Kangal - magnificent shepherd dog from Anatolia

kangal 01 Pas sa stadom u Anadoliji april 2018 copy

Kangal, Turkish shepherd dog, belong to group of shepherd dogs and it is one of oldest dog breed in the world. Intenational kinology federation (FCI) accept kangal by name KANGAL SHEPHERD DOG, originally KANGAL ÇOBAN KÖPEĞI on 15th june 2018. and 10 days later, 25th June 2018, standard is published on English language and verified by No-331. Kangal is staggered in 2.FCI group, section 2.Molosyan type, undersection 2.2.Mountain type. With this recognition kangal start his serious kinology incamming in the world, where he must fight for his place on FCI breeds scale, specialy between 50 breeds of shepherd dogs. In systematization of breeds and FCI number, kangal “take over” place of his older brother anatolian shepherd dog, whose patronage has been under the jurisdiction of the FCI until now, and now it is the heritage of Turkey, the homeland of the breed. At this occasion, Natura Online have exclusive pleasure and honor to present kangal, first in our region, from homeland Turkey, central Anatolia.

Written by Zoran M. Kos, journalist and kinology judge / Text prepared for publication Dušan Marinović, editor in chief / Translation: Ana Šebalj / Photo: Zoran M. Kos, Ana Šebalj, web

Homeland, source of eastern shepherd dogs is Asia, in fact territory of Tibet and ultimate north of India. About occurrence of shepherd dogs there is more theories; most accurate is one about their noeuropian origin. By this theory, this dogs originate from central Asia, and their ancestor is old tibetanian dog which leads the origin from wolf from Tibet. Of course, there are some other theories and thesis.

Tibetanian dog from Tibet, before lots of centuryes, went in two ways: on west, in way of today Afganistan, Iran, Irak, and on north in way of Kazahstan and Kirgistan.

For our shepherd dogs is interesting west way of spreading of this dogs from Tibet; they go over Small Asia, go over Bosfor and came to Greece, probably in 6th century before our era. In antic Greece, in 5th century before our era was known  tibetanian dog which was also called molos (by Greece place in that time) and that name is still today. Moloss was also name of one of iliryan tribe.

kangal 12A Zoran Kos

Confirmation of this way of view give also ethnokinology (Urošević and co.2002.) because from east to west we can meet similar, almost identic breeds. One of evidence, which say so, is fact that in Kirgistan, for example, exist dogs for which domestic people say that they are central Asian shepherds, and they are so much similar and looks like our tornjak. There are colorful dogs also, black and white, with strong scull and jaws, strong and rough constitution like by Iranian and Kurdish dogs, and also there is, not to forget Bulgarian shepherd dog.

All countries of Balkan region, every mountain mass, have still today their own shepherd dog, and all have same ancestor molos. Branched tree, very uniform genetic code by this shepherd dogs, proves also story about migration  and moving of nations in past, from east to Europe. In same time, this dogs prove unconvincing that those time nations were breeding herds of sheeps, goats, cattle, and that they were in that long time ago, in first place shepherds and nomads. So, it is not strange that this dogs have characteristic and common performances of shepherd dogs; that characteristics which put them in special breeds. Kangal is also camming from same genetic pool and in their veins is running same blood.

kangal 04 Kangali bezbrizniodani i spokojni cuvari copy    kangal 02 Tabla na ulazu u mjesto Kangal u Anadoliji copy

When we analyse names of breeds today, we see that from past breeds became names by regions or countries where they are made. Sometimes it was by nations or tribes which breed them. Rare are breeds which got name by their creators and breeders, for example Doberman, and there are some other ways how breeds became names.


Breed kangal came from territory of city Sivas. Sivas is in center of Turkey, in mountain inside of Anatolia in region Central Anatolia. His main use is to protect heard, most of all sheeps and goats, from attack of predators, in different geographic and weather conditions, which were here never comfortable and easy.

Rough conditions and modest life in that areas, pasture of big herds, give main point of look and behave of kangal. It considered that look of Anatolian shepherd dogs, inclooded kangal, is formed in 12th centurye.

kangal 18 Popis registracija pasa

So, from where this name?

Kangal is city in central Anatolia; kangal is also name of breed of their domestic sheeps. From there is also name of Turkish shepherd dog, first standarded autochtonus dog breed in Turkey.

Kangal is strong, big, very reliable, brave and proud dog, croup a bit higher than height at withers, with gentle inverted back and strong body. This anatomy give him profusely and elastic moving, and it is trot, like by other shepherd dogs.

Male kangals are 72-78 cm, females 65-73 cm, with tolerance +/-2cm, high at withers.

Weight of males is 48-60 kg, females 40-50 kg.

kangal 14 Sivas Turska april 2018

Kangal is molossoid strong robust constitution, compact body rectangular shape of body which is covered with thick coat with undercoat, onecolored body with hair 3-7 cm long, fawn to wolf sable color. Good muscled.

Head of kangal is proportional with body, with black mask. Muzzle is in the shape of blunt wedge and shorter than skull. Eyes are big, almond shape, light to dark brown color, accordance with color of coat, dark eyes are more desirable. Jaws are good developed and powerful, bite can be scissor, level or reverse scissor byte, missing P1 or M3 not to be penalized. Ears are triangular shape and in color of mask, if they are not crop than are pendant with front edge to cheek.

kangal 17 Kangal lepe i dobre glave

His blood carry strong genetic base of shepherd dog what is confirmed by today classification of FCI, who put this breed in 2nd group: pincher, schnauzer, molos, swiss mountain type dogs, section 2.2. Mountain type, without working trial.

Kangal is very good guardian when is on duty. Benign, calm temperament, brave, dignified, loyal and affectionate to owners, when is with owner than is totally calm and accept contact with stranger. Fearless and incorruptible.

Today we can find kangal in all parts of Turkey and his using is still the same; he show same characteristics which had his ancestors. Today in Turkey exist about 30 registered kangal breeders.


But, we can find kangal in other parts of the world. For example, in Africa, in Namibia kangal is guarding cattle and goats in project for saving cheetah ( which is endangered species) because he keep cheetah out of villages and so is less opportunity to attack cattle, and so villages can not kill cheetah.

In USA kangals are used as pets, show and breeding dogs, but also they are used on ranch where they guard cattle of attack of mountain lion (kuguar) and bear. 

In Croatia, Czech Republic and Slovakia kangals are used for guarding ranchs and farms and heard from bear, wolf, jackals, fox, and also they keep wild boar out of property. In Russia kangals are show dogs, breeding dogs and pets.

kangal 08 na spomeniku Kangalu    Kangal 07 Sa najjlepsim psom registracije kangala

Kangal is multiple usable dog, modest, in slow but sure camming in kinology world. I would say, mutual acquaintance of world and kangal.

Of course kangal is very appreciated and respected dog in Turkey, in his homeland of breeding.

In centuries, dogs of this breed are bred in similar conditions which are today in Anatolia; used for guarding herd and home. That is why kangal is called , with right, shepherd dog and guarder of herd and house. With time is created big, very strong and brave dog which make himself choice and brave fight with all beasts in Anatolia.



Turkish kennel klub (KIF) made exploratory steps in 2008.

Than was organized first exploratory expedition on area around city Sivas, in central Anatolia.

Dr Milivoje Urošević was leading development of zootehnical study and made first standard for Turkish shepherd dog – kangal. They made measurements and analysis of representative number of dogs which was needed.

On working on field they choose 85 dogs, 51 males and 34 females.

To discuss about exterior parameters with qualifications, they made one more analysis of second population of kangals in 2010. This time around Ankara.

It was made on same principle.

This time they took 41 dog, 15 females, 26 males. All together is zootehical treated 126 dogs, which made sample statistic qualified.


Breed have also today satisfactory number of dogs and good spread. Number of kangals is solid, with quality and genetic stable.

It is considered as healthy breed in behavior and in character, and he present with his psiho-physical characteristics and specifics of typical shepherd dog. Calm, careful, almost indifferent, brave and obedient, kangal is loyal to his master, and calm in his around.



In beginning of April 2018.president of “Kangal klub for ex Yu” Ana Šebalj and me were in visit to Anatolia.

There we attend in registration of kangals in organization of Kangal klub of Turkey in town Altinyayla, which is about 80 km from city Sivas, capital city of same name provinces in central Anatolia, and 65 km from town Kangal. (they are about 1000 km from Istanbul).

In that occasion we visit few big breeders, and one of them was largest breeder Umit Tasdelen, owner of “ Altin kangalar” kennel (soon will be very interesting intervew with him in Natura Online).

kangal 27 Umit Tasdelan i njegovi kangali

On big steppe pastures in Anatolia there are huge herds of sheeps. Guarded by sheperman with his dogs- shepherd dogs of Anatolia. There we saw lots of working dogs. But, just some of them were in type of kangal breed. It is old breed of dog which is steel living on never ending places of Anatolia almost for millennium. We can say that this breed stay pure clean, without other blood and mix with other breeds, and that must be pride to kinology and homeland Turkey.

We also visit town Kangal which share name with their sheeps and Turkish shepherd dog. That breed of sheep, which domestic people call kangal sheep in standard is by name akarman. What we found interesting is that sheep and dog have same black mask on face and same grey/brown color of body.

kangal 11 Moderna odgajivacnica pasa


Anatolia is in her central part, typical livestock land.

I am on steppe high place, where time almost stopped. Immeasurably spaciousness for centurys was made by half desert or steppe climate. From there came modest life of people…

Central Anatolia is big, spacious land, with hot summer, cold and snowy winters, with less rain. That was most important on exterior of kangal; he had to be powerful and resistant dog in this situations , which can handle with extreme hot and cold, but also to be capable to walk with herd big distances.

I see couple of kangals, one donkey and shepherd… tandem? Rams and sheeps in separated herds.

kangal 03 Cest prizor i nerazdvojan tandem u Anadoliji

I walk through Anatolia for few days. And it is like I daydream and walk in past…

So much contrasts, very lively entrees but rough. Everywhere around me shepherds and nomads.

In one moment I felt like I was in 12th century, when as Anatolian people say, created kangal… and in next moment I was in our 21st century.

In Anatolia I was having feeling that I was traveler in time machine. Lots of emotions, surrounded with big time and space. Lots of dogs are here! Shepherd dogs! Lots of them…

kangal 26 U poseti Umitu Tasdelanu i njegovoj odgajivacnici

My host say that here is over 20.000 shepherd dogs which “work”. For me, shepherd dog lover, this impression is marvelously!

Horizon is far away, shadows are very long, lots of sheep herds, shepermans…

From hosts I got information that they have problem with workers, that is why shephermans are more often from Afganistan and Syria. They say in missing of shepermans , more often they have cows.

kangal 30 Gostoprimstvo

Anatolian people are big traditionalists, working people, tanned from sun and life, good hosts, rare hospitable.

Everything is here big and spacious. But also frugally. Food and drink are diverse. Totally natural, without “chemistry” and additives. Colorfoul tastes and aromas. I didn’t notes fat people, this people are hard workers. And their food is healthy. After dinner I use to drink dark carrot juice, very similar to our drink “rasol”.

kangal 12 Pastir u Kepeneku

It was my second trip to Turkey.

First one was in may 2017. when I was part of judging team on national dog show of dogs all breeds. Than I was on Special show of national breeds of Turkey in city Eskisehir, on coast of river Porsuk, one of leading industry center of Turkey, in difference of provinces and city Sivas, which are agricultural-livestock.



- Dog show in Altinyayla was very important and unique. It was first show which was organized by Kangal klub of Turkey in Sivas. There came 180 dogs, 50-60 of them were already registered. For others we made other system. We allow them to came in ring with preregistration, but for registration they most have graduation at least good. Main point was to show true type in homeland of breed. Situation was good. In all classes were chosen good examples. It was first dog show by FCI rules by this people (with small flexibility).In Sivas and in Turkey lots of people have big dogs. We wish that they have kangals. If we will be able to do so, kangal will be one of most important breed in the world. Next mission is organization of dog show again in Sivas. We are working on date of it - this are impressions of president of Kangak klub of Turkey mr. Fatih Cokcan.

kangal 24 Puna prikolica pasa


Like in other mountain regions, same in Anatolia, just here with stronger intensity, we can found different dogs, but all of them are shepherd dogs. There are brindle, akbashs, karabashs, with stronger or less strong heads, middle size, bigger, smaller, one color, colorful, with short and with longer coat, different high and weight. 

In big Anatolian genetic pool we can see different shepherd dogs in all types of color, sizes and colors; that is why there “swim” big number of true type of kangal breed. It will be necessary big knowledge and work to put the right way that this ship go in FCI sea!

First 10 years of serious work with breed, in my opinion, in compare with capacity, didn’t give proportional results.

Breed klubs of kangal today exist in Turkey, United Kingdom, USA, Hungary and in Kozarska Dubica in Republika Srpska/BiH. This klubs work independent of each other.

Comment on excerpt on Breed book in Kennel klub of Republika Srpska (KS RS) for kangal breed, which author is breeding leader himself:

“By work of KK EX YU in Breeding book KS RS is registered 18 litters with 136 puppies, which give average of 7 puppies per litter, 79 males and 55 females. Average is almost twice bigger than in homeland, and also number of litters and pedigrees, if we compare with our domestic breeds of shepherd dogs, it is more than satisfying.

In breeding we have only one FCI registered kennel “ILKEL ASALET”, ownership by Ana Šebalj, other was applied by breeders individuals.

kangal 20 stenad kangala 


- From love to kangal breed I devote my graduate work on Veterinarian university in Zagreb named “Anatomy-morphologic characteristics of Turkish shepherd dog – kangal”.

- Turkish shepherd dog - kangal, the ancient old breed, is preserved in his original form and using. It is very attractive breed which can be excellent working dog and guardian, but also for company and entertainment. Standardization of breed it would be type and genetic population more uniform, under control and more healthy.

But in some parts of standard should make some changes, so it would be easier control population and choosing individuals for future breeding. - so says Ana Šebalj in conclusion of her graduate work.

kangal 09 Sebalj i Cektas


I have to accentuate that is more visible that more enthusiasm and work put kangal klubs out of homeland, but that is already seen. For example, in type are more uniform šarplaninac breed dogs in Czech Republic, Israel and France than in homeland of countries of origin.

When we look at kangal on kinology manifestation, special on special and breeding shows, it is satisfying and in increase. Of course it help to breed to fight for his place on kinology scene, and special on European territory, thanks to members of Kangal klub for ex Yu ( KK EX YU) Ana Šebalj, Marko Čaktaš and Zoran Kos which are most often on shows and present the breed.

The past period was very successful for Kangal klub, of which I am one of founders, Board member and secretary. Every year we organized breeding and pedigree allow kangal show  and Klub show (from 121 dog which came, 58 of them was satisfactory of standard, so they became suggestion for making pedigree. Number of 50% of dogs which didn’t satisfy norm to became pedigrees, says how serious is Kangal Klub ex Yu in work for breed.

I can not to not mention praise of colleague from one of country in region, which made recently the same work: they laud that from 30 dogs on pedigree allow show, only one was “off”. I am maybe wrong and God will give that I am not right, but I think it is “commercial” type of breed.

Considering what I saw till now in our Klub, on meetings in Hungary and my visits to Turkey, number of accepted dogs never went over 50% accepted dogs by opinion of experts, and that were correct in type. Of course, I speak about norm problem by judging and some kind of pandering to exhibitors and organizers in way of making bigger population and existence of breed. However I think it is “cheating” of breed! Because, what is not good, should say so.

kangal 21 Spokojni cuvar stada u Anadoliji

In front of Kennel klub of Turkey (KIF) , klubs, and special Kangal klub of Turkey and breeders is big work

This is just beginning

In uniformity of type, in uniformity in color, high purity of breed and quality of dogs in source which undisputed have kangal breed by herself is not enough.

KIF have allows big work to try to make standardization for other Turkish national breeds: akbash, karast dog, sultan tazi, from them only akbash have already standard. Everybody who work with kangal breed must try that kangal really came on place which belong to him in Kinology world.

kangal 25 Sa Umitom Tasnelanom i Umitom Ozkanalom

It would be good to make comment for standard of kangal breed, with professional interpretations and with guidelines for future breeding, and with scale on what to make special attention in breeding of kangal; what to make better and awarding and what to penalize, how to judge more possible precisely and accordant to standard (and without judges subjectivity) judge kangal breed.

Members of klubs must be active to find dogs which by exterior and character fit in breed type, make record of them, and breed them under control. Searching for “new” dogs, in region of Anatolia would make contribution. But, always be careful and have on mind, that dog with correct exterior is not guaranty that he will give good type in next generation.

kangal 15 Zahvalnice za rad na promociji rase

Also, most ideal individuals must be founded, which have genotype which give their good characteristics to next generation. And it means that this examples are good examples of kangal breed and take a care that breeding examples are physical and psychic healthy.

Special need to concentrate on problem of jaws-teeth and frightfulness. This and some more other negative characteristics, if don’t go out by selection on time, after than can be repeated in next generations. Need to have on mind that ideal exterior of dog, which often can cause mistakes, phenotype, can have genes of psychic instability and carry it on next generation.

Important characteristics as temperament, character, length of body, withers, position and length of croup… are regulated with lots of dominant or recessive genes, so it came out that number of combination is huge. The only true, most important way to success in breeding is detail study of pedigrees breeding dogs.


Anatolia is, as I say before, magnificent and huge reservoir and source of kangals but must have on mind that is not inexhaustible.

It is not less number of questions connected about kangals, which are waiting for answers. Opinions that standard of breed and acceptance of kangal by FCI is solve everything and all is written, it is not good and not correct.

There is lots of talking and chats about kangal, special on internet, and in same time expert materials and literature is less or even does not exist. Because of that it is needed to make definitely frame of breed and study where kangal breed is going, but to have on mind relative big space and number of all shepherd dogs in Anatolia.

kangal 01 FCI Drzavna izlozba

As it is known, judges and breeders use term “breed type”. As I know living model, I can not see it in standard of Anatolian shepherd dog. It is breed which is not recognized from Turkish kennel klub because – every dog which work in Anatolia as shepherd dog. Now this breed cede his place in systematization of breeds, to kangal breed. Disagreements and confusion between Anatolian shepherd dog and kangal exist in past too.

That is why is one of most important work to clean this questions, but also make popularization of the kangal breed.

Misconceptions and mistakes are also by breeders and by judges too. Responsibility of all is big, just misconceptions by judges are more guilty. Carefully must be take a care that breeding type is not made by market, it must be taken a care by profession – kinology.


By judging kangal breed, same as judging other breeds it is very important general impression. It means harmony of body lines, moving and elegancy of trot. Because, moving of kangal is very important for guarding heard; those mountain dogs were for centuries having that job guarding and following heard. So, bad walk and moving of kangal should be penalized (punish) no matter that he have good exterior.

In other words, kangal must be physical ready for long time moving by heard on very adverse grounds and terms. Skeleton and muscles must be good developed so job can be done. Right proportion of head, right coat and everything else what is described in standard must be strict respected. Sex differences must be clear visible.

kangal 02 Izlozba autohtonih turskih rasamaj 2017

Arbitrariness, by judging, must be eliminated. For example, dewclaws by some breeds is not on free will of judge (most in cases), it must be point of STANDARD: it is there or it is not there, is it plus or minus for breed!

To make good work for shepherd dog, kangal must have good exterior. Like all other dogs from group of mountain shepherd dogs and kangal must be calm nature, stable, it is not allowed to show aggression or impulsiveness, and in same time must be interested, enough care and careful about all happening around them.


In first half of 2018. I went to 3 motherlands of shepherd dogs: First Šarplanina mountain in Macedonia, šarplaninac breed – Jugoslavian shepherd dog, than Raduša in Bosnia and Herzegovina, motherland of tornjak – Bosnian-herzegovina and Croatian shepherd dog, and at the end, Anatolia- homeland of kangal.

I was speaking with lots of breeders and shepherds.

First I would like to say, I agree with those authors which say that there is no dog breed so connected to people like shepherd dogs. Nations which have and breed shepherd dogs have lots of inseparably connections with this dogs. They present them with pride and they jealously keep them. Lots of villages and town holydays begin and/or end with presentations of this dogs. Very often and competitions as dog fight (of course, unfortunately), but also in competition of beauty.

Second, as I went in that areas, comparations of šarplaninac, tornjak and kangal came alone. What I saw in lots of shows, same in working and natural habitat of this dogs, is that kangals are in their true nature most typical shepherd dogs. I was feeling most comfortable between them.

By mountain shepherd dogs, topline of back is like letter “S”, and there are higher in back than in withers in connection with moving which is trot, as moving of shepherd dogs.

And here is kangal typical example. His body conformation, topline and higher back part of body are in advantage than by šarplaninac and tornjak.

Also, what I very obvious saw in Turkey, kangals are less tainted with co called urbanization and “heat of asphalt”. It is needed to say that on kangal in Anatolia was no influence of “modern kinology”, their true genetic code is still untouchable.

That is why is kangal still-pure breed!

kangal 31 pas i ovca

Keep always on mind that this dog of strong body, with strong rough skeleton, in fact ideal format, good muscles, with big and powerful head, with strong jaws, with ears close to face, with big and powerful chests, in fact - no need to change! Because that is genetic connection and true fact of this breed, that is his authentic breed code, base of his built/anatomy and his psichophysical characteristics.

When we say about what is most valuable by kangal, it is definitely his character, nature, multipurpose usable value, humility, trust and favor which must be useful to use and save for next generation so they will be able to admire to his courage, loyalty and beauty.

First what I notice by kangal was his good character. This his already described nature is, by my opinion, his best what he have; that powerful genetic code of breed, which came from 12th century, make him, with other physical characteristics – excellent shepherd dog.

Our together goal must be to preserve and protect present quality of kangal. Breeding rules  must be accepted, must be given  right ways for develop breed, and with that in beginning put on minimum possibilities of misunderstanding of all types, discord and misconduct.

One of most important mission of parent KIF, right now, when came official recognition of kangal breed from FCI, to put in extra efforts to make , with cooperation with klubs, breeders, systematic and serious and expert-kynologic work on popularization of breed, with basic goal to keep his purity and ancient noble nature.



Web http://www.kif.org.tr  

Web: http://www.cepib.org.rs


• Brošura o Turskom pastirskom psu - Kangalu, Centar za očuvanje autohtonih rasa

• Standard of breed Shepherd dog kangal –  - FCI standard N° 331

• Archives of Kangal klub ex Yu

• Graduation work of Ana Šebalj “Anatomic-morphologic characteristics of Turkish shepherd dog – Kangal”


Natura Online (30.6.2018)