Kangal Dogs shown resting before a dog training session.
The Kangal Dog breed make up for an excellent protection dog with the proper training. Training should start as a puppy and continue on until an adequate amount of training is done. With certain training such as protection work, some trainers will train the dog up until they are 4 years of age. A great deal of time is put into training these dogs, therefore it's no uncommon for these dogs to sell in the 10's of thousands of dollars.
Kangal Dog Breed
The Kangal Dog is a dog of massive proportions with heavy bones. The generous physical build of the Kangal dog is understandable as they were naturally bred for use in Turkey as a guardian against predators.
The Kangal Dog is not a stay-at-home type of dog and you will have to provide them a large yard to roam around. A properly trained and well-socialized Kangal Dog is not aggressive with familiar people. Training should start with basic Obedience Training for Dogs before advance training is done. They will wander restlessly, assault stray dogs, and turn aggressive to human intruders especially during nights.
It is preferable that you provide good fencing to limit their movements. This breed is known to do exercises on their own by patrolling the confined area. Family dogs may be taken out for daily walks and for socialization.
The Kangal Dog is an ancient Turkish breed primarily developed to guard livestock. The breed derives its name from the Kangal District of Sivas Province in Central Turkey. It is from here that Kangal dog is believed to have originated. Historically speaking, the breed has been associated with the family of the Aga of Kangal who are large landholders and chieftains.
These dogs are predominantly bred by villagers who take great pride in the dogs' ability to guard their livestocks from traditional predators as the wolf, bear, and jackal. In fact, many Turks feel a lot of pride referring to the Kangal Dog as their national dog.
It is noteworthy that Kangal Dogs were for long developed for a specific working niche in rural Turkey to protect a flock of sheep / goats from predators. Kangal Dogs suited this role as they were very large, big-boned animals with formidable muscles.
The sad part is the export of pure Kangal Dogs from Turkey is now virtually forbidden. The Kangal Dog Club of America continues to strive for lifting import restrictions. Imported dogs are considered to be a great asset for their potential contribution to the genetic pool in the United States.
Temperament of the "Kangal Dog"
The Kangal Dog is known to possess the strength, the speed, and the valor to intercept and protect the flocks of sheep and goats that it guards in Turkey. The ideal Kangal dogs should be calm and composed, well-behaved, independent, and protective. Some of the features that trainers and dog owners look for in protection dogs. Interestingly, the Kangal Dog has been featured on Turkish postage stamps and coins.
When alert, a Kangal will stand with its tail and ears erect and give an alarm call. Kangal Dogs have a natural aversion for strange dogs but at the same time they are not belligerent or hostile towards human beings. Ever vigilant and responsive, this natural guardian of livestock is also an efficient family watchdog. The Kangal Dog only takes a stance against predators rather than fighting them because it has a less aggressive demeanor.
The Kangal Dog has a noticeably big head with a fairly long body. The skull is broad between the ears and somewhat domed. The ratio of skull width in relation to total head length is approximately 3:5. The tail is naturally curled and the Kangal Dog has a dense double coat moderately short and quite dense. The Kangal Dog has prominent black mask and black velvety ears and in tune with the whole body color which may range from light tan to gray.
The Kangal Dog has a complete set of large, evenly spaced, white teeth meeting in a scissors bite. The nose is prominent and solid black. The neck is strong and muscular, of medium length, slightly arched, and somewhat thick. The ears are medium sized, triangular in shape and rounded at the tips.
The Kangal Dog has a slightly loose skin topped by a dense, short, double coat designed to protect it from the weather conditions. This coat is always a light tan to gray whereas the dog's muzzle is always black. The curled dainty tail is a mismatch for its fierce bodyguard look.
The muzzle is deep and somewhat blunt due to the development of the upper lips which are somewhat padded. Also contrary to this breed's aggressive stance is its supreme serenity.
The shoulders are well-muscled and to an extent angulated. The forelegs are long, well-boned, and placed well apart. The front quarters appear heavier in proportion compared to the hindquarters. The hindquarters are powerful and well-muscled although somewhat less prominent than the forequarters.
This breed hardly requires grooming. At best, the coat may need thorough brushing-out twice a year during shedding season when they shed heavily. The average height of male dogs is 30-32 inches and for bitches it is 28-30 inches. The male dogs weigh 110-145 pounds and females 90-120 pounds. Bitches are usually smaller in both weight and build.
Dog Training with the Kangal Breed
Some claim that Kangals are difficult to train but the truth is if the dog cannot learn, it is more due to the trainer’s inefficiency and lack of skills. The dog training plan has to take into account the dog’s intuitive ability, basic talents, style of life, temperament, behavior as also its limitations. The trainer should not lose sight of the fact that Kangals have their own distinct characteristics. An alert Kangal’s awesome appearance with his huge body, strong jaws, big teeth, loud and raucous bark is enough to frighten and deter any intruder.
Please know Kangals performance is not at its optimum during daytime. Those who are not familiar with this fact can encounter resistance during the daytime training sessions. Besides, a Kangal needs extra advanced training if you want it to protect someone other than his master or his family. Additional specific training sessions are also necessary if you want the Kangal not to attack or act as per specific commands.
Prior to training a Kangal, certain factors should be taken in to consideration such as the gender differences, their instinctive behavior towards humans, intense emotions and dedication to their owners and their excessive fondness for freedom. Providing proper food, firm treatment and strict commands are essential parts of the training sessions.
The most disturbing abuse of this breed is its use in organized dog fighting predominantly in Turkey. Kangal dogs are increasingly used in underground-illegal dog fights in certain parts of the world. Dog fighting is an unwelcome sport that has continued throughout many centuries in developing countries. It is a condemnable practice that most of the major breeders of Kangals allow their strongest dogs to be used in fighting.
Kangal Dogs are by nature defensive rather than aggressive, and it takes human intervention to turn them into the kind of animal that will perform on the fight circuit. Unfortunately, body-building steroids and other stimulants are used to enhance the fighting qualities in the dog. If the Kangal Dog is ever to acquire the respect on the world stage, the dog fighting has to end.
The life expectancy of the Kangal dog is not more than 15 years. They are generally healthy, but benign fatty tumors are common. Their litter size is 5 to 10 puppies.
Though the Kangal Dog began as an aristocratic dog, it is now appreciated by people for its working ability and companionship. Kangal Dogs should get at least one long daily walk to keep them physically agile and they also need consistent mental stimulation. Obedience training is a must for this breed.
Kangal Dog owners have a lot of, love and passion for the breed. Their long-term goal is to continue to foster the breed, train and use them as companions. Today, the size of Kangal dog population the world over is decreasing. An emergency program for their conservation is imperative.
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