16/10/2013 13:33 BST | Updated 16/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Dog of the Week

This week I am in Turkey, starting some writing and so I thought instead of doing a dog of the week as I haven't been working with any in the last few days, I would introduce you to the Turkish Kangal or Anatolian Shepherd dog.


They are a beautiful breed that visually would appeal to those who love the German Shepherds, Belgian Malamois and Mastiffs except they are rather a different type of dog. The Anatolians are designed to work very closely with a flock of sheep and its shepherd. They roam the vast, hot lands of Turkey to guard against man and wolf. When the shepherd sleeps the dog takes over.

They are designed to work alone, they are independent and in their natural habitat lead a rather nomadic existence. At the end of the road from where we are staying, there is a young Kangal, in a kennel outside, the owners inform me to prep it for a lifestyle working as a guardian and mostly alone.

So what is strange is how I have noticed more of these dogs in London, in inner city London not the suburbs. Turns out their is a Turkish guy on Green Lanes (Haringay) doing a bit of back yard breeding. It seems he brought a couple over from Turkey and has just been breeding them. What worries me far more is that individuals buying them are taking on a dog bred directly from two working Turkish dogs. Totally unsuited to the London way of living.

This is a breed certainly not designed for city, built up environments with lots of people, dogs, transport and distractions. Anatolians are a large, powerful hunting breed and people should not underestimate the difficulties for a dog of this type to fit in to an urban situation. Many of the breeders in the UK live in country settings with a lot of land and often outdoor kennels or stables. They have vast amounts of land on their doorstep and can give those dogs what they require.

In my opinion, Anatolians act as an illustration of making sure you select a dog that is right for your lifestyle, situation and living arrangements. You cannot ignore heritage if you taking a puppy from a first generation of working dogs.