Kangal - Origin, Characteristics and Behavior

Kangal: find out what this animal is like, its physical characteristics, character, behavior, etc. The Kangal is the national dog of Turkey. Its name comes from the district of...

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The Kangal is the national dog of Turkey. Its name comes from the district of Kangal in the province of Sivas, where the breed originated. This dog is not a herding dog, but is actually a sheep protector. His size, his courage and his determination make him launch out to defend his herd against any predator or thief.

For the International Cynological Federation and for the American Kennel Club, there is no breed called Kangal. This name is considered only a colloquial term for the Anatolian Shepherd.However, the Kangal is recognized as a different breed by other lower weight kennel companies such as the United Kennel Club. Since 2013, he has also been recognized by the British Kennel Club, a very important organization worldwide. In Turkey things are different and most cynologists in this country do not accept the Anatolian Shepherd, which they consider a group of mixed breeds and dogs, but they consider the Kangal to be a pure breed.


  • Europe
  • Türkiye

Physical Characteristics

  • Rustic
  • Muscular


  • Giant


  • Over 80cm

Adult Weight

  • 45-100

Life expectancy

  • 12-14

Recommended physical activity

  • High


  • Very loyal
  • Smart
  • Quiet

Ideal for

  • Walking
  • Shepherd
  • The guard


  • Harness

Recommended climate

  • Temperate

Hair type

  • Short
  • Big

Origin of Kangal

The Kangal dog is part of a group of breeds of shepherd dogs or livestock guardian dogs called Çoban Köpegi.The only thing that is known for sure about this breed is that it is very old and originated from the Kangal district in Sivas, Turkey. There are other theories about its origins, but the most accepted is that this breed already existed during the time of the Roman Empire, and soldiers used these dogs to accompany the army on their marches.

" It is also believed to have originated from 3 dog crossbreeds: Assyrian Empire Dogs, which were mastiff type (called Assyrian Molossers), Roman Molossers from Greece and English Mastiffs. It is believed that the Romans created this powerful hybrid to use as a protector and guardian of their flocks during times of conquest."

Subsequently, this breed was exported to other southern European countries, such as Turkey, where it was developed and trained.

Physical characteristics of the Kangal

The Kangal is a massive, muscular dog with a strong bone structure.He is slightly longer than tall and has a Mastiff appearance. Its head is long and broad, with powerful jaws. Its eyes are small, set wide apart and golden to dark brown in color. Its ears hang down from the sides of its head, are triangular, medium in size and rounded at their tip.

The Kangal's tail is long and the dog usually carries it curled over its back when active.

The coat is one of the main differences mentioned between this breed and the Anatolian Shepherd. In the Kangal, it should be short and dense, with a very dense undercoat. Color is another obvious difference. In the case of the Kangal, only solid colored dogs ranging from brown to steel gray are accepted. Also, the dog must have a black mask. A small white mark on the chest is allowed.

Character of the Kangal

The Kangal's temperament is serious and reserved. He is a typical guard dog. He can be aggressive towards strangers and is generally aggressive towards other dogs, especially those of the same sex. Its socialization from an early age is therefore very important.

However, this dog tends to be very friendly, tolerant and protective of its own. He is very tolerant of the mischief of the children in his family (but you must always be careful of interactions between dogs and children) and gets along wonderfully with animals of other species, as long as he has grown up with them.

The Kangal's suspicious, aggressive and protective temperament can be a disadvantage for a companion dog, but it is a definite advantage when a guard dog and herd protector is needed. This has allowed organizations such as the Cheetah Conservation Fund to use Anatolian Shepherds and Kangals in their wildlife conservation efforts. By integrating these dogs into the Namibian sheep herds, farmers stopped killing cheetahs, as the dogs were responsible for hunting them, thus protecting the sheep and big cats.

The most common behavior problems in this breed are excessive barking and destroying objects.

Caring for a Kangal

Caring for the Kangal's coat doesn't require much effort. Two brushings per week are more than enough in normal times. During the shedding period, it may be necessary to brush the dog daily, but this is more about the cleanliness of your home than the quality of the coat.

These dogs are naturally not suited to living in small apartments or houses. They need a large garden so they can walk and run whenever they want. Even better if it is in a rural area. The fence should be high enough and well constructed, as Kangals can overcome many obstacles with ease.

Education and training of the Kangal

As with all dogs, we must socialize the Kangal from an early age so that he respects, knows and begins his education as a member of our family.If treated in a friendly, affectionate manner and based on positive reinforcement, these dogs will get along very well with their family members.

The Kangal is easy to train when using reward and play-based dog training techniques. When traditional training techniques are used, he can be somewhat stubborn, as he is a cooperative but not submissive dog.

Kangal He alth

The breed is very hardy and there are no known diseases in the breed. However, due to its large size, activities that may promote hip dysplasia and overweight should be avoided.

Kangal pictures

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