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Kangal Shepherd Dog | Dog Breed Information, Pictures & Facts

Kangal Dog livestock guardian dog outdoors in winder
Group:UKC Guardian
Height:28 – 32 inches
Weight:90 – 145 pounds
Life Expectancy:12 – 15 years
Coat Colors:Uniform pale tan with black ear tips and mask, sable (rare)
Temperament:Friendly, protective, mild, independent
Suitable for:Guarding farms; families with older kids; owners with big yards

If you are a pet lover with a special space in your heart for giant breeds and guardian dogs, then the Kangal Shepherd dog should already be on your radar! This ancient breed is definitely an ideal lifelong companion.

Although this gentle giant thrives in wide-open spaces and farms, Kangal Shepherd dogs can be your common house dog. This independent pup does not need too much attention to be fully content and satisfied.

Stick around this article to learn more about this powerful breed and find out if the Kangal dog is perfect for you!

What Is a Kangal Dog?

Male Kangal Shepherd Dog sitting on grass and enjoying the beautiful view

The Kangal Dog is a large canine originally bred in Turkey as a working dog to help farmers herd sheep and guard livestock. This lovable and loyal canine has then evolved into a loyal companion among many owners.

The Kangal is also known as the Kangal Shepherd or the Turkish Kangal, connecting the breed to one of its uses and country of origin.

Although the Kangal Dog’s loving, calm and independent nature makes it fit as a companion dog for a family, it is not for apartment living. Its body and nature are built for open spaces or big backyards.

Although very daunting in its appearance, this huge canine is a teddy bear at heart. It’s a good and calm companion dog, perfect for families with slightly older children.

This breed, unfortunately, is not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC) but could be registered under the United Kennel Club (UKC).

3 Little-Known Facts About Kangal Dogs

Kangal Shepherd Dog sitting on grass grassland in village

The Kangal Dog is one of the lesser-known guardian dogs. Although experts know plenty about these strong canines, there are still a few known fun facts about them that are surprising to learn about.

Here are a few of the interesting facts that you should know about the Kangal Dog:

1. Kangal Dogs are not mainly used for herding livestock

Contrary to popular belief that the Turkish Kangal Dog is for herding since it is often seen on wide-open farms, these big canines are actually best for guarding and not herding.

A Turkish Kangal Dog has exceptional instincts that can detect predators. Its bodily strength and build are also designed to defend livestock and its owner’s family from huge predators.

Two or three Kangal Dogs can protect a flock of 150 to 250 sheep. This could explain why Kangals are mistakenly referred to as sheepdogs or shepherd dogs, as Turks use them when working with sheep and other livestock.

You may want to check out our article on shepherd dog breeds to see and compare it with the Kangal Dog’s guarding nature.

2. Kangal Dogs are expected to fend off big wild predators

In countries like Turkey, bears, big cats, and other possible predators like wolves and jackals could be commonly fended off by a Kangal Shepherd Dog.

Bears are most likely referring to the Syrian brown bear, a subspecies of brown bears found in both the Middle East and the Caucasus. 

Grey wolves and golden jackals, both of which are widespread species, are also chased off by these guardians.

Kangal Dogs have such a strong reputation that they were originally sent to Africa to defend livestock from native large cats.

People began transporting Kangal Dogs to Kenya because the initial project in Namibia was so successful.

3. Kangal Dogs are commonly mistaken for Anatolian Shepherd dogs

A Kangal Shepherd Dog could sometimes be mistaken for an Anatolian Shepherd Dog. It’s worth noting, however, that the Kangal Dog is a separate breed and is not the same as the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog was developed from a mixture of regional livestock guardian dogs from Turkey, with Kangal Dogs and Akbash Dogs playing a major role in breeding Anatolian Shepherds.

Since the 1980s, American breeders have used an increasing number of Kangal Dogs, resulting in an increasing likeness between Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and Kangal Dogs.

Watch this video for other facts about the Kangal Dog breed aside from the top three most surprising little-known facts listed below:

10 Facts About Kangal Dog That You Don't Know

Kangal Dog Origin and History

Historically, the Kangal Dog is an ancient flock guarding breed related to Mastiff-type dogs. The breed’s origins may have come from the Kangal District of Sivas Province in central Turkey; hence, its name.

The Kangal Dog was bred by the people to protect the village and their flocks from bears, wolves, and jackals, according to researchers and historians. It’s also bred as a herding dog.

True Kangal Dogs have been preserved pure and crossbreeding was avoided since the area where they were most abundant is remote and secluded from other locations.

As a result, the breed’s appearance and temperament became incredibly consistent; thus, preserving Turkey’s national treasure became easy. The Kangal Dog also appears to be immune to inherited diseases.

Some consider the Kangal Dog as Turkey’s national dog, while others consider the Akbash dog. The Kangal, however, can be seen in Turkish stamps and coins.

Many academic institutes and universities, as well as the Turkish government, have begun to investigate and run Kangal Dog breeding kennels with meticulous pedigrees and health records.

The first Kangal Dog was brought to America in 1985.

Kangal Dog Appearance

Kangal Shepherd Dog standing on grass near a house

The Kangal Dog’s double coat is short and dense. It should never have a fluffy, lengthy, or wavy coat.

Its thick coat also helps it in guarding livestock as it serves as an extra layer of protection from predator attacks such as wolf bites.

During the winter, expect this breed to have a thicker coat. However, during the spring and summer, it sheds any surplus coat. It has a curled tail and its floppy ears will have a darker shade only on the tip.

Its topcoat should be rough to the touch, while its undercoat should be very soft with a gray coloration. The hue of the Kangal Dog is a distinguishing feature.

The coat color is usually solid and can be fawn sable, light golden, dun, or gray, with the gray color ranging from a soft dove gray to a steel gray. It must sport a black mask that totally conceals its muzzle.

The mask could possibly extend up to his face and over his brow. The Kangal Dog can only have white on his feet, chest, and chin. Its nose is black, and its eyes are deep brown to amber with black eye rims.

Kangal Dog Size and Weight

The Kangal Shepherd Dog is a large breed expected to grow from 28 to 32 inches in height and weigh about 90 to 145 pounds. Its build is sturdy and strong, which is best for protecting and guarding.

These canines mature slowly because of their enormous size, and they aren’t completely matured until they are roughly two years old. The size of a Kangal varies according to its gender.

A female Kangal is often smaller than a male Kangal which could only grow up to 30 inches in height and weigh up to 120 pounds.

Nonetheless, these dogs are still enormous! Despite their immense size, Kangals are more agile and athletic than other dog breeds, which helps them protect livestock.

Is Kangal Dog a Recognized Breed?

The Turkish Kangal is unfortunately not recognized by the American Kennel Club (AKC). The breed is usually clumped with the Anatolian Shepherd and its characteristics.

If you live in Canada or the United States, the United Kennel Club (UKC) is the only authorized registration for Turkey’s national dog.

On the other hand, the Kangal Dog Club of America (KDCA) ensures that these amazing pups are ethically bred. This Kangal Dog club also fosters and rescues abused dogs for adoption.

Kangal Dog Temperament and Personality

Two Kangal Shepherd Dogs in Turkey

The Kangal Dog is not your average guarding dog as it is more people-oriented compared to other guardian types.

These pups are still vigilant and protective of their family while being able to form a bond with them.

The Kangal will develop a high attachment to its human family, which makes rehoming an adult Kangal Dog difficult. It will normally be reserved around strangers.

A well-socialized Kangal Dog is normally great with kids, but it might get defensive around non-family members.

Early socialization and training are essential for these pups to grow into well-adjusted family members.

A secure fence may be a must for the Kangal Dog to be able to roam around a neighborhood. Due to its territorial nature, the Kangal can turn violent against other pets and people if it is not housed within a safe fence.

Because the Kangal Dog requires ongoing training, it is usually better to incorporate it into his exercise routine. These pups are ideally suited as working dogs.

If you have children and wish to keep this dog as a companion, you may need to expect challenges, as these dogs demand a lot of maintenance if it’s not working.

Kangal Dog Lifespan and Health Issues

Kangal Shepherd Dogs are generally healthy, with an average lifespan of 12 to 15 years. This Turkish breed is a wonderful choice for a lifetime friend because it has a long lifespan.

You should keep in mind, however, that this prized breed is not immune to other ailments and may experience a variety of illnesses throughout their lives.

Other health issues that a Turkish Kangal owner should be aware of are the following:

  • Hip Dysplasia: Hip dysplasia is a condition in which a dog’s ball and socket are misaligned, resulting in considerable pain when the dog moves. You can prevent this by making sure your Kangal Dog gets adequate mobility and exercise.
  • Lipoma: Limpoma is an illness where small lumps and tumors might form in your Kangal’s abdomen and chest. Although benign, these tumors can cause discomfort and prevent your pup from enjoying its normal activities. If you see any strange lumps in your dog’s chest or belly while brushing him, take it to the doctor.
  • Entropion: A genetic sickness, entropion is a disorder in which the eyelids fold inwards due to a malformation. Eyelashes and hair would rub against the eye area after the eyelids were folded in, creating irritation and pain. Regular vet visits, as well as early diagnosis and treatment, can readily address these health issues.

You won’t be able to control everything, but you can try to be proactive with your Kangal’s health.

All your dog could ever ask is that you, as a responsible owner, pay attention and be aware of things that could damage them or affect their overall health.

How to Take Care of Your Kangal Shepherd Dog

Turkish Sivas Kangal Dog lying on the ground

The Kangal breed is not extremely difficult to care for. These pups will quickly adjust to their new lifestyle once fully grown and trained.

The Turkish Kangal will not necessitate any serious effort and just require minor grooming, primarily extra brushing during shedding season.

Here are some other important things to take note of when caring after them:

Food and Diet

Kangal Dogs must eat high-quality kibble on a daily basis as they are active dogs.

This breed can also consume raw meat and eggs, but it’s always advisable to check with your veterinarian first if they agree to this diet.

Seven cups of premium food per day for a fully grown Kangal adult is sufficient to meet your canine’s daily caloric requirements.

Kangal Dog puppies need between 3,000 and 4,800 calories per day to grow. Give them fewer calories as it becomes older or roughly 2,100 to 3,500 calories per day for adults.

A growing Kangal puppy should have enough protein to maintain its bones and joints strong, as well as a modest amount of carbs to keep its energy levels up.

Cleaning and Grooming

The Kangal Dog has a dense, short coat that is often easy to maintain. Kangal Dogs that work in the field with animals don’t need to be brushed out very regularly, only a few times a year.

On the other hand, pups that live in the house will require extra grooming to prevent loose hair from gathering on your floor and furnishings.

It should be brushed every day during the shedding season. A slicker brush and metal comb should be used to groom and a deshedder can be used to swiftly remove any loose undercoat.

Also, check the nails on a weekly basis; they should only need to be clipped every few weeks. Weekly inspections will also ensure that its feet are healthy and free of cuts and abrasions.

Training and Exercise

Although the Kangal Dog is a medium-activity dog, it still does require daily physical and mental stimulation or exercises that engage both the body and mind.

It will generally patrol the yard and show signals of protecting the house and its family, as guarding livestock is in its nature.

The Kangal can obtain ample physical activity by walking or trotting around the property if there is enough land.

Mental stimulation, on the other hand, will require games, obedience instruction, and socialization settings.

Include in its proper training its exercise time. This is a terrific method for your Kangal pup to burn energy while also giving tasks to complete.

When there is plenty of time to run and play, your pooch could become a loyal and obedient companion.

How Much Does a Kangal Dog Cost? Puppy Prices & Expenses

Two cute Kangal Dog puppies for sale and adoption

Purebred Kangals cost between $2,000 and $5,000 due to their rarity. A purebred with a champion bloodline and a traceable pedigree will have a higher price.

In addition to the puppy’s cost, you need a budget for other necessary products for your Kangal’s needs.

Dog food treats, leashes and collars, feeding bowls, and other canine necessities should all be included in your budget.

The following are the starting costs of owning a Kangal:

Type of ExpenseCost
Food and Treats$100 – $120
Food and Water Bowls$15 – $35
Bed$50 – $200
Crate$60 – $500
Leashes and Collars$15 – $50
Toys$30 – $50
Grooming Essentials$40 – $180
Deworming, Flea, and Tick Medications$50 – $200
Initial Vet Visits$100 – $300
Initial Vaccine Shots$75 – $200
Neutering or Spaying$50 – $500
Dog License$10 – $20
Microchip$40 – $60
Miscellaneous Supplies$15 – $30
Total Initial Cost$650 – $2,445

Aside from the dog’s price, owning a Turkish Kangal puppy might initially cost anywhere from $650 to $2,445.

You can also read our Kangal dogs’ price guide to help you navigate this breed’s lifetime expenses.

Although keeping Kangal dog puppies could be costly, you can save money by taking advantage of pet store discounts or other special offers for your pet’s supplies and requirements.

Adopting a Kangal from a rescue or a shelter could also help you save money and still have a puppy to care for.

RELATED: How Much Does a Kangal Dog Cost? (2022 Price Guide)

Places to Find Kangal Puppies for Sale and Adoption

Because the Kangal Dog is one of the most uncommon breeds in the United States, only a few respectable breeders may be able to legally and purposely breed them.

Puppy mills and irresponsible breeders profit from the lack of pups by selling sick puppies.

Look for a reliable breeder who follows stringent breeding guidelines if you want a healthy puppy. Selecting a breeder who performs genetic testing and health assessments on their dogs and litters is crucial.

Here is a list of some of the best Kangal puppy breeders to look for:

  • Kangal Dog Town – Based in Massachusetts, this breeder produces high-quality Kangal Dog breeds for the love of the canine. Its owner is passionate about conserving Turkey’s National Treasure and has traveled throughout Europe and Turkey in order to learn more about the breed.
  • Evan Mills Cattle Company – Originally a cow and sheep farm, this Kentucky-based corporation began breeding these dogs to combat vultures and coyotes that were encroaching on their property. They prefer to place Kangals in working contexts, so you’ll need to fill out an application if you want to buy one from them.
  • HexenWald Ranch – Based in California, HexenWald Ranch is a registered member of the Kangal Dog Club of America. Their Kangal pups are raised along with other farm animals such as chickens, goats, turkeys, and even cats, making them well-socialized at an early age.

If you prefer buying online and finding a reputable website, you may want to check our article on how to buy pups online to help you navigate your way around the virtual puppy market.

To further help you find your furry companion, here is a list of shelters and rescues that may have the perfect Turkish Kangal for you:

  • Kangal Dog Club of America (KDCA) – They’re a group of volunteers dedicated to helping Kangal Dogs in need. This club is also a known registry for a Turkish Kangal Dog bred and raised in the country.
  • National Anatolian Shepherd Rescue Network (NASRN) – This is a foster home where unwanted and abused Kangals and Anatolian crosses can find temporary shelter. They also provide expert assistance and a support group to assist you in caring for your newly acquired dog.
  • Kangal Dog Rescue Project – This national rescue group based in Michigan works with Hands Helping Paws, a nonprofit dog rescue organization. They commit to finding Kangals new homes and also provide medical services, transportation, and foster care.

Reading our ultimate dog adoption guide may also assist you in finding the perfect puppy. Meanwhile, you can try your luck in finding a free Kangal Dog with the help of this guide.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Kangal Shepherd Dog

Kangal Dog in nature with beautiful flowers and grasses

Although owning a Kangal Dog can be an amazing experience, possible owners should still be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of taking care of this big guardian.

From size, temperament, sudden changes in behavior, and other factors, every responsible pet owner should know the benefits and drawbacks of owning a certain dog breed.

With that said, here are some advantages of owning a Turkish Kangal:

  • Perfect security dog: Kangals are excellent protective guard dogs due to their speed, agility, and intelligence. These canines have a powerful bite and a menacing bark that ensures intruders flee when approached by this dog. As a result, they’re ideal for protecting homes, people, and properties. They’re also excellent police dogs.
  • High work drive: The Kangal is a huge dog that does well on farms, in the outdoors, and in the workplace. This is not a breed that can be content to spend its life in a kennel. Truth be told, these shepherds are never happier than when guarding a herd of cattle or a flock of sheep. You can count on the breed to keep a variety of predators at bay, including large creatures like wolves, coyotes, lions, and bears.
  • Child-friendly: A well-trained and loved Kangal is quite loving and playful around children and visitors, despite its ability to chase away any threat. Compared to other guardian breeds, this huge furball is quite sociable and could adapt well to big families.

Here are some drawbacks to having a Kangal Shepherd:

  • Large and heavy: These dogs take up a lot of space and can grow into very big pooches, making apartment and city life unnatural and unsuitable for the breed. This also implies that the owner must have the necessary resources to care for such a large dog. They require a large amount of area to run around for two hours each day and have a large appetite.
  • Strong bite and highly defensive: Among all dog breeds, the Kangal is noted for having one of the strongest bites. This emphasizes the importance of training this dog for safety reasons. Such a powerful bite can cause injury when combined with their normal defensive and protective nature.
  • Challenging to train: The Kangal is a smart dog with a free-thinking, independent attitude. This makes training difficult as they could also show a stubborn streak. It also means that these dogs are best suited to an experienced dog owner. Inexperienced dog owners may have a much more difficult time training this Turkish Dog breed.

Before acquiring a Kangal, it’s critical to understand the advantages and disadvantages of caring for one. This will help you decide if the dog is right for you and if you can care for it long-term.

Is It Legal to Own a Kangal Dog?

Though these dogs are legal in the United States, restrictions may vary by state. If you’re thinking about getting this breed, check out if there are any breed-specific rules in your area.

It’s also crucial to ensure that the Kangal you’re considering buying has been registered with the United Kennel Club or, at the very least, has officially registered parents.

Turkey has also made it illegal to export Kangals in order to protect the breed’s heritage. This is why these dogs are uncommon in the United States.

Frequently Asked Questions

Anatolian Sheepdog or Kangal Dog posing against green natural background

Is a Kangal the Strongest Dog?

The Kangal may not be the strongest dog, but it definitely has the strongest bite force. The breed boasts the world’s strongest jaws, with an astonishing bite force of 734 psi.

These big dogs are masters in neutralizing danger, having been bred in Turkey to knock down larger creatures preying on sheep and other livestock.

Do Kangal Dogs Bark a Lot?

While a Turkish Kangal Dog may only bark on moderate occasions, their barks are loud due to their size.

These dogs also always only barks for a reason, such as being protective, territorial, from fear, or separation anxiety.

Do Kangal Dogs Shed?

The Kangal Dog has a dense coat that sheds all year, but it sheds more heavily in the spring and summer when its heavy winter coat is shed. Thus, it still needs ample grooming from time to time.

Are Kangal Dogs Hypoallergenic?

Kangal Dogs are not hypoallergenic; thus, they are not suitable for allergic people. Most people are sensitive to dander (skin flakes) or saliva, rather than dog hair. Thus, coat type isn’t always important.

Are Kangal Dogs Dangerous?

Compared to other dogs in the dog world, Kangal Dogs are naturally calm and in control. These guardians are not easily intimidated and are not aggressive in the least.

Kangal combat videos and rumors on the internet do not reflect these canines realistically. Because some owners believe it makes them cool, these pups are frequently ridiculed and provoked into hostility.

Final Thoughts: Is a Kangal the Right Dog for You?

The Turkish Kangal is one of the most devoted and protective dogs among other giant breeds. These canines are huge not only in size but also in heart.

Although this dog’s strength has been compared to that of wild beasts, it has a calm demeanor and understands when it needs to attack to protect its flock and property.

Kangals may require plenty of strenuous activity every day, as well as plenty of room to move. To keep their protective instincts, these pups must put their skills to good use.

The Kangal is not your typical large dog, but pet lovers will enjoy having this loyal breed around. So, what are your thoughts on this rare dog? Tell us about it in the comments!