Turkish Dog: Kangal Shepherd Dog

The Kangal Dog is another breed of dog that many people, even dog lovers, have probably not heard of. This large, curly-tailed dog has an interesting history that's well worth learning about before making the decision to adopt one. Their history has a significant influence on their personalities, which might be crucial in deciding which dog breed is right for you

The Kangal Dog’s History

This large, intimidating dog finds its roots over in the country of Turkey, where they were used to guard dogs. They guard livestock against any animals who thought they could prey on the livestock.

History books also tell us that this ancient breed of dog was purposefully bred by the villagers of the Silvas Providence of central Turkey, for protective purposes. 

The Turkish Kangal, as it is also known, has remained a purebred dog over the centuries due to how remote the villages were that this breed originated in. To this day, the people of Turkey claim the Kangal to be the National dog of Turkey.

In 1985, a couple named David and Judith Nelson brought the Kangal Dog to the United States. It is said that this was the first Kangal Dog that was brought to the U.S. After which the Nelsons established their own foundation for breeding these dogs in the United States. 

What Does a Kangal Dog Look Like?

This Mastiff-like dog is naturally large and heavy-boned. Making it the perfect guardian of livestock and humans alike. Their typical color pattern is fawn all over with a dark muzzle area and ears. Their fur coat is typically medium length and rather dense. This density is due to the colder climates that they originate from in Turkey. 

Personality of a Kangal Dog

This breed is unusual as a livestock guardian dog, for the fact that they are more people-oriented and playful than most others of this working-class of dog. They love people and will tightly bond with their humans. Making rehoming a Kangal dog a difficult and heart-breaking process, after how close they can become to their human.  

Kangal’s personality is a naturally protective one. You can rest assured that they will alert you and your family at the first signs of any danger and put themselves in between you and the danger in a heartbeat. However, aside from their undying loyalty to you and your family, they are also a very loving and affectionate dog breed. The Kangal has also been noted to be more of a nocturnal animal and tends to be more active at night. During the day they tend to be calmer and more restful, versus at night.

Their personality can also be considered as an aggressive one, only in the sense that they are so incredibly protective of their home. You may notice a slight personality shift if you take them away from home versus when they are in their domain. 

Although, it is important to know that this guardian dog also has a leadership persona within them naturally. Meaning, as their owner you need to make sure that they know that humans are the ones making the decisions, not them. Clearly defined rules and boundaries are what will make the relationship between you and your Kangal that much stronger.

They do have good dog temperament and these are just a few important personality traits that should be taken into consideration before beginning a Kangal Dog into your family. 

Grooming Needs for a Kangal Dog

The Kangal dog’s fur coat is typically short and dense, meaning it does need some TLC from you on a regular basis. This TLC includes dog grooming at home like brushing them a few times per week. This is especially important when the seasons are transitioning from the cold winter to the warmth of spring and summer. This is when they begin to lose their heavy winter coat.

If your Kangal Dog spends a lot of time outdoors working with livestock you may not need to brush them as often, as they will shed their excess fur outdoors. If they are primarily in the home, you will want to keep up on brushing them regularly in order to prevent their excess fur from flying around your home. Remember that having the right set of dog grooming tools is just as important as grooming the dog itself.

Kangal Puppies

Before you set out to adopt a Kangal puppy, know that you are committing to taking care of a puppy that grows up rather slowly. You are committing to roughly two years of puppyhood until they suddenly find their way as a serious and focused adult Kangal Dog. 

If you are raising your Kangal puppy in an environment where they are being trained to guard livestock, you might find that they mature faster than if they were just a household pet. That being said, you will have to be patient with your young Kangal as they learn and grow at their pace. 


The Kangal is a historically noble and brave dog, who can trace its roots far back in Turkish history as a guardian of livestock as well as the people who resided in the villages. However, they have become more and more domesticated over the years, and now make excellent house pets who love their families fiercely. However, their personalities can come off rather strong, with how protective they can be. Their protective nature can sometimes come out as aggression. However, they have never been known to be a dog to bring harm to their family that they love so very much.

What is a Kangal?

The Kangal, is a large breed of livestock guardian dogs native to Silvas, Turkey. This particular dog is considered to be a breed of its own for its unique qualities.

How long do Kangal’s live?

This protective canine breed typically lives a long and healthy 12-15 years of life. This is around average for most dog breeds this size, giving you and your family well over a decade to spend with your beloved Kangal.

Is a Kangal a good family dog?

Their size and historical background as a guardian dog might sound intimidating, but their natural demeanor is rather calm. They make great family pets, especially for families who have children. They are great with kids and are especially protective of them.

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Written by Leo Roux


I am on my 4th kangal now once you have one no other dog breed will compare

Antoni Szczepanski on Apr 08, 2022

I have a 60acre Boer goat ranch. Currently being protected by a Maremma, a Great Pyrenees and a Black Lab/Pit Bull hybrid/lovable mutt; who does his best to stay up all night long with his gigantic white brothers guarding the flock. My goat herd is growing and I need to bolster my security team. If you have any ideas on where I can find a Kangal, or an Anatolian Shepard, please email me, thank you ‘so’ much!

Jeremy Mayfield on Feb 25, 2021

Kangal is NOT a Anatolian Shepherd. Anatolion shepherd is a DIFFERENT dog. Please look up on the you tube.

Recep Onder Sarigul on Dec 17, 2020

please note a kangal IS NOT A anitolian Shephard. We have 2 different standards. Look up ukc and read about them. I own one of each.

Karen on Dec 15, 2020

You mentioned that the Nelson’s have Kangals. Where can I find a great quality Kangal puppy.

Francisco Correa on Dec 08, 2020

I have a Kangal she is 8, she’s wonderful and loving.

Bill Reilly on Nov 22, 2020

My family and I just purchased an Anatolian. He’s only 9 weeks old but already shows the lovable carring side. As well as the protective side. I researched this amazing dogs for about a year. My wife and I fell in love right away. We have a family of 8 and so he will get plenty of attention and love!!

Pablo Maciel on Oct 15, 2020

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