|Barked: Thu Dec 20, '12 7:43pm PST |
|I am writing simply because I do have close personal experience with two Akbash who are companion animals. And the story is a bit more complex than they are strictly work dogs that are never suitable as companions.
The first dog is my now seven year old nuetered male companion Akbash, Asgard. I was originally looking for an Antolian Shepherd as a low energy protection/companion animal. Our local Animal Control listed Asgard as a small, 11 month old Anatolian Shepherd. He has been found wandering in pasture land during a period of severe range fires. It was believed that he had been separated from his flock during the fires. I already had two aging German Shepherds and a Border Collie, plus a rather dog agressive Boston Terrier that was a frequent visitor. So I was concerned about the potential dog agressivenss of a LGD. I brought the BT over to the shelter to see how the interaction went. No problem.
After bringing Asgard home, it became clear that he was actually much younger than they estimated (he went from 27" at the shoulder to 331/2" in two months.) It also became clear that he was in fact, an Akbash, and not an Anatolian Shepherd. Over the years these things have proven true about him:
1) He is extremely tolerant of small dogs, will take an amazing amount of abuse from them in fact. He is also very gentle with children and small animals. But he does not like high energy dogs (the border collie drives him crazy). Eratic movements bother him and he likes everything to be very quiet and orderly.
2) He represents the less well recognised "beta" personality Akbash...I seriously doubt that he would have sufficiently agression to protect anything. Although he does show appropriate warning behaviour; extremely alert and sensitive to changes in the environment, charging fences, head and tail up and barking he has never shown any agression towards any human or animal. When actually faced with a coyote during a walk, he quickly got behind me. He is also the easiest dog I have ever walked on a leash. Even when we flushed a rabbit right before him, he was easy to control. On those very few occasions when he has escaped our yard, he merely found people to walk with. In fact he went home with a couple before we found him.
3) His over all personality is low-keyed and "adult". He does not look to a human for direction, neither will he challenge one. He doesn't live to please you, but neither he dose he want you to be upset with him. He is a very steady, highly intelligent animal with a rather "dry" sense of humour.
And he is devoted and loving.
The other companion Akbash is my son's dog, Thor, a rescue from a working ranch where he failed to stay with his flock and kept returning to the farm house. Thor has a more typical LGD personality. Like Asgard, around the house and with people that have been approved by my son, he is an utterly gentle and loving, low-keyed companion. However, Thor is much more focused on guarding and has centered his concern on my son's wife. He will move between her and anything he perceives as threatening; running to find my son if someone comes to the door so they can act together to protect his mistress. I have no doubt that Thor would do serious damage to anyone who threatened his people. But he does defer to them about who is safe. Like Asgard, his main purpose in life is to keep everyone safe and the environment calm.
I certainly would not recommend an Akbash to the average dog owner as a companion dog. Like most true guarding breeds, they do not attack easily or unprovoked, but when they do, it is in deadly earnest and they cannot be called off. And with their size there is no doubt they have the potential to be extremely dangerous. But they do vary considerably in their temperament. Even in their homeland, some were kept in the villages and tasked with watching the young children. Certainly some Akbash rescues, with the right combination of innate temperament and owner experience, make faithful and loving companions.
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