Turkish Treasure

The independent Akbash Dog needs a strong leader and a flock to guard.

By | Posted:  August 15, 2006, 5 a.m. EST

Every morning when Diane Spisak goes to the barn to do chores, she is greeted by the Akbash Dogs who have been out all night guarding her flock of sheep. One morning, 7-year-old Azlik didn't show up, so Spisak knew something was amiss.

"I called him and he came right away," says Spisak, an Akbash Dog breeder from Wellsville, Kan. "He encouraged me to follow him and took me to a ewe who was having trouble [giving birth]. He'd stayed with her while she was down and didn't leave her until he knew I was there."

That Azlik would so diligently guard the ewe was no surprise to Spisak, who then helped the ewe deliver a live lamb. "Akbash Dogs have been watching over their flocks and aggressively fending off predators for centuries," she says. "They bond with the flock and show a maternal, nurturing instinct toward it, often cleaning newborns."

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