Bonzo The Farm Boss – An Update


Sunday 20 October, 2013 by Uncle Spike

You might have seen my recent post about Bonzo The Farm Boss. Well, I had a good friend express her concern that she “couldn’t/wouldn’t keep a dog chained up for any period of time… let alone outside”.

I’m a doggie-lover, all animals really, so I thought it best to tell it how I see it too.


Renaissance 025


“When in Rome…” goes the saying. Well, I’m not in Rome, but I do live in Asia, the Near East, and here, no dogs would ever be permitted indoors (to be honest I’ve only come across it just the once, with a city family in the capital of Ankara, and that’s in 18 years of travelling/living here).

As for Bonzo, well he has never been in indoors in his life, so that would be so alien to him, plus I think he’d hate it – he’s a DOG and proud of it! Indoors is for wimps I think he would woof at me if I asked him 🙂

In terms of him being ‘stuck outdoors’, well he’s a working dog first and foremost, not a pet… yes I love him to bits, but without him out there, we would have some serious issues to contend with – that’s why all farms here have a dog, on duty 24×7.

Dogs are animals, and to be honest, most are pretty tough – they are by nature a pack species (we have loads up in the mountains, and none have a snug warm bed or tinned food served up twice a day, but they continue to survive). I’m not belittling having dogs as ‘pets’, far from it; I had many pet dogs in the UK over the years. But we live in rural farming Turkey, there is a difference, a vast world of difference to modern western suburbia. 

Bonzo, well he comes from a tough old wolf-chasing breed, the Kangal. (Wikipedia quote:  “While the Kangal is often referred to as a sheep dog, it is not a herding dog, but rather a flock guardian that lives with the flock of sheep to actively fend off wolves, bears and jackals”). So you couldn’t get much more removed from the refined western pedigree breeds that have had much of their natural tough animalness bred out of them in my opinion. In fact, even during a winter sleet storm at say 1-2c, he’ll rarely use his hut, he just stands out there in all weathers, ears flapping as he faces the storm head on (remember his native area is the high Anatolian Plateau). In winter he grows a thick down under fur which he malts every spring.

Yes he runs on a long chain, but how many of the photos in the last post show him ‘out and about’? When he’s off the chain, he runs free in almost 2 acres (7,000 m2) – he doesn’t exactly get ‘walked’ on a short lead around a concrete housing estate. He seems fit and healthy too, certainly not lacking from his lifestyle by the looks of things!

But he also has a palate which includes fresh chicken – one reason why he is not gonna run free all day long. He’s scoffed a few over the years, including one who just flew out of it’s roosting clementine tree right into his lap. There was a bit noise, then quiet. I went down later to see Bonzo sat there, with feathers on his nose, and a look on his face like “What me? Nope, I ain’t seen no chooks round here, honest Guv”. The pair of chickens feet without an owner on the ground next to him was perhaps his downfall, a bit of a give-away to his unexpected breakfast! 

But his job here is security first – Turks are almost all terrified of dogs. Even the electrician will stay in his car on our driveway and beep his horn till I come out of the house, just in case he’s off the lead. Even a neighbouring farmer, who has 100 goats and 2 dogs, carried a plastic chair in front of him at all times once when visiting, ‘just in case’.

Second, if he were kept indoors, we would have no chickens left very soon, the foxes would see to that, and therefore we’d be overrun with scorpions as the chooks keep them under control around the house area. Plus, wild boar that come down from the mountains of a summer nights would decimate much of the farm in a matter of weeks without Bonzo (they currently come up to the next field, but keep a wary distance)!

In the west there are dogs as pets, but here mostly there are not. But we do have tortoises, birds, snakes, lizards and even iguanas all living wild – now aren’t they caged up and ‘sold’ as pets elsewhere… so are we all that different?




10 thoughts on “Bonzo The Farm Boss – An Update

  1. I love dogs… it’s hard to understand folks who don’t like em, but I guess everybody’s different.
    cheers !


  2. I know what you mean. Different circumstances require different reactions and Bonzo looks happy and well cared for. We lived on a remote island in the Pacific for a time. No vets, no birth control. Skinny, hungry dogs in packs not chained. Scary stuff. Dogs were a form of protein their and malnutrition from lack of protein was common. I can remember saying ” I wish they’d eat that dog” and I meant it. This was not a sentiment I would ever feel in Australia where my animals have always been pets.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Powerful stuff Irene. It’s funny how many folk really have not lived beyond their own backyard, culturally I mean, and have no concept of anything other than doggies with fluffy coats and chewy toys 🙂


  3. Great Aunt Spike says:

    I have had pet dogs most of my life all free to roam the gardens, but Bonzo is quite different, he gets as much exercise in his own patch, great freedom on his morning run around , well fed and loved. Guard dog he may be but he still loves a cuddle when I am around , I only visit Turkey twice a year but he knows me and my voice as soon as I arrive, he almost takes off, his rump is wagging so much. A well loved animal ?, you bet he is.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. timecollage says:

    This is so interesting, like a miniature eco-system, where every animal or bird has its role. I think the most interesting part for me to find out is that chickens eat scorpions. That’s awesome, and scary that there are any scorpions at all.

    I think the tough nut to crack is the chain, but that’s not something I can argue against too strongly, as long as the dog is loved and taken care of, which he obviously is. But it’s not just about chains and keeping an animal indoors. For instance there are people who never let their pets out of the house unless on a leash. That’s not different than a chain. Some people never let their cats out at all. I consider that restraining but can’t argue, as there are many factors into decisions like that.

    So, as a conclusion, Bonzo looks very happy and I hope he stopped eating the chickens, although the story about him with feathers on the nose was funny 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      I too am not used to having a dog chained, but as you point out, he has more freedom that a large dog kept in a small apartment.

      As for the chooks, hell yeah, they’ll scoff anything, even taking on a small snake and certainly our oldest hen, Whitey, is quite partial to hunting mice in the woodshed.

      I spray the balconies every 3 months to deter spiders, scorpions and the like. It doesn’t kill them but makes it hard for them to breathe, so they scarper off pronto – but any spiders on the balcony at the time usually run straight off the steps to a hoard of waiting chickens!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. janegundogan says:

    I just brought my poodle cross over from Australia and he is hating every second of rural Turkey. He is used to being primped and fussed over. A bit of toughening up would probably do this dog a world of good!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Uncle Spike says:

      Bit of a culture-shock for him I guess 🙂
      I used to cuddle my old Staffie and treat him like a helpless baby sometimes. Daft I know, especially as he was 22kg of pure muscle. Did you see my posts about Taz? Couldn’t get more different to Bonzo.


  6. MartyW47 says:

    I hear ya, if the breed can be outside there’s nothing wrong with them being outside. As long they’re properly cared for. My dog, lives inside, though her coat would allow her to be outside year-round. Bozo looks well maintained and happy.

    Liked by 1 person

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