Australian Shepherds were bred to be herding dogs that can withstand cold climates. They sport dense and thick double coats that provide them warmth … [Read More...]
The Turkish Kangal, also known as the Kangal Shepherd Dog, or simply the Kangal, is a magnificent large-built dog primarily created to guard flocks of sheep from predators. Despite his big and imposing figure, he is a dedicated family-oriented dog that loves children. Praised for his steadfast loyalty, the Turkish Kangal is ready to protect his loved ones from any danger. This breed was officially recognised by the Kennel Club in 2013.
What is a Turkish Kangal dog?
The Kangal is an ancient native dog breed in Turkey. His roots can be traced back to the Kangal District of Sivas Province, which is located at the heart of the country. He is believed to be a member of the Molosser breed and thus, related to the Boxer, English Mastiff, and Rottweiler. It’s speculated that these dogs were crossbred with indigenous dogs in Turkey.
The offspring of these dogs are now the ancestors of the modern breed. Assyrian artwork also shows that the Turkish Kangal might be a descendant of the early Mastiff-type breeds.
In Turkey, he is commonly kept by a family of landholders called the Aga of Kangal. Villagers also bred him and made sure that his pedigree is carefully preserved. As a result, his progeny maintained the same impressive appearance and even temperament.
The Turkish Kangal was solely developed to guard livestock against vicious predators such as bears, coyotes, foxes, raccoons, and wolves. The Turkish Kangal mingles and lives among the flock. It is common to see him work in teams or pairs depending on the flock’s size. Whilst the Kangal is non-threatening to the animals he protects, he can be quite deadly to predators when provoked.
If the Kangal gets attacked, he would protect himself by rolling his shoulder and taking down the enemy. Once his opponent is on the ground, he will go for the throat or hind legs. Some Kangals in Turkey don spiked collars to protect their throats, which is one of the most vulnerable parts of their body.
The Kangal is considered as the national dog of Turkey and admired for his boldness, courage, and strength. He can even be found on coins and stamps. However, the breed is not only prized in Turkey but Africa as well. In some areas like Namibia and South Africa, farmers had to take out lions, cheetahs, and other big animals that were preying on their livestock.
To prevent the eradication of these wild animals, The Cheetah Conservation Fund gave the farmers 500 Turkish Kangal dogs to train. These dogs were able to deter the deadly predators from approaching the livestock. Thus, the farmers seldom need to take down any of these big cats, which helped in preserving their numbers.
During the 1960s, the Turkish Kangal was first introduced in the UK. Turkey meticulously regulated the exportation of the breed to protect the purity of the bloodlines. Excited to have a Turkish Kangal as a family companion? Check out our For Sale and Rehoming page to find the right one for you.
Are Turkish Kangals legal in the UK?
Owning a Turkish Kangal is legal in the UK. In the Dangerous Dogs Act, the dog breeds currently banned in the UK are the Dogo Argentino, Fila Brasileiro, Japanese Tosa, and Pit Bull Terrier. Hybrids related to any of these dog breeds may also be banned, depending on their characteristics and size.
What does a Turkish Kangal dog look like?
The Kangal’s large and sturdy physique is a result of his use as a working dog. It is normal for the Kangal to be longer than it is tall. His body is about 10 to 12 per cent longer than the height of its withers.
He has a large head that is rounded on each side. There is a noticeable wrinkling of his forehead but it should have no dewlaps. He possesses medium-sized eyes which can be almond or oval-shaped. The colours may come in golden to brown matching the dog’s coat colour.
The Kangal’s neck is muscular and the skin is tightly attached to it. Dewlap on the neck must be minimal to none. The Kangal dog's tail is aligned with the coup line. It begins with a thick base then gradually tapers to a curl at the tip. His large feet are either oval-shaped or rounded. Generally, the front feet are larger than the back.
The Turkish Kangal has a short and thick double-coat. It protects them from predator bites and provides them with insulation during the cold season. The coat is commonly a solid tan or grey colour.
He has a black mask and the fur on his ears are dark in colour. During summertime, his coat may grow up to 3 cm and about 7 cm in winter.
How big do Turkish Kangals get?
Turkish Kangal dogs are enormous. Full-grown males are slightly larger than females. They are approximately 74 to 81 cm at the withers and weigh about 50 to 65 kg.
On the other hand, females are 71 to 79 in length and weigh around 41 to 50 kg. It would take over 18 months for a Turkish Kangal to fully mature and stop growing.
How to care of a Turkish Kangal
The Kangal sheds twice a year in the spring and winter. When the moulting season starts, brush his coat with a metal comb and de-shedding tools. This will help you easily remove dead and loose hair. After shedding season, you only need to brush his coat at least twice a week.
Frequent bathing is not recommended for the Turkish Kangal as it can dry his coat and skin. Only wash him when he starts smelling bad or gets too dirty.
Trim his nails at least once a month to prevent splitting or cracking of nails, which can be very painful. Ear cleaning should be done once a month to avoid ear infections. Since the breed is prone to bad breath, tooth brushing should be done every day,
Are Turkish Kangals good family dogs?
Through the years of careful breeding, the disposition of the Turkish Kangal remains calm and gentle. Turkish shepherds wanted the breed to be non-threatening towards its human companions and the livestock it protects. They don't want to risk their guard dog attacking the flocks of sheep. Therefore, it is in the Kangal's nature to be people and animal-oriented.
As a canine companion without livestock to guard, the Turkish Kangal is very protective of his family and other pets. Needless to say, he is a great companion for children. Although he is a sweet-natured dog, supervision is needed when he is around children, especially smaller ones.
Due to his huge size, he may accidentally knock them down when playing. Teach children how to gently handle pets to avoid hurting or injuring them.
Whilst the Turkish Kangal is affectionate with his family, he can be indifferent and wary of strangers. However, he will not be aggressive unless threatened. This makes him a good choice as a guard dog.
Just be sure to socialise him at an early age to ensure that he grows up to be a confident dog. It will also help him make a sound judgment in identifying who is a threat and who is not.
The Turkish Kangal can get along with other pets especially when they grew up together. However, he can be quite territorial so be sure to socialise him at a young age. Well-socialised dogs are friendly and approachable to their fellow pets. A proper introduction and socialisation are necessary for the safety of both pets.
Is Kangal a good guard dog?
The Turkish Kangal is a skilled guard dog that has a three-step approach when facing a threat, First, he will bark to let you know a trespasser is around and to scare them away. If this does not work, he will proceed to the second step, which is roaring. It is a warning signal that he is ready to attack if the trespasser persists. Lastly, he will attack if the trespasser continues to ignore the first two warnings.
How to train a Turkish Kangal?
Start training the Kangal during puppyhood. Since he is a very intelligent dog, he quickly learns new commands. The downside of being very smart is that it can lead him to copy bad habits.
Prevent this from happening by being constantly firm and consistent during training. Keep training sessions short and non-repetitive to keep him focused. Applying positive reinforcement helps in motivating him as well. So, don't forget to offer him a treat, give him praise, or play with him as a reward.
Turkish Kangal Breed Fun Facts
What should a Turkish Kangal eat?
Feed your Turkish Kangal with premium-quality food. If you are unsure which one to pick, consult the vet. They will be able to provide you with a list of high-quality dog food that fits your dog’s breed, age, and activity levels.
Avoid commercial dog food because they may have an insufficient amount of nutrients. Always provide fresh water for your Kangal everyday especially during the warmer months to keep him hydrated.
How much should a Turkish Kangal eat?
Kangal puppies age 3 to 6 months need at least two meals daily. Once they reach 6 to 8 months old, they should be fed 3 times a day. Their portions should be divided into smaller servings for easier digestion.
Adult Turkish Kangals should be fed 7 to 8 cups of dog food per day. Split their meals into two smaller portions to prevent them from gorging on food.
How long do Turkish Kangals live?
Large dog breeds often have a shorter lifespan than their smaller counterparts. The Turkish Kangal has a lifespan of 12 to 15 years, which is slightly longer than the life expectancy of large breeds. Extend his life by consistently providing a happy and relaxing home, well-balanced meals, proper exercise, and regular trips to the vet.
What health issues to Turkish Kangals have?
The careful breeding of Turkish Kangals made him one of the healthiest dog breeds. However, he is prone to developing a few health issues. Listed below are diseases prevalent in Turkish Kangal dogs:
The best way to prevent your dog from developing this disease is by making sure he undergoes health checks specifically for the breed. Regular check-ups will help in the early detection of health issues. Early diagnosis of a disease can help inform future care and treatment plans for your dog.
How much exercise does a Turkish Kangal need?
The Turkish Kangal has high energy levels that can be satisfied through 45 minutes to an hour of exercise. If he is kept constantly indoors, he will become bored and resort to finding entertainment for himself. This may lead to the development of unwanted behaviour such as destroying furniture and excessive barking.
Regular walks and runs help in tiring him out. If you have a fenced backyard, allow him to blow off steam there. However, be sure to check if the fences are safe and secure ahead of time. You don't want him escaping and roaming around the neighbourhood.
It is also important to keep your Turkish Kangal mentally stimulated. Entice him to play dog puzzles, teach him new tricks, let him learn the names of his toys, or provide him with an obstacle course.
If you are interested in buying a Turkish Kangal, be ready to go on a waiting list as this breed in rare in the UK. The price for a well-bred Kennel Club registered pedigree puppy is anything from £500 upwards. Other than the initial purchase, you also need to factor in pet insurance if you want to offset some expenses on health emergencies and accidents. Insuring a Turkish Kangal will set you back a monthly premium of £57 for a basic cover and £121 for a lifetime cover. These prices depend on your dog’s age, health, where you are in the UK, and whether it has pre-existing conditions.
Good nutrition is important in maintaining your dog’s health and minimising visits to the vet. Feeding your dog high quality dog food can set you back another £40-£50 a month. Routine checks with preventive care including vaccinations, boosters, neutering or spaying, can cost £1500 annually. This does not include major treatments and confinement in case of health emergencies.
You also need to factor in the basic accessories and equipment that can cost up to £200 initially. These include food bowls, collars and leads, bed, grooming kit, and toys. On average, caring and raising a Turkish Kangal will cost £100 to £170 a month.
Planning to have a Turkish Kangal as the newest addition to your family? Find the perfect family pet for you here.
Are you sure the Turkish Kangal is the best breed for you? Take the Pet Breed Selector Quiz to find your perfect breed match.Dog Breed Selector Quiz