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Akbash Dog


Akbash Dog Facts

  • Group
  • Working
  • Affiliations
  • UKC
  • Height
  • 27" - 32" (68.5 - 81.2cm)
  • Weight
  • 90 - 140lbs (40.8 - 63.5kg)
  • Lifespan
  • 10 years | Add yours

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  • Exercise Requirement
  • Moderate - This breed enjoys typical daily activity
  • Training Requirement
  • Difficult to Train
  • Grooming Requirement
  • Moderate
  • Colors
    • White
  • Breed Characteristics
    • Can be trained as a watch dog or guard dog
    • Ok outdoors

True Cost Of Ownership

Alternate Names

The Akbash dog is also known as Akbas or Coban Kopegi.


The Akbash is originally from western Turkey.

Date Of Origin

The specific date of origin for the Akbash is unknown but it is known to be an ancient pure breed.


In Turkey, Akbash Dogs are owned and bred by villagers and shepherds to protect their sheep from wolves and other predators. Recognition of these great white guardians as a distinct breed resulted from fieldwork studies done in Turkey by Americans David and Judy Nelson, beginning in the 1970s. They first introduced the Akbash dog to the United States in 1978. These Akbash dogs became the foundation stock for the breed in the United States and Canada.

In 1980, the U.S. Department of Agriculture introduced Akbash Dogs to its Predator Control Program where the dogs performed successfully. By 1986 the Akbash had established himself as one of the most successful livestock guarding breeds, protecting livestock from predators including coyotes and bears. An interesting trait of the Akbash Dog is its tendency to watch not only the grounds for four-legged predators, but also the skies for large birds-of-prey such as hawks and eagles that may prey on smaller stock animals.


The Akbash was selectively bred for white-colored appearance and possesses its unique combination of Mastiff and gazehound characteristics. The Akbash has long legs, a deep chest like a sight hound and a broad head immense height and weight like a mastiff. It has light colored, round eyes, a straight muzzle and V-shaped ears that are slightly rounded at the tip. It has two coats. The under coat is dense and soft. The outer coat comes in two varieties. It is either a medium coat that lies flat or a long coat that has a distinct ruff and profuse feathering. Either way, this breed is known to shed a little all year round and heavily in the spring and fall. It requires regular brushing to keep the coat clean. Akbash Dogs have the size, strength, and courage to challenge large predators and the speed and agility to chase fleet predators.


The Akbash dog's temperament is calm, quiet, and steady. Loyal, intelligent and independent, they are capable of correctly responding to changing circumstances without human direction. The Akbash can be rather aloof and suspicious of strangers (adult or child) and requires much socialization. Breed experts find the dogs, when properly socialized, are extremely adept at telling usual from unusual circumstances and responding with an appropriate amount of aggression in a given situation.

The breed is best utilized as a dog in a stable environment where it quickly learns the routine, what and who are acceptable. On range, Akbash Dogs may be responsible for literally hundreds of acres. The dog is capable of taking in large areas to protect if these areas are well-defined even if the owner fails to help the young dog learn where its territory ends.

The Akbash Dog is also highly suitable as a home companion or estate guardian. The Akbash Dog is loyal, gentle, and quietly affectionate with its own family, including children and family pets, but remains aloof and suspicious toward strangers. The Akbash dog can be aggressive toward other dogs as well as with trespassers or new unfamiliar people and children.

To be kept as a pet, the Akbash dog requires a very dog-experienced, firm, and consistent owner in a rural setting. The Akbash Dog responds well to basic training and when properly socialized and trained, the Akbash Dog is a wonderful family pet and home guardian.

Although its protective, guarding instincts are demonstrated at a young age, the breed matures slowly, both physically and temperamentally, with individuals requiring two to three years to reach their prime. Females tend to mature faster than males.


The Akbash dog has been bred as a guardian capable of protecting large areas and herds of livestock. The Akbash is also proficient as a home guardian, but will require a dog-experienced owner an may require special handling when visitors arrive. Although it is now sometimes kept as a companion, the Akbash thrives as a guard.

Health Concerns

Common health concerns for the Akbash dog include possible hip dysplasia, cardiomyopathy, entropion, hypothyroidism, seizures, and umbilical hernias.

Additional Information

Early and continuing socialization is very important, especially for those kept as family pets. A fenced yard is needed to define boundaries. Grooming the breed is not difficult, however, the Akbash dog has a double coat and will shed year round and heavily in the spring and fall. If he is being kept as an indoor pet daily brushing will be necessary.

Although puppies and young Akbash dogs like to play, this is a serious breed. Adult dogs will often forfeit the opportunity to play games but will still need to be exercised regularly.

Show Sources & Contributors +


The Ultimate Encyclopedia of Dogs, Dog Breeds and Dog Care

Publisher: Anness Publishing Limited, 1999

Website: http://www.southwaterbooks.com

Authors: Dr. Peter Larkin, Mike Stockman

The New Encyclopedia of the Dog

Publisher: Dorling Kindersley Publishing, 2000

Website: http://www.dk.com

Author: Bruce Fogle

The Howell Book Of Dogs

Publisher: Wiley Publishing Inc, 2007

Website: http://www.wiley.com/WileyCDA/

Author: Liz Palika

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