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Meet the dog that thinks there's nothing sweetah than a cheetah


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Meet the dog that thinks there's nothing sweetah than a cheetah


By Daily Mail Reporter

Last updated at 4:36 PM on 20th June 2008


Sahara and Alexa are the best of mates, but they have a very unconventional friendship.

That is because Sahara is cheetah and Alexa is a giant Anatolian Shepherd guard dog.


Destroying the notion that cats and dogs can only be the best of enemies, these two residents of Cincinnati Zoo in the US have been old muckers since they were both barely two months old.


Both seven years old now, Alexa and Sahara were raised together as part of a conservation programme at the zoo designed to help ensure Sahara's African cousins survival in the wild.


Enlarge article-1027978-01AB26B700000578-676_468x328.jpg play-time: Alexa an Anatolian Shepherd Dog, and Sahara a Cheetah who have grown up together at Cincinnati Zoo and are best friends

Linda Castaneda, 31, who is part of the Cat Ambassador scheme, which works in conjunction with the Cheetah Conservation Fund of Africa, explained: 'The point of the Cat Ambassador Programme is to protect cheetahs from over-zealous farmers in Namibia and South Africa.

'We want to show the farmers that the cheetahs at least have respect for the dog and that more importantly the dog has no fear of the cat.


'Hopefully, if the farmers all take on the Anatolian guard dog then we can eradicate the need to shoot them because they won't be getting near to the livestock.'

As Linda goes on to say: 'The dog is a fantastic non-lethal predatory solution.'

'It has been bred in Turkey for thousands of years as a sturdy herd dog and would never leave livestock that it was trained to guard.'


Sahara and Alexa travel to schools around America showing off their unconventional friendship to fascinated school children.


Weighing in at 100lbs Alexa would have no problems defending herself if Sahara the cheetah who is a decidedly skinny 85lbs ever decided to get a bit frisky.


Enlarge article-1027978-01AC604600000578-167_468x428.jpg Younger days: Alexa and Sahara when they her babies at Cincinnati Zoo

Linda added: 'When they play together it is all in good fun until one or the other takes it a step too far.


'They both have an eyeball to eyeball moment and then both understand that play time is over.'


Unlike their younger days, Alexa and Sahara need their own time and space and each have their own enclosures within the zoo.


Meeting up for their educational tours, when they are reunited it is like they have never been apart.


However, truly the oddest part of their relationship is Alexa the dogs attitude towards her canine brothers and sisters.


Because Alexa is actually a zoo animal and spends the majority of her time with cats she can not be let near other domesticated dogs in case she tries to eat them!


So that begs the question, does Alexa think she is a cat or does Sahara think she is a dog?


Enlarge article-1027978-01AB20D200000578-761_468x351.jpg School time: The odd couple meet a group of amazed schoolchildren

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