Kangal Shepherd Dogs

Kangal Shepherd Dogs

6 May 2023

Reviewed by Dr Jill McMaster BVM&S MBA MRCVS, Veterinary Surgeon and in-house expert at BorrowMyDoggy on 26 May 2023

Let’s talk about… Kangal Shepherd Dogs: what are they?

  • Kangal Shepherd Dogs, also known as Turkish Kangal Dogs, originate from Turkey, where they are used as livestock protection dogs, with some accounts saying that the dogs were originally bred to protect the villagers from bears and other predators.
  • It is only recently that the breed has been recognised by the Kennel Club in the UK. They were previously included in the same group as the Anatolian Shepherd dog, but there are some differences.
  • They are known to be exceptionally loyal to their family, but can be a little unsure of strangers or other animals they don’t know.
  • If socialised at a young age with children, they can enjoy their company.
  • They can be protective of their family if they feel they need to be.
  • Due to their big size they are best suited to homes with space for them, and a big, well-enclosed garden.
  • They are one of the largest breeds in the world, weighing between 40 and 68kg, and from 63 to 81cm in height.  Standing on its back feet, a Kangal dog can easily dwarf their owner.
  • Their lifespan is usually between 10 and 13 years.
Zorkie, the Kangal Shepherd
Zorkie, the Kangal Shepherd

What is the temperament of Kangal Shepherd Dogs like?

  • Kangal Shepherd Dogs bond really closely with their family.
  • They tend to be pretty cool and calm, unless they think they need to protect their family.
  • Kangals are very intelligent, and can also be quite independent at times.
  • They don’t tend to show any dislike to other dogs in social situations, as long as they were well-socialised when young and unless they are provoked or think their family is in danger.
  • They are powerful chewers and diggers, so watch for escape plans in the garden!
  • They tend to bark quite a lot as they can be quite territorial.

What kind of exercise do Kangal Shepherd Dogs need?

  • An adult Kangal Shepherd Dog needs at least 2 hours of physical exercise a day. Ideally some of this should be running to give them a good workout.
  • They can run up to 30 mph, so you need a safe space for them to get the kind of exercise they need.
  • Although full of energy, Kangal Shepherd Dog puppies should get less than this and a basic guide is 5 minutes per month of age. Kangal Shepherd Dogs should not be on full exercise levels until they are fully grown, which is usually around 18-24 months old.
  • They are such intelligent dogs, so mental stimulation is really important too, they tend to enjoy a game or a puzzle.
  • If they don’t get enough physical or mental exercise, they can become bored and depressed,  which can make them become destructive and start barking more.

Kangal Shepherd: exercise 5/5; grooming 2/5; trainability 2/5

Do Kangal Shepherd Dogs need a lot of grooming?

  • They tend to be coloured brown, fawn or cream with a black mask.
  • Their coats are short in length.
  • They need to be brushed at least a couple of times a week, and a bit more frequently when they are shedding, like in the spring and winter times if they are living in the family home and not working.
  • Their top coat tends to resist dirt, so they don’t need to be bathed very often.
  • Like any dog, regular tooth brushing with a dog-specific toothpaste twice daily is ideal. If you can’t manage that often, just do it as often as you can.

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs easy to train?

  • It’s important to train any dog well, but there is no room for error with a dog as powerful as a Kangal.
  • Kangal Shepherd Dogs are not recommended as a first dog, as they need someone who is experienced with training.
  • They are very intelligent but also quite independent, so it is important that they are trained to have excellent recall, and a strong bond with an owner that they  will trust and listen to.
  • Training should be centred around positive praise and patience, making sure to keep training sessions engaging, fun and consistent.

What do Kangal Shepherd Dogs eat?

  • Adult Kangal Shepherd Dogs should eat a complete, balanced dog food twice daily. They can also have occasional treats, but like any dog, watch out for the extra calories. Puppies should initially eat four times a day, then down to three, then to two at six months old.
  • For most Kangal Shepherd Dogs you can make the change from puppy to adult food gradually at between 12 and 16 months old. Your pet food supplier and/or vet can advise on individual cases and food brands.
  • They can be prone to getting a bit overweight so be sure to watch their food intake, and that they are exercised regularly!  If they are an ok body weight, you should be able to comfortably feel your pooch’s ribs, but not count them, when they are standing normally. They should also have a nice neat waist when you look from the top, and they should have a good tuck from their chest up to their tummy.  If you are worried your pooch could be a bit overweight or underweight then contact your vet practice for advice.
  • Kangal Shepherd Dogs love a good treat as a reward, but like any dog, this should only make up a maximum of 10% of their daily calorie intake.
Corky, the Anatolian Shepherd
Corky, the Anatolian Shepherd

Are Kangal Shepherd Dogs healthy?

Like any breed of dog, there are health conditions that Kangal Shepherd Dog dogs are more prone to than others.

Bones and Joints -

  • Elbow Dysplasia - this condition is where there is an issue with how the bones fit together at the elbow joint.
  • Hip Dysplasia - a condition where the thigh bone and pelvis do not sit together properly at the hip joint.

Eyes -

  • Entropion - this is where the eyelids roll in, causing eyelashes to rub onto the surface of the eye.

Gastrointestinal -

  • Gastric Dilation Volvulus (GDV) - this occurs when the stomach twists and gas and contents get trapped inside. It is a very serious condition and a vet should be contacted immediately!

This list is by no means comprehensive, if you have any concerns about the health of your dog, or if you want to discuss further if a Kangal Shepherd Dog is right for you, consult with your vet.

Our vet top tip

Kangal Shepherd Dogs can be loving members of the family. However, they are only a dog to take on if you have experience, space and time.

BorrowMyDoggy loves Kangal Shepherd Dogs

BorrowMyDoggy has 72 Kangal or Anatolian Shepherd Dog members.

What do BorrowMyDoggy owners and borrowers say about their Kangal Shepherd Dogs?

Owner Helen says about Barkley:

Barkley loves going out for walks, loves exploring new places and also loves a treat. He’s very food responsive which makes him easy to distract.

Owner Rachel says about Lola:

Lola is a very gentle loving dog with a loud bark! She becomes slightly obsessed with fetch and return and will happily play for hours with anyone old or young as long as they throw a ball/stick/stone/piece of bark.... You get the idea.

And owner Demi says about Gus:

Gus is super energetic and loving, hes very food driven! Hes a big boy and still young so is unaware of his own size. He loves cuddles, loves to chase, steal balls off of other dogs, loves treats and loves chewing on sticks

Kangal Shepherd Dog Names

The most popular name for a Kangal Shepherd Dog on BorrowMyDoggy is Barrie.

3 most pupular Kangal Shepherd Dog names on BorrowMyDoggy

  1. Barrie
  2. Bear
  3. Lola

Archie, the Kangal Shepherd
Archie, the Kangal Shepherd

Information on this page should never replace advice given by your veterinarian.  Potential health issues presented are given as a guide only and are not meant to be comprehensive.  If you ever have any concerns about your dog’s health contact your local vet.

Herding Dog Breeds

Anatolian Shepherd

Australian Cattle Dog

Australian Shepherd

Bearded Collie

Belgian Shepherd

Border Collie

German Shepherd

Kangal Shepherd

Rough Collie

Smooth Collie

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