The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a remarkable breed known for its unwavering loyalty and protective nature. Unlike herding dogs, Anatolian Shepherds are experts in guarding livestock. This ancient breed, with its strong and independent character, has been bred for thousands of years to keep predators at bay, making it a trusted member of the American Kennel Club’s Working Group.
A Heroic Encounter
Imagine finding yourself in the middle of a vast field with nowhere to hide as a 1,500-pound cow charges straight towards you. This terrifying scenario became a reality for Rollins Wykle. As she tried to shield herself from the cow’s powerful headbutts and hooves, her Anatolian Shepherd named Gator sprang into action.
With fearless determination, Gator launched himself at the cow, biting and snarling at its head and neck. The cow’s attention shifted to Gator, allowing Wykle to reach safety on the other side of the barbed-wire fence. Despite being catapulted into the air by the cow, Gator continued to protect Wykle. Only when she called out to him did Gator retreat to safety, leaping into Wykle’s lap and showering her with reassuring licks. Both emerged from the encounter with only minor bruises and scrapes.
A Champion of Many Talents
Gator’s astounding bravery is not limited to the ranch; it extends to the show ring as well. Known as GCh. Carpe Diem’s Old School, he has made a name for himself by winning Best of Breed at prestigious events like the Westminster Kennel Club dog show and the AKC/Eukanuba National Championship. This versatility is a hallmark of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed.
According to Katie Emanuel, President of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog Club of America, the breed takes pride in its working dogs. Gator’s exceptional achievements in both the field and the show ring highlight the breed’s commitment to preserving its remarkable temperament. Anatolian Shepherds are primarily working dogs, spending time on the sofa only as a well-deserved treat.
Gator’s heroism did not go unnoticed within the Anatolian Shepherd community. He was honored with the Top Hero Award from the Anatolian Shepherd Club. This prestigious accolade is bestowed upon dogs who save lives or protect individuals without being directed by their owners.
Independent Thinkers and Protectors
The Anatolian Shepherd’s intelligence and history as livestock guardians in Turkey have shaped its unique character. These dogs possess both physical and mental soundness, enabling them to travel long distances with the herds they protect and analyze and respond to threats independently, often without the presence of shepherds.
Anatolians are known for their protective yet non-confrontational approach. Their first line of defense is visual deterrence, standing tall and making themselves seen. If this fails to deter intruders, their bark becomes more assertive, serving as a warning. If necessary, Anatolians, with their unwavering fearlessness, impressive strength, and agility, can confront and drive off even the most formidable predators.
Following Instincts and Saving the Day
Gator is one of the five working dogs on Wykle’s ranch, alongside three other Anatolian Shepherds and two Border Collies. On the day of the heroic incident, Wykle and Gator ventured into a field to check on a water system. As they approached a group of cows and their calves, Wykle maintained a cautious distance, fully aware of the protective instincts that maternal love can trigger.
When Wykle noticed a calf alone, she went to investigate its well-being. However, one cow misinterpreted the situation and began to approach with protective intentions. Sensing danger, Wykle raised her hands to appear larger, but when the cow lowered its head and struck the ground, she knew it was time to flee. Despite being hardwired to guard livestock, Gator’s instinct to protect his owner kicked in, and he bravely intervened, defending Wykle from the charging cow.
Wykle describes the Anatolian Shepherd as a remarkable breed, with Gator standing out as an exceptional example. This incident serves as a testament to the breed’s unwavering loyalty and their innate drive to safeguard those they consider part of their family.
To witness the incredible capabilities of Anatolian Shepherds in action, take a look at this video showcasing one of these remarkable dogs guarding over 100 goats on a farm in South Africa.
Photos courtesy of Rollins Wykle
To learn more about Anatolian Shepherds or contact Katten TrimSalon, visit their official website: Katten TrimSalon