Akbash Dog

Type: Guardian Dogs

Height: 28 - 34 inches

Weight: 80 - 140 lbs.

Life Span: 10 - 11 years.

Litter Size: 7 - 9 puppies.

Country of Origin: Turkey

Activity: Low - Medium

Watch-dog: High. This breed is very alert.

Guard-dog: High. They have a strong tendency to be protective to their family.

Description: The Akbash Dog is one of the oldest of the flock-guarding group. The breed is the counterpart of the French Great Pyrenees, the Hungarian Kuvasz, the Italian Maremma and other white sheep guarding breeds. The Akbash Dog still carries the same mental and physical traits that characterized it thousands of year ago. Akbash Dogs are large, lean, muscular and powerful with an elegant, racy appearance. Akbash Dogs characteristics are a combination of the Mastiff and Gazehound. They are powerful dogs with medium to long white fur, bred specifically to distinguish them from wolves. They have been bred as a guardian dog whose primary function is to protect sheep from predators. Akbash dogs are calm, quiet and brave. They deserve require respect in training and raising them. They will protect you and be affectionate to their family as well. But to strangers, this dog is a good guardian and watchdog. If not socialized properly when puppies, they will be aggressive towards all intruders. The Akbash requires a firm and dog-experienced owner seeking a loyal guardian and friend.

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Other Names: Akbas, Akbaş Çoban Köpeği

Colors: Coat color is white all over. It is light biscuit on the ears or on the ridge line. Coloration in the undercoat is acceptable.

Coat: Their white double coat lies flat on the body and it is longer on the chest and neck, almost forming a mane. It should be long on the tail and buttocks. As a bonus, it is weather resistant, non-matting, and has little doggy odor.

Temperament: Akbash Dogs are calm, quiet, independent, protective, brave, and affectionate. They will be aggressive toward strangers and strange animals if they aren't properly socialized and trained. Akbash Dogs are steady and peaceful, but watchful at the same time. With owners they are friendly. They are extremely loyal dogs. They are also very intelligent, independent, and make an excellent pet and guardian. They are naturally very protective and are bred to think for themselves. Therefore, they may disobey if they think their choice is better.

With Children: Yes, the Akbash Dog will accept young children of its family.

With Pets: Yes, will accept other pets. They are animal-oriented towards their family and family's property, but will not be friendly with outside animals if not socialized.

Special Skills: Fenced yard, leash, socialization, and training.

Care and Training: The Akbash Dog has a non-odorous, non-matting coat so minimal grooming is required. They do shed more than the average dog and could use regular brushing. They need regular exercise such as a run off-lead even though their actively level is low. It should be noted that even though training is relatively easy, bad habits should be corrected when young. Socialization should begin early with the owner establishing themselves as an alpha or dominant being in the relationship. Owners of the Akbash Dog must teach them to respond appropriately in various situations.

Learning Rate: High. Obedience - Medium. Problem Solving - High.

Special Needs: Fenced yard, leash, socialization, and training.

Living Environment: Easily housebroken, they learn quickly and often adapt well to their home environment. The Akbash Dog needs an experienced, firm, and consistent owner. The best owner for this breed would be an someone with the aforementioned characteristics living in a country setting.

Health Issues: Hip dysplasia, OCD, cardiomyopathy, hip dysplasia, entropion, hypothyroidism, seizures, and umbilical hernias.

History: The Akbash Dog was selectively breed for a white-colored guardian breed who is native to the plains and mountains of western Turkey. They are thought to be made of sight hounds, flock guards and mastiff. It was written by a Roman author in the 1st century A.D., "Sheepherders wish to have white dogs in order to avoid confusing them with wild animals, since, when the wolf attacks in the twilight, it is important that there be a color difference between the dog and the wolf; otherwise the sheepherder might strike his dog, thinking he was killing a wolf." While the origins of the breed are not known, they are thought to be linked to their Hungarian and Italian relatives. There is a graffito in the Phrygian civilization that portrays a dog similar to the Akbash wearing a large spiked color, such that they still wear to this day to help protect their necks. There is speculation that the Romans brought the Akbash Dogs from Asia Minor to Italy. What is known is that they have existed for centuries. Recognition of the Akbash Dog in the U.S. is credited to Americans David and Judy Nelson who studied the dogs in Turkey beginning in the 1970s. The Nelsons have imported over 40 Akbash Dogs to the United States. These dogs became the foundation stock for the breed in the United States and Canada.

AKC Group: Flock Guard

Registries: UKC