As I work through some of the earlier chapters in SEMIRAMIS, I discovered a little known fact. Dogs were bred in ancient times as protectors of flocks, herds and peoples—even to point of taking down a fully grown lion! Check out Anatolian (aka Assyrian) Shepherds here.
Since the days of Babylon, the large, powerful dogs with the massive heads were living on the Anatolian Plateau. They were used as fighting dogs in the battles, as well as for hunting large animals, even lions and wild horses. This interesting scenes are depicted on the well-preserved Assyrian bas-reliefs, presented at the British Museum in London.
In his homeland The Anatolian Shepherd Dog was not only grazing the cattle, but also he was guarding the flock, walking around it or climbing the high observation posts from which he could better see and sense a dangerous predators. Once Anatolian Shepherds see a moving object, even if it is a car – they are building a chain and run forward like a wind. Such a tactics of attack are naturally developed in this breed.
Anatolian Karabash is a large dog, and a highly reliable keeper!
Since ancient times and until now this dogs are used to guard the sheep herds in Turkey. This is a working breed, a dog, that is enthusiastically defending the family of the owner and his properties, and his cattle.
The Anatolian Shepherd Dog quickly learns, he is faithful and affectionate with his owner, close friends of the family and children. Strangers should be carefully presented to this dog. (taken from Veanimals at http://www.veanimals.com/dogs/breed-encyclopedia/335-anatolian-shepherd-dog-karabash.html)
And Kangals are even larger! They’re currently being used to protect herds from cheetahs, thereby helping to preserve the wild cheetah population from extinction (less attacks on herds means less herdsman killing cheetahs).
The Kangal dog is an ancient breed of livestock guardian dog bred over centuries to protect the flocks of shepherds in what is now modern-day Turkey. The Kangal is an intelligent, noble and hardy breed more than capable of fulfilling its job as a guardian. The Kangal and the other livestock guardian breeds of Turkey are the foundation breeds for the American Anatolian Shepherd. Contrary to the term “shepherd,” Kangals and Anatolians are not herding dogs, but strictly guardians that take their jobs very seriously. (from www.kangalkopegi.org)
In SEMIRAMIS, the protagonist learns how to survive the delicate balance of nature assisted by a wayward pup from a litter of her father’s favorite hunting dog Kalbatu. I have her naming him Dannu, which means “strength”.
I think it’s pretty apparent from this video that the size and speed of Assyrian shepherds is more than a match for lions. And without the smooth breeding practices, these massive mastiff-like dogs may have been even more fierce, with some reports of them being almost as large as a horse!
Dannu isn’t quite that large, but he’s a constant companion for Semira. Pretty cool, eh?