you still can see çoban köpegi with almost all of the different colourings and coat types seen separately in other LGDs. So to me it seems quite possible to have an ASD with CAO or CO or PyrMastiff etc. type of colouring. I think that these various LGDs originate in this area and then were developed into different breeds in different countries. And not the otherway around, that they all would come from all over the world to Turkey to cross with and unpurify the kangals... Isn't there already enough of these LGD breeds? Couldn't at least the ones found within one state be left as they are, and not try to invent new ones anymore?

>>>Your breed is not the Kangal Dog. And after 25 years of Anatolian existence, Turkey still is not in agreement with the notion of the foreign Anatolian.>>>

Well, it's the definition of kangal that's at dispute here, not the name, and even though you claim to know what every Turk says or thinks, I have heard contradicting statements. And the name "Anatolian Shepherd Dogs = Anadolu Çoban Köpegi" would be quite convenient as it 'says it all', they are shepherds' dogs from Anatolia plus that name doesn't have any political or other burdens in it. And the fact is that the ASD is also a breed by anyone's definition. It seems as though the FCI, AKC, UKC and just about every other kennel club in the world must be wrong and just you right. You seem to be saying, that only the westerners like you and western minded Turks thinking like you, and the Turks within Kangal region are entitled to determine a breed? What about the rest of the Turkish people, the less educated shepherds with e.g. rough coated or non-fawn specimens of working dogs, çoban köpegi, are their dogs just mongrels? Even though their dogs have been 'bred' for thousands of years to do a job, they have been selected for their ability to guard but not for their looks. You constantly refer to the 'collective Turkish opinion', but what about those who disagree with the 'official truth'? What gives you people the right to decide for a whole nation, or actually for the different nationalities within one state, how their working dogs should look like???

Peter Wells from England writes in his Breed Notes, first published in Our Dogs(July 2, 1999):

"Back in January of this year I wrote some breed notes which I chose to call 'What's In A Name?' One of the purposes in writing them was to highlight the difficulties faced by early importers when they were required to find an acceptable name for our breed. Several of the earliest names were incorrect or inappropriate. Eventually, through a fairly painful process, we arrived at the name by which the breed is known today - Anatolian Shepherd Dog. I also went on to point out that no one name was ever going to satisfy everyone, but that the present name was probably the best compromise, though I am aware that there are those who do not share this view. I further went on to indicate that one of the benefits of the current name is that the name Anatolia refers to a geographical area where the dogs are predominantly found, rather than a political one. I also wanted Turkish people to be made aware that far from being insulting to Turkey, this name was carefully selected out of love, respect and understanding of Turkey and its peoples. It was after all, Anatolia, where Attaturk, the Father of the present Turkey, chose to build his new capital, Ankara. I was very concerned when I read the widely published letter, written by Prof. Tenkinsen following the international symposium on Turkish dogs, which he had hosted in 1996. The tone of the letter seemed to indicate that Turkish people who were now involved with the dogs were upset that western foreigners had shown little to no regard for what Turks thought. At a recent meeting with him, whilst I was in Turkey, I was delighted to have the opportunity to fully explain the situation to him, clearly no one had taken the trouble to do so before.
I digress, very recently it has become apparent, if it wasn't before, that there was a great deal of wisdom and fore-sight in calling the breed Anatolian Shepherd Dogs. Why? The Kurdish people, some of whom the Turkish government are currently embroiled in bitter conflict with, have 'staked a claim' by saying that the dogs are not Turkish but Kurdish. I do not propose to enter the political arena on this debate, which makes the Irish problem look simple, but it clearly indicates the extraordinary difficulties faced by anyone trying to make sense of the current situation facing Turkish dogs. Not only have the Kurds responsible for this document claimed the dogs as Kurdish but they have thrown a few new names into the pot as well. We must now add to the already considerable list the 'Gammal' and the 'Kanjal' or 'Kenjal' , names which are apparently familiar to every Kurdish child!

Having just returned from an extensive visit to Turkey, I can say that the overall situation with regard to the dogs, is that it is as confusing there as it is anywhere else in the world. The only real agreement to be found is that it will probably require scientific, genetic testing to establish the truth, and that won't be easy. I hope to write more on this in the future.

On another note, I was recently reading Robert Killick's column with interest, it usually is interesting. He was raising the issue of size in Italian Greyhounds and how a judge was recently criticized, by some, for using a measuring device to determine whether dogs were too big. It has concerned me for some time now that we have the opposite problem, many of the dogs we see in the show-ring seem to be struggling to make the size given in the standard by being too small. I, for one, would welcome anyone judging Anatolians paying attention to size. I don't know that I would go as far as advocating using a 'device' but certainly it is an area for concern. This was also highlighted by the recent visit to Turkey where it is recognized that a substantial dog is required if it is to intimidate and deter wolves and bears. Most of the better examples we saw were substantially bigger than many of the dogs in this country and at one of the government breeding schemes which we visited, at Kangal, dogs were specifically being bred for size and working ability rather than any other criteria."

>>>... there are a number of Anatolians that clearly show a good deal more Tazi influence than others--some are downright whippety. What do you suppose that means? ... all breeds differ in appearance. And many, many breeds of dogs look similar to other breeds to the uninformed.>>>

Yes! No disagreement here, in every breed there are less perfect specimens. Even within the newly created, strictly by appearance bred modern dogs. I've never said that all ASDs are breedable, or even according to the standard, in every litter there are the 'world winners' and the 'pets'. I suspect that in 'kangal litters' it would be the same, not all puppies can be perfect. It means that we all must select, but only for the significant flaws in health, temperament and conformation, otherwise after a few generations there isn't much left to breed from. This just leaves me wondering why you then insist on kangal being a separate breed, by superficial differences? The major characteristics within the breed standards are the same, anyway. You have never been able to point out any essential differencies, you seem to have found a new argument and keep repeating that "constant infusion of Kangal blood was needed to keep the Anatolian looking sort of like a breed." But, if you take an objective look at the history of the dogs on that area, you can't but admit that the dogs we call Anatolians were the original ones. So, there haven't been and can't be any significant differencies, therefore it's quite unnecessary to start considering them as separate now.

>>>In much of Turkey, the dogs are purely and simply mongrels which breed freely with street dogs and hounds. Natalka observed this very thing herself. And around military camps they are likely to have German Shepherd blood--giving them prick ears and a prey drive. How can anyone possibly deny this if they have been to Turkey?>>>

Have I denied this in some way? All the time I have been talking about the shepherds' working dogs. I am sorry if you don't understand my text or if you don't understand the difference between shepherds' working dogs and street dogs or GSD-mixes around military camps.

>>>Only in certain pockets can dogs be found that are homogenous enough to be considered a "breed"-- >>>

And all of these pockets should have their own breed, how viable would those 'breeds' be? Todays Turkey is undergoing a massive process of urbanisation. Every town is increasing in size at the expense of agriculture, which is becoming more mechanised and less labour intensive. Most of the population live in apartment blocks, and the skylines are dominanted by them in every conceivable stage of completion. What seems to have suffered most is sheep production and of course the dogs. To make matters worse there seems to have been a turn towards cattle, again at the expense of the sheep and dogs. The vast flocks no longer seem to exist as they once did. So it would be even more important to retain the original çoban köpegi as they have been - not to divide them into several 'different' genepools, by region or coat colour.
White Anatolian: Hisar Hakim
Photo by: Anja Vlasveld
White Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Hisar Hakim
Hopefully, when this sad narrow breeding by some westerners has done it's depressing deed, the fanciers of e.g. white çoban köpegi have still the possibility of getting puppies from healthy ASD lines, in which these white varieties, together with the other ones, are allowed to live and continue breeding.

>>> Tell that to the judges who shake their heads in wonder at the dog shows, trying to understand how these very different dogs called "Anatolian Shepherds" can be one breed.>>>

Your point here being what? Are you saying that because all Anatolians aren't perfect, then it's not a breed? The Turkish people did not breed to a show standard. It's that simple. Why should all ASDs be perfect, no other breed is. Have you much been to shows? Have you followed the rings of other breeds? Take some 'well established' modern breed, created from a few dogs - they should be quite homozygous, even to the point that there isn't any genetic diversity left in some cases. In those show rings you will always see some poor dogs also, but that doesn't make them crossbreds - just bad examples of their breed. Not every Anatolian is ideal compared to the breed standard. Are you honestly saying that every kangal is perfect, all of them according to their breed standard? I doubt it. And judged from the pictures of the early akbashes in US, some of them sure looked like they had some sighthound blood added in them, with tazilike heads etc. But, then again, some of them looked quite heavy and stocky, so I couldn't really see the 'homogenosity' in them. Except for that one thing - ever so important to you - colour. It is not just how the dogs look, every breed has some specific charasteristic traits, but not all representatives of the breed possess them. Do you think that every dog within schutzhundbreeds are capable of being police dogs? Or every dog within hunting breeds is capable of being used in hunting? The missing traits either in appearance or temperament don't make them mutts, just different or less perfect examples of their breed.

Like Willis says in one of his articles in Our Dogs:

"The first GSDs brought to Britain were grey sables (the popular colour of the day) but that does not mean that black/tan, black, bicolour etc. are any less representative of the breed."
You seem to get so easily distracted by the different colours in ASDs, that you can't 'see the forest from the trees'. My guess is though, that well trained judges can see the difference between good or bad movement, conformation plus other essential points for the breed, no matter the colour or coat length.

>>>Sure, fawn is NOT "pure breeding" in British Anatolians--Willis and Robinson did not study a sample of Kangal Dogs! And there is no way on earth that you will get all the colors acceptable to Anatolians by breeding two fawn dogs together. Two fawn dogs (and I mean pale "Kangal" fawn, not red), correctly marked, cannot produce white dogs, they cannot produce black dogs, or brown dogs, or red dogs. It is genetically impossible. ...Robinson certainly never said that all the other colors the ASD standard allows will occur from fawn dogs.>>>

FCI standard says: all colours acceptable, but it doesn't say that all colours exist in ASDs. It was, probably, more simple to write it like that than mention all the colours that are allowed and exist in the breed.

With other colours in ASDs I don't mean that there would be any odd colours like Dalmatian spotting or that all colours could be born in one litter. E.g. Natalka's imported or bred dogs of 'rainbow colours' included pintos (with different shades of fawn markings), reds, whites/creams and mostly different shades of fawns. No oddities, to my knowledge. As I said, I don't mean that every ASD litter can consist of 'all' colours. There are rules in coat colour inheritance, some colours inherit together with some other colours and some just can't. Some colours can be inherited together with fawn, in different combinations. Do you understand the difference between phenotype and genotype? Even if the dog's phenotype is fawn, the genotype can hide some other colouring.

>>>...without Kangal blood, those Anatolians did not breed true at all. All the "other stuff" in the background of those dogs came out of the woodwork, and constant infusion of Kangal blood was needed to keep the breed looking sort of like a breed. So today, you have a high proportion of Anatolians that look more or less like Kangal Dogs. Surprise surprise!>>>

Wrong again, Sue! Did the egg come before the hen? Or the otherway around? It's the kangal that is the more recent creation, the variety of the çoban köpegi. Check the history, please.

>>>... The reason that fawn predominates is because ANATOLIAN BREEDERS clearly prefer it. And they prefer it because deep down inside, they clearly prefer Kangal Dogs. Even Natalka preferred Kangal Dogs! Only when she wound up with a mixed breed dog did she change her stand. I call that opportunism.>>>

Quite a claim, I can't even begin to understand where you got this idea from. You make repeatedly slandering comments about Natalka, even though you never even spoke with her. You know absolutely nothing of what she thought of kangals or anything else for that matter. I know that you are very threatened by her knowledge and experience on Turkish dogs, and by the fact that she understood genetics so well that she was appreciated by some of the most authoritative scienticists. You seem to be so insecure of yourself, that you feel the need to badmouth and lie about a person, who cannot speak for herself anymore. Well, I couldn't care less about your personal feelings for her or anyone else, but perhaps it wouldn't be too much to ask if you held yourself to the truth when referring to her. For example, I've never heard of anyone else importing shepherds' dogs from Turkey and going through the trouble and expense of hip-x-raying them there already. Would she have done that if the dogs had been anything else but good examples of proper working dogs? Wouldn't it had been kind of waste of money to x- ray and import mongrels? After all, you have said yourself that there are thousands of 'kangals' in Turkey, wouldn't it had been so much easier for her to do what you did, just shop some of those more popular ones?

>>>One can see a dive in quality happening in many Anatolian lines here in the US, due to careless breeding, inbreeding, and willy-nilly hybridizing.... Kangal Dogs are already pretty much homozygous for all of the obvious traits--as pure as any modern created breed, but much more genetically healthy than most modern created breeds. The occasional odd dog does not disprove the integrity of the breed--mismarked dogs occur in EVERY breed. Bad tails, wrong ears, incorrect coats occur in every breed too--will you insist on widening the standard every time an odd pup is born?>>>

Hmm, believe it or not, but serious ASD breeders select too. You seem to think that it is 'all or nothing' for us? That, if we accept different colours, then we all also accept straight tails or prick ears or whatever? Well, it's not like that. ASDs do have a breed standard, which serious breeders follow. First and foremost good breeders select for temperament, health, conformation - and then for the 'details' like correct tail & ears etc... just NOT for the colour (except for good pigment). Not all ASD breeders realize the essential points in breeding, true. But nor do all the kangal/karabash breeders either. I can't say what American ASDs look like, but I admit that, among the good ones, there are also some less perfect ASDs in Europe. But they are no less perfect than the karabash/kangals. Poor breeders and poor dogs can be found in every breed. Really, every ASD is not breedable, but I still think that we will have wider genepool by using also the non-fawn coloured, but otherwise good dogs for breeding. Surely not every kangal is suitable as a LGD. On the other hand major part of the ASDs bred by good breeders work great as LGDs, no matter what colour they are.

>>>As for the bits of gossip you referred to on your web site regarding British and Norwegian karabash breeders, I will refrain from comment on individual stories. In any case, I don't think that bringing up tired bits of gossip and attempting to humiliate people on a public web site helps your argument at all.>>>

Judy Chappel says on her web-site: "What is an Anatolian Shepherd Dog? ... it subsumes all the known Turkish shepherd dog breeds, and by Western standards, cross- breeds/mongrels as well - anything of the canine species serving the purpose of shepherds dog, so long as it is large, can be included on the register as an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, and in many cases they have been!"

You say on yours:"In Great Britain, the earliest importers did recognize the Kangal Dog, calling it the Karabash, but were forced to change their standard when mixed-breed dogs were sneaked into the registry."

This doesn't sound humiliating at all? Saying that e.g. my dogs are cross-breds, mongrels, pariah dogs... It's a bit funny that you should have the privilege of getting sad and offended about what I write, about the truth. It seems that we ASD owners are not allowed to become sad or offended, even though you and others of your kind constantly refer to our dogs as cross-breds or mongrels on your web-sites. 'The bits of gossip' on my web-site happens to be the truth, you may not like it - but that doesn't make it a lie or a gossip. On the contrary, it is the truth and evidence of, that no matter how much some breeders claim to have only pure breeding short coated fawn dogs, that simply isn't true. I can understand that you 'refrain to comment it' because you simply cannot deny it. I'm sorry you think it's humiliating - I call it reporting the truth and, at least, I'm not slandering anyone by name.

Claiming that karabash/kangals breed true to type, and then culling the non-kangal looking puppies from their litters... ? That I'd call hypocrisy.

Dr Malcolm Willis writes in one of his articles in Our Dogs:

" ...The ASD breed is a tall one, so that one would expect fairly high litter size. KC registrations do not support this view and there appear to be higher registrations from ASDC breeders than AKDC (karabash) breeders. Exactly why this is so, is uncertain. Differential registration in a breed may be due to some breeders having poor prolifiacy in their bitches, or to indulging in greater selectivity about what is fit to register. Equally, breeders anxious to preserve certain features might deliberately cull pups not showing these features. One could find any non fawn/black mask pups being culled from fawn/black mask matings. If this did occur it would give the impression to anyone looking at KC registrations that fawn/black mask bred true to type, but if selective culling had occurred the observation would be inaccurate. All the genetic evidence suggests quite conclusively that fawn/black mask is not true breeding and that white markings are common in the ASDs..."
Natalka with Hisar Rasad
Photo by: Joanne Illman
Natalka Czartoryska at Crufts with red Hisar Rasad
Tri-colour Anatolian
Photo by: Kirsi Mäki
As I have said earlier I don't have a problem with my fawn dogs, I love them as much as my other coloured ones. I was hoping for a tricolour (pinto) ASD for a long time, and finally I've got one, I'm soooo happy to have her. In my subjective opinion, the expression on her pretty face beats any 'dull' black mask any day! :)
>>>If anatolian breeders practiced what they preached and truly bred all those odd-colored, odd- coated dogs together, you'd have a lot more variety in the breed than exists today. Instead, the variety of the Anatolians of 10 years ago is being increasingly narrowed--because everyone is breeding for "the Kangal look." Surely you cannot deny that. Again, even the late Natalka did that, by your admission to me.>>>

You really seem to have missed the point here. For us it's not a problem to have mostly fawn dogs, we accept it to be a genetic fact. But, for most of us, it's not a problem to have some non- fawn dogs either, we accept that to be a genetic fact too. Everyone is allowed to have preferencies, you prefer fawn with black mask - I might prefer something else and, as I have said, for some reason I don't happen to like white animals but I accept them as part of the picture.

Natalka breeding for kangal look? Like when she went through all the effort to go back to Turkey with a pinto female (white with reddish patches) to breed it to a white working male, getting a big litter of only fawn coloured puppies? She must have had somekind of x-ray vision to see the genes in these dogs, to be able to predict that she would get a whole litter of 'pure kangals' from such a combination. So, breeding with combinations like this, Natalka was trying to get kangal looking puppies? Wouldn't it had been safer for her to choose kangal looking parents instead? As they, being of dominant colouring among ASDs, were and are the easiest to get. Natalka was always showing the non-fawn coloured ASDs and speaking for their benefit, because she didn't want them to be forgotten and to make a point against karabashes. But, the vast majority of her dogs were fawn, simply because it is the dominant colour. She tended to keep more of the non- fawn coloured puppies to herself, because she was one of the few brave ones, who had the courage to stand against the k-camp in England and act for the benefit of the original çoban köpegi. She kept them for breeding too of course, but if they as adults were less good by health, temperament or conformation than the fawn ones, then she used the fawn ones for breeding. Not because of their 'kangal look', but because her choice was the healthiest and most typical, by conformation but not by colour. Therefore she accepted the fawn ones too, all colours equal.

As I have said earlier I don't have a problem with my fawn dogs, I love them as much as my other coloured ones. I was hoping for a tricolour (pinto) ASD for a long time, and finally I've got one, I'm soooo happy to have her. In my subjective opinion, the expression on her pretty face beats any 'dull' black mask any day! :) If the Turkish shepherds' working dogs would be divided into several separate breeds, I would feel sad. The future of dogs bred on narrow basis, has been proven by other breeds to be less fortunate. But, I consider myself and other ASD owners to be on the better side as we have more possibilities to breed and can take e.g. the health issues better into consideration. Our first choice for a good breeding dog is not made by colour.

>>>Well, that's really brilliant! I'd be surprised if Dr Paschoud really said that, and somehow I doubt it.>>>

I was simply referring to his own words, feel free to argue this directly with him.

>>>Please, have a little respect for another culture's collective wisdom and experience. Well! You're going to share that powerful European knowhow with the Turks???>>>

Hmm, in my opinion it's better to offer help than dictate, as you are doing. You are trying to force the Turks to write a letter to FCI saying e.g. that kangal is breeding true to type for fawn colour, and get them to sign a breed standard prepared by western fanciers. Actually, you and your friends even offered to tell them what to write. I find this extremely 'western-centric' and arrogant! Fortunately, being honourable men, they refused - not having any scientific proof of what kangal produces. How sensible of them, not to allow themselves to be lured into such nonsense, dictated by fanatic westerners.

It seems to have become more and more popular to breed kangals, in and around Kangal. So, it really seems to have got this folkloristic sound in the whole of it. Isn't it possible that the shepherds near Kangal just follow the lead and imitate the ones with influence and start fancying a specific colour and call them kangals. It's quite a pressure if there are 'Big Official Breeding Centres' which declare that it is only proper to have fawn dogs and call them kangals. It has become popular but not necessarily the only truth. The non-educated shepherds with non-fawn working dogs might have a different opinion about it. Maybe some of the kangal fanciers have spoken with the 'trendsetters' and the villagers around Kangal, who have to have fawn coloured dogs, so that their dogs wouldn't be considered mutts. Why otherwise so many people, who have spoken with villagers who don't know or care what is done in e.g. Ulas, have different experiences and have seen so many non-fawn working dogs?

>>>Willis is my favorite geneticist, and very knowedgeable about German Shepherds, but no one can know everything, and unfortunately he is quite clueless about indigenous breeds.... And by the way, the FCI has set itself up as the "international authority" on canine matters, but by what mandate? Are the people that run the FCI specially qualified to make international decisions about the dogs of other countries?>>>

Here we go again - no one, except Sue, knows anything! You seem to think that kangals are immune to scientific genetics... I guess the world famous geneticists and the AKC, FCI, and just about any person or organisation disagreeing with you must be wrong and you right? According to you: "British Karabash breeders mix Karabash/Kangal bloodlines and make bad choices and mistakes, the foibles of individuals trying to cope with muddied bloodlines does not reflect on the Kangal Dog breed, but only on the mistakes of the Kennel Club and the individuals involved in creating the confusion." You seem to be the only person in the world with a pair of proper kangals and correct knowledge, anyone else knows nothing and owns just mutts, must be difficult to be that perfect in a less perfect world.

>>>I am not "fighting for fawn colors"--that's what they ARE. I am however focusing on health and temperament, however, as any good breeder should.>>>

Well, you seem to be the exception to the rule then. Some time ago I saw a 'study' by Willis that 168 ASDs had been hip-x-rayed (the range being from 0 to 68 points) in England, surprisingly low quantity considering the number of ASDs (including karabashes) in that country. A major part of the x-rayed dogs were from Natalka's (Hisar) lines. Of course, not all of them were perfect, but at least examined to give information! In Europe, far more Anatolians have been hip-x-rayed than kangal/karabashes. That is a fact, supported by the records of several KCs. And, from what I've heard from US, the vast majority of kangals are not OFAd, never mind the other health checks like thyroid or elbows. So, it's quite obvious how concerned most kangal breeders are for the health and welfare of their 'breed'.
 
Asil
Photo by: Isabelle Francais
On top of the fact that they are great companions, both physically and mentally healthy guardians of our family & geese & goats they also happen to have done well on shows and in obedience trials. Among other titles, one of my males - Asil, is FCI's World Winner male (BOS) of 1998. So, I'm extremely proud of and satisfied with my dogs!
I have received anonymous hatemail from kangal enthusiasts, saying among other things that the reason for my text would be because 'of the insecurity [I] feel about the quality and purity or lack there of in [my] dogs'. Hmm, I wonder what kind of insecurity makes people write anonymous letters? A bit more than just some words from such people is needed to make me doubt the quality of my dogs. On top of the fact that they are great companions, both physically and mentally healthy guardians of our family & geese & goats they also happen to have done well on shows and in obedience trials. Among other titles, one of my males - Asil, is FCI's World Winner male (BOS) of 1998. So, I'm extremely proud of and satisfied with my dogs!
 
Agabey
Photo by: Siv Seppäläinen
Rewarded at obedience trials: Agabey

I'm quite confident that you, Sue, won't leave this here, you'll probably provide us with many more episodes of this dispute. As I said in my original text: 'This dispute has been going on since the Turkish shepherd's dogs first became known outside Turkey. It is worldwide and, unfortunately - as it seems, eternal.' I do, however, have a life to live, and to be frank, I'm not that interested in wasting my time on people who have shut their minds and allow others to do their thinking for them. What does make me sad is, that everything around these unique dogs has come down to this fighting. I don't enjoy it, I'd happily settle with just owning and loving my dogs. But it is quite disturbing to constantly be accused of having cross-breds, so I will go on trying to set records straight and defend Anatolian Shepherd Dog's right of being as pure as any other breed.

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