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article by uday kadali

Top 6 Turkish Dog Breeds: All You Need to Know

Top 6 Turkish Dog Breeds: All You Need to Know

The Mediterranean state of Turkey is a place with rich culture and heritage,  unique archaeology, and one of the most mouth-watering cuisines. But did you know that Turkey is also home to several special dog breeds on Earth? You are familiar with Labrador and Golden Retriever dog breeds, but have you heard about Akbash, Kangal, or Anatolian Shepherd? 

All these dogs are equally loyal and cute, like labradors or Golden Retrievers. In this article, we shall discuss various Turkish dog breeds and all the details about them, like group, characteristics, and life tenure, among others.   

What Are the Different Types of Turkish Dog Breeds?

The different dog breeds from Turkey are as follows:  

1. Akbash 


  • Also Known As: Akbas 
  • Weight: 90 to 140 Pounds 
  • Size: 30-34 inches 
  • Lifespan: 12 years 
  • Color: White with a tinge of biscuit color 
  • Shedding: Moderate throughout the year       
  • Group: Livestock Guardian Dog 
  • Energy Level: Balanced 

The Akbash Turkish dog breed is native to the Western Turkey. These dogs gained international prominence in the 1970s when around 40 Akbash dogs were imported to the USA. These dogs belong to the livestock protection breed and can protect and shield a large flock of cattle. These dogs are also popular in families due to their calm and joyful nature. Their gentle behavior makes them children-friendly, and people with kids can think about keeping them. The Akbash dogs have dense white coats to save themselves from the harsh winters of Turkey     

You must remember that these dogs have very strong protective instincts. Hence, they require proper training to avoid becoming too aggressive towards strangers. 

2. Kangal 

  • Weight: 90 to 150 pounds 
  • Size: Upto 27 inches in male and 29 inches in female
  • Lifespan: 10-13 years 
  • Colour: Brindle Fawn, Grey Fawn, White, and Blue Fawn
  • Shedding: Moderate shedding throughout the year 
  • Group: Sheepdog 
  • Energy Levels: Medium   

Kangal dogs from Turkey are a fascinating breed that comes with several unique characteristics. The American Kennel Club has grouped the Kangal dogs with the Anatolian Shepherd. However, there are several differences between the two, like the amount of fur each has around their neck. The Kangal dogs are native to the Kangal district of Turkey. They came to the USA during the Second World War and have become popular since then.

These dogs have strong physical features because of their strength and size. According to many experts, Kangal dogs have the strongest bite force in the world. Hence, they are an excellent choice for protecting livestock from predators. Even with a strong sense of guardian instincts, the Kangal Turkish guardian dog is very gentle and remains calm and composed even in stressful situations. 

3. Aksaray Malaklisi 

Aksaray Malaklisi
  • Also Known as Anatolian Lion and Turkish Mastiff  
  • Size: 27 to 31 inches  
  • Weight: 120 to 190 pounds 
  • Lifespan: 10- 12 years 
  • Colour: Grey 
  • Shedding: Moderate to low 
  • Group: Livestock protector 
  • Energy Level: High 

These dogs derive their name from the Central Anatolian province of Aksaray. The Aksaray breed descended from the Kangals but is much larger and heavier than the Kangals. Due to their unbiased demeanor and territorial adaptability, these dogs can be found everywhere in Turkey. They may look lazy but, in reality, are quite active and joyful. 

The Aksaray breed Turkey dog is quite protective about their loved ones. It can go to any length to protect his family and territory. Because of this overaggressive and highly suspicious nature, they require proper socialization training so that they don’t get angry at passersby and strangers. The Aksaray dog breed is quite big in size, weighing almost 150 pounds. The energy levels of this dog breed are always high. These dogs shed low to moderate throughout the year. 

4. Rize Koyun

Rize Koyun
  • Size: 28 inches 
  • Weight: Around 150 pounds 
  • Lifespan: 9-13 years 
  • Colour:  Dark Grey 
  • Shedding: Moderate to High 
  • Group: Pishdar group 
  • Energy Level: High 

Named after a small town off the coast of the Black Sea, the Rize Koyun is the Turkish variant of Molasses Dog. This dog breed has a very strong muscular build, particularly their legs. Initially used to protect the livestock, the Rize Koyun are also very protective of their owners and will do everything to protect them. 

They have a very intimidating and formidable bark. Their booming bark alerts the owners about any potential threat. Hence, they become an ideal choice for home guard dogs which protect property and land from intruders. They have very powerful jaws and short heads. The design of their ears gives them an intimidating look. The terrifying look and strong muscular build give them the strength to fight off any challenges that come their way. 

If you are an inexperienced dog owner, it is best to avoid them because you won’t be able to manage them due to their strong muscular build and aggressive behavior. 


5. Kars Shepherd 

Kars Shepherd

  • Also Known as Kars Kopegi   
  • Size: 29 inches 
  • Weight: 90-110 pounds 
  • Lifespan: 11 years 
  • Color:  Black, Red, White, and Grey 
  • Shedding: Moderate 
  • Group: Shepherd Dog 
  • Energy Level: High 

They are one of the most imposing dog breeds from Turkey. They have long and dense coats, which give them a majestic appearance. Originating in the Kars province of Turkey, one can compare these dogs with the Caucasian Shepherd Dogs because of their sheer size and strength. The Kars dogs have a courageous temperament and strong loyalty towards their owners. 

Kars are a type of Turkish guardian dog that is best suited to live in a rural environment. Because of their sharp protective instincts, these are used to protect livestock and crops from predator attacks. Their impressive ability to fight off predators has made them quite popular in rural Turkey. Even though they have warrior-like protective instincts, they can also be quite fond and gentle with the owners and the family. 

6. Boz Shepherd  

Boz Shepherd
  • Size: 28 - 35 inches  
  • Weight: 100-190 pounds 
  • Lifespan: 12-15 years 
  • Colour:  Fawn or Gold 
  • Shedding: Moderate 
  • Group: Shepherd Dog Breed 
  • Energy Level: High 

Native to the Toros Mountains of South Anatolia, the Boz Shepherd is an ancient dog tribe. They share various physical characteristics with the Kangal breed. However, they are slightly bigger in size than the Kangals. The Boz Shepherd has a very relaxed and calm demeanor. Even with decent athleticism and agility, these dogs have a kind of laid-back attitude. It makes them an ideal candidate for family pets. 

They have high socializing skills and gel well with children and other animals. However, when it comes to strangers, they may not be as friendly because of their ingrained protective instincts. The Boz Shepherd Turkish dog breed is not ideal for living in apartments as they require a lot of open space for playing and exercise. 


In this article, we have discussed various Turkish dog breeds and all of their physical and social characteristics. Turkish dogs are generally warrior dogs with high instincts of protectiveness towards their owners. They are quite useful in rural settings where one can use them to guard livestock and property from intruders and predators. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the names of some of the popular Turkish dog breeds?

Some of the most popular Turkish dog breeds are Akbash, Aksaray, Boz Shepherd, Kangal, and the Rize Koyun. 

What is the Kangal dog breed mostly known for?

The Kangal dog breeds are known for high protective skills and instincts. They are mainly used for guarding livestock from wild animal attacks and thieves. Several Kangal dog owners also use them to guard their property from intruders and burglars.   

 Is it a good idea to get Anatolian Shepherd dogs as family pets?

Anatolian shepherd dogs have a huge muscular build, large size, and formidable appearance. In this scenario, they may be ideal for households having older children as they can control and treat them respectfully. However, households with small children can avoid this dog breed.  

What is the history of Turkish pointers?

They are one of the rare dog breeds and are native to Mersin, a native town in the southern Turkish province of Tarsus. There are only 200 pointers breed surviving today. The pointers are excellent hunters and are also efficient in relief and rescue operations. 

Are Turkish greyhounds good companions?

They can be an excellent companion because of their calm and composed behavior. Moreover, they have excellent manners and are also quite obedient.

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