It’s a Dog’s Life in Istanbul

An essay by Bernd Brunner about Istanbul’s hundred thousand stray dogs.

No, you’d rather not cuddle with them. They seem a little too unpredictable and unkempt for that. And it’s not tempting to project human characteristics on them either. But it is easy to feel sorry for some of them, who bear traces of injuries, disease, and accidents. Most resemble one another: large, with a light-brown, sometimes darker coat. Some have short legs paired with unusually large bodies. Despite their scars, the wild dogs of Istanbul seem self-sufficient and untroubled, as if no one could mean them any harm. You can find them everywhere: between parked cars or, early in the morning, under the chairs in front of the Starbucks on Taksim Square. Often they just lie there and doze. Are they recovering from last night’s activities?… (click here)

One Response to “It’s a Dog’s Life in Istanbul”

  1. Just rediscovering your wonderful blog after having been away too long. Here’s a quote about the dogs of Istanbul which I found in the Handbook for Travellers in Turkey, published by John Murray in 1854.

    “The dogs of Constantinople are among its wonders: these animals are not the property of any individual, but supported by all. Their litters are never destroyed, and they were in former times the only scavengers of the city. They feed upon the offal from butchers’ shops, private houses, carcases of animals, and they may be constantly seen prowling along the edge of the water in search of any headless trunks that may be washed ashore.”


    Headless trunks may not be as abundant as before, but I doubt that much else has changed.

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