If you?re reading this, there is a good chance you already are amazed by these magnificent beasts and you think you need to get one. I get it? You?ve watched all Kangal videos on YouTube. You?ve seen how cute Kangal puppies are, how big they get and how gentle they are with humans (especially with kids) . So now you?re thinking this is the right breed for you? But? is it really? For your information, a lot of people in the US refer to Kangals as Anatolian Shepherds. This is a misconception. They are two different but related breeds. They do look similar but not identical. This post focuses on Kangals.
Full disclosure. I do have a Kangal. He?s 1 and he?s adorable. He?s basically a giant puppy. This is him on his 1st birthday. He weighs 122lbs here. Feel free to follow him on instagram. (@altaythekangal)
Big ol? pup
So I might be a little biased when I say they are the best . But I will try to explain in detail why I think they are the best and why I don?t think you should get one.
Why are they the best?
- Cuteness : They are beyond adorable. Not just the way they look. They are very goofy and clumsy. Due to their size, they mature pretty late. So they technically remain as puppies up to 3 years. They have a huge scruff around their necks and the loosest skin on their faces which they use to make the weirdest but cutest faces!
LOOK AT HIS FACE!
2. Temperament : They are very calm and in control. They don?t get intimidated easily and you?ll find that they are not aggressive at all. The Kangal fighting videos you?ve seen online do not accurately represent these dogs. They are often taunted and provoked for aggression because their owners think it makes them cool. The natural mental states of these dogs are simply amazing. I?m the only person my dog has ever growled at and that?s because I like to wrestle him a little too rough. He?s super nice to other dogs. He?ll often get attacked or provoked by smaller dogs but he won?t even react as he doesn?t really feel threatened majority of the time. When he notices other smaller dogs from distance, he?ll lay down on the ground and tuck down his head until he?s approached. This is his way of not being intimidating. Though this doesn?t last very long . Once he?s up, most dogs do get scared. But some don?t! And they become pawesome friends!
3. Loyalty: These are some of the most loyal dogs out there. I don?t believe that Kangals are pets. They are companions. If you truly want to feel that you are a part of a pack. You must experience a Kangal?s companionship. They will always be on alert and ready to protect. When you walk them, they will always keep an eye on you. Even from a distance, they?ll make sure you?re doing okay. They?ll adjust their attitude based on your comfort. When you meet someone, your Kangal will be cautious until they determine that the person is not a threat to you. Basically they will protect you with their lives.
4. Independence: Kangals are not needy at all. And I mean ? at all. They like to co-exist with you. They don?t need to be pat and hugged constantly. They won?t always jump on your lap for attention. As a matter of fact, they?ll want you to leave them alone 90% percent of the time as long as their basic needs such as food ,water and exercise are met. I always thought my dog didn?t care about me at all until his protective instincts kicked in a few times and he put himself between me and the potential ?threat?. This is just their character and do not think that they don?t like you. Only because they don?t show their love the way every Golden retriever does, doesn?t mean they don?t love you.
5. Lifespan/Health : Kangals are known to have amazing health and a long lifespan. This is due to the fact that they are an ancient breed that has not been unnaturally altered in a lab. They are often bred naturally, meaning they choose their own mates. Or professional breeders track their lineage and make sure no inbreeding occurs and pick which dog mates with which. This type of breeding over the years resulted in a perfectly healthy breed with an average lifespan of 15 years, which is amazing for large breeds. Many thanks to the loving and caring Turkish professional breeders. I even have a certificate for my dogs lineage. I know the names and birth-places off all of his ancestors up to his great-great-grandparents.
This is how he sleeps. Like his human?
If they are so amazing, why shouldn?t you get one? Well? Let me explain.
- Their size/strength : They are massive. Some can weigh up to 140lbs . This comes with a huge muscle mass and strength . Majority of you who are reading this won?t even be able to walk one. You?ll have to be able to move them around and play with them. They love to wrestle and you should be able to wrestle them or tire them up some other way, which will again require a lot of strength. You should be able to contain them. I don?t think people should get dogs they can not physically out-match. I believe that Kangals wrestle to test their strengths. If your Kangal feels that you?re not a match, you?ll lose your status as the pack leader and he?ll fill in that role. Meaning he just won?t listen to you.
- Independence : I know , I mentioned this before as a positive. But it has its drawbacks. Their independence comes with autonomous decision making. They don?t like to take orders and they are very stubborn. It takes a strong leader to make a Kangal listen . They won?t play fetch. They think it?s stupid. If you throw something more than once, it means you don?t want it. So they won?t bring it back to you. They won?t roll over. Or do other pointless tricks. They might do them if you have treats. But this is because they believe that they are training you. ?If I sit, he gives me a treat?. Many other dogs love pleasing their humans by doing tricks but Kangals are not built that way. They are working dogs and require more mind stimulating games. They won?t stop because you tell them to. They?re going to want to make sure everything is okay before they feel that they should stop . They like to roam. They like to make sure there are no threats nearby and you won?t be able to stop them from looking around.
- They hate other smaller animals : Yes. They truly hate cats, rabbits, possums, crows, you name it. They hate them all. They only like/tolerate livestock as they are livestock guardians naturally . My Kangal tries to kill all smaller animals every chance he gets. I honestly find this hilarious but I am aware that this is problematic. He will lose his mind when he sees a squirrel from a distance and I can barely hold his leash. This makes them a liability. They might roam around chasing your neighbors annoying cat or chase a squirrel and get hit by a car. Going back to my first point, you must be able to contain them.
- Difficulty getting trained : To be able to train a Kangal, you must show great leadership. The moment they feel that you are losing control, they?ll take up the leadership role and be the alpha in your pack. You can kiss training your Kangal goodbye. They?re difficult to train because they are naturally in control of their surroundings and they feel that they know what to do to protect and care for their companions. All the other things you may want your Kangal to do will not be very important to him . This is the main reason he won?t feel the need to listen to you. Many dogs do things to please their owners. Kangals do things to protect them. This is very important to understand.
You should also ask yourself: Why do you want a Kangal? Is this really the breed you need? Do they fit into your lifestyle? Do you need them as a pet ? or as a companion as I mentioned. Do you have livestock you need to protect? Answering these questions will help you determine whether a Kangal is a right match for you or not.
Last but not least. Here?s my pup on the 4th.