About the Akbash Dog Breed
An ancient livestock protection breed from Turkey, the Akbash Dog is a large, white dog with excellent sight and hearing, as well as a fast and protective nature, says Orysia Dawydiak, co-author of “Livestock Protection Dogs – Selection, Caring and Training” and registrar for Akbash Dogs International.
Here, Dawydiak shares her expert knowledge on the ins and outs of this unique breed.
Akbash Physical Characteristics
A large, all white dog, with a lean build and sight hound ancestry, the Akbash Dog has a tucked waist and a tail that curls over his back when he’s alert. Males weigh between 90 and 120 pounds, while females usually weigh between 75 and 100 pounds.
White, with eyes in various shades of brown. Skin pigment is a piebald pattern.
Long, course outer coat of varying lengths, with a shorter, softer undercoat.
Akbash Personality and Temperament
Akbash Dogs are loyal to their owners, and when raised with children under adult supervision are protective of the whole family. Likewise they can be protective of other pets in the home or on a farm.
Things to Consider
The Akbash Dog is very territorial about his home property and is wary of strange people and animals. They require a lot of space to exercise, and excellent fencing as they are prone to explore a very large territory if they leave their home property. They should also be well socialized as puppies, and obedience classes will help strengthen the bond between themselves and their owners, as well as help them learn to accept new dogs and new situations in their environment.
Ideal Living Conditions
They are not a suitable breed for first-time dog owners, or people who live in urban environments. They can be problem barkers if left alone outside, especially at night when they are their most vigilant. This breed should live on a large, extremely well-fenced area without other strange dogs or vehicular traffic nearby.
They shed profusely and need regular brushing.
The Akbash Dog can live 10 to 12 years when properly exercised, nourished and not overfed. They can have hip dysplasia if their parents have not been screened for the disease. Bone cancer can also be a problem, especially in a very large and overweight dog. Bloat and cardiomyopathy have been known to occur on occassion.
Akbash History and Background
The Akbash Dog originated in Turkey and can still be found there today. They were selected to guard livestock from predators under minimal supervision, and are rather independent in nature and not inclined to take direction from humans.
The breed was first introduced in North America in the late 1970s. They now guard many types of livestock all over North America, Europe, and parts of South America, Israel and other countries. Some dog lovers are attracted to this breed because of their natural beauty but potential owners should know that this can be a difficult breed for the average person. Many Akbash Dogs end up abandoned or in shelters when owners find they cannot control their dog in a busy, urban setting.