When I first got Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog I was afraid I wouldn’t be able to handle such a big dog or an energetic puppy. I thought she was a mix of husky and Pyrenees. Marilyn, of the blog “Serendipity…” let me know she was familiar with Pyrenees and kind of talked me into allowing this giant breed dog into my family. It went well from the beginning.
A few months into the adventure, a friend correctly identified Bear as an Akbash Dog, not a Pyrenees. Big deal. Both breeds are livestock guardian dogs. The main difference between the two is that Akbash dogs are lighter in weight, faster on their feet and come from Turkey not the Pyrenees. Both are ancient breeds (Akbash have been traced to 300 BCE) and both have guarded livestock, working in a partnership with people.
I read everything I could about them and it really seemed like Marilyn was right. I have had a lot of dogs in my life — more than 25 — and I have gone through a lot of training with those dogs. My dogs have all been at least 50 pounds and my favorite breed was the Siberian Husky which is notorious for being difficult to train and independent of temperament. Everything I saw about the Akbash Dog suited me fine. I wanted a partner, not a pet, a friend on a hike, a dog who was able to read a situation and make up her own mind.
The Akbash is large, strong and fast, as befits a dog whose job it is to guard valuable flocks of sheep. When he’s not taking on wolves, he is a calm, quiet and steady dog with an independent frame of mind and the ability to think for himself in different circumstances. He is accustomed to working with people as a partner, not as a subordinate. (vet street, Akbash dog)
With her mentality, she very quickly decided to go along with my preferences. She liked being with me and understood that’s what she’d have to do. She was housebroken in four hours, had made friends with Mindy and was working hard to win Dusty’s approval (but he still mourned his Lily).
I’ve never known a dog like Bear. She amazes me every day.
She began guarding as soon as she moved in, but it was never very serious until last week when the Australian cattle dog came charging at us, teeth bared. Within seconds Bear had slipped my hand (taking her leash with her) and had thrown that dog on his back in the driveway of his house.
She’s a different dog now. She is far more attentive to sounds than she was before the attack. She stays closer to me and stops and leans when she hears anything she thinks might be a threat. She’s come into her own as a livestock guardian dog.
I have mixed feelings about this. She is no longer what I would call “dog friendly.” Off leash, without me, probably she would be friendly, but definitely if she’s leashed and with me, she’s going to do her job.
She is four years old today, March 12. I don’t know if this is her exact birthday, but she was four months old when I first learned of her in mid-July 2015, and Lily T. Wolf died exactly four months before that, on March 12, aged 17. Bear looked up at me from a posting on Facebook from the local dog shelter and it seemed it was Lily looking at me through Bear’s blue eyes saying, “This is the one.”
I believe it really happened that way. And for her birthday, Bear got a BIG snowstorm that Lily would also have loved. ❤ ❤