Back to all breeds
Anatolian Shepherd Dog
Characteristics, History, and Health

Anatolian Shepherd Dog

The Kangal Dog, also known as the Anatolian Shepherd, is an ancient breed that originated in the Kangal District of Sivas Province in Central Turkey. Kangal Dogs are a large and robust breed with a strong genetic predisposition for livestock guarding. Their genetic makeup equips them with keen senses and remarkable strength, making them exceptional protectors. They were primarily used by Turkish shepherds to guard and protect livestock, mainly sheep, from predators such as wolves, bears, and other wild animals. The breed's lineage can be traced back thousands of years, making it one of the oldest and most respected shepherd dog breeds in the world.

Main Info
Alternate Names
Turkish Kangal, Anatolian Kangal Dog, Karabash Dog, Coban Kopegi (“shepherd’s dog”)
Life Expectancy
11-13 years
Average Male Height
29 inches
Average Female Height
27 inches
Average Male Weight
110-150 pounds
Average Female Weight
80-120 pounds
Coat Length
Coat Type
Coat Colors
Blue Fawn, Brindle, Fawn, Liver, Red Fawn, White, Biscuit & White, Gray Fawn
Coat Pattern
Brown Mask, Black Mask, Pinto Black Mask, Pinto, Dutch Markings, Silver Mask

Genetic Predispositions and Health

Anatoloian Shepherds can be sensitive to anesthesia, so this should be discussed with a veterinarian prior to any procedure for which it is required. The breed can suffer from eye conditions such as eyelid entropion and multifocal retinal dysplasia, as well as hip dysplasia (though the latter is less common). Genetic testing for conditions such as degenerative myelopathy can assist veterinarians with diagnosis and proactive care, as well as help breeders identify affected and carrier dogs.

Personality and Behavior

Anatolian Shepherds are known for their loyalty, intelligence, and natural protective instincts. They form strong bonds with their families and are especially devoted to the livestock they guard. While they are generally calm and gentle with those they know, they can be wary of strangers and may display territorial behavior. Early socialization and training are essential to ensure a well-rounded and confident Kangal Dog.

Fun Facts

The Kangal Dog holds the title for being the largest living sheepdog in terms of size and strength, making it a formidable guardian of livestock.

The Kangal Dog is considered a national treasure in Turkey, where there are efforts to preserve the breed's purity and maintain its unique characteristics.

According to the UKC, the Kangal Dog was first imported to the U.S. in 1985 by David and Tudith Nelson, who conducted fieldwork on livestock guardian dogs in Turkey in the 1970s. These early dogs and subsequent imports provided the foundation for the Kangal Dog in the United States.