Meet Michael

If I’m being honest, I was a little afraid of him at first. He is big after all. But after seeing how good he was at his job, I came to respect Michael and his place on the farm. And then seeing how sweet he was to me, I came to love and appreciate him even more.
This is Michael, our guard dog. He’s an Akbash-Anatolian Shepherd, bred to be nocturnal. That’s right folks – he hangs around during the day, napping here and there. But night comes and he is doing laps around the farm, making sure all our animals are safe. He’s been a member of our team for the past few years and we can’t imagine the farm without him.
 Do you have a dog on your farm?
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About Brie Aronson

Brie Aronson came to Polyface from southern California. During college, she was diagnosed with food allergies and had to begin asking about the source of every single thing she put in her mouth. This led to an interest in all things food and she sought out a way to learn how it can be produced ethically and sustainably. Her desire is to help people shift their focus from counting calories, being intimidated by their kitchens, and being disconnected from the land to one that experiences the life-giving enjoyment of food. Having completed the internship in summer 2010, she now assists with the buying clubs and sales building, leads school tours of the farm, and will be the summer 2012 farm cook.

18 Responses to Meet Michael

  1. Dalles Hayes says:

    Not yet, but the long term plans include one. At the moment we have laying hens in mobile pens, grower pigs preparing market garden sites, breeding rabbits in mobile pens and a tethered goat.

    We would like to take the hens to a day range system similar to the ‘Eggmobile’ and maybe give the goat some more freedom. Particularly for the hens though, as we have a large population of raptors and Tas devils and spotted quolls, we would seriously need to consider a “livestock guardian dog’ to make this feasable.

  2. Jill says:

    We don’t have a dog yet either, but are on the lookout for one! We got to meet Michael when we visited the farm in September. Made me want an Anatolian…but we’re only on 20 acres with neighbors pretty close by, so a dog of his “stature” is probably not necessary for us…

    Currently our only pet is the cat who showed up at our door last week. We’ve already seen her in action earning her keep catching the ground squirrels that were tunneling under the house…

  3. Amy says:

    We have two Pyrenees-Anatolian crosses, Belle and Jake. Jake is big like Michael, over 100 pounds and five feet tall when he stands on his back legs, and he’s only 10 months old! Belle has more Pyr in her so she’s smaller at 11 months, but still big. We’re hoping they’re going to be good with our sheep; so far they have been guarding the chickens and doing a good job at that.

  4. Michael is beautiful! I’m familiar with Anatolian but Akbash isn’t one I’ve heard of before.

    We have a Great Pyrenees that guards our little two acre farm. Love her to death! She’s our second and I don’t know that we will ever get another breed. What a great combination of family dog and gaurdian! We’ve found they keep deer out of the garden, and every kind of predator out of the chickens, including hawks. They do sleep a lot during the day, but earn their keep at night. You just have to realize that when they bark constantly from dusk to dawn they are doing their job!

  5. Ellen Paulson says:

    What a beautiful animal. I’ve never heard of the breed before…just gorgeous!!

  6. Caitlyn M. says:

    Awww, what a sweet face on that guy. 🙂 I’ve looked at getting a LGD for our farm, but have yet to find the right one. I do like the anatolian/akbash crosses… They’re good dogs.

  7. Grace Hernandez says:

    Brie, this is too much! I’m all set to post about Jack tomorrow. How funny! I used to be so in love with Michael but Jack has won my heart. I wish we could get Jack to roam free like Michael though. Nice post!

  8. Susan says:

    I would love to hear more about this wonderful dog!

  9. Annie says:

    We have a Springer Spaniel. Not your typical guard dog, but he does his job. We have plenty of wildlife but I haven’t lost garden things to deer or rabbits, nor chickens to anything but one weasel. Duke never barks, but when he does my husband grabs the gun because something is here that shouldn’t be! (i.e. skunks, raccoons, etc.) The best part and the reason we’ll never part with him, he’s so wonderful with our young children. I couldn’t ask for a better dog!!

  10. Bob Broyles says:

    We bought male and female Akbash puppies from a goat herder, and these dogs absolutely hate coyotes. The smaller female began jumping 4.5′ woven-wire fences to chase them off at 10 months, and at 16 months jumped the fence and never came home! The male didn’t start jumping the fence ’till he was about two years old, and now I have to put electric wire across the top to keep him in.
    The only problem I ever had with them was teaching them to leave the poultry alone while puppies. The female never caught on, but the male is now an excellent protector.

  11. Kim Kesten says:

    We recently traded out chicken for 2 Anatolian Shephard pups. after coyotes took 50 laying hens and a bad experience with an owl, we knew we needed a guard dog that was good with livestock.
    These pups are AMAZING. At 8 weeks old they were sweet, gentle, BIG and already protective! My 2 younger boys camped out in the backyard the first night we had them because they were worried they would run off. Not only did they stay put on the farm, but when it got dark and I went to check on the boys, the pups nearly attacked me trying to protect them! Later I peeked out to find Max and Mia (our pups) sleeping literally on top of my 6 and 8 yr.old’s heads. Precious.
    No more coyotes, and the owls keep their distance! Love these guys!!!

  12. James Beals says:

    We have Chesapeake Bay Retrievers, G’Kar and Cody. CBRs like to work a lot.
    Since we are urban folk, we can’t have live stock, but we can have chickens.
    My girl Cody helps me round up the chickens if I have to get them in their pen.
    Both dogs will bark with any disturbance in the coop. We have coons in town.
    This has saved many chickens from being mauled by the coons.
    The first Anatolian Shepard I met turned my heart soft.
    They are just wonderful animals. If we can ever get some land, we will get an Anatolian Shepard pup right away.
    When asked about “what dog should I get?” I tell folks to get the breed that will do the work you need, and keep them busy.
    Michael looks like a wonderful dog, laying in the grass, watching, and content.

  13. Molly says:

    I have a photo of Michael on my website. I was so taken by his gentle, easy manner. Sweet boy: (under the “companion” album)

  14. Karen Martin says:

    We have a rescued akbash dog that is worth his weight in GOLD (and he’s 120 lbs). We have a couple acres with chickens and goats and he is great at his job. He is gentle with everyone he meets and wins over every visitor’s heart in seconds. I love to watch the transition that most people go through when they meet him. Initially, they are very apprehensive because of his sheer size … but quickly pick up on his mellow energy and sweet disposition and fall head over heels for him. Of course, if a fox or coyote comes by he becomes all business and races off barking. He’s a beautiful powerful and amazing creature. I love to watch him work. We are so very lucky that he ended up on our little hobby farm.

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  16. Roger Saw says:

    I have two livestock dogs Lacey and Checkers. We have a town house and a small farm in southeastern Arizona so we leave the adult Pyraneese at the farm and Checkers stays at the town house while he is in training trust me they are nocturnal. Checkers is a Anatollian cross and he is a big boy but very gentle unless you are a coyote. If you ever get a chance to watch them work a field its a great experience. It reminds me of a orchestra as every action of the animlas leads to a ultimate objective. I dont know what Checkers is going to do when he has to leave his chew toy our Lapso chewie. They are best friends and I love to watch them play in the morning. Also, they do bark all night long but thats is just what they do and should be encouraged. Our Grayhound Jada keeps them both in line as she seems to be the adult in the pack.

  17. Janelle Troyer says:

    We were at your farm last weekend and my children fell in LOVE with Michael! We’re so thrilled to know his name and his breed as well! He is such a sweet, big guy!! He followed us everywhere and was SO gentle, even when all of my children loved him to death! 🙂 What a sweet guy! Now I know what kind of dog to look out for one day when we get our farm!

  18. Our 18-month-old LGD Dixie is the sweetest dog ever!
    She is a Great Pyrenees/Anatolian Shepherd mix and is SOOO sweet with the lambs and goat kids!