Kangal Shepherd Dog: Your Complete Guide

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Originating from the town of Kangal in central Turkey, the Kangal shepherd dog is also known as the Anatolian shepherd. This large breed is loyal, calm, and protective, and they are especially well-suited to life outdoors or working on a farm. Kangal shepherd dogs are best suited to experienced owners, as they are independent and have their own opinions about how things should be done.

If you are considering adding a Kangal shepherd dog to your home, it’s important to know how to care for this breed properly. Our complete guide gives you an overview of what this dog will look like, their temperament, and their care needs so that you can make an informed decision about adopting this unique guardian dog breed.]

Quick Look at the Kangal Shepherd Dog

Below is a quick glance at this special breed in terms of its physical characteristics, lifespan, temperament, and grooming needs.

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Weight/Height 28 to 32 inches, 90 to 145 pounds
Coat Type Short to medium length, straight, dense
Grooming Needs
Temperament Alert, calm, protective, loyal
Good With Kids
Good With Other Animals
Easy to Train
Energy Level
Barking Habits
Lifespan 10 to 15 years

What Is the History of Kangal Shepherd Dogs?

The Kangal shepherd dog hails from the Kangal district of central Turkey. Traditionally, this breed is used as a guardian dog, and they have historically defended flocks of sheep from wolves or other predators. In more recent history, the Kangal shepherd dog has been exported to certain African countries where they work to protect livestock from cheetahs, something that helps conserve these endangered animals.

The Kangal shepherd dog is often also called the Anatolian shepherd dog, and while these breeds are very closely related in size and appearance, they are considered slight breeds. However, these breeds have the same origins and are only recognized as totally different breeds by a handful of kennel clubs around the world.

Today, the Kangal shepherd dog isn’t commonly seen outside of Turkey, and when they are found in the United States they are generally found working on farms or in other outdoor areas. These dogs are alert, protective, and dedicated, and they are popular among individuals who need working dogs due to their diligence.

What Do Kangal Shepherd Dogs Look Like?

Kangal shepherd dogs are large, and they appear strong and well-muscled. These dogs typically have a brown to fawn-colored coat with a black mask on their muzzle and around their eyes. They might also have a black tip to their tail. Sometimes, you may see this dog with a greyish coat, but that isn’t as common as the fawn color of this breed.

Kangal shepherd dogs are tall and intimidating. They have larger heads, drop ears, and an observant expression. These dogs may be somewhat gentle and relaxed around their family, but they are always on guard and dedicated when working.

What Size Is a Kangal Shepherd Dog?

The Kangal shepherd dog is a large dog. They will stand between 28 and 32 inches at the shoulder and weigh between 90 and 145 pounds. Males of this breed will be larger and weigh more than females.

What Is a Kangal Shepherd Dog’s Coat Type and Length?

The Kangal shepherd dog has a straight, dense coat that is short to medium in length. This coat can be quite thick, though it doesn’t shed too prolifically. Regular brushing is needed to keep this dog’s coat in shape.

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What Is a Kangal Shepherd Dog’s Temperament?

The Kangal shepherd dog has a unique mix of traits that make them generally gentle with children and the humans that they bond with, yet fierce and protective when it comes to guarding their home and any livestock they are taught to watch over. These dogs are loyal, protective, and alert, and they take on the job of overseeing their property easily.

Kangal shepherd dogs are generally independent, and they might be strong-willed or stubborn from time to time. It takes an experienced owner to train this dog and ensure they don’t wander off alone in an attempt to pace their property or to chase people and animals that they believe pose a threat to their home and owners.

The Kangal shepherd dog generally needs work and tasks to stay happy, and this dog breed may grow bored or destructive when they aren’t given enough mental and physical stimulation. They are strong, well-muscled, and intimidating, though exceptionally warm to their owners and any other humans they live with.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Good With Kids?

The Kangal shepherd dog can be good with kids, as long as the children they are interacting with know how to play with this large dog properly. Rough play should be avoided due to the risk of accidental injuries on both sides, and Kangal shepherd dogs should always be supervised when interacting with children. However, the Kangal shepherd dog does form very strong bonds with their families, and they are likely to look out for any children in their home, gently protecting them.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Good With Other Animals?

In general, the Kangal shepherd dog shouldn’t be in homes with other animals. These dogs have a higher prey drive due to chasing away predators and other threats to their flocks, and small animals aren’t likely to be a match against this strong dog. Other dogs may be able to work alongside the Kangal shepherd dog, but it will take lots of supervision, training, and patience to warm your Kangal shepherd dog up to other animals in the home.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Aggressive?

While the Kangal shepherd dog isn’t likely to be aggressive to its owners or family,ity can be intimidating and perceived as ferocious when it detects a threat. These dogs are brave and dedicated to protecting their families and property, so they might bark, growl, snap, or even attack things that they deem as threats.

It takes an experienced dog owner and lots of training to ensure your Kangal shepherd dog is under control and that they understand the limitations of their guarding activities.

Do Kangal Shepherd Dogs Bark?

The Kangal shepherd dog is not particularly vocal, meaning that they won’t bark at things without reason. However, this dog does have a strong bark, and they aren’t afraid to use it if they determine a threat is near their property, or if they are trying to alert their owner to something. You can train your Kangal shepherd dog to bark only when absolutely necessary, and this is generally something they take to easily.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Affectionate?

Your Kangal shepherd dog is not likely to be a lap dog or a dog you can turn to for cuddles throughout the day. That being said, they are affectionate, and they will enjoy spending time around their owners. These dogs are dedicated and loyal, and they will show their affection by guarding the room you are in, keeping an eye on the property, and working alongside their owners to complete tasks.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Intelligent?

The Kangal shepherd dog is considered to have a high intelligence, and these dogs easily pick up on tasks related to guarding and protecting thanks to their history as a flock guardian. You can train your Kangal shepherd dog, but keep in mind their stubborn streak can get in the way, and it will take consistency and plenty of mental stimulation to keep this dog happy and focused.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Energetic?

The Kangal shepherd dog is a large dog, and they do have a high energy output. These dogs need ample outside time, and they do best in homes with large fenced-in yards where they can roam and patrol their property. It’s important to have a fence or boundaries for this dog, or they may wander off out of curiosity or as part of their self-given duties to protect your property.

You will need to keep your Kangal shepherd dog active by having them work alongside you outdoors or by giving them two to three long walks a day, plus time spent running around open areas. If you aren’t planning on having this dog work, you will need to maintain a very active lifestyle with them to ensure they are happy and healthy.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Easy to Train?

While the Kangal shepherd dog is intelligent, they aren’t the easiest dog to train due to their strong-willed nature and the stubborn streak that many members of this breed have. They easily grow bored by repetitive training, and if they feel like they aren’t being challenged they might lose focus of training. Additionally, if the Kangal shepherd dog simply doesn’t feel like learning one day, it might take a lot of patience and effort to coax their attention back to you.

Experienced owners who can be consistent with training and understand their Kangal shepherd dog’s needs are the best fit for training this breed.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Good Watchdogs?

Kangal shepherd dogs are excellent watchdogs, as this is what this breed has been used for historically. The Kangal shepherd dog is protective and brave, and they are always alert and watching out for threats to their home or the livestock they have been designated to protect. This breed is exceptionally loyal, and they have no problem intimidating a potential threat or barking at something they deem amiss until their owner has been summoned or a threat has thought better of trying to approach the dog.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs Good Service Dogs?

Even though the Kangal shepherd dog has the right size and strength for acting as a service dog, they aren’t the best choice for this role. Kangal shepherd dogs need lots of exercise, and they can be very stubborn and strong-willed at times. This temperament isn’t conducive to being a service dog that needs to be in tune with their owner’s needs and eager to please them or simply work alongside their owner every day. Kangal shepherd dogs are also distrustful of strangers and new places, and they might not easily adapt to being brought in public with their owner on a daily basis like many service dogs are.

Kangal shepherd dogs are also unlikely to be the right choice for acting as an emotional support dog or a therapy dog due to their more independent nature. They are warm to their owners, but they aren’t particularly cuddly or overly affectionate.

How to Care for a Kangal Shepherd Dog?

The most important aspect of caring for a Kangal shepherd dog is ensuring that their exercise and mental stimulation needs are met each day. These dogs require ample exercise, and they grow bored if they aren’t challenged regularly and taught new things or allowed to work outdoors alongside their owners. Proper training and an active lifestyle are essential if you plan on keeping the Kangal shepherd dog as a family pet.

Experienced owners are recommended for the Kangal shepherd dog due to their size, strength, and tendency to be stubborn or overtly independent. This dog needs to be shown the hierarchy of the family they are in and kept in control to stop their large size and protective nature from becoming a problem.

Your Kangal shepherd dog will be most at home, where they have ample space indoors and outside to stretch their legs. These dogs typically require a fenced-in yard to stop them from wandering off, and they should receive lots of exercise throughout the day.

Feed your Kangal shepherd dog a high-quality diet of wet or dry food and brush them once or twice a week. Make sure your Kangal shepherd dog receives regular veterinary care so they stay in the best health possible.

Do You Need to Groom a Kangal Shepherd Dog?

Kangal shepherd dogs don’t have particularly high grooming needs, but they do need to be brushed regularly to keep their coat in good condition. They have thicker, straight, and short to medium-length fur, so being brushed once or twice a week will help to loosen up any shed fur and prevent their coat from being dirty or itchy. Bathe your Kangal shepherd dog as needed and keep their nails trimmed.

Your Kangal shepherd dog may need professional grooming from time to time, but this is generally not a regular requirement with this breed.

Do Kangal Shepherd Dogs Shed?

Kangal shepherd dogs shed about an average amount. They will lose fur throughout the year, and they tend to have one or two major shedding seasons each year. Regular brushing and baths as needed will help to stop this dog from shedding fur throughout your home constantly.  The Kangal shepherd dog is not considered to have a hypoallergenic coat.

What Health Problems Do Kangal Shepherd Dogs Have?

Kangal shepherd dogs are prone to certain health issues due to genetic reasons, much like other dog breeds. Common health problems that you should be looking out for with this breed include eye problems, tumors, and hip dysplasia. Overall, the Kangal shepherd dog is a relatively healthy breed, but you should still ensure they have regular veterinary visits to catch any potential health problems before they become more serious.

How Long Do Kangal Shepherd Dogs Live?

The Kangal shepherd dog will live between 10 to 15 years. You can ensure that your Kangal shepherd dog lives a long, happy life with proper veterinary care, a healthy diet, and ample exercise to keep them thriving.

What Should a Kangal Shepherd Dog Eat?

The Kangal shepherd dog is a large breed, and they will generally need between 2 and 4 cups of food per day to stay healthy. However, exactly how much you feed your Kangal shepherd dog depends on their exact size, the caloric content of the food, and how much exercise they are getting. You can feed your Kangal shepherd dog either wet food, dry food, or a combination of both, and you may want to speak to your veterinarian if you have any concerns about feeding your dog.

Is a Kangal Shepherd Dog the Right Dog for Me?

The Kangal shepherd dog is a unique guardian dog breed that is known for their loyalty, protective nature, and independent spirit. These large dogs appear stocky and strong, and they are brave when it comes to defending their property and their owners.

The Kangal shepherd dog is the right dog for you if you are an experienced dog owner and you know how to train dogs that might have a streak of stubbornness or independence. You should have ample space for this dog to roam or live an active lifestyle if you want to adopt a Kangal shepherd dog, and this breed typically fits best into homes where they are the only animals. If you need a working dog for a farm or other outdoor area, or you are interested in a guardian and watchdog, the Kangal shepherd dog is the right dog for you.