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Akbash Dog

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Akbash Dog
Country of origin
Classification and breed standards
Not recognized by any major kennel club
This breed of dog is extinct

The Akbash Dog is native to western Turkey in the region known as the Akbash, and it is primarily used as a Livestock guardian dog. The name comes from the Turkish word meaning white head.


It is a large dog, weighing between 90 to 130 pounds (41 to 59 kg), averaging 90 pounds for the female and 120 (54 kg) for the male, but it is leaner than other Turkish guard dog breeds, and has a distinct white coat, long legs, and feathered curved tail. It possesses characteristics of both mastiffs and sight hounds. The breed is often referred to as a sheep dog, but it does not herd its charges. Instead, it is designed to live with the flock and act as a guardian.

The Akbash was combined with the Kangal to create the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.


The Akbash is not shy. When used as a guard dog, it is not extremely personable with humans, although the breed is not by nature hostile. The Akbash can be used as a companion dog as well as a working breed, and if trained appropriately can be extremely personable with any creature no matter the size or age. The Akbash has been bred to be independent and dogs of this breed might think that they know better than their owners during training. The Akbash is a relatively low-energy breed. Because it is in their nature to lie with the flocks they guard most of the day, they do not require tremendous endurance and little energy. That does not mean, however, that they can be happily confined to small spaces. It is still very much a working breed and is happiest when given a task to complete. These dogs are known for their intelligence, bravery, independence and loyalty.


Cases of hip dysplasia and Osteochondritis dessicans (OCD) have occurred with this dog; however, the breed as a whole does not seem to be afflicted with these conditions nearly as often as many other large, rapidly growing breeds. Akbash dogs, like many large breeds, can be expected to live 10 to 11 years.


The origins of the breed are not well understood but it is known to be an ancient pure breed. The Akbash Dog is the Turkish equivalent of other white guardian breeds found in and around the northern Mediterranean Basin. Unlike those breeds, only the Akbash Dog has its unique combination of Mastiff and sighthound qualities. This breed was developed 3000 years ago, probably by shepherds who purposely bred for white-colored guarding sheepdogs, perhaps to tell them apart from predators.

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