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Akbash Dog Breed Information & Characteristics


The Akbash dog breed, originating from Turkey, is a magnificent and imposing shepherd known for its exceptional guardian instincts and unwavering loyalty. Sometimes confused with the Great Pyrenees, the Akbash also command attention with their striking white coats and confident demeanor.

Akbash dogs actively excel as livestock guardians, fearlessly protecting their charges from any predator. Their vigilant nature makes them an integral part of farm life, ensuring the safety of flocks and herds. With an acute awareness of their surroundings, Akbash dogs constantly monitor the perimeter, deterring potential threats with their authoritative presence.

Akbash dogs are gentle and protective towards their family, but they can also be suspicious and protective of strangers. They are independent thinkers and need to be trained with a firm but gentle hand. Akbash dogs are brave and courageous, and they will not hesitate to defend their family or flock from danger. They are also very loyal and enjoy spending time with their loved ones.

Quick Facts

  • Origin: Turkey. The name “Akbash” is Turkish (Akbaş) for “white head.” They are closely related to the Kangal dog breed, another large livestock guardian dog from Turkey
  • The United Kennel Club (UKC) officially recognized the breed in January 1998.
  • Size: Large, with males standing 28-34 inches tall and weighing 80-140 pounds, and females standing 26-32 inches tall and weighing 60-120 pounds.
  • Coat: White, with a medium-length double coat that sheds moderately year-round.
  • Lifespan: 10-12 years.
  • Health concerns: Hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, bloat, eye problems.
  • Activity level: High. Akbash dogs need plenty of exercise, both physical and mental.
  • Grooming needs: Regular brushing to remove dead hair and prevent mats.

Akbash Pictures

Akbash Overview

Originally bred in Turkey over 3,000 years ago to protect livestock from predators, Akbash dogs are large, gentle, and protective. They have a white coat that helps them blend in with their flocks, and their loud barks are used to scare away predators. Akbash dogs are also known for their physical strength and stamina, and they will do whatever it takes to protect their family and flock from danger. They are not recommended for first-time or inexperienced dog owners, but they can make wonderful companions for the right family.

Akbash Highlights

The Akbash breed boasts coats that are nearly exclusively white, a characteristic that served a crucial purpose in their role as livestock protectors. Their white coloration allows them to blend seamlessly with the flock, enabling them to perform their guardian duties effectively.

Throughout the year, Akbashes experience moderate shedding, which intensifies during the summer months. To maintain their coat’s health and cleanliness, regular brushing once or twice a week is essential to remove dirt and old hair. With consistent grooming, managing their coat becomes relatively simple.

Akbashes exhibit a vigilant and assertive nature when it comes to guarding their territory. They will growl or bark at strangers if they sense anything amiss, but they are not excessively aggressive towards them. As watchdogs, their alertness and ability to notify their owners of potential intruders make them an excellent choice for security.

Being independent by nature, Akbashes rarely experience separation anxiety from their human companions. They appreciate having some personal space and occasional solitude.

Maintaining a healthy weight is crucial for Akbashes due to their relatively low energy levels. Regular exercise is essential, with at least one good half-hour to an hour-long walk per day, along with engaging play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.

Given their size, Akbashes can comfortably handle the play of energetic children. However, due to their low energy levels, they may gravitate towards spending time with adults or older kids who know how to engage with them gently.

Seemore: Akbash Pyrenees Dog Breed Pictures, Characteristics and Facts

Akbash History

Limited information exists about the Akbash breed, but it is widely believed that they were originally developed nearly 3,000 years ago to safeguard shepherds’ flocks from predators. Their name, “Akbash,” is derived from a Turkish word signifying “white head,” reflecting the importance of their white coat, which allows them to blend seamlessly with the flocks they protect. This remarkable breed holds the honor of being the national dog of Turkey.

In the 1970s, American enthusiasts Judith and David Nelson embarked on researching the Akbash in Western Turkey. Captivated by the breed’s attributes, they introduced it to North America around the same time. The Akbash also found recognition for its efficacy in predator control, leading to its involvement in the United States Department of Agriculture’s predator control program.

The United Kennel Club (AKC) officially acknowledged the Akbash breed in 1998, classifying them under the guardian breeds category. Despite their rarity, Akbashes may still be found in local shelters or breed-specific rescues, making adoption a viable option for those considering this breed for their family.

Akbash Size

Due to its relatively purbred status, the Akbash adheres to certain size standards. Typically, you can anticipate the Akbash to be on the larger end of the spectrum. Their weight usually falls within the range of 75 to 140 pounds, while their shoulder height spans from 27 to 34 inches. However, it’s worth noting that variations do exist, and some individuals may be smaller or larger than the average size.

Akbash Personality

Dogsbreed share the Akbash is characterized by its gentle and protective nature towards its family. While they cherish their independence and occasional solitude, their original purpose as livestock protectors still influences their strong guard instincts today. These intelligent dogs exhibit a balanced energy level, making them agile and robust when responding to potential threats.

When sensing something amiss, Akbashes will growl or bark at strangers, but they typically avoid excessive aggression. Their exceptional watchdog and guardian abilities make them an excellent choice for keeping a vigilant eye on approaching visitors.

To bring out the best in an Akbash, they require a strong and consistent owner who can also be attuned to their needs during training. With their high level of intelligence, they are receptive to training, but early socialization with other dogs or pets in the household is essential for harmonious coexistence.

Due to their independent nature, Akbashes generally do not experience separation anxiety from their human companions. Allowing them some personal space is appreciated, as they do enjoy moments of solitude.

The Akbash is a remarkable breed that combines gentleness with unwavering loyalty and protective instincts. With proper training and socialization, they make for devoted family members and reliable guardians.

Akbash Health

The Akbash breed shares some distant relation with Mastiffs, which makes them predisposed to certain similar health conditions. Although most Akbash dogs are generally healthy, some may be prone to specific health issues, underscoring the importance of proper care and regular veterinary checkups. Among the more common health problems that Akbash dogs may face are:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Gastric torsion (bloat)

Staying vigilant and proactive in addressing these potential health concerns can significantly contribute to the overall well-being and longevity of Akbash dogs. Regular health monitoring and early intervention, if required, are crucial in ensuring these beautiful canines lead happy and healthy lives.

Akbash Care

To ensure the well-being of your Akbash, regular veterinary checkups are vital for early detection of any health concerns. Your veterinarian can assist in creating a comprehensive care routine tailored to keep your dog in optimal health. Given their propensity for weight gain due to low energy levels, it’s crucial to provide regular exercise. Aim for at least one good half-hour to hour-long walk per day, interspersed with active play sessions and shorter walks.

Daily ear checks are essential to detect and remove debris and pests, following your vet’s recommendations for cleaning. Keeping your dog’s nails trimmed once or twice a month is crucial to prevent them from clicking on the floor, and a professional groomer can help with this task.

Maintaining your Akbash’s oral health is another important aspect of their care. Regularly brushing their teeth, as advised by your vet, is vital, as many dogs are prone to dental issues. Your veterinarian can provide guidance on proper tooth-brushing techniques to keep your Akbash’s teeth in excellent condition. By proactively attending to their health needs, you can ensure that your Akbash enjoys a happy and healthy life.

Akbash Feeding

An optimal Akbash diet should be specially formulated for a large breed with low energy requirements. Due to their lower energy levels, these dogs are prone to weight gain if overfed, so it’s essential to adhere to a regular feeding schedule and avoid leaving food out throughout the day. Additionally, limiting the number of treats given is important to maintain their weight in a healthy range.

As with all dogs, the dietary needs of Akbash dogs evolve from puppyhood through adulthood and into their senior years. Given the significant variation among individual dogs concerning factors such as weight, energy levels, and health, it is best to consult with your veterinarian for personalized diet recommendations. Their expert guidance can ensure that your Akbash receives the appropriate nutrition for their specific needs and life stage, promoting their overall well-being and longevity.

Akbash Coat Color And Grooming

The Akbash breed is renowned for its striking white coats, which were purposefully developed to aid them in their role as protectors of livestock and sheep. In the pure Akbash breed, no other colors are accepted. Their medium-length double coat ensures they shed moderately, making regular brushing once or twice a week essential to remove dirt and old hair. Consistent grooming helps maintain their coat’s condition, keeping it relatively easy to manage.

Due to their longer coats, Akbashes may not be ideally suited for extreme weather conditions. They are known to shed heavily during the summer months. If you plan to take them anywhere with extreme weather, it’s essential to make appropriate preparations to ensure their comfort and well-being. By being attentive to their grooming needs and taking weather precautions, you can help your beautiful Akbash thrive in various environments.

Akbash Children And Other Pets

Due to its large size, the Akbash can handle the enthusiastic play of overly excited children with ease. However, being naturally low-energy dogs, they may gravitate towards adults or older kids who can engage in gentle play. Nonetheless, with proper guidance, children who learn how to approach and interact with a large dog can find an active and delightful companion in the Akbash.

When it comes to getting along with other pets, the Akbash can coexist harmoniously if introduced to them slowly and calmly, especially through early socialization. Familiarizing them with other animals from an early age is beneficial. While Akbashes may not be naturally inclined to be fond of other animals, many can still form amicable relationships with other dogs and cats. Ultimately, their compatibility with other pets depends on training, socialization, and individual circumstances. With the right approach, many Akbashes can happily cohabitate with other furry companions.

Relate: Airedoodle Dog Breed Pictures, Characteristics and Facts

Akbash Rescue Groups

The Akbash breed, being relatively rare, can pose challenges in finding a breed-specific rescue. Nevertheless, exploring your local shelter is a great starting point, and you might consider looking into rescues that cater to large breeds or all types of dogs. Here are a couple of options worth considering:

  • Gentle Giants Rescue And Adoption
  • Angels Among Us Pet Rescue

By exploring these organizations, you may increase your chances of finding an Akbash in need of a loving home. Additionally, you can check out similar breeds with a large rescue network such as the Great Pyrenees.

Akbash Breed Organizations

Finding a reputable dog breeder is one of the most important decisions you will make when bringing a new dog into your life. Reputable breeders are committed to breeding healthy, well-socialized puppies that will make great companions. They will screen their breeding stock for health problems, socialize their puppies from a young age, and provide you with lifetime support.

On the other hand, backyard breeders are more interested in making a profit than in producing healthy, well-adjusted dogs. They may not screen their breeding stock for health problems, and they may not socialize their puppies properly. As a result, puppies from backyard breeders are more likely to have health problems and behavioral issues.

Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas
Alva Thomas expert in training and caring for pet dog breeds. Whether he spending quality time with her own furry companions or contributing to websites such as Dogsbreed.org and Animalpet.com, dedicated to our canine.

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