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Kangal Shepherd Dog

aka Kangal Çoban Köpeği

aka Anatolian Shepherd

Kangals or Anatolian Shepherd dogs originate in the Anatolian plateau of Turkey. A plateau is a high, flat-topped mountain like Table Mountain. Summers are hot and dry, and winters are cold, but the Shepherd Dogs live outside all year round. They were bred to guard sheep against predators, and are still used for this purpose.

Because the dogs come from a vast area covering different countries, different names have developed for the breed. But all serve the same purpose - they guard livestock.

The breed still exists in Central Turkey. From ancient days they have defended sheep from dangerous animals like bears, and wolves. They have also been used as fighting dogs in wars, & as hunting dogs.

Puppies eating their food amidst a flock of sheep

Anatolian dog gently nudges a lamb

They are large, imposing dogs, but not too heavy and fat to run fast! Agility is an important factor - not size alone. They must be able to stalk & chase a cheetah! Anatolian shepherds reach maturity at around 4 years of age.

In Namibia & South Africa, Kangals or Anatolian shepherd dogs are being used on farms to protect flocks of sheep & goats from jackal, caracal, leopard & cheetah. God created all the animals for a purpose. We only live on earth temporarily. Let's not shoot all the wild life, but use natural means like dogs to protect our assets! If we destroy all the small animals, the big predators will have no choice but to kill domestic animals for food.


Anatolian Shepherd Dogs/kangals belonging to Tracy Burns, South Africa

Anatolian shepherd dog showing his teeth

Tracy says, "She clears fences with ease so I have had to add electric strands to boundary fences. Gypsy by name, Gypsy by nature. She loves going to the beach and trots happily next to my bicycle when I go cycling. She is independent yet affectionate."


 Variety is permitted in the Anatolian breed

Above: Slade, a male Anatolian, being exhibited at an open show. Males tend to carry their tales curled up high over their backs when they are alert. Slade carries his tail mostly high except when he's very relaxed or subdued.


Anatolian shepherd strutting her stuff in the show ring

Keon, a female Anatolian shepherd. Males are bigger.

You can show an unregistered pure bred dog in an open show. There are no qualifications or cc's awarded. It's basically for fun.



Kangals (or Anatolian Shepherds) are alert, observant, and intelligent dogs. They are protective & possessive towards their families and territory. Care should be taken when friends visit! Careful bonding with the owner is necessary in puppyhood, in order to control a large dog when it is grown. This breed will not suit a meek, unassertive owner! The dog must not take charge of the owner!

These dogs excel at guarding flocks, and if they are to be used for this, they should not be treated as pets, but should live outside in all weathers with the flock, from a puppy. Thus the dog adopts the sheep or goats as its family that it has to protect. One dog can protect a large flock of sheep.

If they are pets, then a big, secure yard is needed, and they should be taken for walks or runs every day.

5 Anatolian shepherd puppies eating puppy mush from a bowl

Anatolian puppies.

Colour & appearance

All colour patterns and markings are acceptable, but the usual colors are fawn with a black mask, pinto, white, and brindle. The dogs have black lips, a black or brown nose and muzzle. The almond shaped brown eyes may be outlined with black or brown.

The head is big & broad. Ears normally hang down, but stand up when listening. The neck is thick & powerful.

Kangals / Anatolians have a solid robust neck, and  Their legs are long and straight with muscular paws.  Their tail hangs low and has a slight curl at the bottom. 

The back is short in proportion to the leg length.

At the time of writing (July 2011) Anatolians are not registered with KUSA.

Group: Working 

Other names: Karabash, Kangal Dog, Karabas, or Coban Kopengi

Height: Male: 28-30 inches tall, Female: 26-28 inches tall

Weight: Male: 110-150 lb., Female: 80-120 lb.


Below: Mufasa, an Anatolian puppy. Owner Willie Bornman says, "I have a flock of 40 pregnant boerbok ooie to be guarded. My puppy is 8 weeks old and has lived with or next to the boerbokke from 6 weeks old. This is a learning curve for both Mufasa and me. I am very excited about our future together."

Anatolian puppy at 8 weeks.


An Anatolian shepherd dog will lay down its life for the sheep. Jesus said, "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep...No one takes it from me, I lay it down of my own accord."

Scoffers say that Jesus was a victim - but that's not what HE said! He voluntarily gave up his life so that by accepting Him as our "shepherd," we can get into heaven.  John chapter 10, 14 - 18

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