Turkish ‘lion’ sheepdogs attract worldwide interest
A Turkish dog famed for its shepherding skills and people-friendliness is now making its mark all over the globe, said a breeder of canines on June 4.
Now, dogs of the same breed are being raised by two entrepreneurs before they get sent abroad to their new homes.
So far the Aksaray Malaklısı sheepdogs, known as the “Anatolian lions,” have been sold to customers from 32 countries, entrepreneur Birol Başyiğit told state-run Anadolu Agency.
With an investment of nearly two million Turkish Liras (nearly $450,000), Başyiğit started to breed the helpful dogs with his friend Kaan Bilgiç in the northwestern province of Balıkesir.
“The dog is hailed for its large size, agility, and friendliness towards people,” said Başyiğit, adding that he has had customers from countries including the United States, China, England, Norway, Greece, Germany, Indonesia, Cameroon, Italy, South Korea, Czech Republic, Kuwait, Qatar and Peru.
In the modern dog farm, two veterinary doctors take care of 40 breeding dogs with other caretakers, officials, Başyiğit and Bilgiç, before sending them abroad.
“NBA stars, kick box champions, bureaucrats and politicians show great interest in this species of dogs. Right now we have dogs in 32 countries. It makes us proud to make Turkey renowned with these dogs because they have good relations with children. They don’t hurt other animals in the farm like the sheep, ducks or chickens. They are protective at night in their house. They are always on guard against foreigners. After the kangals, the whole world has learnt about the Aksaray malaklısı dogs. Dogs like them, which are fast but are huge and weigh around 90 kilograms, are very rare in the world,” he said.
“These are among the most beautiful breeds in the world. They are purebred. Poyraz, one we have bred, is three years old. It weighs 94 kilograms. Its shoulder is 90 centimeters long. It is among the biggest dogs in Turkey. It is an A-quality dog without any health problems and physical deformations. We have 40 breeds in our farm. We produce the best quality animals possible. We give them the highest quality service. We work with professional veterinarians for their food and health,” he added.
Başyiğit said the love they have for dogs is indescribable. “Poyraz’s puppies have been adopted by the world kick box champion Badr Hari, the world powerlifting champion Orhan Bilican, NBA player Dajuan Clayton, martial artist Fedor Emelianenko and the Azerbaijani finance minister’s son. People want dogs that have the ability to interpret and those that have characters. Every characteristic people in the world are looking for can be found in Turkish shepherd dogs. The new trend in the world is the malaklı,” he said.
‘Our purpose is not to make profit’
Bilgiç said their aim was not to make profit, but their mission was to transfer the Aksaray malaklısı to the next generations as a purebred species.
He said the breed has been living in these lands since the Ottomans for centuries.
“Poyraz is a world-famous dog. He is known by world celebrities. Many famous people now have Poyraz’s sons and daughters in their gardens. I have a private company, but I have always wanted to deal with these dogs. We met Birol and founded this dog farm. We train some of our dogs with herds. We take them to the mountains and seas. The dogs live in the farm just like they live in nature. Our aim is not to make profit. If it was, we would have done it in other sectors,” he said.