The Kangal is a large herding dog from Turkey that serves as a work hand and status symbol in its home country. It is also a symbol of strength, courage, and pride. In the profile, you will learn everything about the history, nature, and attitude of the dog breed.
History of the Kangal
The Kangal is an ancient dog breed, but it has only been officially recognized since June 2018. The dogs are probably originally descended from the shepherd dogs of nomadic people. In central and eastern Anatolia in particular, shepherds used the ancestors of today’s dogs as early as the 12th century to independently protect flocks of sheep. Because of their enormous size and strength, the dogs were able to defend their herd against wolves and bears. In the city of “Kangal”, there were extremely many of these dogs, which gave the breed its current name. At that time, however, the dogs were called Karabaş, which means “blackhead”.
In the 1960s, the first dogs made their way to Britain, where enthusiasts formed the Anatolian Karabash Dog Club. Together with other dog breeds from Turkey, the dogs finally gained notoriety in Germany as Anatolian shepherd dogs. Since the 1970s, it has been a popular service dog among the military and police in Turkey. In June 2018, the FCI recognized the Kangal as a separate breed. Since then he has belonged to FCI Group 2 “Pinscher and Schnauzer – Molossoid – Swiss Mountain Dogs” in Section 2.2 “Mountain Dogs”.
Essence and Character
The Kangal is a loyal dog that attracts attention with its balanced and calm nature. Since the dogs were sometimes on their own for weeks when protecting the herd, their descendants are also very independent and frugal. Dogs tend to be distant or suspicious of strangers. They do not hesitate to defend their herd or family from potential enemies. Most of the time, however, the watchdogs use threatening gestures to scare off intruders.
The Appearance of the Kangal
The Kangal is an elegant and large dog with an impressive appearance. Males can grow up to 81 centimeters tall and weigh 65 kilograms. Since the shepherds were never specifically bred, size and weight developed purely naturally. The dog’s head shape is reminiscent of a Molosser, but with an attentive and wide-awake look. The medium-sized ears hang flat, sideways on the skull. When at rest, the tail is slightly curved upwards. The coat of the dogs is short to half-long and dense. The official standard allows for all colors, with many dogs being light brown to light gray with a dark brown to black mask.
Education of the Puppy
The Kangal is not an easy dog to train. It cannot be suppressed with harshness and violence. The dog wants to be seen as an equal partner. Education therefore only works with mutual trust. Sensitivity and consistency are also required. Even a well-bred representative of the breed retains its independence for life. Good socialization is particularly important for the big dog in the beginning. On the other hand, male dogs in particular often react aggressively to other dogs. Visiting a dog school and contact with other dogs is therefore mandatory with the puppy.
Activities with the Kangal
Due to its size, the shepherd dog is not suitable for conventional dog sports. Rapid and sustained movement is harmful to his joints. Hectic games get him excited and quickly overwhelm him. The best occupation for a Kangal is its traditional use as a guard dog for flocks of sheep. If you don’t use it to the full, you’ll have to go for long walks every day. He also enjoys a large, high-fenced garden to guard. Quiet games such as nose work and puzzles give him great pleasure. In its homeland, the Kangal often serves as a guard dog and is kept on a chain in the garden. Of course, such an attitude should be avoided, because the dog, like everyone else, wants to be part of the family.
Health and Care
Since the Kangal has never been bred purely for its looks, it is a robust breed in terms of health. The life expectancy of 12 to 14 years is very high for a dog of this size. Its thick fur protects it from the sun and frost. He can therefore be outside in any weather without any problems. Since the dogs have lived on leftovers for decades, they are frugal when it comes to food. Nevertheless, you should of course pay attention to a healthy diet. Obesity is particularly harmful to large dogs. In addition, shepherd dogs should not jump or climb stairs much, as the dogs are prone to joint problems such as arthrosis.
Does the Kangal Suit Me?
The purchase of an Anatolian shepherd dog should be well considered because of its size alone. Keeping the Kangal in an apartment in the city is out of the question. Anyone who lives in Hesse or Hamburg also has to struggle with the status of a lost dog. He is conditionally suitable as a family dog. Unlike most dog breeds, the robust dog lives outdoors without any problems.