The Boodle

Chelsea Rose aka Boodle

I am not sure what could be cuter then this little Boodle.   Chelsea Rose, also known as Boodle, is an Anatolian Shepherd.  We got her from working stock, which is important if you intend to work your dog, which we do.  Anatolian Shepherds are part of a class of large breed dogs known as Livestock Guardian Dogs.  These amazing animals live with a herd or flock and protect them from predators.

Anatolian Shepherds can grow to 150 pounds.  Females tend to be a bit smaller then males.  Anatolian Shepherds are a Turkish breed and are also know as Karabash and the Kangal Dog.  This breed of dog has been traced back over 6000 years.  It is no wonder they make such excellent Livestock Guardians.  They have been doing it for a very long time.

When we got Chelsea we were preparing to move to our farm.  She got to spend a short period of time in our old house, being that she was so little, but we started putting her outside daily so that she would not get too used to being a house dog.  It is vitally important that Livestock Guardians bond as soon as possible to the livestock they will be guarding.  Unfortunately we did not have our goats yet, so I started Chelsea out on our rabbits.  She learned quickly about “the bunnies”, and was very excited to see them and smell noses with them.

It was also important that Chelsea learn who all her pack members are.  She spent a lot of time with Jasmine, our 3 year old White German Shepherd Dog.  Many Livestock Guardian Dogs do not like the presence of herding dogs with their flocks due to the predatory postures and movements herding dogs make.  We felt it was important that Chelsea know Jasmine and accept her presence.  We did have to watch that Chelsea did not spend too much time with Jasmine so that she did not bond to her at the exclusion of livestock.

When Chelsea was five months old we got our goats.  By then we had been living at our new place and Chelsea was living exclusively outside.  I will never forget the first time Chelsea saw her goats.  She got a huge smile on her face, and her eyes were moist and misty as if she were terribly touched to see them.  She picked up her paw and waved to them, looking from them to us as if to ask “are they really for me?”

Chelsea spent several weeks quartered outside the pen we kept the goats in, so that they could all become accustomed to one another.  Chelsea had to learn manners, and we had to make sure the goats did not hurt her.  Slowly I began letting Chelsea spend time in their pen.  The goats were used to dogs, and they lost no opportunity to teach Chelsea who was boss, and what not to do.  A few head butts to the side had Chelsea displaying submissive postures to the goats, which is just what we wanted to see.  She acknowledged them as dominant, and therefore would not be a threat to them.

Now our two does, Kore and Umbra, seem to really care for Chelsea.  They know she keeps them safe, and they all live in our winter pasture together.  Umbra and Chelsea play together now and then.  Though we are still teaching Chelsea what is acceptable, we were comfortable enough with how the goats handle her, and the fact that Chelsea did not get too rough with them to let them stay together full time.  This is young for a Livestock Guardian Dog to be left with stock.  Often it can take eighteen months or more.  Chelsea is only eight months old.  She is, however, an exceptional dog.  She is–the Boodle.

Chelsea got her nickname–Boodle–because of her muzzle.  Anatolian Shepherds, like most Livestock Guardian Dogs, are related to Mastiffs.  When Chelsea takes a treat from your hand, the skin around her mouth envelopes it and it just disappears–into her Boodles.  She is a very sweet girl, and we look forward to working with her and seeing how she develops as she matures.  If all goes well, we will be acquiring a male Anatolian in the next year or so, and will plan on breeding her when he matures.

Chelsea started guarding our land when she was only two months old.  The Anatolian has a very distinct warning bark and growl, and we were surprised that such a little Boodle could sound so ferocious!  So was the dog that she warded off!

We recommend, if you are considering a Livestock Guardian Dog, that you read the book: Livestock Protection Dogs:  Selection, Care, And Training by Orysia Dawydiak and David E. Sims  This book is a wonderful resource and gives a good overview of most of the Livestock Guardian breeds of dogs.

Stay tuned for more adventures with The Boodle.

The Boodle at 7 months old
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