Have you ever heard of a Kangal Dog before? Chances are, you probably haven’t.
This famous Turkish guardian dog has long been used throughout Europe for Livestock guardianship and flock protection.
However, over the past 20 years, more and more Americans have been importing this magnificent animal into the states as a family pet.
In the last few years a Kangal Dog Club of America has been established thanks to their growing presence.
The Kangal dog can make a loving, caring and intelligent family pet as well as serve in active roles such as poultry and livestock guardianship.
In this article I will share with you the history, temperament, appearance and purpose behind the incredible Kangal Dog and why you should consider one as a family pet.
History of the Kangal
Before I share with you information on a Kangal Dog as a family pet, I want to start by sharing their origins as this provides very helpful information when discussing their beautiful temperament as a family dog.
The Kangal dog was bred by Turkish famers and dates as far back as the 12th century. That makes this dog breed over 900 years old.
The dog was initially bred by Turkish farmers to protect their large herds of sheep from predators in the countryside; some examples of which are foxes, wolves and bears.
Two or three Kangal dogs are more than competent at being able to protect a herd of over 150 sheep.
Once proven in guardianship the dogs would then be companions to the Turkish shepherds’ families living in local village. They have many years of experience of being both a guardian to livestock and a gentle family pet playing with children.This (makes them) a very unique dog with a very unique skill and temperament, well suited as a modern family pet.
A Kangal Dog has a very strong and predictable temperament of guardianship and loyalty.
These dogs are loyal, fierce and have strong guardianship skills, such as protecting livestock, poultry and even cheetahs from predators.
Aggression towards family members or livestock was not tolerated by Turkish famers so this has been selectively removed from the breed over many centuries of breeding.
Therefore, Kangals are very predictable, unlike smaller designer dog breeds and cross breeds, as they come from a small, but stable bloodline which hasn’t been mixed due to the remoteness of the Turkish mountains.
Despite their large size, which can be over 140 pounds for a male, they are very gentle with children and often project their guardianship behaviors with livestock onto children too.
Some families have reported their Kangal guarding their children and even other family pets.
Kangal Dogs typically (are) intelligent and easily trained by their owner. This is because they are used to serving their leader and haven’t forgotten their guardian roots with Turkish shepherds.
A typical male Kangal will stand as tall as 32 inches, with females slightly smaller at 30 inches. More commonly Kangals are 30 inches tall with females around 28 inches to their shoulders.
This large height is coupled with a big frame as fully-grown males can be 150 pounds and the females slightly smaller at 120 pounds.
You can’t miss a Kangal.
Their large size is very distinct thanks to their short tan double coat; the only dog in the world with such a coat.
Turkish shepherds only bred Kangals with this coat as it made them blend in with their livestock, whilst being easy to see at night, and made them easy to differentiate from predators at night time.
Purpose of a Kangal Dog
Like any versatile animal, the Kangal’s purpose has changed over many years to serve their leader and stay purposeful.
The Kangal dog started off in active livestock guardianship roles in the Turkish mountains (as discussed above in the history section).
In the 1990s Kangals were first imported into the united states as farmers looked to use the Kangal to protect their livestock from coyotes and raccoons. The Kangal proved very disciplined and effective in this new role.
More recently, Kangal dogs have been growing in purpose as an all-round family pet, being taken from their active roles and farms into a more domesticated life.
As a family pet the Kangal is easily adaptable, but requires regular exercise and training to replace their lack of exercise and mental stimulation they would gain from having an active role in a farm.
This ancient dog is steeped in history and heritage as a working dog. From livestock guardianship in Turkish mountains to family pets in the states, this dog has proven adaptable and loyal.
As many more Americans add Kangals to their family, this dog continues to gain popularity.