Is a Kangal Dog right for me?
Is a Kangal Dog the Right Companion Dog for Me?
A Kangal Dog is a large, beautiful, and impressive dog. Kangal Dogs have many wonderful qualities but there are several things you should consider before you make the commitment to bring one of these magnificent dogs into your home.
After maturity, a Kangal Dog will be a very large dog. They are often much larger than dogs such as the German Shepherd. You need to consider whether you can handle a strong, powerful dog. Do you have room for a very large dog? Do you have the time and commitment for socialization and training? Do you have the patience to deal with a big dog that is often smarter than a small child, and frequently smarter than some adults? How will you keep it safe and secure?
Kangal pups rapidly become very large puppies. They often go through a willful and stubborn phase. And a chewing phase. They will also be exuberant. Can you handle an energetic puppy who weighs 80 or 90 pounds and keeps growing? Do you have other dogs or pets? It is important that they accept your new charge, and that you know how to introduce them properly.
A Kangal Dog needs a job to do, or people and activities to prevent boredom. Although fully mature Kangals can be quite placid; a bored Kangal is often a destructive Kangal. We have the pictures to prove it. You probably needed a new sofa anyway, right?
A Kangal Dog is a livestock guardian breed. Kangal Dogs will threaten or possibly kill predators or animals they believe might be predators. Kangals cannot be expected to calmly welcome uninvited human guests on your property. Kangals are gentle and trustworthy with their people or animals, but if the need arises they will become very protective. You cannot trust this breed off-leash unless you live somewhere extremely remote and you’ve done extensive training to ensure that your dog will not disappear after a deer or stray dog. You will need reliable fencing, often taller and more robust than you think. Some Kangal Dogs have climbed 6-foot fences. Good fencing is not optional – it is a requirement for this breed.
Kangal Dogs often like to dig - dens, tunnels under fences, and craters. You might not want to give your Kangal access to your entire landscaped yard.
Kangal Dogs bark. They also roar. Especially at night when they hear coyotes or other threats. This is one way they work. Your neighbors might not appreciate it.
Kangal Dogs shed their undercoat twice a year. Some of us are thinking of spinning it into yarn.
Kangal Dogs eat. Probably not as much as you think when they are fully grown, but they need good quality food and bones to chew, especially while they are growing.
Kangal Dogs need regular medical care, and everything costs more in larger quantities, especially heartworm and flea preventatives.
Most importantly, Kangal Dogs will need socialization to become good citizens in any environment. And they are independent thinkers. They see very little point in repeating tricks for you and they probably will not listen to you at all if they think there is something more interesting in the neighborhood.
Is a Kangal Dog the Right Livestock Guardian Dog for Me?
Yes! This is where they excel. Of course, the same requirements about fencing, socialization, nutrition, veterinary care, etc. still apply. Kangal Dogs were “shepherds’ dogs” in Turkey, seldom left to tend the flock alone but usually in conjunction with a shepherd. They are not automatic “set and forget” livestock guardians. They will need socialization and training.
A good guide to help you is the book Livestock Protection Dogs; Selection, Care and Training by Orysia Dawydiak and David Sims.