Erick Conard's Lucky Hit Ranch: Anatolian Page
Birinci's Flintis (or Flenters)
An Amazing Anatolian Shepherd
Ulash of Tokat
- IMPORT / TURKEY
Pinarbasi's Tamum (Charlie)
Breeder: Louise Emanuel
Flintis in Africa Guarding his Sheep and Goats
Donated to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia by
Louise Emanuel of Birinci Anatolians
Flintis is World Famous as an Extraordinary Working Dog
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Birinci's Flintis and the Baboons, Otavi, Namibia
The following is my understanding of the story of the world famous male
Anatolian Shepherd, Flintis (Flenters), in Africa. My version of the story
is the result of integrating the story from various sources I located (see
bottom of this page.)
Birinci's Flintis was born March 1994. His dam is Pinarbasi's
Tamum (Charlie), Granddam to my Birinci's Yahsi (Handsome). Charlie is pictured
here in 2003. Flintis's Sire is the muscular Turkish Import, Ulash of Tokat.
His picture can be found in my forth generation Anatolians.
Flintis is famous in Namibia, Africa, and worldwide. Perhaps Flintis is the
world's most famous working guardian Anatolian because when he was only 20 months
old he defended his herd against a baboon troup and lived!
Flintis was donated to the Cheetah Conservation Fund in Namibia to participate
in their Livestock Guarding Dog Program by Birinci Kennels in June, 1994. This
program, begun in 1994 with the cooperation of Ray Coppinger,co-founder of the
Livestock Dog Project at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts, and donates
Anatolians to small African farmers and ranchers to protect their livestock from
cheetah, jackals, hyena, and other predators.
According to the Born Free Foundation, the cheetah population is now endangered.
An American woman named Laurie Marker co-founded the Cheetah Conservation Fund
(CCF) outside Otjiwarongo, Namibia. One method she devised to help the cheetah
population was to breed Anatolian shepherds and place them with ranchers.
Anatolians seemed ideal because they have a special style. For hundreds of years
they have been prized by Turkish sheep owners for their tendency to stay close
to camp and not run off chasing other animals.
Ninety-five percent of Namibia's cheetah population lives on commercial
farmlands and and are believed to be a threat to livestock. Many farmers
shoot or catch cheetah, reducing the already endangered population, so this
program was designed to help preserve the cheetah population there. As a part
of this program, Flintis was placed on a farm/ranch with a serious cheetah
problem owned by Mr. Johann Coetzee, who had reported losses as high as 43
lambs/kids in one night. (In the six years following Flintis's arrival from the
CCF, cheetahs didn't make a single successful attack on Coetzee's sheep.)
When Mr. Coetzee acquired his Anatolian shepherd pup (Flintis), he named him Flenters,
which is Afrikaans for "rags." When he was six weeks old "Flenters" (Flintis)
was placed with lambs and goats about his size and taken on short outings with
the herd in the mornings. Flintis lived, ate and slept with Coetzee's
livestock to aid in the bonding process. The ultimate goal is to produce a dog
so protective and possessive of his flock that he will treat them as if they
were his own pups to be cherished and protected.
When Flintis was nine weeks old, Coetzee's herdsman reported that Flintis was
chasing lambs, something they wouldn't tolerate. The herdsman wanted Flintis
removed. Having decided he liked the gregarious young pup, Mr. Coetzee wanted
to observe him for one more day. When he watched, he saw that Flintis was
resting in the shade with the lambs. When the lambs moved into the sun, Flintis
got up and redirected them back into the comfortable shade. This made Mr.
Coetzee smile. Like generations of his forebears bred to guard livestock on
the Anatolian Plateau of Turkey, Flintis had imprinted on the sheep. He thought
he was one of them; they were now his family.
Coetzee was relieved. He did not want to get rid of his dog. Before Flintis
came to the farm, the rancher had suffered huge livestock losses, many of them
attributed to cheetahs. For Namibian ranchers, Cheetahs are among the most
lethal of the African wildlife. Like many ranchers, Coetzee felt he had to
kill cheetahs to protect his livelihood. With Flintis protecting his
livestock from the cheetah, Mr. Coetzee could leave the cheetah alone.
As Flintis grew, on his own he began taking the lead position as the herd moved
into the pasture. Flintis also always positioned himself downwind instinctively.
Besides protecting the livestock from cheetah, Flintis proved equally effective
in warding off other animals including jackals, caracals and baboons. A troupe
of baboons is considered to be a serious threat as baboons are among the most
fearsome creatures in Africa.
Many nights jackals came to the corral and were killed by Flintis, who would
then drag the carcass to the camp gate and leave it for the owner or herder.
It wasn't long before only a very few jackals visited. Also after Flintis's
arrival, they had no losses due to cheetah.
One terrible afternoon in early December,1994, which in Namibia is summer with
temperatures near 100 degrees a troup of around 40 baboons came near the corral.
Lambs and kids are favored prey for baboons. At this time Flintis was only 20
months old and as the baboons approached Flintis moved out to confront them.
The troop's two dominant males refused to back down from Flintis, who refused
to back down as well. His "family" had to be protected! Outnumbered but with
teeth bared, Flintis bravely faced the baboons alone. (In combat between baboons
and dogs, it is believed that the dog will always be killed.)
Mattias, heard Flintis bark out a warning and then heard terrifying noises from
the bush. The troup's two dominant males confronted Flintis and they began
fighting. Neither the baboons nor Flintis would back down.
Mattias rushed toward the horrible screaming of the baboons and Flintis's
furious growls. Before he got there, ominously, there was silence.
Quickly, the herdsman rushed to alert Mr. Coetzee. Returning to the area of
battle, they scanned the terrain, searching over and around thorn bushes for
some sign of Flintis. Then a baboon screech rang out, signaling a renewed
attack. Incredibly, the fight continued. Coetzee and Mattias ran toward the
horrible sounds of battle. On the ground by a large rock they found the body of
a dead male baboon. In the distance ahead they heard Flintis still locked in
The fight had covered over a mile in distance. The baboon's screaming and the
dog's growls were terrible and horrible to hear as Mattias and Coetzee ran
toward the ugly sounds. Then again there was silence. When the two men reached
the scene, both animals lay silent on the ground. The second male baboon lay
dead. The men were sure Flintis was dead as well. He lay apparently lifeless.
His body was covered in blood. His back was laid open to the bone.
Coetzee bent down close to more carefully examine his guard dog. The damage he
saw shocked him. But somehow, Flintis was alive! He was barely breathing, but he
was alive. They carefully carried the wounded dog to a shady place at the
corral and began tending his wounds.
For five days they administered doses of penicillin, but Flintis didn't eat or
drink. Finally, on the sixth day, Flintis drank from his water bowl and ate a
few mouthfuls. Eight days after the baboon attack, Flintis tried to rejoin his
herd and was restrained with a nylon rope. He chewed through the
restraining rope and limped over to the flock, only to collapse among them and
so was tied with a chain. In a few more days they began allowing him to return
to his herd and then to return to guarding them. Over time, Flintis seemed to
return to his normal strength and behavior.
The CCF had already lost one guard dog to baboons, and its staff could hardly
believe an Anatolian Shepherd had lived through an encounter with two of
Africa's most ferocious primates. Widely reported throughout Namibia, the
canine's feat encouraged other ranchers to inquire about the guard-dog program.
However, some people wondered if this baboon encounter would reduce Flintis's
ability to be an effective guardian. Flintis remained an effective guardian
and continued to successfully chase off predators. He remained a steadfast
herd protector, creating his own livestock guardian dog legend both there and
throughout the world.
In 1995 a reluctant Flintis was briefly separated from his flock, so that the
CCF could introduce him to Boots, a female Anatolian shepherd. Thirteen wiggly
puppies were born from this happy union, and most now guard Namibian flocks.
The original ten (10) Anatolians for the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) program were
imported from the United States to Namibia. These Anatolian Shepherds were a
donation from Louise Emmanuel of Birinci Anatolians and the Livestock Guarding
Dog Association, under the direction of Dr. Ray Coppinger, Livestock Guarding
Dog specialist. From those first dogs, many litters have been born and
successfully placed with livestock herds. Currently, over 80 CCF dogs
are protecting livestock herds on Namibian farms.
You can learn more about the Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) program at
Cheetah Conservation Fund (CCF) Website
Flintis's story can be found in the three sources I've been able to find.
1. The June, 2000, issue of Reader's Digest.
2. Pages 3-5 of Coban Kopek, A Guardian Dog Journal (Volume 7, Number 1, Winter 1997-98),
the Newsletter of Anatolian Shepherds' Dogs Worldwide, Inc., Grand Island,
Nebraska. The article was under Special feature: Spotlight on Anatolians at
Work, entitled Flintis, and written by Susan B. Deshaies, Cheetah Conservation
Fund (Susan Deshaies is a volunteer for the Cheetah Conservation Fund and
was heading the CCF's Livestock Guarding Dog Program in Namibia at the time
the article was written.). The article indicates that Susan says that
"Flintis is the GREATEST dog I have ever met. Not only is he the very best
at what he does, once he establishes you are friend, not foe, he is very
gentle and friendly."
3. The account is also presented in a book, "Dogs With Jobs, Working Dogs
Around the World," which can currently be obtained through Amazon.com.