With their muscular bodies and keen instincts, Turkey’s shepherd dogs have an international reputation. In northwestern Bursa, a center that breeds the sheepdogs and preserves their breed is striving to cope with rising demand for the Kangal and Akbaş, the two most famous varieties.
People wait for months to buy dogs bred in Bursa and the central province of Sivas, the Kangal’s homeland. “Our dogs are preferred because they are pedigree. People file a request. We call and inform them when their turn comes. Those who want females wait at least eight months, and those who want males, up to 12-15 months,” said Seydi Vakkas Karaoğlan, who is working as an animal feeding technician at a dog breeding facility in the Karacabey district of Bursa province. The facility, home to other animals, is operated by the state-run General Directorate of Agricultural Enterprises (TIGEM).
Karaoğlan said the facility in Karacabey has the capacity to shelter 173 animals and there are currently 60 female and 40 male dogs for breeding purposes. “Puppies are sold for TL 3,540 ($509) and young dogs for TL 4,956 ($713). Currently, 270 people are waiting in line,” he said.
Dogs that have been bred and sold in Karacabey since 1997 are recorded in a registry to prevent inbreeding. The facility welcomes around 150-180 puppies a year.
Karaoğlan said the puppies are sold after they start the transition from their mother’s milk onto solid foods, which corresponds to 2 1/2 to three months after birth.
“The certificate we give to the owners includes the lineage of the dog and its vaccine tracking. All our dogs have been registered since 1988,” he said. “We note the pedigree of all of them. We definitely do not match first-degree kin. Our aim is to preserve gene resources as purebred.”