The below excerpt from the book, "Guardian of Anatolia:  The Kangal Dog of Turkey" by Marion James.   The interesting quote shows how the Kangal has to be so different than most Livestock guardian dogs due to the climate, the nature of predators to protect against and the harsh environment this breed operates in.

 


Kangal & Shepherd Boy With Sheep Flock
 

     "When I hear the phrase shepherd dog, I often think of a charming program that was shown in Britain on a Sunday afternoon, just when people were settling down for a snooze in front of the television. “One Man and His Dog” showed sheepdog trials. In beautiful British countryside -- often Wales or the Lake District -- a shepherd would wait at the foot of a hillside and by using a series of whistled commands, cause his smart dog to round up the sheep, drive them past a number of obstacles and into a pen. The pair who picked up the least faults would win.

I would enjoy the idyllic scenery and be amazed at the intelligence and obedience of the dogs. Chosen for their suitability for the task in the English countryside, these would often be border collies or springer spaniels.

Transferring the scene to Turkey, you can keep the images of an intelligent and obedient dog, but need to change the image of the scenery. This is no idyllic “One Man and His Dog” beautiful rolling hills, where the only difficulties are those created by the people who put the markers out on the trial course.

The rolling Anatolian plain is a vast steppe, with mountains and boulders. It is not well-populated, and settlements can be far away from each other. Instead of lush grass growing in England’s gentle rains, the Anatolian plain has sparse scrub, so flocks often have to travel miles to find sufficient grazing for the sheep. In Anatolia the flocks can be out in all types of weather conditions: from sub-zero temperatures in the winter to the blazing heat of the summer sun.

Of course the biggest difference that makes this no picnic is the range of formidable enemies and dangers that face the Anatolian shepherd and his sheep. Finding water can involve a long trek, and perhaps traveling down a very steep slope. Predatory wolves, jackals and eagles are common. Bears and wildcats are less so, but still a possible danger, particularly as many nights the flock sleeps out on the mountains, their quest for pasture and water having led them many miles away from the nearest village.

While the British sheepdog breeds would themselves quite likely fall victims to these predators, the mighty Kangal is ideally suited by its size and temperament to guarding the flock, and the shepherd. They do not work alone -- a Turkish version of the program would have to be titled One Man and His Dogs -- but in pairs work with other pairs to patrol the area around the flock, barking to signal any danger."



"New Dawn" With Her Kangal Puppies - 4 males and 4 females


     Anytime one is looking at dogs of a thousand, or several thousands years, of existence there will always be controversy over whether any claimed breed is genetically distinct.   This is especially true when a dog type has been used for specific qualities such as herding, herd protection or even personal protection.   The gene pool is constantly being altered as shepherds, breeders find some dog that has very desirable traits and then attempts to duplicate those traits in most of the offspring.   Selective breeding of dogs that have shown their worth for a particular purpose alters the genetic makeup of certain alleged breeds.

     Kangals are often compared to Akbash or Anatolian shepherds.   One group claims they are the same while another claims they are not.   A method used to differentiate dog breeds is to look at the genetic makeup for markers of one dog that is consistent to that breed but distincitively different from what another claims is the same dog breed.    In Turkey, France and the United States this was done on Kangals in a study published in 2005 which provided the evidence of a genetic difference between the breeds.   The study was done to help establish the Kangal as a separate and distinct breed for conservation purposes.  

   The study can be found here:  "Genetic Evidence For The Distinctness Of The Kangal Dog".



Canan - Mother of Zeke


    This is an interesting video from the David Letterman show when a Kangal was brought onto the show with an African Cheetah to keep the cheetah under control.    Kangals are world renown for their abilities to instinctively guard and be protective of their herds and or family who owns them. In this particular the Kangal provided security for the cheetah!!

   The Kangal is not an aggressive dog unless there is some perceived threat to his herd.  The distinguishing factor of the Kangal breed over other dog breeds is the power of the Kangal's bite force, which the Kangal does not want to use and barks, growls to ward off the predator first.   At 700 pounds per square inch the bite is stronger than all dogs and most predatory animals, including wolves.   There is confusion on whether to call Kangals as they are or Anatoyla shepherds as some call them.



One Kangal puppy at 9 weeks finds his favorite toy on  a 7 month old Great Pyrenees puppy.

 

Kangal Puppy, Zeke - Possibly the oldest breed of livestock protection dogs in world


 

    The Kangal breed is the official dog of Turkey.   The breed is known for it's fierce loyalty to it's job of protecting livestock such as goats and sheep, traditional herding animals.   The actual breed is very gentle to humans and also very protective of babies and the elderly.   The Kangal avoids any type of fighting and moves between the herd it guards and any potential predators.   Lying in the midst of the herd the Kangal will move out of the herd and assume an offensive position between the predator and the herd.   Barks, growls, scruff hair raised are all warning signs to leave the area however if that fails the Kangal will attack.   The Kangal is known as the strongest dog in the world with a bite strength much greater than that of a wolf.    Due to it's enormous bite strength the Kangal has been known to protect against tigers and bears in the wild. 

   Zeke, the above puppy,  is on his way home to N.C. from Georgia after being purchased from Shadow Wings Farm.  His new home will be protecting birds from predators such as coyotes, raccoons, foxes.  The purchase of a Kangal was due to the owner's swans, only at home for 4 weeks, being killed by a coyote.

First Day Home For Bubba at 8 weeks

And from this moment on the Great Pyrenees puppy, Bubba, just grows on you!!


Bubba, Great Pyrenees puppy at 8 months, assaults the favorite pillow and wins!!


      It is instinctive for Livestock protection dogs, such as Bubba the Great Pyrenees to protect their family.   Bubba was raised with small ducks walking on him as a smaller puppy so he would identify the birds are part of his family.   Today he is very active at night warding off coyotes, foxes, raccoons, opposums and weasels in his efforts to protect our birds who are allowed to free range.