Today I thought I'd introduce you to one of my biggest cousins. I haven't personally met one in real life but my human has. She was fortunate enough to be introduced to Anatolian Shepherd dogs on a farm just outside of Cape Town where they live side by side with cheetahs. Can you think of anything more amazing than that?
Initially, Anatolian Shepherds were bread in central Turkey to protect livestock against predators. They are huge and extremely powerful and in Africa they have become known as excellent breed to have if you would like to protect your livestock, particularly sheep, against predators such as cheetahs.
Cheetah numbers in South Africa and Namibia declined drastically in years gone by as farmers introduced livestock on to land inhabited by these beautiful animals. Naturally cheetahs started attacking the livestock and the farmers, in turn, killed the cheetahs. A no-win situation for all!
It was discovered that introducing Anatolian Shepherds on the farms is the ideal alternative to killing cheetahs, as the dogs bond with livestock when young and will furiously protect them when they come under attack. Cheetahs, on the other hand, are non-confrontational and if faced with such a huge and powerful dog, will rather retreat. The dogs are now bred here specifically for this purpose and pups are donated to farmers who have cheetahs and livestock on their farms. A win-win situation for all!
The dogs are highly intelligent and independent and their short hair makes them well-suited for keeping cool on hot African days.
The following two sites offer interesting reading if you would like to know more about these amazing dogs!
All I can say - if my human ever decides to take me to the farm so that I can meet one in real life, she'd better make sure there's a STURDY fence between us! Oh, and by the way - she told me to tell you not to worry about the Anatolian and the cheetah on the picture above, they grew up together in captivity and are big buddies. They are both ambassadors for this initiative and if you ever come to our neck of the woods, perhaps you can go and pay them a visit!
That's all for now, here's wishing you a great week ahead!