Performance Booster

Can judging for type serve working dogs?

By Richard Beauchamp | Posted: Fri May 13 00:00:00 PDT 2005

Page 4 of 7

Chest is deep to the elbow. Good length of leg standing on strong pasterns and tight well-arched feet. Sufficient length of upper arm to place the elbow on a line directly under the highest point of the withers. Distinct tuck-up at the loin.

EC: the working Anatolian, the proportions that maintain the optimum level of both strength and ability are more important than size considerations. That is why maintaining correct Anatolian type is vital.

(Conard's following comments deal with tail set and tail carriage - significant in creating the silhouette of a breed, but as you will read, in this case profoundly important in assisting the Anatolian in his work. - RGB)

I have been amazed by the intensity of feeling I've seen regarding the "correct" Anatolian tail, an upright tail that curls. Most often I've heard people say, "the curled tail is what distinguishes our breed from other breeds." Since many breeds have curled tails I find that statement confusing and illogical.

Years ago I watched my goats faithfully stand behind my male Anatolian, as he barked into the dark night to warn coyotes of his presence in he flock. As he moved either left or right, depending on the movement of the lurking predators, the goats would scoot right or left to keep the dog between them and the unseen predators. Since so many of the goats were short, I couldn't understand how they knew exactly where to move to be so directly behind him. Always curious, I got down on all fours, in the dark, in the middle of the herd, with my eyes level with most of the goats' eyes. The only thing I saw was the dog's tail standing stiff and glowing lightly in front of the herd. From my position his tail looked like a short white pole until he moved left. Then I could see it curl forward. All the goats and I shifted until the curl was hidden and all I could see was a straight line. I was again directly behind my guarding Anatolian.

From that and similar experiments, I believe the curled tail has a definite safety function related to guardian duties. Therefore, I prefer tails that go up when danger is present or the dog is moving to another location and wants the herd to follow. If the tail curves too tightly the smaller animals in the herd will have greater difficulty seeing the tail signal and not know where to shift... From a working standpoint I favor the tail that stands tall with a nice curl toward the top... similar to a shepherd's crook.

Tail high and waving signals agitation and dang er; the experienced herd will follow if the Anatolian circles and moves out or will stand behind the Anatolian who stands still and barks.

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