Turkish shepherd dogs come to French sheep’s rescue
PARIS – Anadolu Agency
French sheep now have a new friend to protect them from becoming wolf snacks: Kangals, a Turkish breed of herd-protecting dogs.
Sheep owners in France say the unique breeds are a godsend after an increase in wolf attacks in the country.
France Bleu, a part of the national public broadcasting group Radio France, reported on its website on May 21 that Kangals have been a big help for sheep in southeastern France.
A “Kangal” is an Anatolian shepherd and gets its name from the Kangal district of the Central Anatolian province of Sivas. This dog is usually used as a watchdog for sheep to protect the herd from predators such as wolves and bears.
This dog is known for its bulky size, courage, agility and intelligence as well as loyalty.
Sheep owners in the Drome department located in southeastern France have started to buy Kangal dogs after an increase in wolf attacks in 2017.
French sheep owners said they now prefer Kangal dogs because Patou, the Pyrenean mountain dogs, have fallen short in their protection duties.
“If you come across a Kangal, keep walking without drawing their attention. If you are on a bicycle, get off it. But never get close to the dog,” France Bleu reported the authorities as warning.
Kangals are known to stick with the herd no matter how nasty or big predators are, and they also rarely attack humans.
“They do not bite, but they cow [their target] into submission, bringing them to the ground and waiting for their action. If [the target] becomes active again then the Kangal again tries to neutralize them,” experts say.
According to the Sivas Governor’s Office, Kangal dogs’ weight varies between 50 kilograms and 60 kilograms for males, and 41 kilograms and 59 kilograms for females.
The Kangal is used to protect cattle in farms around the world, including the United States. They are represented by the Kangal Dog Club of America in the United States, where their population amounts to three million. They have been in North America since the 1980s, the club’s staff previously told daily Hürriyet.
A working Kangal on duty stations itself on a high vantage point overlooking its flock. The dogs work in pairs or teams depending on the size of the flock, taking up positions around the sheep and changing their positions as needed. The intensity of their patrols around the sheep increases at nightfall.