About Kangal Dog
Karabash,Sivas Kangal ,Anatolien Shepherd (FCI).
Country of origin:
Turkey - Pakistan
Classification and breed standards
Still primarily found in Turkey, with some enthusiasts in Europe and North America.
Kangal Dog is the national dog breed of Turkey. This large dog (which
can often grow as large as 140 pounds (64 kg) was originally used as a
Livestock guardian dog, but has been increasing in popularity as a guard
dog. It is of an early mastiff type with a solid, pale tan or sabled
coat, and with a black mask; indeed, another name for the breed is
Karabash or black head.
The breed is often referred to as a sheep
dog, but it does not herd its charges. Instead, it is developed to live
with the flock and act as a livestock guardian dog, fending off wolves
and jackals. The Kangal Dog's protectiveness and gentleness with small
children and animals has led to its growing popularity as a guardian for
families as well, as it watches members of its flock with extreme
The Kangal Dog is a large
and impressive dog, mastiff-like but with a more athletic structure. The
Kangal Dog exhibits the strength, speed, and courage to intercept and
confront threats to the flocks of sheep and goats that it guards both in
Turkey and the New World. The head is large and moderately wide, with
drop ears that may or may not be cropped, set on a strong, slightly
arched neck. The body should be muscular, not fat, with strong
shoulders, a deep chest, and a sickle or curled tail carried high when
alert. The overall appearance should be of proportions slightly longer
in body than in height.
Typical height at maturity is typically 30
to 32 inches for males and 28 to 30 inches for females. A fit male
Kangal Dog should weigh between 110 and 145 pounds. Females in good
condition weigh between 90 and 120 pounds. Some dogs are even larger,
and are not penalized according to the UKC standard as long as the dog
is structurally balanced. However, extreme size and bulk, excess flew
development, and other exaggerated features are not desirable for this
working dog breed.
Color and Coat
The color and coat are
perhaps the most visible traits that distinguish the Kangal from the
Akbash and Anatolian. The coat must be short and dense, not long or
feathery, and of a pale fawn or tan color with varying amounts of sable
guard hairs. All Kangal Dogs have a black facial mask, and black or
shaded ears. White at certain points (chest, chin, toes) may or may not
be allowed, depending on the standard. Some heavily sabled Kangals also
have darker legs and chests. Most importantly, the coat should not be
broken, brindled, or spotted.
Turkey, the Kangal Dog's breed status and value are unquestioned; it is
an object of pride even for urban Turks, and has been declared a
National Cultural and Historic Treasure by the Turkish government.
Outside Turkey, the Kangal dog's status as a separate breed is
disclaimed by fanciers of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Anatolian breeders
point out that Turkish sheepdogs, collectively, come in a variety of
colors and coat lengths, and claim that all of these dogs constitute a
single breed that subsumes the regionally-developed Kangal Dogs and
Akbash dogs. However, Kangal and Akbash defenders point out that these
breeds were developed in historically isolated regions where sheep
herding was most intensive, and became distinct from the generic
sheepdogs scattered elsewhere in the country. There are no breeders of
"Anatolian shepherds" in Turkey; nor is the generic çoban köpegi
considered to be a breed. Nowadays it is possible to find
karabash-colored dogs being bred throughout Turkey; some are Kangals,
many are crossbreeds. It is undeniable that crossbreeding and
mongrelization are increasing as Turkey continues to urbanize, and this
has led to increased local efforts to preserve the indigenous Kangal and
Akbash Dog breeds.
Kangal dog breeders feel that the standard
they have laid out for the breed reflects the working dogs of the Kangal
region, and feel that mixing Kangal Dogs with other Turkish dogs
undermines the preservation of the breed, as well as introducing
unwanted temperament traits. They also point to the apparent preference
for Kangal breeding stock, and "Karabash" color, by Anatolian breeders
in recent years as a tacit admission of the value of the Kangal breed.
general, the controversy about breed status comes from outside Turkey;
Turks remain steadfastly commited to their national breed, and are
perplexed by the claims by western canine groups that Kangal Dogs are
"the same" as all other "çoban köpegi" in Turkey.
arguments seem to boil down to whether the Turkish villagers, university
researchers, and government are valid in their description and
assessment of their native dog breeds, or whether western dog clubs
should be the arbiter of what is and is not a breed in Turkey.
Fortunately for the Kangal supporters, increased internet access and
education in Turkey has led to a strong movement there to preserve the
native breeds, and to establish recognition for Kangal and Akbash dogs
with international registries such as the FCI. It is likely that the
arguments will be settled by the Turks themselves, along with compelling
evidence that is emerging from DNA studies in Turkey and Finland.
Suffice to say, both groups consider their dogs true Turkish livestock
The ideal Kangal dog should be
calm, controlled, independent, and protective. They may be aloof
towards strangers, but a well-socialized Kangal Dog is friendly with
visitors and especially children. They must never be shy or vicious. A
well-trained Kangal is sensitive and alert to changing situations,
responding to threats with judicious warnings and courageous action if
necessary. They make good guardians of livestock and humans alike, but
they may not be suited for the inexperienced a dog owner, as the
independent intelligence of the Kangal makes for a difficult pupil.
some people assume that guardian dog or watch dog means attack dog, and
attempt to train this large and hard-to-control dog to be aggressive
towards humans. A few also use Kangals and Kangal crosses in dog
fighting. This led to the restriction and banning of Kangals in most
parts of Germany. Kangal owners feel unfairly singled out, and point out
that aggression towards predators, especially with such an intelligent
dog as the Kangal, does not equal aggression towards humans. It is
notable that some famous German guard dog breeds, such as the German
Shepherd and the Doberman, despite much higher bite statistics, are not
thus restricted. Fortunately, the restrictions were later overturned due
to diligent efforts of activists in Germany.
History The Kangal in Turkey
is commonly assumed in Turkey that the Kangal dog accompanied Oghuz
Turks as working dogs on their long journey from Central Asia to
Anatolia. The existence of what might be considered Kangal-type mastiff
shepherd dogs in Khorasan, Samarkand and most of Turkmenistan lends
credence to this claim. Nomadic Turkic tribes might have used these dogs
to bring their livestock with them as they migrated from the steppes
and further into Eurasia.
A contemporary national treasure in
Turkey, the Kangal dog is one of over 30 livestock guardian breeds from
various countries in Europe and Asia. Each is considered an important
part of of the culture and history of its region. To protect and
conserve the genetic purity of the Kangal Dog, the government of Turkey
has established several state-sponsored breeding centers.
its home district of Kangal, in Sivas province of Turkey, the Kangal
Dog is still primarily used as a livestock guardian and is highly
prized. As the sheep industry continues to decline in eastern Turkey,
purebred Kangals of the classic type are becoming increasingly prized,
and sell for high prices. Many animals are brought from the villages to
compete for prizes during the annual Kangal Festival.
Kangal Dogs often have jobs as military sentries, guardians of state
buildings (Ambassy), or as gifts of international friendship to heads of state.
There was also a brief fad of owning Kangals by more well-off city
dwellers in Istanbul, but it has quickly died down as the 140 lb (64 kg)
dogs are not well-suited for city living.
The Kangal Internationally Kangal
Dogs were exported to Britain over 30 years ago and bred under the name
"Karabash Dog." In the US, the first purebred breeding programs for
Kangal Dogs began in the early 1980s.
The Kangal Dog is recognized only by
the United Kennel Club in the United States and by K.I.F. Turkey.
In Germany most are unregistered.Clean100% Kangaldogs are maximal 20% in Europe.
Crossbreeds are most in Germany,France,Poland, Hungaria, Italy and Austria.
In Northamerica / USA and Australia is the population of Pure kangal dogs under 10%.
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