Kangal Dog

Kangal (Sivas Kangal, Kangal Coban Kopegi) is a dog breed of domestic dog (Canis lupus familiaris), and is the national breed of Turkey Kangal, which weigh between 120-170 pounds (55-78 kg) full-grown, was originally used as a livestock guardian dog. It is of an early mastiff type with a solid, pale tan or sabled coat, and with a black mask.

The dog breed is often referred to as a sheep dog, but it is not a herding dog, but rather a flock guardian. It lives with the flock and acts as a livestock guardian dog, fending off wolves, bears and jackals. The Sivas Kangal Dog's protectiveness and gentleness with small children and animals has led to its growing popularity as a guardian for families as well, as it regards people as its flock and guards them with extreme devotion.

Kangal Dog Appearance

Adult males stand about 35 inches (83 cm) high at the shoulders and weigh 120-170 lb. Females are usually significantly smaller and less heavy in build. Puppies weigh nearly 2 lb (900 g) at birth and by the time they reach seven weeks they are likely to reach 22 lb (10 kg). The Kangal Dog is less heavily built than most other mastiff breeds, allowing it greater speed and agility than larger dogs. The Kangal has a short, double layered coat made up of very dense underfur covered by longer and coarser hair. The under-layer provides insulation for both severe Anatolian winters and against the fierce summer sun, while the outer-layer repels water and snow. This combination of coat allows it to regulate its core temperature more efficiently, while the coat is dense enough to repel rupture from wolf bites.

The color and coat are perhaps the most visible traits that distinguish the Kangal Dog from the Akbash and Anatolian. The coat must be short and dense, not long or feathery, and of a pale fawn or tan color with varying amounts of sable guard hairs. All Kangal Dogs have a black facial mask, and black or shaded ears. White at certain points (chest, chin, toes) may or may not be allowed, depending on the standard. Some heavily sabled Kangals also have darker legs and chests. Most importantly, the coat should not be broken, brindled, or spotted.

Some working Kangals Dog may have their ears cropped at the age of a few weeks by shepherds. This is done for appearance and for protection, as long ears can be vulnerable in a physical confrontation with a predator.

Kangal Dog Temperament

The ideal Kangal dogs should be calm, controlled, independent, and protective. They may be aloof towards strangers, but a well-socialized Kangal Dog is friendly with visitors and especially children. They must never be shy or vicious. A well-trained Kangal is sensitive and alert to changing situations, responding to threats with judicious warnings and courageous action if necessary. They make good guardians of livestock and humans alike, but they may not be suitable for inexperienced dog owners, as the independent intelligence of the Kangal makes for a difficult pupil. Due to their overwhelming strength, size and obedient tempremant, Kangal dogs are now becoming popular in undergound-illegal dog fights. In such circumstances, violent characteristics observed are brought out due to its treatment from its owner; in most cases is quite degrading.

Protective behaviour

A working Kangal on duty will station itself on a high vantage point overlooking its flock. On hot days, the dog will dig itself a hollow in the ground to keep cool. Novices learn by staying close to older dogs. The dogs will work in pairs or teams depending on the size of the flock, taking up positions around the sheep and changing position. The intensity of their patrols around the sheep increases at nightfall.

When suspicious, a Kangal Dog will stand with its tail and ears erect and give an alarm call, inciting the sheep to gather around it for protection. The Kangal’s first instinct is to place itself between the perceived threat and the sheep or master. Once the sheep are safely behind it, the Kangal confronts the intruder. When faced with a wolf, the Kangal sometimes is successful in intimidating the enemy, but it will resort to a physical confrontation if the predator stands its ground. Specialized wolf killers are known as "kurtcul kangal" in their homeland.

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