A couple of weeks ago I took Bear down to the co-op store to meet a friend who’s lived here a long time (came from here). Bear has nice manners and my friend likes dogs. She looked at Bear and said, “I don’t think she’s a Great Pyrenees at all. I think she’s an Akbash.”
I’d never heard of this “Akbash” of which she spoke.
“A lot of ranchers use them to guard their sheep out here.”
“A lot?” I wondered. That couldn’t be many. There are 40k people in the San Luis Valley and 10k live in Alamosa and 4k live here and 2k in Del Norte and there are other towns, though not as big. And not all the people living on the land are ranchers; most are farmers. Still, there are a lot of dog breeds out here that I have almost never seen in my life, though the most common is the Australian cattledog.
“Yeah, here, look.” She’d found Akbash on her phone and they looked a lot more like Bear than Bear looks like a Great Pyrenees. They are longer, taller and leaner than Pyrs; often have spots on their ears and different places on their body and they can have blue eyes. Their fur is not as thick and fluffy as a Pyr, more often it is silky and not as long.
She’s doing great, still. She’s the star of obedience training, and she’s the youngest “student.” She likes doing what I ask her to (she likes me) and we’ve been practicing this stuff since she came. I’m also around her most of the time, and I realize how much a difference that makes in training a puppy. She’s very responsive and very affectionate. She sits and is getting to “sit stay.” She does “down” and is learning “down stay.” She heels more or less well if Dusty walks with us, otherwise, she gets too captivated by the “news” all along the way. I’m now working with her on respecting my space and accepting “intrusive” touches like me checking her teeth, rolling her around and messing with her feet. I can just imagine her as a 100 pound dog who doesn’t let the vet touch her — a nightmare! She’s getting it. She no longer gets emotionally devastated if I say, “Bad dog!” so I can see she’s more secure. Dusty and she have had a few mild spats but it’s Dusty telling her what’s up and not to come up on him from behind. Dusty does not know how to play, and that’s been hard on Bear to understand. She loves all people she meets and doesn’t jump on them. She especially loves little kids who are generally fascinated by her. She weighs 45 pounds and is as tall as a full grown Aussie. (Mindy, to be precise.)
I’m so glad I got her. She’s a wonderful “little big dog.” Given her nature and the nature of the breed, I’m also glad I’ve had several snow dogs over the years and am used to dealing with an independent dog who believes she has a job to do.
Here’s a photo of a full grown Akbash. I took it from http://www.dogbreedinfo.com — this dog is a male and his name is…Bear. Oh well!
Here’s an Akbash at work. Not a bad job, standing around in a field under the open sky!
If you’re interested in the breed, here’s good information.