Kangal Facts

Read these Kangal facts to learn more about this dog.

Kangal dogs, also known as Kangal Shepherd Dog or Kangal Çöban Köpeği, are a powerful and large ancient livestock guardian. The first Kangal dogs originated from Sivas in Turkey. Over hundreds of years, Kurdish Kangal dogs have been selectively bred as a Turkish shepherd based on their strength, size, appearance, and temperament. Overall, they are a large and formidable breed. Thanks to the isolation of the first Kangal dogs from the Sivas region, Kangal dogs have been free of any form of cross breeding. However, the national dog of Turkey is the Akbash dog. Akbash dogs are a separate breed of livestock guardian dog.

Kangal Turkey dogs, bred by villagers, are best suited to work in teams or pairs so that they can protect livestock, sheep and goats from large predators such as bears, wolves, and foxes. It is because of this that they have a reliable and predictable temperament. They are gentle with children and livestock and aggressive with predators. Hip dysplasia is among the most common health issues that Kangals might develop.

Kangal dog breeds from the Kangal district of Sivas province have the typical temperament of a guardian dog. They are territorial and defensive of their people or livestock. They are wary of strange dogs instinctively and can be reserved with strangers. However, they are affectionate, gentle, and loyal to their family. Compared to some other livestock breeds, they are more people-oriented. They can be aggressive with other dogs and intruders. Overall, they are strong, speedy, independent, intelligent, calm, and courageous.

Since they are a guardian breed for flocks of sheep and goats, they are temperamental and do intimidate predators, but will only attack them if necessary. Kangals are strong enough to knock down a wolf by throwing their shoulder against it. However, they grow slowly and mature later than other dogs. So, they can be adorable silly Kangal puppies, and powerful diggers and chewers at the same time. During the day their behavior will be calm, but at night they will become watchful and prone to barking. Since they are working dogs, they must have a job to keep themselves from becoming destructive or bored. Kangal dog prices in the US are somewhere between 800 USD and 1000 USD.

If you enjoyed these facts about Kangals, read these facts about presa canario and English cocker spaniel.


Fact File

What do they prey on?

Dog food, yal, offal, stale bread and bones with meat

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

6 puppies

How much do they weigh?

121-143 lb (55-65 kg)

How long are they?


How tall are they?

29-34 in (75-85 cm)

What do they look like?


Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Dwindling sheep farming

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them



Sivas, Turkey





Scientific Name

Canis lupus familiaris





Kangal Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a Kangal?

Kangals are a type of dog from Turkey.

What class of animal does a Kangal belong to?

Kangals are mammals.

How many Kangals are there in the world?

There is no accurate estimate of the population of Kangals.

Where does a Kangal live?

Turkish Kangals are best suited to living on farms.

What is a Kangal's habitat?

Kangals habitat is a farm where they play an active working role in protecting the livestock.

Who do Kangals live with?

Turkish Kangal dogs live with people and protect livestock on their farms.

How long does a Kangal live?

The average lifespan of Turkish Kangal dogs is between ten to 12 years.

How do they reproduce?

Kangal dog reproduction begins with the male dog sniffing the vulva of the female dog. In case the female is receptive, she will start flagging, which means that she will start to pull her tail to one side. Then, the male dog will mount her and begin the mating process. Next, the dogs will start to create a breeding tie. The breeding tie can last somewhere between two to 30 minutes. It is crucial that the dogs do not separate during this time as it can cause damage. If a female dog is inexperienced, she might get anxious at this stage. But, if she doesn’t calm down, she can cause damage to the male dogs. Once the copulation is done, the gland reduces in size, and the dogs separate.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of these dogs is Not Evaluated.

Kangal Fun Facts

What do Kangals look like?

Kangals are one of the most magnificent-looking specimens. They are a tall breed with a muscular build evolved for accommodating rough terrain and harsh climates. Even though they are giant dogs, they are not as big as mastiff dogs. Thanks to the years that these dogs have spent shepherding livestock across large acres of land, they have been able to finetune their speed and agility naturally. They have a wide head that looks a little bit like a lion and is accompanied by a long body, curled tail, and velvety drop ears.

Apart from this, Kangals also sport a double coat that is short, dense, and made of fur that is sand-colored. However, their face has black fur that looks almost like a black mask. Their ears are tinged with black fur as well. In some shepherd dogs, there are white markings on the toes, chin, or chest, but, apart from this, there are no color patterns on a true Kangal.

Kangal dogs have a very strong bite.

How cute are they?

Kangals are one of the mastiff type dogs that are beyond adorable, not only in their appearance but also in their behavior and mannerisms, especially Kangal puppies. They are clumsy and goofy. Because of their size and double coat, they mature later than other dog breeds. So, they remain puppies for about three years. They also have loose skin on their face, and a scruff around their neck that they use to make cute faces.

How do they communicate?

Kangal dogs communication can be categorized into vocal and visual. The auditory communication, or vocalization, includes barks, whines, whimpers, growls, howls, sighs, pants, and screams. The visual communication can include their mouth shape, head position, positioning of ear and tail, body posture, facial expression, eye gaze, sniffing, and licking. They also use pheromones and scents for communicating.

How big is a Kangal?

Kangal dogs are large dogs with males being around 34 in (85 cm) in height and females reaching 29 in (75 cm).

How fast can a Kangal run?

The fastest speed of a Kangal dog is 31 mph (50 kmph).

How much does a Kangal weigh?

Kangal dogs are large, heavy, livestock guardian dogs. The weight of a male Kangal can be about 143 lb (65 kg) while the weight of a female Kangal can be 121 lb (55 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Kangal males are called dogs, and female Kangals are called bitches.

What would you call a baby Kangal?

A baby Kangal is called a puppy.

What do they eat?

Kangal dogs are a large breed, so they are known to eat quite a lot. However, if you are ensuring that they get proper exercise, then you will be able to manage their food needs easily. What you need to do to take care of your dogs needs is to feed them high quality-dog feed, specifically designed for a large breed. If you have been using your dog for work, get dog food that has been specifically designed for active dogs. Also, you should ensure that they have a well-balanced diet and a frequent feeding schedule. It is preferred that you give them two meals every day.

By giving these livestock guardian dogs frequent but smaller portions, you are ensuring that they don’t get hungry all day, eat slower, and are more satisfied.

Are they hypoallergenic?

No, these dogs are not hypoallergenic as they tend to shed quite a lot.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though Kangal dogs have a massive size, they are a very gentle and calm dog. That is why they can be good pets for your family. Not only can they get along with your children, but they can even watch over them. However, you should only get a Kangal dog as a pet if you have space inside your house. They take up a lot of space and need a yard where they can get proper physical exercise as well as mental stimulation. The houses and yards need to be secure so that the Kangals don't escape.

Did you know...

Since Kangal dogs are a large breed, they have a few breed-specific care features. That is why Kangals are not often recommended for life in an apartment. When they are indoors, they remain relatively inactive. That is why you have to take them outdoors so that they can spend some time getting exercise and remain in good health. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot have a Kangal dog in an apartment. However, the apartment has to be big enough so that it can accommodate the dog as well as the people living in it. Even then, you will have to spend some time outdoors with the dog every day.

If you want to adopt a Kangal dog, you must have a house with a big yard so that they are able to spend their time running, playing, and jumping outside. It is important to note that Kangals are also very social breeds, which means that you should not leave them alone outside for a long period. They need constant human interaction and games.

Another thing that you should know about Kangal dogs is that they don’t recognize land boundaries. So, if you leave them in a yard all on their own, they might enter other people’s homes and fight with other dogs.

Apart from outdoor time and proper exercise, there are not a lot of breed-specific features for Kangal dogs. You will also have to take care of their overall health. To do this, you have to check their ears and eyes for infections regularly and clean them using a damp cloth. It is also advised to take care of their nails by trimming them regularly.

Another aspect of taking care of your dogs is their dental hygiene. Most owners ignore taking care of the teeth of their dogs and believe that they will be fine. The main reason for this is that dogs don’t let them know about their toothaches. You have to clean your dogs teeth at least once per week. This way, you can avoid a lot of gum and teeth problems.

Kangals aren't illegal to own in the US, but Turkey has some rules about shipping this breed abroad which might make them difficult to attain.

Is a Kangal stronger than a Pitbull?

Kangal dogs are twice the size of Pitbulls and have twice the strength. In fact, Kangals are not only stronger than Pitbulls, but almost every other dog except for Caucasian shepherds. Kangals can defeat several other breeds including Cane Corsos, German Shepherd, Rottweilers, Bully Kutta, and other Mastiff dogs. Also, the force of a Kangal bite is more than 700 lb (317 kg) which makes their bite the strongest of any dog breed. For comparison, Pitbulls only have a bite force of 230-250 lb (104-113 kg). If Kangals seriously bite a dog even once, they could cause some serious damage.

What is the difference between an Anatolian shepherd dog and a Kangal?

Kangals and Anatolian shepherd dogs look identical. However, they are completely different dog breeds with several differences. Kangals make a fantastic dog for your family, while Anatolian shepherds are better as livestock guardians. However, both of them are known to be protective guard dogs.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other mammals including Cavapoo, or Dutch shepherd.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one of our realistic German shepherd coloring pages.



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