The Kangal Dog
The Kangal Dog is the first and most famous livestock guardian breed
that springs to mind in Turkey. Ask anyone and they will start bragging
about the breed with respect and pride. Kangal Dogs are the dogs which
for many people set the benchmark for livestock guardian dog standards.
To them the breed is the embodiment of their national link to Central
Asia. It is the best-recognised breed of dog in Turkey and it is considered
a national treasure. There are many governmental and university
breeding facilities to secure the future of the breed. It is mainly native
to Central Anatolia. It is also known as Kangal Dog of Sivas, a historic
city on the route of the Silk Road and famous for sheep husbandry
for centuries. Little is known about its origin but the reason why it is
associated with the city of Sivas could be the fact that animal husbandry
in this important city and its provincial towns such as Kangal must have
involved a large population of good quality dogs in the past. The breed
thus got its name after the town of Kangal, Sivas.
Their resemblance to the breed of sheep they protect is striking. The
Akkaraman sheep with its characteristic black face and ears seem to
require no other breed of dogs than a Kangal Dog. The steppes of
Central Anatolia also seems to have shaped these dogs with a perfect
physique. A shepherd cannot ask for a better-adapted livestock guardian
than a fawn dog with a black mask and black ears, resembling an
Akkaraman sheep, in a treeless brown landscape.
In addition to the advantages of camouflage, the Kangal Dog is a large
but active breed. Height at the withers for males is between 75 and 85
cm while it is 65–75 cm for females. A male between 50 and 65 kg and
a female between 40 and 55 kg are considered in a good working dog
weight. The breed’s double coat comes in colours ranging from fawn to
steel grey depending on the outer coat’s dark coloured tips. A small white
spot on the chest and white socks below the knees are acceptable, but
the less the better. A black mask is the most well-known characteristic of
the breed. That’s why it is also known as Karabaş (black head).
by ılker ünlü