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A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament, and appearance of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function with soundness essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be mindful of features which could be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

NZKC - Breed Standard - Kangal Dog - Utility

Kangal Dog


Group: Utility
Size: Large
Lifespan: 10-12 years
Exercise: medium
Grooming: low
Trainability: medium
Watchdog ability: very high
Protection ability: very high
Area of Origin: Turkey
Date of Origin: 1600's
Other Names: none
Original Function: flock guardian
The Kangal Dog is an ancient flock-guarding breed, thought to be related to the early mastiff-type dogs depicted in Assyrian art. The breed is named for the Kangal District of Sivas Province in Central Turkey where it probably originated. Although the breed has long been associated with the family of the Aga of Kangal, large landholders and chieftains, the majority are bred by villagers who take great pride in the dogs' ability to guard their flocks of sheep and goats from such traditional predators as the wolf, bear, and jackal. The relative isolation of the Sivas-Kangal region has kept the Kangal Dog free of cross-breeding and has resulted in a natural breed of remarkable uniformity in appearance, disposition, and behaviour. Despite its regional origin, many Turks consider the Kangal Dog as their national dog. Turkish government and academic institutions operate breeding kennels where Kangal Dogs are bred and pedigrees are carefully maintained. The Kangal Dog has even appeared on a Turkish postage stamp.
The typical Kangal Dog is first and foremost a stock guardian dog and possesses a temperament typical of such dogs; alert, territorial, and defensive of the domestic animals or the human family to which it has bonded. The Kangal Dog has the strength, speed, and courage to intercept and confront threats to the flocks of sheep and goats that it guards both in Turkey and the New World. Kangal Dogs prefer to intimidate predators but will take a physical stand and even attack if necessary. Kangal Dogs have an instinctive wariness of strange dogs but are not typically belligerent toward people. They are somewhat reserved with strangers but loyal and affectionate with family.
The Kangal Dog needs a chance to exercise every day, either with a long walk or brisk run. It can live outside in temperate to cool climates. Coat care is minimal, consisting only of a weekly brushing to remove dead hair.

Official Breed Standard

The Kangal Dog or "Kangal", is one of the famous Turkish sheepdog breeds, or coban Kopekleri. Typical examples come from the Sivas Kangal Region of central Turkey and their breeding is traditionally associated with the Kangal family of the Kangal District. They were probably bred by the sultans of Turkey since at least the seventeenth century and were also known as "samsun dogs".

It is renowned for its size, courage and mastiff-like appearance. It invariably has a black mask on a massive head (karabash) and short, dense hair ranging in colour from dun to steel grey.

An active working breed used to guard sheep and livestock. Steady and bold without undue aggression, independent, hardy, very trainable.

The Kangal Dog possesses the classic livestock guardian dog temperament; a temperament characterised by a calm, alert and independent demeanour. Possessing a natural protective instinct, he is loyal, bold and courageous without showing undue aggression. Moreover the Kangal Dog is sensitive and his responses to individual situations clearly demonstrate his intelligence and sensitivity.

Head and Skull:
Large and broad between the ears with moderate stop. Foreface slightly more than 1/3 of total head length. Slightly pendulous black lips. Square profile. Nose black.

Rather small in proportion to the skull, set well apart and deep, somewhat round in shape, showing no haw. Colour from golden to brown. Eye rims black.

Medium sized, triangular in shape, rounded at the tip, flat to the skull and carried pendant.

Lips black. Level or scissor bite.

Slightly arched, powerful and muscular, moderate in length and rather thick. Some dewlap.

Forelegs set well apart, straight and well-boned, of good length with strong pasterns. Elbows close to sides. Shoulders well-muscled.

Chest deep to point of elbow, ribs well-sprung. Body powerful and well-muscled, never fat. Back rather short in proportion to leg length, slight arch over the loins with moderate tuck-up.

Powerful, not as heavy as forequarters. Rear pasterns moderately straight.

Good strong feet with well-arched toes. Nails blunt, grey or black depending on coat colour.

Long bone reaching at least to hock joint. Set on rather high. When relaxed, carried low with slight curl; when alert, carried high with end curled over back.

Relaxed even gait. Noticeable straight line of body, head and neck; alert when walking. Pacing acceptable.

Short and dense with thick undercoat. Slightly longer at neck and shoulders.

The head invariably has a black mask. Body colour ranges from dun to steel grey. A white chest blaze may be present. The Kangal Dog is never white or spotted.

Males: Weight 50-63 kg (110 - 140lbs)
Height 76 - 81.5 cm (30 - 32 ins)
Bitches: Weight 41 - 59 kg (90 - 130 lbs)
Weight: 41 - 59 kg (90 - 130 lbs)
Height: 71 -78.5 cm (28 - 31 ins)

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree.

Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles full descended into the scrotum.

Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog.

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