The Akbash Dog originates from Turkey where it was used for centuries to guard livestock from wolves and other predators. These dogs are known for their great courage and stamina and possess unique characteristics of sighthound and mastiff breeds - long legs, speed, agility of sighthounds and height, weight, and power of mastiff breed. They are calm, quiet, steady, independent, loyal, gentle, and quietly affectionate with its own family, including children and family pets, but remains aloof and suspicious toward strangers.
In Turkey, the term coban kopegi, which means "shepherd's dog", is used to denote all the dogs used to protect sheep and distinguish them from other types of dogs. The terms "Akbash", "Akkush", "Kangal" and "Karabash" are used to denote regional breeds with specific types of livestock guardians. Some experts consider the Akbash Dog to be a white-headed variety of the Anatolian Shepherd ("akbash" means "white head"), but others think of it as a distinct breed. The Akbash Dog is an impressive dog of great stature, capable of moving with incredible agility and speed. He can only be found in Western regions of Turkey where he had been used for guarding sheep, goats and his masters' possessions. Hard working and capable of enduring extremes of heat and cold, the Akbash is also famous for his legendary courage. Akbash dogs have strong tendency of all sheep guarding dogs to be protective toward their families. For this reason, it is essential for pet owners to ensure that their Akbash Dogs are well socialized.
Since 1995, the breed is consistently rated in the United States as the overall most effective guardian against all kind of predators, including coyotes, wolves, bears and mountain lions. Akbash Dogs are not for inexperienced or easily dominated owners. They only respect alpha figures, who are more dominant than they are. Whether indoors or outside, the Akbash needs to be securely confined and well socialized with other animals and children.
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Other Names: Akbas; in Turkey they are often referred to as "Akkush", a term which means "white bird".
Country of Origin: Turkey
Utilization: Working breed originally used as a guard dog for sheep.
Classification: UKC: Guarding group; ARBA: Herding Group
Litter Size: 7
Life Span: 10-12 years
Grooming Requirements: Minimal. This is a natural breed that needs occasional brushing.
Personality: Very intelligent, loyal, protective, confident, courageous and highly territorial.
Photo courtesy of Pinnacle Farms
Suitability for Children: he Akbash Dog is usually accepting of young children. Some dogs tend to nurture and protect all beings (both human and animal) that "belong" to them.
Exercise Needs: Medium to Low
Train Ability: The breed is easily housebroken, and learns quickly. Akbash dogs are usually sensitive to firm, verbal reprimands and respond well to moderate praise. Training is relatively easy during puppyhood years, but correcting bad habits in adulthood is often more difficult. The owners of both pet and livestock-guarding Akbash Dogs need to establish an "alpha," or dominant, relationship with their dogs.
Health & Behavioral Issues: Hip dysplasia, PRA