Anatolian Shepherd (Kangal) Breed: Size, Characteristics & Personality


The Anatolian Shepherd breed is an imposing, strong and agile guard dog. It is also known by names such as Kangal, Sivas Kangal, Karabaş, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Anatolian Shepherd Dog, Shepherd Dog, Anatolian Blackhead in Turkey and internationally. Their loyal, protective and affectionate nature are the most distinctive and prominent features of this breed. It has light yellow, gray, brown, dirty white fur. The Anatolian Kangal dog is an imposing herd guard with its dignified, serious and confident nature. They descend from the earliest known domesticated dog lineage.

Personality & Character Traits

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog is among the most loyal and protective dogs in the world. Its devotion to its owner distinguishes itself among guard dogs with its sensitive nature. With its durable and majestic body, its lineage dates back to ancient times. It is one of the unique creatures that people have chosen as friends to protect their flocks and themselves for centuries. It is a brave dog with its calm and protective nature. Besides his commitment, he also has an independent side. This highly intelligent dog calculates the move it will make in case of a possible danger, and does not attack randomly. Sometimes you can hear that they are vengeful from your surroundings. However, this hardworking Anatolian Shepherd breed does not reveal its brave side when it is not necessary, and hangs out calmly.

You can see it in different colors such as light yellow, gray, taupe and off-white. As a characteristic feature, the corners of the eyes, mouth, ear area and nose are black. This breed, which has a special place among herding dogs, knows how to take care of themselves, to live in difficult terrains and predatory environments. Their muscular, agile and large bodies are strong enough to adapt to these environments. Kangal Shepherd dogs are said to be descended from ancient domesticated dogs. However, it is very difficult for them to adapt to home and apartment life. They need to live outside and move freely with their body features and character traits. Enough to bravely protect their owners, children, herd, other dogs and cats wherever they may be, depending on the environment in which they live.

Living in an apartment life is definitely not suitable for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. With their large build and their need to travel, living in an open space is ideal for them. Generally, it is seen that they make friends with people who have vineyards and herds in Anatolia, very loyal and with a sense of duty. Although their origin is Turkey, they have gained worldwide fame and popularity.

It is possible that you will have some difficulties during your training. However, with a good trainer, you can simplify this situation in training and socialization activities that you will start when you are a puppy. Early training is very important for dogs. The Anatolian Shepherd dog is obedient, calm and affectionate, as well as dominant, willing to be a manager and strong leader. If these features come to the fore, they can be combative and disobedient. Therefore, it is important to be consistent in education and to teach him who the manager is. In general, they are relaxed and docile dogs, creating trouble and looking for trouble is not their behavior. However, if your upbringing does not support these characteristics, it can be a vicious and unruly dog. At the early stage, you should increase your dog’s good habits by socializing them with different people and animals in different places and environments, and you should try to see their possible bad habits and try to file them.

The stranger is not very friendly towards people he does not know. He acts protectively to strangers and even relatives of the family who enter the environment he lives in. Kangal dog approaches his family and close friends in a calm, friendly and affectionate way. It is observed that his relationship with children is a little better. Although they cannot be full playmates with children as they wish, they establish a warm relationship between them. Sheepdogs are even seen to be tolerant of unintentional harsh movements by children.

It is a serious guard dog with its family and loved ones, usually affectionate, docile, protective and always ready for duty. When they sense and suspect danger, they bark a lot and start running around. In this way, they try to notify the owner, to avoid the danger that may occur, and to frighten the person in front of them.

Kangal History

The homeland of shepherd dogs is Turkey. It is thought that this race was brought by the Kangar Turkish Tribe during the migration from Turkistan to the Anatolian lands. Another rumor is that the Kangal breed emerged in Anatolia 6000 years ago and is of Anatolian origin. Nomadic Anatolian Shepherd Dog has a long history in all rumors. The roots of dogs date back an estimated 4,000 years. The Tibetan Mastiff and Roman Mollosian war dogs that came to Turkey are considered to be their first ancestors. There are rumors that they bred these dogs to protect them from predators such as wolves, bears and lions. It is known that they received great attention in those ages, as they were loyal defenders of farm animals as well as protecting people. He adapted to the nomadic lifestyle and stood by the shepherds. Anatolian Shepherd Dog is spread over a wide geography with its size, fur type and various colors. With the effect of spreading to large regions, certain features have differentiated. However, the most important and distinctive trait, which remained constant throughout the entire breed, was its loyalty, sense of independence and endurance.

This breed has been called Shepherd since the beginning. However, the breed was never used as a shepherd breed. This breed is best known by the names Shepherd Dog, Kangal, Karabaş and Sivas Kangal. There is disagreement as to whether the Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed is a separate breed from the Kangal or Karabash dog. However, in the borders of Turkey and almost throughout the world, it is seen that the dogs called with these names have the same characteristics and appearance. It is known that breeders who see the Kangal dog as a different breed from the Anatolian Shepherd Dog are working today.

The breed was introduced to America in the 1950s. Although dogs were introduced to protect farm animals against coyotes and predators, they did not get the attention they wanted at that time. It was gifted to the US Department of Agriculture by the Turkish Government in the 1970s for an experimental study on the protection of herds. In this way, the breed was introduced to America for the first time. The Anatolian Shepherd began to be widely admired and appreciated in the late 1970s and 1980s. They started to be embraced by animal lovers with their loyalty, protective structures and advanced guard features. The American Kangal Shepherd Dog Club was established in the United States in the same years, as a result of the great influence of the American people. The Sheepdog has been accepted into the Working Group by the American Kennel Club. In 1996, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog was recognized by the AKC as a purebred breed.

Anatolian Shepherd dogs are raised with care and protected with love in Turkey. It is known that people are very cautious about sending shepherd dogs abroad for breeding. In fact, no Shepherd dogs were sent abroad until the 19th century. After the United States met this breed, it is seen that they show special interest towards the Anatolian Shepherd Dog (Kangal Dog). Shepherd dog is a breed that is the pride of its country from past to present, in its homeland and all over the world.


Anatolian Shepherd (Kangal) Physical Qualities


It has an imposing appearance with its large, vigorous and strong square body. Its body is completely square, but not narrow. Its neck is slightly curved, strong and muscular. It is seen that the sheepdog does not carry its neck upright. Neck length is almost equal to head length. It has a strong, muscular and not fat chest area. The thorax is high, broad and deep. The upper part appears to be curved forward and the ribs are well-knitted. The Anatolian Shepherd uses his chest very well when fighting. The dorsal regions are of medium length, strong structure. The legs of Kangal dogs are quite strong and thick. However, it is seen that the hind legs are not as much as the front legs. Kangals skillfully use their front legs during combat.


The Anatolian Shepherd breed has a large head, wide and high forehead. It is stated that the length of the skull is greater than the width of the skull. It has a strong, thick jaw and large teeth. Scissor bite is preferred in its external structure. The chin and nose are of medium length and the nose is blunt. It has wide ears and low ears. It is seen that her upper lip covers her lower lip. His cheeks are muscular and his cheekbones are visible, although not very prominent.


It has medium sized, triangular and velvety ears with rounded tips. It is seen that the ears are low towards the cheeks. When the Anatolian Kangal Dog pays attention to something, its ears are erect and positioned higher. Where dogs are allowed to have their ears clipped, dogs with clipped ears are considered as ear structure as dogs without clippings.


The eye structure of the Kangal dog is proportional to the skull. It has beautiful almond-shaped eyes, medium to large, in amber and brown tones. Generally, the dark-eyed Anatolian Shepherd is preferred. Eyelids are tight and drooping is not seen. There are black colors with characteristic features around the eyes.

Legs and Feet

The front legs are well-spaced, well-bonded, long and straight. The hind legs are strong but not very muscular. When looking from behind, you can see a vertically upright image. In the hind legs of the Kangal breed, it is seen that the lower calf is muscular, strong and parallel to each other. Their paws are thick-based, curved, strongly built and black in color. Kangals have a distinctive gait. Progress fluently with balanced, comfortable and long strides.


The tail of the Kangal dog is long enough to go down from the heel level. The tail stance is low when the dog is relaxed and the tip is curved. When they pay attention to something, it is seen that especially the males are high and the tail is curved on the back. There may be whiteness at the tip of the tail or there may be a black line in 3/1 and half.


The Anatolian Shepherd Dog has a double coat that is short and very dense. Feather colors can be different and these colors contrast with the whole body color. The feather should be 3-7 cm long. However, the length of the feather may vary according to climatic conditions. Thicker and longer hair is seen in the neck, shoulder and calf areas.


You can see Anatolian Kangal dogs in different colors such as light yellow, gray, brown, and dirty white. However, its entire body must be of one color. In the face area, the mouth, eye corners, ear area and nose area are black. This is also known as the black mask. This color tone on the face has a characteristic feature regardless of the color of the dog’s fur and stands out clearly in every Anatolian Shepherd dog. Ears are dark in color. It may have a black stripe on the 3/1 part or half of its tail.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Care

The Anatolian Shepherd dog has a thick coat that makes it easy to live and work in the open air and protects it in all weather conditions. They usually have a short fur coat, but some Kangals also have a long outer coat. The Sheepdog comes in many colors, including cream, white, spotted and striped, and has a black to fawn color gradient on the face.

Their coats are easy to care for compared to many breeds. A quick combing and brushing once a week is enough to keep them looking good. They do not shed much and you can be flexible about their care as they roam freely in nature. It happens that your dog sheds heavily twice a year. During shedding periods, it’s a good idea to do a thorough brushing every few days with a short-bristled brush and comb to remove dead hair.

The shepherd dog breed is naturally clean. This breed, which needs less combing with its short-haired fur, also needs less bathing. It is sufficient for them to take a bath 3-4 times a year. In general, bathing is not recommended for this breed. Since there are no sweat glands, sweating is not seen. In addition, they secrete a special substance through the sebaceous glands to protect their skin, and if they are washed, their skin health may deteriorate. Therefore, the care given to the classical house dogs in the bathroom is not very suitable for the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

In nail care, the nails of free Kangals living in nature may not need care, but you can do regular nail care and cutting for your semi-free, semi-petal Kangal living in the garden of your home. It is important that the items such as nail clippers or toothbrushes that you will use during these treatments are in a suitable structure for your dog. Doing mouth, teeth, ear, nose, eye and skin care at regular intervals and with tools suitable for your dog will help your dog to live a healthy life with you for many years.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Nutrition

The Anatolian Shepherd Dog can consume high-quality dry dog ​​foods for large breeds or home-prepared foods approved by your veterinarian. The amount of food will vary depending on your dog’s gender, age, height and whether he is active or not. Nutritional patterns of Anatolian Shepherd dogs may also vary according to their developmental periods. For example; In the first 3 weeks of the puppyhood, it will be enough for your dog to consume breast milk, but then it will be able to switch to additional foods. In adulthood, it will be enough to eat a single meal a day. When their activity level increases, they may feel the need to eat two meals a day. There are certain brands we can recommend for your dog. For dry food, wet food, treats and other different foods; You can choose the suitable one for your dog from Royal Canin, Proplan, Hills , N&D, Gimcat, Brit, Purina, Acana, Felix, Brit Care brands.

Do not change your dog’s meal times as much as possible. Give at regular times every day. In general, the recommended amount to meet the daily nutritional needs; It is to give 4-6 scoops of high quality dry food for large breeds in two meals. You can also give your dog home food in addition to dry food. However, you need to know which foods dogs can and cannot eat. For example, sharp bones that you give to your dog, thinking that he loves it very much, can damage their digestive system and cause internal bleeding. Our recommendation is that one-third of his diet consists of meat, grains and vegetables. You can ensure that they are well fed with the right foods and the right amounts. The water they drink is as important to them as the food they eat. Help them meet their daily water needs. Give fresh, clean water in a container daily. Consult your veterinarian for help with changes in weight and diet, questions or problems.


Anatolian Shepherd Dog Exercise

Your Anatolian Shepherd Dog needs a moderate amount of exercise. It is healthier for him to live in an open environment, in the garden, rather than living in a home environment. Since they adapt to garden life in warm and cool weather, they do not experience health problems. This garden setting should have a large, solid fence and a lockable gate. They do not like to be chained to a place in the garden, so as long as safety precautions are taken, they can walk around the garden without a leash, but we do not recommend you to walk without a leash when they go out. Taking a long walk once or twice a day while on a leash will do your dog very well. When Kangal dogs sense danger, from time to time, they may not listen to the owner’s word and make their own decisions and act in ways that do not comply with the stop command. Therefore, it is quite easy to be stopped with a leash. You should choose the types that are suitable for your dog in terms of collars, otherwise they may be uncomfortable with the collar.

The Anatolian Shepherd needs long walks or jogging, exercise and socializing with his family every day. For this, you should do 60 minutes of game activities or 2-2.5 kilometers walks during the day. If you have a duty-conscious dog, walking around your house and guarding the herd is also counted as exercise. However, apart from his duties, you should also allow him to socialize and exercise mentally and physically outside of your home or garden.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Training

It is seen that Anatolian Shepherd dogs are not among the dogs that can be trained very easily and well due to their free and independent spirit. It is the best time to start training and socialize the shepherd dog when he is a puppy. First of all, training such as basic obedience, toilet, area protection should be completed. Obedience training is imperative for this breed. Because it may be difficult to train this breed, which is independent, prone to make its own decisions, is protective against strangers and has a leader spirit, to adapt to the commands given, so obedience training should be completed at an early stage. It is not recommended that this breed receive guard and guard dog training separately. It has these features in its character without any training, and as your dog grows, the sense of protection will increase. Never give your dog attack training under guard training.

The breed is wary of strangers and instinctively tends to be protective. Socializing with family members, communicating with other people and animals at an early stage will contribute to the good-natured development of this breed. If you want to give your dog a special task and want it to work, you can resort to advanced training method. Do not forget that your dog has leadership qualities. If you do not show that you are the leader in your training and give your dog the opportunity to become an alpha dog, you may face a dog whose behavior is difficult to control. You can achieve good success in the education process, where you will progress with patient, consistent and positive methods without making any concessions.

Anatolian Shepherd Dog Health

The Shepherd Dog is generally a healthy and hardy breed. However, it may show a predisposition to some health problems that may occur in every animal. Therefore, it is important to follow certain diseases in terms of health. Hip dysplasia is not common in Anatolian Shepherd dogs. Life-threatening stomach torsion and bloating with inversion are also not uncommon. In addition, dog owners need to be aware of the symptoms of bloating in order to act quickly in case of stomach problems.

Kangal dogs can be sensitive and sensitive to anesthesia. Before any surgical procedure, you should discuss this with your veterinarian. Good breeders should screen for entropion, a condition in which the eyelids turn inward, inverted, and require surgical intervention, which occurs at 6 months of age. Health screenings for conditions like hypothyroidism, demodectic mange, elbow dysplasia, and hip dysplasia are also important for your dog. You should regularly check the Kangal breed’s ears for any signs of infection and brush their teeth frequently to prevent bad breath and bacterial infections.

Similar Posts