The Kangal Shepherd dog’s lineage goes way back in history as one of Turkey’s most trusted working breeds. The Kangal dog originated from the Siva region and were highly desired by Shepherds and other farmers for their loyal and fierce characteristics. The breed was selectively bred over the course of hundreds of years until Turkish sheep guardians saw the temperament, size and strength that they needed to keep their livestock safe. The breed eventually became popular in the US in the 20th century for the same reasons they were favoured in Turkey – to take care of the livestock. Yet, now the breed is also being welcomed into homes as a family pet.
Kangal Shepherd Dogs are fairly large with adult males reaching up to 32 inches and females 30 inches. On average males weigh in at anywhere between 110 – 140 pounds and females weigh between 90 and 120 pounds. There doesn’t tend to be a great variation in colour with this breed, Kangal dogs are usually seen with tan coats and a darker muzzle.
Character and Behaviour
Although the Kangal Shepherd dogs are effective when it comes to chasing off prey, they are a loyal and loving pet who do well in family homes with children. Yet, due to their wariness of strangers, they don’t rank all too highly when it comes down to friendliness. However, it is their strong trainability and medium-scale social tendencies which have made them as popular as they are today. The Kangal Shepherd dog is also commonly recognised for their reliable temperament and predictability. Of course, this is only true if they are trained and socialised from an early age.
Training and Education
Training a Kangal Shepherd dog is easy compared to other working breeds, they will never show aggression to livestock such as sheep or cattle, as they were bred to take care of the cattle – therefore such aggression is absent from their behaviour. If you’re considering the Kangal Shepherd dog for a family pet, you’ll want to make sure that you have ample room – they are not recommended for those who live in small property homes. Despite their trainability, they tend to bark, a lot, which is another thing you’ll want to take into consideration lest you annoy your neighbours. Kangal Shephard dogs are also renown for liking to dig under fences and escape. Always ensure that your property is well suited before you welcome one into your home.
Whilst Kangal Shepherd Dogs are a resilient and tough breed, they also suffer from some of the conditions which are fairly common within larger breeds of dogs such as hip dysplasia.
Grooming and Care
As Kangal Shepherd dogs consume up to 3500 calories a day, feeding them isn’t cheap, and making sure their dietary needs are taken care of is also a little tricky. Historically the dogs would eat scraps of food which didn’t involve a lot of meat or protein, therefore they can struggle when it comes to high-protein diets. Raw meat should only be given occasionally in addition to high-quality kibble. Always make sure that your Kangal Shepherd do has something to chew, especially if they are a puppy, whether that be bones, leather straps, or other hard-wearing chew toys. The coats of the Kangal Shepherd dogs are short and course, therefore they have minimal grooming requirements. They shed their coats twice a year during Spring and Winter, so you may have to increase the amount you tend to their coats during these times to prevent the excess shed hair decorating your furniture and carpets.
Children and Other Pets
The Kangal Sheepdog, despite its size is great around children and other pets, despite their trustworthy nature they won’t take kindly to strangers on the property. Generally. they are found to be territorial.
Unlike most other Shepherd dogs, the Kangal Shepherd dog prefers to pair up when taking down larger threats to livestock such as wolves or bears even with foxes. When working in pairs, or even in threes they can successfully protect up to 250 sheep.