Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are 'working dogs' bred to protect livestock

Anatolian Shepherd Dogs were originally bred in Turkey to protect livestock. With adult males reaching 32 inches in height and weighing up to 65kg, these pooches are not for the faint-hearted dog owner.

“THEY’RE strong-willed and they need a calm and consistent training method. They’re very intelligent,” said Ekin Esad, president of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of NSW.

Ekin and his wife Ashley own Tribocie - a breeder based from their home in Ebenezer, and one of only five registered Anatolian Shepherd Dog breeders across Australia (and the only one in NSW).

“Around 70 per cent of people come to us because they want a working dog or a farm dog - for example, a dog they can have with free-range chooks on a hobby farm and they train the dog not to harm their chooks,” said Ekin.

“The remainder would be people who love the breed and they have had the breed before and they want a companion dog or a family pet.

“They’re really good livestock protection dogs. We were looking for a large-breed dog to bring into our family - they’re good to have in the family provided you have the space. And we always had the intention of moving to acreage and having other farm animals.”

The Esads became interested in Anatolians due to their heritage - Ekin’s family is from Turkey - and because the couple have always been passionate about working dogs, or dogs that have a ‘purpose’.

“Anatolians are a Turkish breed, and my grandfather has a lot of fond memories of them as a kid,” said Ekin.

“The more we researched the more we found they were what we looking for. It became a bit of an addiction - we went to Turkey and visited farms, went to shows, visited breeders around Europe. The passion grew into what it is now.”

Before they became fond of Anatolians, the couple owned three border collies. This is how they came up with their breeder name, Tribocie - Tri (for ‘three’), bo (for ‘border’) and cie (for ‘collie’).

The Esads have been on their Ebenezer property for three years now, and they keep eight Anatolians there, along with a range of goats, chickens and guinea fowl, as well as pet cats.

“Having the dogs in this environment helps us evaluate the pups we breed before we send them to their home,” said Ekin.

PROTECTION: Anatolians are bred to protect livestock. This is goat Beyaz at Ashley and Ekin Esad's Ebenezer property. Picture: Geoff Jones

PROTECTION: Anatolians are bred to protect livestock. This is goat Beyaz at Ashley and Ekin Esad's Ebenezer property. Picture: Geoff Jones

Do your research

Ekin advised that - as with all breeds - prospective owners of Anatolians should do their research, and purchase from registered breeders only.

“Like any breed of dog, you need to look at the variance of the dogs. It’s very important you get a breeder who understands the breed and is happy to work with you to pick out a puppy that’s suited to what you want,” said Ekin.

“A farm dog on small acreage would have a completely different temperament to one on a large property with 3000 sheep. It’s very important to pick the right dog for the right job.

“They can make a good companion dog, but once again it’s important you get a breeder who understands the dogs. A good breeder will pick the puppy for you, rather than ‘that puppy picked us’.”

People interested in rescuing or fostering can contact the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of NSW to register their details.

“They end up in rescue more often than we like. Given it’s a rare breed I don’t think there should be any in rescue, but there have been,” Ekin said.

“The main reason they end up there is that they’re from non-registered breeders. The owners are not screened and people are not given the information about what they’ll grow into.

“A person who doesn’t have the time, space or is inexperienced, they’re not going to cope with the dog. It comes down to poor practices of backyard breeders.”

Ekin said adult females weigh 40-55kg and grow to 28-31 inches high at the shoulders. Males are generally 29-32 inches high, and can weigh 50-65kg.

“But the working ability comes first and foremost. They’ve got to have the temperament to do what they’re meant to do. Yes, they’ve got to have the size to take down prey, but the biggest dog isn’t necessarily the best working dog,” he said.

BEST IN SHOW: Tribocie Kamikaze of Fujin (aka 'Kami'), five months old, won Best Baby in Show at the Hawkesbury Show. Picture: Supplied

BEST IN SHOW: Tribocie Kamikaze of Fujin (aka 'Kami'), five months old, won Best Baby in Show at the Hawkesbury Show. Picture: Supplied

Protective instinct

Ekin said Anatolians are generally good with kids - they have young children of their own - but, like any big dog, you need to be aware of their size.

“They could knock over a young toddler who’s not steady on their feet. They’re a big animal and you need to constantly supervise them with any children,” he said.

“When our daughter (who’s now two) was learning to walk, she’d want to come outside into the yard because her brother was there. One of our dogs, Bo, was 12 months old and would walk beside her anywhere she went - he knew she was a bit unsteady on her feet. And if any dog would come over he’d push them away with his head - she would literally hold on to him if she felt unsteady.

“He’s the best working dog we’ve got here. He’ll chase the foxes and he’ll clear a fence and he’ll come straight back. He’s very practical.”

The Esads entered two Anatolians at the recent Hawkesbury Show, and their five-month-old Tribocie Kamikaze of Fujin (aka 'Kami’), won Best Baby in Show.

“Shows like the Hawkesbury and other ag shows are quite good as opposed to general dog shows because the general public is more likely to come and you can give the public insight into the breed, educating people. Telling them the good and the bad and working out of it’s a suitable breed for them,” said Ekin.