The Canadian Kennel Club warmly welcomes the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Black Russian Terrier, and the Spanish Water Dog.
Joining the Working Group: the Anatolian Shepherd Dog
He’s powerful and protective. He’s agile and quick. He’s the Anatolian Shepherd, and he’s been around for a long time. Depictions of similarly built dogs dating back to 2000 B.C. can be seen in bas reliefs from Assyria. The “Book of Job” mentions shepherds whose dogs kept watch over flocks. Those dogs very likely could have been Anatolian Shepherds. 1 The Anatolian lived an isolated existence for hundreds of years and is, as a result, relatively unchanged in appearance or position. He remains a highly valued livestock guardian.
North Americans began importing Anatolians in the 1950s, but they really began to flourish in the 1970s when an American Lieutenant of the U.S. Navy acquired a pair while stationed in Turkey. 2 His breeding activity coincided with the passage of the Endangered Species Act. The new law required ranchers to control the wolf population without killing them, which worked out great because Anatolians would rather intimidate a predator than fight them. 3 Although they are powerful enough to kill a wolf when push comes to shove. 4
Anatolians are trusted livestock guardians who protect sheep, goats, alpacas, and even ostriches. They are working dogs and thrive when they have a flock to protect. I personally don’t know anyone who keeps Anatolians in a city setting or even in a suburban setting with a small yard. Anatolians are deeply devoted to protecting their human and animal flocks as well as their property. They can be reserved with strangers and aloof in public. Early and consistent socialization is recommended.
Anatolians are generally quite indoor and tend to go from “zero to one hundred” in a second if a threat is perceived. Grooming needs are minimal apart from their heavy shedding periods that happen twice a year. Any colour is allowed, although all the Anatolians I’ve met are fawn with a dark mask. They are generally very healthy dogs and tend to live and for a long time considering their size. Adult Anatolians stand at least 29 in at the shoulder and weigh up to 150 lbs at maturity, which may take up to four years to achieve. 5
In one sentence: Possessing courage, strength, and speed, the Anatolian Shepherd is best suited to a home where he can perform the job he’s been trusted for centuries to do.
Joining the Working Group: The Black Russian Terrier
You read that right – the powerful Black Russian Terrier is a terrier in name only and belongs to the Working Group. Bred for hard work, Russian breeders and scientists worked with the armed forces in the 1930s to purposely create an all-round military dog for the Soviet Army. Seventeen breeds were used, including the Giant Schnauzer, the Rottweiler, and many believe that the “terrier” is in the name because of its ancestry with the Airedale. 6 Large, powerful, and intelligent, the Black Russian Terrier came to be as we know him today in 1958 when the standard was created to work a variety of tasks in extreme weather. 7 They were used by the Soviet Red Army to guard borders, work in prisons, guard food and chemical plants, and work with police. Their jobs required both independence and teamwork depending on the task.
Black Russian Terriers are a large, powerful and courageous, breed that do best with an experienced owner since they are assertive and can out-think a novice. They thrive with regular physical and mental exercise and are happiest when they’ve got a job to do. This is why they excell in so many different dog sports.
Black Russian Terriers can be reserved and aloof with strangers but form deep bonds with their immediate family, whom they are very protective of.
They’ve got a black coat which protects them both in the heat and the cold. It’s a hallmark of the breed and should be brushed regularly for the best results. A Black Russian Terrier’s hair grows continuously, so they should see a professional groomer about once every 6-8 weeks.
In one sentence: Brains and brawn are balanced beautifully in this breed that should live with an owner as calm and assertive as he is.
Joining the Herding Group: The Spanish Water Dog
The Spanish Water Dog is an all-purpose farm dog who excels at many farm tasks, including herding, hunting, and vermin control. They also helped Spanish fishermen retrieve fish and lines. This versatile breed has been a fixture of the Iberian Peninsula for so long that it is not known precisely how they got there. 8
Some say they were brought over from North Africa by the Moors, and others says they were introduced to Spain via Turkish traders. Regardless, this is a tireless and multi-talented worker.
In my experience with the breed, they are smart, fun, and enthusiastic dogs that love to retrieve. They have busy minds and busy bodies, so they thrive with a job to do and excel at many dog sports, including agility, flyball, and herding.
Photo Credits: Gina Peckford
Look up the definition of the word “rustic,” and you might see a photo of a Spanish Water Dog. The first thing you will notice are their tight curls. To achieve that look, owners get the coat shaved down twice a year on average. 9
The coat should be shaved the same length all over the body. The coat is generally not brushed or blown dry and will cord easier the more the dog swims. 10
Those cords need to be separated by hand as they form and maintained until the next shave down.
In one sentence: The Spanish Water Dog is an enthusiastic, quick-learning student who needs a home that will keep his mind and body in top shape.
1. American Kennel Club
Ibid., American Kennel Club
Ibid., American Kennel Club
Ibid., American Kennel Club
Animal Watch. “Turkish Kangal Dog: Wolf Killer or Pet?” Youtube,
May 17, 2019 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjeNUKKQV4c&t=18s&ab_channel=AnimalWatch
Dogumentary TV. “All About: Black Russian Terrier. Military Made. Military Grade.” YouTube,
May 26, 2017, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vkKy2VlpzKA&t=380s&ab_channel=DogumentaryTV
Ibid., Dogumentary TV
8. American Kennel Club
9. Fundy Bay Spanish Water Dogs http://spanishwaterdog.ca/
Ibid., Fundy Bay Spanish Water Dogs