The Kangal is a livestock guardian dog. They are bred to protect livestock such as sheep, goats and chickens from wolves, bears, jackals and other wild animals.
Their size, appearance and temperament has been selectively bred for hundreds of years. This has made them one of the very best dogs for guarding livestock. They are often likened to female lions both in looks and power.
Kangal dogs are not to be underestimated.
They have the strongest jaws of any dog breed. They also have giant, athletic bodies and independent, courageous personalities.
There is a lot more to this impressive livestock dog than first meets the eye! Keep on reading to find out about their appearance, temperament, history, bite force, and more.
|Breed Quick Facts|
|Color||Cream, fawn, or dun with a dark mask and ears|
|Temperament||Independent, intelligent and courageous|
|Barks||Yes when guarding or alerting to danger|
Table of Contents
Kangal Dog Breed
The Kangal is a livestock guardian dog that was originally bred in Turkey.
Their job is to protect animals like sheep and goats from wolves, bears and jackals. Their appearance and personality is founded on them being the perfect breed for guarding livestock.
These dogs have been protecting farmer’s livestock for over 1,000 years.
Kangal dogs are a very large breed, sometimes weighing more than 100 pounds when fully grown. This is more than 4x the average weight of a pet cocker spaniel!
They are also tall and will typically grow to 27-32 inches in height.
Most of their weight comes from their muscle mass. They are strong and athletic dogs who are capable of walking tens of miles everyday thanks to their incredible endurance.
They are more than happy being left to roam their land protecting their livestock.
In general these dogs are great at caring and thinking for themselves.
A Kangal is content working alone and in fact prefers to be by themselves. They have a strong independent streak and are happy pacing the border-line containing their livestock both day and night.
Kangals are the result of many years of selective breeding to produce a dog that can guard flocks of livestock.
These working dogs are certainly not suited as a family pet.
Kangal dogs have a frightening strength, giant size and courageous nature. They have extremely strong jaws and know their strength.
They take the role of protecting their livestock very seriously.
A Kangal will bravely take on predators like wolves or bears who may be double their size.
Kangals live a nomadic, outdoor lifestyle and are very resistant to all kinds of weather. Turkish summers reach upwards of 86ºF and sometimes drop to the low 30ºFs once the sun has gone down.
Their independence makes them very easy to care for, but also lends itself to an aloofness.
This breed is definitely not for you if you want a working dog that is also family-friendly and affectionate. If a family guard dog is something you are looking for, then consider the German Shepherd cross Labrador.
Kangals have been used by shepherds in their home country of Turkey for centuries.
However, DNA studies show that they actually have an ancestry in Central Asia, descending from populations of dogs that were bought to Turkey via Iran by ancient migrating populations.
Eventually these populations settled in the Anatolian region of Turkey.
The Anatolian region of Turkey is where the modern-day sivas Kangal was born.
They weren’t really seen outside of Turkey until 1965 when an English archaeologist working in Turkey decided to bring home three ‘sheep mutt’ puppies.
This archaeologist went on to register these puppies with the UK Kennel Club and chose to name them ‘Anatolian Karabash Dogs’.
Nowadays, Kangals are still used for the same purpose.
They are frequently used in the USA to guard livestock from native predators such as mountain lions, wolves, jackals, and coyotes.
In fact these dogs are so good at their jobs that they were chosen to be used for the Livestock Guarding Dog program run by the Cheetah Conservation Fund in 1994. Kangal puppies were given to Namibian farmers to be used to protect their livestock from wild cheetahs.
Namibian farmers reported a 80% reduction in livestock kills when using this magnificent breed.
How Much Is A Kangal?
The typical kangal price is between $1,000 and $1,500 for a puppy.
Kangal dog prices will vary depending on the breeder and how many puppies are available.
On average this breed has 8 puppies in a litter, but if this number is lower and lots of people are looking for one, you might pay closer to $1,500.
The most reliable way to find a Kangal puppy for sale is through the Kangal Dog Club of America.
Kangal dogs are not an American Kennel Club recognized breed.
This means they do not have an approved breeder list. However, the Kangal Dog Club of America recommends approved breeders in a similar fashion. They have a list of breeders who they consider to be ethical and reliable producers of healthy Kangal puppies.
Keep in mind, however, that there are less than 10 approved breeders in America.
Be prepared to travel to find a reputable breeder from the Kangal Dog Club of America list.
Trustworthy breeders will ensure their kangal puppies are only going to homes where they are intended to be used as a working dog. They will want to know their pups are doing the job they were designed to do (guarding livestock) and not being used as family pets.
What Is The Bite Force Of A Kangal?
Kangal dogs have the strongest bite of any dog breed.
Bite force is measured in pounds per square inch.
The bite force of a dog is estimated by looking at their jaw shape, skull size and body weight, amongst other factors.
The kangal bite force is 743 pounds per square inch.
To get an idea of just how powerful a kangal dog bite is, the bite force of a German Shepherd is 238 pounds per square inch. Remember that German Shepherds are regularly used in the police force for bite work thanks to their strength.
The turkish Kangal’s strong jaw is put to use when they are fighting wolves and cheetahs who try to attack the livestock they are guarding.
Kangals are giants of the dog world!
Typically the size of a full grown kangal is between 90 and 130 pounds.
As a well-muscled, stocky and strong dog much of this weight is muscle.
They will typically grow to 27-32 inches in height. This is about the same height as a German Shepherd, but they weigh up to twice as much.
Male Kangals will be bigger than females, both in height and weight. This difference in size between males and females will be obvious from as young as 3 months old. At this age a female will weigh around 35 pound and a male 45 pounds.
Both will be fully grown by 18 months of age.
When you think of a Kangal, you are probably imagining an enormous dog protecting a flock of sheep…
Kangal dogs are often compared to female lions because of their similar appearance.
They have intimidatingly large bodies that are designed to scare away predators from livestock. They are well-muscled and balanced, with a wide head and a tail that they hold high with pride.
Kangals have a dense, short coat which is waterproof. This coat makes them well-suited for just about any kind of weather.
Their coat should be either fawn, cream, or dun in color.
These are all colors of their natural Turkish terrain allowing them to blend in so that they don’t spook livestock.
You may see some Kangals with cropped ears.
Ear cropping is a common practice in Turkey, so imported dogs will have it done, but this is not commonly done in the USA.
Their natural ears are floppy, triangular and darker than their coat color.
Most adults have a darker mask across their eyes and the upper part of their face.
Kangal vs Anatolian Shepherd Differences
Kangal dogs and Anatolian Shepherd dogs are often confused with one another – and not without reason! Both dogs are very similar for one simple reason: they come from the same place.
Anatolian Shepherds come from the Central Anatolian region of Turkey.
Kangal shepherd dogs come from the town of Kangal within this region.
In fact, the two breeds are so similar that the Fédération Cynologique Internationale once determined that both dogs are the same.
The American Kennel Club recognizes Anatolian Shepherd dogs, but not Kangals. However, they do consider them to be the same breed and a Kangal can be registered as an Anatolian Shepherd.
However, there are some subtle differences between an anatolian shepherd vs kangal:
- Kangals are smaller and have a shorter coat
- The Anatolian Shepherd’s coat can be thicker and longer
- Kangal dogs can only be cream, fawn, or dun
- Anatolian dogs have more colors which include brindle, white and liver.
Kangals have been bred for centuries to guard and protect.
All purebred Kangal puppies are born with a natural instinct to do this.
The process of a puppy becoming the perfect intelligent, brave, and faithful livestock guardian will take a year or so, but they will naturally want to protect and guard livestock.
Their independent and aloof nature means they are not likely going to enjoy obedience training. You will not be teaching this breed tricks anytime soon and training them is not like normal dog training.
However, their size and power means that they will need to understand basic commands as they have the potential to do harm.
Most kangal dogs should be able to do commands such as come, sit, stay, and stop.
Kangals will need a strong bond with the person who is training them.
You might be tempted to get a professional dog trainer to assist you, but the Kangal is unlikely to listen to anyone other than the person who they are bonded to. They will need consistent and patient positive reinforcement training from a young age, with clear instructions so they know exactly what is expected of them.
An important part of a Kangal puppy’s training and socialization is getting them used to grooming.
They will need to be checked over once a week for ticks and fleas because of their outdoor lifestyle. They need to be trained to sit and tolerate this.
Kangals have a lifespan of 12 to 15 years.
Throughout their lives, they are generally healthy dogs and they are not at high risk of many health problems.
However, with a limited population in the USA, it is worth checking bloodlines for any potential inbreeding that may result in unhealthy puppies.
As a large breed there may be a chance of hip dysplasia. This is why the Kangal Dog Club of America has a breeder’s code of ethics which includes hip screening for all breeding Kangals.
They are also prone to both internal and external parasites, such as fleas, ticks and worms because of their nomadic lifestyle. They need to be regularly treated for these parasites.
Kangals are brave, faithful and intelligent dogs.
They are strongly territorial over their land and the livestock they are protecting.
These traits make them very wary of strangers and other animals. No matter the amount of training and socialization they have as a puppy, the Kangal will always be extremely protective.
Their temperament is perfect for guarding livestock, but not great as a household pet.
Kangal dogs lead nomadic lives with constant roaming day and night.
They will quickly become restless in a confined space, sometimes resorting to destruction to resolve the boredom. Ideally they should have many acres of land to roam of their own free will.
Aside from occasional, brief attention Kangals are typically independent and aloof.
They are happy to be left alone to do their job of protecting their livestock.
These dogs will quickly get fed up and walk away if overly groomed or pampered by a human.
They do enjoy human company, so long as this is on their own terms. Not only do Kangals become protective of their livestock, but also their owner (or more usually, the person who feeds them).
Kangal dogs are not typically aggressive, it is not in their temperament.
They are gentle and kind. These dogs need an unimposing manner in order to not scare the livestock they are guarding. They should only turn to aggressive ways when there are predators to scare off.
As well as being independent and brave, to do their job, Kangals have to be extremely intelligent.
They need to be able to distinguish between livestock and threats. They must also distinguish between what is a true threat and what might just be an animal passing by
Without a job to keep their mind occupied, Kangals will quickly become destructive.
After centuries of selective breeding, the turkish Kangal has become the perfect livestock dog.
They are not bred for shepherding or herding livestock, but instead roaming the borders of their land and scaring off or fighting any potential predators.
Although their job is not to herd livestock but rather guard them, Kangals will often gently push lost animals back to the flock or herd.
Kangals do not cope in family homes or being in confined spaces.
Their intelligence means they need to be working to keep them busy.
They live with their flock and need livestock to guard to be happy. Simply being used as a family guard dog might not suit them well.
Kangals also do not suit homes or farms with a constant stream of new visitors. They are aloof at best and have a natural wariness of strangers.
The best home for a Kangal is on a farm with plenty of land for them to roam, and a flock of sheep or herd of cattle for them to guard. Ideally, this farm has few outside visitors and is not home to a family who want a sheep dog to cuddle and stroke.
- Kangals were first bred in Turkey by shepherds who wanted to guard and protect their livestock. These dogs can guard their flock from predators like wolves, bears, jackals, cheetahs and other wild animals.
- They are still used today to protect livestock such as sheep and goats from attacks. In places such as Namibia farmers use them to protect their herds from wild Cheetah attacks.
- A puppy typically sells for between $1,000 and $1,500.
- Kangals have the strongest bite force of any domestic dog breed. A kangal bite force in psi is 743.
- They are often compared to female lions because of their appearance. They are well-muscled and stocky dogs who are bred to look as intimidating as possible.
- A full grown male can grow to as much as 130 pounds and 32 inches tall.
- They are cream, fawn, or dun in color with dark ears and mask across their eyes.
- Kangals are courageous, intelligent and independent. They are intensely protective of their flock and faithful to their singular owner.
- Their aloofness and guarding traits mean they don’t make good family pets. They should be used as a working livestock dog, rather than as a pet dog.
- They are naturally nomadic and can walk tens of miles a day.
Let us know what you think about these wonderful livestock guardian dogs below.