1- Comparative Analysis of Two Different Strains of Anatolian Shepherd 2- Stray Street or Pariah Dogs 3- Interview with Ismail Kara “Beşli 4- The Steppe Monster: Bozkir Canavari 5- Malak 6-The Greyhound of Anatolia: The Turkmen Tazi 7- Bogus: The Wrestling Anatolian 8- Castration For Economy 9- Interview with Geygel and Sarikecili Yoruks
10- Stub Tails and Cropped Ears 11- Dwindling Flocks and Vanishing Coban Kopegi 12-Yal 13- Annihilated Yoruks And Goats; Prospering Pine Needles And Kangals (not appeared in CC)
Castration For Economy
A vet friend of mine recently attempted to castrate a Buck who was 8 years old; he died in three days in pain. His witty reasoning was to eat buck meat without any buck odor! He did not castrate him early, because he used him as a stud buck for several years. Then the buck died in agony after all his service! This is how humane people can be, including industry sponsored vets. If we look at Old Spanish cattle history, Spanish had no neutering practices and they bred the Long Horn that formed the basis of American cattle industry for about 100 years. No castration was practiced on the black fighting Bulls and they were the basis of the Long Horn Cattle. Steers exhibit a different horn growth compared to Bulls. J.F. Dobie, in his book the Longhorns noted “Bull horns were generally thick and stubby, though some grew rather long, and many were very sharp. Stag males castrated late in life, develop horns more like those of a bull than those of a steer.” Neutering pets is another modern practice like cattle or dog shows or pedigree keeping.
Both growing an ASD to its full potential and neutering it at the same time are not possible. Should neutering happen before the dog is 9 months old or before it starts marking its territory by raising his leg he will end up with an incomplete growth. The ASDs enlarge their bulk after about 9 months old and that is when their heads become larger and this process continues all the way up to 20 months. The humane approach would be to shoot the dog that needs to be neutered. For some the process of cutting that is neutering must be required to make the dog complete! The alternative humane approach is neutering the dog when it is about a week old, like a castrated child, when it bleeds less and feels less pain.
Neutering a dog when it is 24 months old would give its owner a larger dog only. However the neutered dogs cannot secrete the same hormones that the intact ones can. Therefore they cannot excel at their protective duties. The trauma that the dogs go through is not humane (I have a different understanding of being humane), considering the age of the dog.
Castration specialists do not consider the effect of the hormones on the mental and physical health of the dog into consideration. All the hormones produced by the brain have purposes. They are regulators, triggers and even neutralizers.
Some ASD owners advocate neutering the dogs so that they would not wander for mating purposes. ASDs are roamers and the negative aspect of roaming is offset by their territoriality. Roaming is also an extending patrolling. An ASD whose instinct has not been removed via surgery will evaluate its territory differently than the neutered one. For such a dog, the distance it can see is its territory. Today roaming may not be acceptable for farm conditions, but then a mastiff and a Ridgeback or a GSD could do the same job. Why do we need an ASD? I know roamer dogs that come back with foxes and wolves and wild boar piglets. On the other hand I know a female ASD in Turkey that the shepherd initially thought was a cowardly dog, but then he realized that she loves sheep. If she were neutered when she was very young, the shepherd could not possibly know how good a shepherd dog she was. She could not have reached the stage of being selected as a good breeding dog. She was a white dog and it was impossible to tell that there was a dog in the flock. She was very quiet. She would just stick her head among the sheep and watch. Some males do the same thing. They are never castrated. Let’s keep in mind that what an ASD means, not what it is that we envision. It is now time to admit that “neuter” is a safe, soft and dishonest word which we exchange for “castration”.
Above is a clue for cattle ranchers in the USA who are concerned about wolf attacks on the cattle. Cattle protection requires roaming. People discussed this before and concluded that ASDs are not good for cattle protection, however there are Turkish cattle dogs that protect cattle that I have seen in Kayseri in central Anatolia and Rize in northwest Anatolia. Most Turkish dogs roam because of the historical and traditional animal husbandry in Anatolia.
The question that needs to be posed to the pro-castration folks is: What makes the dog roam or what goes on in the mind of the dog that makes it roam?”
I have different approaches of reasoning against the castration, but I also believe that the owner should make the final decision and should not be judged or prosecuted by the clubs or animal rights hobbyists.
The animal rightists as a political power needs to be approached carefully when castration in discussed. I met a few of them. According to them “it is OK to crop the tail of a hunting dog, but it is not OK to crop a tail of a GSD or crop the ears of an ASD, yet the dewclaws must go! Castration is healthy. It is about animal welfare. It is OK to make double holes on the both ears of a cow to tag her, but it is not OK shoot a fox, and again it is acceptable to kill badgers suspected having TB”. If it exists, I cannot follow their divisive logic. People can be so hypocritical. They respect more the rights of a dog, but they do not respect the animals that they eat. The same mentality secretes beliefs like “A horse is a noble animal, but a cow is dumb.” I can extend this infected mentality right into the politics but it is not necessary. I have visited a cattle market and watched cattle cry with large tears in their eyes as their horns are cut of with saws as their faces covered with blood. Yet a group of people in the USA is putting all their efforts into stopping Greyhound races!
There is a very simple description of a neutralized animal: testicle-less, ovum-less animal. But it is not the same with ear-less or dew-claw-less, because it is about a future without any reproductive possibility.
This is not about animal rights. It is about communistic repression. A dog without ears can still pass its genes, but it is not possible without the reproductive organs. Those two surgeries cannot be compared.
My sister neutered her English Cocker recently when the dog was about eight years old, because she did not want to breed her. She was neutered when it was clear that she was going to have health problems and it was too late to breed her.
The vets might say “well it is good for the animal’s health, if it is not going to be bred”. What if he or she needs to be bred late in their lives? I know a few bitches that they have not been bred until they were 6 years olds and then they gave birth to healthy puppies from promising males. Apart from that I really believe that we need to ask another question which is “what happens when we castrate?” Take at a look at the bull’s case; it becomes more docile, when it becomes a steer/bullock. Bulls are not suitable for draft purposes but only oxen. A horse is converted into a gelding because the rider needs a calmer and more manageable horse. It is the same with the dogs. Docility is the opposite of aggression and protection requires aggression without violence. If one does not need protection then he does not need a protection dog like ASD. Yet some recent research about the behavior change in dogs after the surgery found that castrated dogs could become more aggressive than their intact siblings. This kind of aggression is one that is caused by the lack of balancing hormones that they are supposed to be part of the general mechanism of the dog. The appointed experts are like children who like to fix things even when they are not broken. No wonder they end up with comics instead of real characters. Striping the organs and qualities of animals and plants in order to optimize or rather maximize their production is simply modern Frankesteinism. I wonder why modern Frankesteins build new domestic life forms by combining various organic parts of animals and plants. Perhaps they work on this subject in cooperation with GM voodooists.
Another concern: most of the time someone who is experienced enough can tell about the temperament of a dog when the dog is about a month old, but there are exceptions. Some dogs show their true color when they are 6-9 months old. I had an ASD and he was a coward until he was 5 months old and one day he transformed into a Samurai. Had he been castrated he would not have had a chance to pass his valuable genes. Some dogs need an opportunity to show their deeply buried values. Some dogs are shy like people, but they can change when they are in a comfort zone or when they accomplish something important for them.
Again, agreeing with the castration practice in general is one thing; managing and oppressing the owner of the animal is another. The owner should have the final word about what part of the animal needs to be chopped off, not the institutions of technocracy or irresponsible but authorized, power hungry midgets of bureaucracy. I find it hard to listen to the so-called “animal lovers” when they repeat the memorized slogans about animal welfare. The impression they make is if you are not like them, then you must not be an animal lover. Does it sound familiar to you? “He that is not with me is against me”. This dilemma is so false that it can only generate fallacy.
I wonder if anyone calculated the money annually spent on “chop off operations” on dogs and cats in the USA and in the United Europe. The dogs and the cats are not the beneficiaries for certain.
Sep 03, 2007
Stub Tails and Cropped Ears
As it applies to ASDs, not all dogs have a tail. Some dogs are born with short, rudimentary tails. Other dogs have their tails docked short soon after birth. Dogs without tails and those whose tails are commonly docked often belong to the herding and working breeds of dogs. In these breeds, a long tail is considered a disadvantage or a hazard, depending upon the dog's intended usage or line of work.
When people talk about dog tails, they associate the tails with communication. It is perceived as an organic and silent tool for communication. According to this approach tailless dogs must be lacking communication skills. The fact of the matter is that tail is the barometer of the dog’s mind. Dog does not communicate with its tail; although it cannot be denied that the visual position of the tail may have some affect on the communication, the tail movements are essentially the end result of mental state of the dog. We humans are very creative at the process of identifying the sources of our information. Some attribute the tail movements to communication. Dogs can use their tails and ears in the absence of dogs or humans. Reaction is not communication, but only taking a position. Our interpretation is limited to our perception.
Most veterinarians may believe that ear cropping, the removal of the earflap for purely cosmetic reasons, is inhumane, so they refuse to do it. They may also believe that dogs communicate with other dogs and with humans through their ear language. However droopy-eared dogs cannot effectively maneuver their ears like GSDs. Therefore since they have almost no ear position they must have very limited means of early communication. If they wanted to, they could have seen that by cropping half of the ear, they could have been helping the dog to communicate better. Clearly their choice is subjective one. The same vets do not mind pulling the dewclaws off the dog. Because they reason that they can get caught by the thorny brush! ASDs in their native conditions can manage without their dewclaws getting caught much like Great Pyrenees. And they have been effectively communicating with their cropped dewclaws. What the bright observers are terribly missing because they have probably never become one with the dog is that dogs communicate with their torso, eyes and vocal cords. The tail is located at the rear of dog. A tail does not function like a human’s hands. Then human hand communication differs from one culture to another. The head, eyes and mouth of a dog are the organs that face another dog. They are the front liners. A dog that does not want to communicate turns its back to another dog. In addition to these, dogs’ scents give them material to process and it takes place in the brain not in the tail.
The ears of some goat breeds with very long ears in India are sometimes cropped because of the vegetation with thorny barks and branches. Long, hanging is not natural so they are shortened to help the goat move easily. Some goat breeds like Maltese’s udders are covered with a goat bra in Anatolia so that the udders do not get caught in the maquis. ASDs working in the maquis can easily tear their ears.
ASDs hear better with cropped ears. One can try to hear the same sound with an open ear and then try it with a folded ear. It is the same with the dogs. Dogs with pricked ears can rotate their ears towards the source of sound. ASD with ears can do the same but what they receive is not the same with that of a wolf receives. By cropping the ears the dogs not only can rotate the ear, but receive more input as well.
Shepherd dogs have larger ears than wolves. Hence a dog’s large ears which increase its effective surface area. Heat loss occurs by pumping blood into its ears of any mammal. By removing half of the ear the surface are is reduced in to half. That way a shepherd dog looses less heat from its ears. The same can be observed in Polar Bears and Arctic Fox clearly.
Lost heat can be compensated either by moving and therefore eating or only by eating alone. This solution is not viable under traditional and natural settings. Although ear cropping for this reason only may not be received as a just reason, its benefit in lowering the heat loss is apparent.
Swollen earflaps are technically called Aural Hematomas. They are a fairly widespread condition in dogs. It is believed that there is a link between swollen earflaps and excessive flapping of the ears. Swelling is caused by a ruptured blood vessel after bleeding has occurred inside a tissue. When a blood vessel within the earflap ruptures the earflap swells with blood. This condition causes a significant change in the carriage of the ear. An aural hematoma can disfigure the ears. A dog with cropped ears does not have such problems.
Long droops ears protect the eardrum from external substances such as rain, dust and wind. This protection comes with a drawback. Whatever enters the ear, cannot exit by itself. Assistance is required. A foxtail enters the ear needs to be pulled out by a vet with special tools. No air circulation in the hanging ears makes the ear stinky and uncomfortable for the dog. This conditions invites fungal growth as well. While hair is growing inside, dust, mites, and tick use ears as breeding ground. I have witnessed that a GSD, Ridgeback-cross used to have sever fly infestation during the summer in Texas. Medication was a temporary solution since he lived outdoors with horses at all times as a guard. His summer ears were so bloody that other dogs had to help him by licking his ears.
A dog scratching its ears for either it is infected with mites or fungus will cause the ears bleed that will invite more problems. One may object all the above by reasoning that modern medicine can cure everything. Nevertheless the subject here is about unspoiled Anatolian Shepherd Dog that works independently out in the open for the whole year under any kind of weather.
Ears are cropped in Turkey in the villages also because cropped ears are less subject to be ripped during an encounter between two dogs or between a dog and wolf. Apart from that it is believed that a cropped ear dog is a handsome dog. The modern medical and scientific philosophies claim that they provide answers for any problem and situation. The traditions of that past may seem brutal and meaningless to many, but this conclusion is out of convenience not out of knowledge and experience. It seems to me that is too expensive to waste the accumulation of thousands years of traditions thinking that the recently released version of “Homo-Consumer” knows better.
Tail has survival functions. A thick tailed dog would curl its tail around its body in the freezing cold, cover its face and insulate energy. Very swift dogs use their tail as a counter balance tool when they make sudden sharp turns. A tail also can be used as a stirring wheel in the water and a fly repellent in the fly infested areas.
Yet some dogs born without tails and some dog breeds come without tails like Old English Sheep Dog and ASD. These dogs like hyenas have very short tail can perfectly communicate and even survive in the freezing temperatures. Stub tailed dogs have a tendency to be shorter horizontally.
In the northeastern part of Anatolia some shepherds get rid of 1/3 of the tail. Most shepherds anywhere in Anatolia do not like very long tails. Whether it has a logical base or not they feel long tail comes with less courage.
Tail docking seems to be a cultural practice more than practical use. As explained above cropped ears have several advantages like not getting chopped of during a fight. Some dogs are very sensitive to flies in the summer. Their ears are infested with blood sucking flies. If we let Alabias leave in their traditional settings we might as well possibly see some individuals coming up with tail and parasite related problems. This has not been tested so we cannot explain the validity of health related docking reliably. However the crevices of a long fat tailed sheep’s tail is a breeding ground for some flies. A very curled tailed of a dog may serve a similar nest under certain conditions. On rare occasions I have seen dogs with broken tails. Who knows how they were broken. It must be very painful. It is like castration the sooner the better -less painful-.
No tail docking or the infrequency of it in Anatolia proves that ASDs are from Anatolia mainly not from Turkmenistan although Turkmen tribes migrated to Anatolia 1200 years ago. Why would they leave their practice behind but not their dogs? Turkmen might have become a minority among the natives. Finally they must have abandoned the practice. Perhaps the suggested Central Asian flies did not escort the dogs all way into Anatolia!
Tail docking is not about nature but nurture kind of choice. Inflicting pain on the dog is has indirect benefits for the shepherd to observe the puppy under physical pressure. This is purely cultural. It is a sort of test. A shepherd does not crop the ears of a puppy to inflict pain but takes advantage of the reaction of the puppy when the ears are cropped. He can see which puppy screamed most as he cuts the tail or the ears. Testing is not about pleasing and pleasure. It is about selection. There is nothing such “humane selection”. There is either aesthetic oriented and culturally biased politically correct selection or purely commercial selection.
Circumcision, ear piercing and aesthetic surgeries that people go through are “humane”, because it is a human thing. Humans like to alter looks either on themselves or on animals or plants. Pets are now inserted electronic IDs by piercing their skins or cattle’s ears are pierced for management reasons which I am not for marking animals as a forced policy on people. Animals are for their owners not for the clubs or governments. Governments should have no right to intervene with people’s cultural and personal choices. Besides animals are not citizens.
Breeding stump-tailed dogs is not illegal so far, but docking is in some countries, but again it is OK to breed English bulldog. Is it not cruel to alter and bastardize a life form, furthermore genetically fix those traits because that form entertains us? It is OK to castrate but not to dock. According to the masters of twisted logic, one is humane the other is cruel because of their biased egocentric culture. This kind of culture not only loves to ban anything that does not suit it well but also likes to crush minorities and their way of life. That is how the way to repressive communistic society is paved.
Curly tails are being a new interest among the ASD breeders recently. A curly tail is basically a deformed vertebrate and man like to breed deformed animals. Deformation is a branch of domestication. Increasing the head size is another form of deformation. It has to be noted here that ASDs do not guard with their tail, so there is no correct tail type that one can base on a scale of “absolute correct”. If one thinks curled tails are pleasing the eye, he should go for it, but setting standards out of nothing is misleading and distorting. Some of the ASD breeders may have exaggerated souls, but exaggerating the dogs is torturing them. ASDs must be strong and fast, not necessarily big and large. Largeness comes after strength and speed in order to support the guarding ability.
Whether curly tailed, kink tailed or stub tailed, ASDs do not lack any shepherding qualities, just because they have no tails. Alabais may come with stub tails or their tails are cropped as a general practice. There are several heresy about ear and tail cropping, but apart from them the practice has been practiced not for showing, but for either practical or belief reasons. Missing performance is more important than missing parts. Tail and ear cropping in Doberman must not be confused with an Alabai or ASD tail and ear cropping. The former is practiced for mainly aesthetic reasons; the latter however is for functional or cultural and traditional reasons although it eventually leads to an aesthetic alteration. One may like the altered looks or not. It is purely subjective. Prejudiced standards have no place in real ASD selection for the tail does not wag the dog.
Ocean Park, WA