ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG
Coban Kopegi (Cho-bawn
ANATOLIAN SHEPHERD DOG
Coban Kopegi (Cho-bawn Ko-pay)
In Turkey, the breeds homeland, the dog is known by several names; Karabash (Blackhead Dog), Aslan Kopek (Lion Dog), Kurt Kopek (Wolf Dog) and the Turkish Guard Dog... but the universal name is Coban Kopegi or Shepherd Dog.
In some circles it may also be referred to as a Kangal Dog. This name derives from the region of Turkey where the best specimens of the breed are found. In recent years some world Kennel Clubs have differentiated between the Anatolian Shepherd and the Kangal Dog, with slightly different breed standards for each, while other Kennel Clubs say they are the same breed.
The CKC (Canadian Kennel Club), and the AKC (American Kennel Club), both recognize the breed as the Anatolian Shepherd.
The Anatolian Shepherd is a very old breed whose ancestors may have come from the Himalayas when the Turks migrated from Central Asia to modern day Turkey. They belong to the broader group of solidly built, large dogs known as Molosseer, (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molosser). They are closely related to the Mastiff group that all come from a common ancestor thousands of years ago.
Since Babylonian times there has been a breed of large, strong dogs, originally used as war dogs and for hunting big game such as lions. Bas reliefs from Assyria, dating back 2000 years and now housed at the British Museum of London, have carvings of similar dogs.
As humans began domesticating sheep and other livestock, these powerful mountain dogs, once used for war and hunting needed to change jobs. Shepherds now needed to protect their flocks from large predators such as bears and wolves. The Anatolian Shepherd was developed over time to meet the specific needs of the shepherds. The Anatolian became ideally suited to protecting herds of sheep and goats from predators in the harsh climate of the Central Anatolian Plateau, which can be hot and dry in summer and cold and snowy in the winter.
Until fairly recently, the Anatolian Shepherd remained almost exclusively in Turkey. The first North American Anatolian Shepherds imported for an active breeding program did not happen until 1970.
Due to the fact that they have lived a somewhat isolated existence, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog has changed very little over the centuries, retaining its exceptional qualities and abilities.
With its extraordinary loyalty, unparalleled protective instincts, as well as its exceptional power, agility and speed, an Anatolian Shepherd can, and will, run down predators in order to protect their charges.
In Namibia, the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF), a global leader in research and conservation of cheetahs, has used Anatolian Shepherd Dogs to significantly reduce the incidence of human-wildlife conflict and has resulted in an 80-100% reduction of livestock kills by cheetahs and other predators on farms who are using the dogs as guardians. This in turn means that farmers no longer need to kill cheetahs in order to protect their livestock and livelihoods. A win-win for everyone.
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