Kangal Shepherd Dog | Information & Dog Breed Facts


The Kangal Shepherd Dog, also known as Turkish Kangal, is the national dog of Turkey. Its name comes from the district of Kangal in the province of Sivas, where the breed would originate. This dog is not a herd guide, but a guardian and protector of sheep. Its size, its courage and its determination make it launch out to defend its flock against any predator or thief.

For the International Cynological Federation and for the American Kennel Club, there is no breed called kangal. This name is only considered a colloquial term for the Anatolian Shepherd. However, the Kangal Shepherd Dog is recognized as a different breed by other lesser canine societies such as the United Kennel Club. In 2013 he was also recognized by the British Kennel Club, a very important organization worldwide. In Turkey, the thing is different and most of the cynologists of this country do not accept the Anatolian shepherd whom they consider as a group of mixed breeds and dogs, but they accept the Kangal Shepherd Dog as pure breed.

Kangal Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

Kangal is the national pride of Turkey. Indeed, the breed has earned such a respectful attitude. A huge dog has a completely friendly character, but only if it is not about protecting the owner’s property and the owner himself.

This is a working dog, it does not need to be taught watch-keeping, from birth she knows how to carry out security service.

Other names: Turkish Kangal, Anatolian Shepherd Dog (old name), Kangal (Anatolian, Anadolu Kangalı, Karabaş, Karayaka)Kangal shepherd.

If you are thinking of adopting a Kangal Shepherd Dog , do not miss this ‘ Pets Feed ‘ dog breed guide.

Kangal Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

Origin of the Kangal Shepherd Dog

The Kangal is part of a group of sheepdog or guardian breed called Çoban Köpegi. The only thing known for sure about this breed is that it is very old and comes from the Kangal district, in Sivas, Turkey. The others are theories about their origins, but the most accepted is that this breed already existed in the Roman Empire and that soldiers used these dogs to accompany the army in their marches.

It would also come from 3 crosses of dogs: dogs of the Assyrian empire, which were of the mastiff type (called “Assyrian molosses”); the Roman molosses of Greece; and English mastiffs. It is assumed that the Romans created this powerful hybrid to use as protector and guardian of their herds in times of conquest.

Subsequently, this breed was exported to other southern European countries, such as Turkey, where it finished developing and forming.

Kangal Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

Physical characteristics of the Kangal Shepherd Dog

The Kangal Shepherd is an unusually powerful dog that has large dimensions, but at the same time looks light and slender. The build is proportional, the muscles are highly developed in all parts of the body.

The growth of an adult sexually mature Kangal reaches 75-88 cm, the weight is about 50-60 kg. Males are significantly taller and heavier than females.

On a strong, thick, with a slight bend and slight suspension neck holds a voluminous head with a wide skull. Hanging, triangular ears are not too big. Cupping is allowed.

Almond-shaped eyes of brown color with a black stroke. The size of the eyes is proportional to the size of the skull (medium or large). The eyelids should not be sagging.

The muzzle line is sloping (from stop to nose). The muzzle is shorter than the skull. The nose is large.

The jaw system is powerful. The teeth are strong. The fangs are big. Scissor bite. Also allowed the bite “reverse scissors” or straight. The lips are black, slightly saggy.

The croup is not too long, with a slope of up to 30 degrees. The case should not be flat on the sides. The back is medium length, the top line with a slight bulge in the lumbar region. The bottom line is tightened. The chest is deep, long.

The limbs are long, even, muscular. The hocks are strong, wide. Paws are strong, paw pads are thick. The fingers are bent. Amputation of lucrative fingers is optional.

Step at low speed – amble. During the movement, the Kangal Dog lowers its head to the level of the back. Thus, the head, neck and back are on the same level. From the side it seems that the Kangal Shepherd Dog does not go, but sneaks.

The tail is not docked. It is long, straight. If the dog is agitated, he lifts and twists his tail high in a ring.

The skin of the Kangal Shepherd Dog is without folds, not too thick. A slight suspension on the neck is not considered a vice.

The coat is short, dense, hard to the touch. There is a thick undercoat.

The color of the Kangal Shepherd Dog is allowed from fawn to wolf. A black mask is required on the face.

Kangal Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

Character and temperament of the Kangal

The temperament of the Kangal Shepherd Dog is serious and reserved. It is a typical watchdog. It can be aggressive with unknown people and is generally aggressive with other dogs, especially the same sex. Therefore, their socialization from an early age is very important.

However, this dog tends to be very friendly, tolerant and protective in itself. Tolerates the pranks of children in his family very well (but you should always monitor interactions between dogs and children) and can get along with pets of other species as long as he has grown up with them.

The Kangal is wary, aggressive, and protective temperament can be a drawback for a companion dog, but it is an obvious advantage when a guard dog and a herd guard are required. This has enabled organizations such as the Chita Conservation Fund to use Anatolian and kangal shepherds in their efforts to conserve wildlife. By incorporating these dogs into the herds of Namibian sheep, farmers stopped killing cheetahs because the dogs were responsible for hunting them, thereby protecting sheep and felines.

The most common behavioral problems in this breed are excessive barking and destroying things.

Kangal Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

Basic Care

The Kangal Shepherd dog was not created to be an ordinary pet. He will not lie for hours at the owner’s feet in complete inaction. He is not comfortable in the room, because of the large size of such a dog, the dog will seem to be cramped.

The Kangal is created for the service of man. This is a working breed, without physical exertion and tasks, the character can spoil the dog, from boredom it can become aggressive, uncontrollable.

This dog vitally needs a large space, fresh air, the ability to move freely.

It is not recommended to put on a chain, since there is a chance that the dog will become embittered, he will increase the level of unjustified aggression.

City life is not for the kangal. An ideal option is a country house with a large, enclosed land plot. The fence should be high enough, since the growth of the representatives of the breed can reach 1 meter at the withers.

If the dog stands on its hind legs, an ordinary fence will not present any obstacle for it.

By nature, the Kangal Shepherd dog is extremely hardy. He is able to live in the open air, carrying day and night watch service. But an indoor enclosure with a large booth or a special house where the dog can take refuge from natural precipitation must be installed in the yard.

Kangal should not constantly sit in the aviary. If he is not busy with security, shepherd’s work, arrange active walks for him 2-3 times a day.

Kangal Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

To maintain the health and beautiful appearance of the Kangal shepherd, its owner must properly care for it. The following procedures will be required:

  • Once a week, combing the coat. During molting, combing is performed more often, 2-3 times a week. Particular attention is paid to this procedure in the spring, at which time the kangal sheds very much.
  • Bathing every 3-4 months. On the remaining days, we will damp towel on the wool, cleaning it from dust.
  • Clipping of the claws as they grow back, this procedure is rarely performed, since the kangal erases them independently.
  • Weekly ear examination. In this case, cleaning using special tools is necessary.

The basis of a balanced, natural nutrition – meat products of low-fat varieties, offal, cereal. Potatoes and peas are excluded. Vitamin and mineral supplements, additions to the diet in the form of vegetables and fruits are important.

Dry feeding is allowed. This method is simpler, it is completely balanced, it contains all the necessary additives, but only if the food is premium.

Alternating natural and artificial nutrition is not recommended. This may adversely affect the health of the Turkish Karabash.

It is important to correctly determine the diet. The owner should know that his Kangal shepherd dog is prone to obesity.

If you do not control your dog, it will overeat regularly, as a result, it will quickly gain excess weight. This will lead to problems with the gastrointestinal tract and the cardiovascular system.

Kangal Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog


The average life span of the Kangal Shepherd dog is about 10-12 years.

Representatives of the breed have strong immune defenses. From year to year, through natural selection, the body of the Kangal shepherd became only stronger.

But the owner of the Kangal needs to know that his pet is predisposed to the following diseases:

  • Hip dysplasia – the Kangal, like other large dogs, often suffers from dysplasia of both the elbow and the knee joint. The disease must be treated, otherwise at the last stage the animal may completely lose its ability to walk, will suffer from intolerable pains.
  • Bone underdevelopment in puppies and young animals – this problem leads to a lack of calcium in the diet of Kangal.
  • Inversion, inversion of the eyelids – these eye diseases cannot be eliminated with medication; surgical intervention is required. In most cases, the disease affects both eyes.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases- bloating, inversion of the intestines. More often due to poor diet and poor-quality food. If assistance is not immediately provided, the dog may die within just a few hours.

The health of the Kangal Shepherd dog directly depends on what care its owner provides. The pet needs regular deworming and routine vaccination. Treatment for skin parasites is important.

Annual preventive examinations in a veterinary clinic with the delivery of tests and an X-ray examination will help to detect a disease in time and start treatment at the initial stage.

Training and education

The Kangal Shepherd dog quickly remembers the commands, understands the owner in a word. Despite this, it is quite difficult to train such a dog. Representatives of the breed are distinguished by a freedom-loving disposition. They obey only those whom they respect. So, subjugating a Kangal is not easy.

The Kangal dog will show brilliant results in training, but the following conditions and rules are necessary for this:

  • Become a leader for the dog, whose word is law and establish trusting relationships with him, contact.
  • Early socialization.
  • The beginning of education and training from the first months of life.
  • A variety of training lessons
  • Strict training sequence.
  • Be sure to follow up on the given command.
  • Avoid physical, harsh penalties.
  • Use rewards along with perseverance.

After a properly trained dog, the Kangal shepherd dog will feel the owner’s intonation, understand it perfectly, it will be different in obedience and diligence.

Kangal Shepherd Dog
Kangal Shepherd Dog

Kangal Shepherd dog Fun Facts

  • Kangal lives on the Anatolian plateau since the time of Babylon.
  • In ancient times, the Kangal Shepherd dog was used for hunting lions and other large predators.
  • Anatolian Shepherd Dog is capable of speeds up to 50 km / h.
  • In South Africa, Kangal dogs serve primarily to protect livestock from cheetahs.
  • Guarding a herd of cattle, the Kangal uses the tactics of a lion, he climbs up the hill and from there monitors the territory.
  • The Kangal is able to pursue prey or the enemy for several days.
  • The breed “Kangal Shepherd” is a national heritage and pride of Turkey.
  • The name of the breed arose in honor of the city of Kangal.
  • There is a tradition in Turkey – presenting a puppy of the breed Kangal Shepherd to the first boy born in the family.

Pros and cons of the breed

Weak-willed, soft people with no experience in dog breeding are not recommended to get a dog of the Kangal Shepherd dog breed.

These animals are not suitable for home breeding, they are created for service, they need a strong-willed owner who knows how to handle large guard dogs.

The pros and cons of this breed are outlined below.


  • Devotion.
  • Adequacy, lack of unjustified aggression.
  • Ideal watchdog qualities.
  • Easy care.
  • Good health.


  • Not suitable for apartment / house living.
  • Requires a constant workload and space.
  • Freedom of love, willfulness.