Anatolian World

by Peter Wells

AKBASH is a western corruption of the Turkish word ‘akbas’(there should be a cedilla on the ‘s’ which I can’t do with this type). I t means white head and has been purloined by western dog fanciers and used as a name for white Turkish dogs. Turks do not recognize it as a name for a breed or variety of dog though of course they recognize the word. Both Prof. Tenkinsen and Dr Cafer Tepeli at the Secuk University breeding scheme thought that it was an inappropriate name but were paying lip-sevice to Nelson who has had a free hand to influence them up to now. I believe that Nelson was the originator of the name (not the word). Tenkinsen and Tepeli preferred the name Eskisehir, that is the name of the area in which white dogs are more commonly found.

The Turkish word ‘akbas’ is used by Turks to describe anything with a white head and is just as inappropriate as a name as ‘karabas’ which means black head. The only time I ever heard these words used in Turkey, in relation to dogs, was at the government-breeding scheme at Ulas. Here they are trying to breed a ‘kangal’ dog, which is fawn with black markings on the head. As we all have seen, even amongst the ‘k’ people there can be considerable differences in the level of black markings on the head, some being much blacker than others with the pigment extending beyond the muzzle and ears up the stop on to the top of the face, over the eyes. This seems to be very much favoured by the Karabash people in England but are not what the Kangal people in Ulas desire. They refer to them as ‘karabas’(note the correct use of the word). They actually prefer, and are trying to breed dogs with somewhat reduced pigmentation, confined to the muzzle and ears with clear eye markings. They refer to this type as ‘akbas’. Confused? I’m not surprised! It took a long time to sort that out in Turkish I can assure you!


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