(c) Kangal Puppy Koray Gokhan
Origin of the Kangal Dog
In researching an ideal guardian for my farm, I discovered the magnificent Kangal Dog. The Kangal Dog has routes back to the 12th century where shepherds in Turkey bred the giant dog to protect their huge herds of Sheep.
When I say giant, I mean giant! Some can grow to over 145lbs (65KGs). It is said that two Kangal dogs are able to protect herds of over 200 sheep; pretty impressive! Turkish Shepherds bred the dog for over 800 years harnessing their natural size and breeding a strong temperament. They will show huge loyalty and guardianship over their master, family and flock and major hostility towards all potential predators.
They are best known for protecting sheep from predators such as wolves and bears in rural regions of Turkey. However, in recent years, in Europe and the US Kangal owners have trained the Kangal for highly effective cattle guardianship.
Kangal Dog Profile and Breed Standard
A typical shepherd dog should measure between 30 to 32 inches to their shoulders and will be around 36 inches in length. Packed with over 140 lbs of muscle and over a 46-inch chest; the Kangal is easy to identify by silhouette alone.
They should always have a solid coloration on their coat which is typically tan for their overcoat and grey for their undercoat; he has a double coat. The most prominent color should be tan; the overcoat. The length of their coat sometimes changes during season. This can range from between 2 to 4 inches in length. The only color you should expect to see, other than tan, is white on their paws (sometimes) and a full black face mask with black ears (always).
As they were bred in isolation within the remote Sivas region in Turkey, cross breeding was very rare. It is very easy to spot a cross-bred as the breed standards for this purebred dog is very strict and easily controlled by American and Turkish Kangal Dog associations.
In addition to the giant appearance, Kangals are a very intelligent dog. A Kangal is best suited to an active role and living outside. The temperament of Kangals, combined with their high levels of intelligence, require them to undertake an active role rather than a family dog. An active role gives a Kangal mental stimulation and a sense of accomplishment.
Typically, Kangals are ready to learn flock guardianship or active security once they reach two years old; at this point they will be fully matured.
Why I Chose a Kangal Breed for Flock Guardianship
Kangals have provided loyal guardianship for over 800 years. If that doesn't convince you - nothing will! Dating back to the 12th century guarding flocks of sheep in remote Turkish peninsulas to the 21st century guarding cattle in rural America. This dog has guardianship and protection in their blood.
They work best in pairs or teams up to four to protect their flock. This allows two to undertake active patrolling whilst two stay close to the flock. They will typically guard their flock through keeping watch over high ground.
Kangals are at their most alert during evenings as this was when their ancient flocks were most susceptible to attack from predators. When a predator is discovered Kangals will initially bark. If a loud bark isn’t sufficient to deter a predator they will roar with a large ferocity. As a last resort, he will attack, always keeping themselves between their flock and predator.
Four Interesting Facts about Kangal Breed Dogs
1. A Kangal can live up-to 15 years old, despite their giant size.
2. Kangals were used in Africa as part of a Cheetah conservation effort.
3. The Kangal breed came over to Turkey from Asia.
4. They learn cattle guardianship from their parents from two years old.
Kangals can provide your farm with superb guardians who are willing to die for their flock. They can protect your flock from land and air predators including wolves, bears, foxes, rodents and even eagles. They are a very loyal dog with high intelligence levels and activity levels making them best suited to active security role.
David Woods is a carpenter, outdoorsman, and author with more than 30 years of professional woodworking experience. He is the author of best-seller How to Build a Log Home and has educated more than half a million people on how to build a log cabin via his blog, Log Cabin Hub. Connect with him on Facebook. Read all of David’s MOTHER EARTH NEWS posts here.
All MOTHER EARTH NEWS community bloggers have agreed to follow our Blogging Guidelines, and they are responsible for the accuracy of their posts. To learn more about the author of this post, click on their byline link at the top of the page.