Monday, December 17, 2012

The big mess behind the Kangal Dog

A member of Anatolian-L posted the following link as an example of where to get 'interesting' information on Kangal history.

The german site can be seen in english if readers use or auto translation in Chrome browser

As stated by the list member, the site is interesting in its own way, But it is not a site of quality information about the Turkish breed situation. Not if you really want know about the history leading to the messy Turkish dog developments that has come to hurt many Turkish people and kangal fanciers, and even harms the dogs. The site makes a point to avoid disclosing important factual material that is necessary to understand the root of the issue's genesis.

Let's begin.
The above German site is basically a mixture of convolutions.

Before even looking at the other issues of the above site, look at the piece ("Five Minutes in the Life of a Geologist") originally written by Natalka Czartoryska. This short piece below, referred to a dog with a 'patchy, tawny and white body'. But the German website above not only does NOT cite the author, it promotes a form of plagiarism which changes the color of the original dog to the one that the web author likes.

Most of the other 'interesting' parts of the same site, have the same sort of misleading materials.

Here is part of the original essay:
    "A gaze fixed on me, it was like a physical blow. Where . . . ? A big dog, right in the middle of the flock was slowly uncurling. Dusty dog and dusty sheep. I had not noticed while all were asleep.

    His patchy, tawny and white body had blended perfectly in the dappled shade, slightly darker muzzle made him look menacing now, as did his stance. He rose slowly and gingerly, and started stepping over the backs of his unconcerned charges, tail coming up, back ramrod straight.

    A wave of admiration hit me. There was a functional beauty chiseled to perfection by countless generations of work . . .

    I had been instantly cured of all desire to approach sheep in that land. I had met the GUARDIAN!"

-Czartoryska, Natalka
"Five Minutes in the Life of a Geologist"
The Guardian, Fall 1980
Natalaka describes the Anadolu Coban kopegi (Anatolian Shepherd's Dog) in Turkey

Now, see the corruption of Natalka's story under the first picture at
this page

I did bring this plagiarization problem to the attention of Elisabeth as far back as before Y2K and she admitted lack of better knowledge of the original piece. But as you can see, even after being informed, she has persisted in anonymizing it and changing the dog color to a fawn with black mask so the story can be used to promote Elisabeth's preferences, and this selectiveness is much of the theme throughout the site.

Now that Natalka is dead, only those who have really studied the history of developments can weed out some of what another list member unabashedly and succinctly recognized as 'crap'. :D

Elisabeth can't claim she doesn't know about the author of the original. I do have her email as evidence. She has had plenty of time to change it.

Let's use some dates now.
The original essay was written in 1980.

Even older than 1980, and not included on the German site is evidence showing the intent for the British Karabash group to create a new breed.

Below is a scanned excerpt of an October 1973 letter by a karabash club member of UK.

As you can see from the excerpt, there was no name for this dog at the time and they did not know where to find these "King dogs". (remember these are shepherd's dogs).

The UK Karabash club has historically displayed little scientific understanding of paleontology and canine genetics. They fail miserably at understanding primitive landraces. (As seen in the example with the Samoyed, they are not alone alone, it is often true that modern dog fanciers have little understanding of the problems of imposing a purebred dog paradigm on ancient landraces. More evidence of lack of critical and scientific thinking is that so many people with shelter rescues and even veterinarians, are absolutely confused at the breed profile ID tests. Even believing that the 'predominant breeds' cited in the tests, are 'breeds' what we see today)

One of the problems cited in the long 1973 letter was ongoing distress that the Karabash foundation stock in UK had pinto factors (and other genetic "evidence") of impurities. The letter excerpt as you can see at its conclusion, called these foundation dogs of theirs, 'watered down shadows'.

This was before Natalka herself imported a single dog that was registered in the UK database. See the years and dates of imports here. Mektup is listed for 1974:

-- it was AFTER the 1973 letter.

From the 1973 letter, we see that since they did not understand landraces, they decided that their job was to recreate this dog of which their 'dreams are made'.

From some of the notes I collected over the years, I learned a little about the scientific background of Natalka. She had a degree in geology and a Masters degree in Biology from Cambridge. She was an animal behaviourist and she lived and traveled extensively in Turkey, visiting there 11 times. She was very active. Susan Goldhor told me that traveling with Natalka in Turkey was utterly exhausting, as Natalka was constantly on the move, didn't stay on the roads. She really wasn't on the Disney tours that are so popular for kangal travelers today. These people think staying in a 'tent' is roughing it! She was seemingly without the need for rest!

Natalka had many interests. In marine biology, she had even explored with the reknown Jacques Cousteau. For some time, she was married to Dr Nic Flemming, a World famous archaeologist who discovered and explored numerous subterranean cities around the world. She worked with Flemming on some important historical sites in Turkey. Nic Flemming had the kennel name, Havus, of which many of Anatolian fanciers may know. He imported his first Anatolian in 1968, which from the above chart, you can see was three years after Charmian Steele.

Natalka used her strong biology background and studied the shepherd's dogs in their homeland. She was not trying to make them fit some perfect and legendary history, nor give them a look that she preferred. She reported what she saw (as did Drs Ray Coppinger and Susan Goldhor). She spoke with many Turkish shepherds about how they chose their dogs, how they bred and trained.

Her split-off ASD club in UK (now folded, the Karabash one prevailed) did not begin until 1979. (ASD People...are you plotting these dates?) While everyone may not support her views recognizing the Anatolian as a landrace, and her work to have FCI recognize them with the standard we all know, her views were significantly more knowledgeable about the landrance equation than the modern idealistic, and narrower views of the Karabash supporters. If the Turkish dogs that the Brits had, didn't fulfill their dream, they would make it so.

Natalka attempted to prevail with her landrace vision to preserve a healthy working dog, and not create new breeds. With the help of scientists and geneticists (Willis embraced a modern breed, the GSD, but he still understood the landraces) the KC agreed in 1983 that the ASD should not be called 'Karabash'. A view to accept them as a landrace.

Sheila Reed of the UK Karabash club, had mortgaged her home to get legal support and fight the KC decision in 1984. She had a lot at stake when she sued the KC to promote the modern idealism of a pure breeding karabash. She lost her suit, and as many who follow the history will know, she dedicated herself to a huge ongoing battle against the landrace concept for this landrace breed..

She also interferred with AKC recognition of the breed, telling AKC outright falsehood.

(the UK didn't have a viable breeding population of akbash dogs. The only dogs they had for this population were occasional pups that were cream color in some ASD-karabash litters)

In 1996, ASDs were accepted in the miscellaneous class in AKC.

By 1996, the first Turkish symposium on these dogs was held. The Turkish people at that point were proud of their shepherd's dogs and pleased at foreign interest, but with the selective presentations of the Brits (which did not report their true records) and David Nelson (who founded his kangal club in 1984--note the dates again) were engineered to motivate Turks to see that Natalka, Americans and some Europeans were extingishing what would become a contentious piece of real estate... a pure kangal breed. As well, the akbash, and the newly invented kars dog was presented in the symposium. An American soldier who took photos of some dogs in the area of his stay in north eastern Turkey at the time, inadvertently helped Nelson invent his Kars 'breed'.

Natalka submitted materials for the symposium, but she could not make it. She was soon very ill and would pass on.

So as many of you know... Natalka was used as a scapegoat for the 'mixing' of their pure breed. Surf around the internet and you'll find more material by Reed and Karabash groupies, as well as disciples of Nelson--all promoting the idea that this historic dog had a pure version and that there were many mongrel LGDs in Turkey. Emphasis on the fact that the ASD was not this pure LGD.

I don't think ASD people ever wavered from the nonexaggerated FCI standard (but I don't speak for everyone). Not all Turkish LGDs fit that standard, but regardless, in propaganda, this standard was twisted to create more animosity against the ASD and Natalka, saying such things as that it(the Standard) was inclusive of all Turkish LGDs.

It becomes obvious.......
The larger goal was to get Turkish people to accept the British and Nelson's modern paradigm of purity.

Advance to 2006 or so, and we now find that Gazi and Sabahat were listed in Wiki (kangal dog topic) as pure kangal dogs.

"Britain's first kangal litter was produced in 1967 by Gazi of Bakirtoll Koyu and his mate Sabahat of Hayiroglu. Dogs from this original line formed the foundation of the so-called "Seacop" stock." [?]

But as seen from the letter excerpt, they didn't know what to call the dogs, nor where to get them, and already were having problems with the genetics of the 'shadows' they started with. Subsequent British imports included dogs from Ankara Zoo, dogs from rescue situations, and other efforts to add more dogs to their mixture of 'shadows'. Yet those not aware of this history can see that they represented how the Karabash club was 'right' all along.

This year, 2012, the kennel club announcement brings reality to the creation ambition of the 1973 letter excerpt, bringing their new breed to reality. Karabash founders have created their breed:
Recognition of the Turkish Kangal dog

The number of pedigree dog breeds recognised in the UK will rise to 211 next April, following the Kennel Club’s decision to recognise the Turkish Kangal Dog.

The Kennel Club General Committee has approved the recognition of the Turkish Kangal Dog with effect from 1st April 2013. The breed will be classified in the Pastoral Group. 

Dogs currently registered as Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are eligible to apply to have their breed recorded as the Turkish Kangal Dog instead where appropriate. Details of the application process and application forms can now be obtained on request from the Registration Office at the Kennel Club tel. 0844 4633 980.

An Interim Breed Standard is being prepared for the breed and will be issued for information purposes in December 2012. The Turkish Kangal Dog will be eligible for exhibition at Kennel Club licensed breed shows from 1st July 2013.

A dog may only be exhibited as a Turkish Kangal Dog once the new registration documents have been issued, confirming the transfer of the dog and its classification as a Turkish Kangal Dog.  Owners are therefore advised that application forms should be completed and submitted well in advance of 1st April 2013.
3rd October 2012

Back to the German site:
Stories in old stones and manuscripts are fun to read indeed, but selectively using them to imply that the dogs written of, could only possibly refer to one type or race or color of LGD in Turkey, is more than a bit specious.

Many LGDs in Turkish stories of the past did not come from one region nor were they all of modern today's preferred color and coat.

It's a bit like taking a piece of yarn and pull it to ravel out the just parts that you need, then recoloring it to make your own sweater in your own perfect color. The yarn is the thread that is manipulated to create a false history. That is not science. But many people will read the german site and only see one thing in the picture.

Now, back to science...
Landraces, wild species, naturally breeding entities... Here's an image from a paper that pretty much shows the realities in evolutionary biology.

A 'purity' paradigm is imaginary. And applied to canine landraces, the idea that only one region is PURE is human prejudice masquerading as science to the gullible... people will draw their artificial line where they want--making an animal to suddenly be a pure one despite it's multifactored evolution. It's a faulty and prejudicial paradigm.

I'm sure some people feel their landrace dog is an exception and perhaps its 'pure race' ancestors dropped from the sky, or some politically motivated holy work, in its exacting perfect form without any complement of all the loci that exist on various phenotype ranges that were involved in its development.

I want to give a source for the picture showing evolutionary flow above. This is from a paper which discusses the problems of the concept of purity, when viewed with an understanding of paleontology, genetics and related issues, and is part of the material in a new wolf book. Wolf lovers tired of a steady diet of main stream media, may find the science fascinating.

Far too many laymen and even some scientists cater to a faulty paradigm. Here's a quote:

Hybrids may be classified as good subspecies and should not be necessarily discriminated against in conservation programs. Experimental evidence using mtDNA and cladistic statistics models demostrate that gene flow is constant and 'pure' species are wishful thinking. In Canis, hybridization may increase genetic variability and in some instances create phenotypic novelties. Thus, hybridization should not be artificially prevented in restoration programs. Small populations of animals need genetic diversity for adaptation to occur. They also need genetic diversity to avoid deleterious bottlenecks that are the inevitable result of the restriction of gene flow.

The paper may still be here...

The 2010 wolf book from which you can find this paper, has a spot on amazon:

To put even more of this into perspective, see the ANKADER site,

This page above refers to the unfortunate chaos and realizes that many mistakes that were made, much of which came about as the British and Nelson kangal concept was promoted as 'scientific' or factual, in Turkey. The fact is, now that FCI expects modern protocols to be forced and applied to these fantastic dogs, Ankader is finding a solution that does not support the template created by the agenda of the British karabash club. But the British club has gained and used their unwitting pawns among many Europeans and some Turkish people alike. It no longer matters to them as now they have what they want with the UK Kennel Club now granting them the authority they have pursued. The hand of kangal lovers is now being forced to make some hard distinctions among their native shepherd's dogs.

For the past twenty some years, anyone from around the world with a style of fawn Turkish dog that they liked (even UK or FCI registered ASD; this flip flopping occurs on the German site as well), simply called their dog a kangal. The name had become a piece of real estate. Many Youtube sites claim a dog is authentic Kangal. In some videos, you'll see old style, wolf-like heads, in others you'll see massive, blocky, lippy dogs with a lot of skin and ginormous size, all using that that now generic kangal moniker.

And as happened on the German site, many kangal lovers bred their dogs to dogs from various regional styles (even using rescued dogs) in order to get a personally favored size or style of dog that they liked. Collectively this mixed population was called 'kangal' if the color was "just right". Little different than what is claimed by purists, that ASDs are a mix of many regions of dogs, and that they are not "pure" kangal. That's exactly what has happened to the kangal name, it's a commodity, it is generic. Many who love the dogs, regardless of the breed name, don't really study pedigrees nor history and may even be surprised that any of this is true..

The locus responsible for 'white spotting' (white marks on chest, legs, stray blotches elsewhere) is largely misunderstood by this crowd. And many will not make an effort to understand it themselves. It is not because they are unintelligent, but it's far easier and takes far less time to 'go with the crowd' Most of them have been applying the rule sets used for 'manmade' modern breeds on this magnificent dog that evolved over ages of natural breeding and hardship.

To read more about some of the chaos that has occurred, see this previous post. You do not have to read... just look at the images of the dogs as you scroll down. And then be sure to visit Lilli's site in the link.

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Semavi Lady woofed at @ 12/17/2012 04:52:00 PM | Permanent link | (0) Comments