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Last updated on April 24, 2014 at 17:35 EDT

Akbash Dog

The akbash dog is a livestock guard dog that originated from Turkey and was first bred in the 1970’s by Americans named David and Judith Nelson, who were interested in white dogs in that area. It derived its name from the Turkish word Akbaş, which translates to white head. Although the American Kennel Club does not recognize this breed, it is recognized by the United Kennel Club and can participate in International All Breed Canine Association (IABCA) shows and American Rare Breed Association (ARBA) shows.

The akbash dog is a large breed that reaches between 27 and 34 inches in height, with males weighing an average of 120 pounds and females weighing an average of 90 pounds. This species is leaner than other breeds in its area, like the Anatolian Shepard, with long legs and a curled tail. It is known for its flexibility and varying size. It has a thick double coat that varies in thickness from medium to heavy and is white in color. Its skin is typically spotted with black and its nose and lips are often black with some pink coloring. It is thought by some that this breed and the Kangal Dog were used to develop the Anatolian Shepard, although this cannot be proven. All three of these breeds share similar physical characteristics. This breed has a lifespan that lasts between ten and eleven years.

The temperament of the akbash dog is calm and it is not very active. It seems to be capable of independent thought because it is constantly observing its surroundings, watching for predators. It does not often chase or herd the livestock it protects, but has been known to lead livestock away from danger. It is one of thirty breeds that are known as Livestock Guardian Dogs (LGDs). Although this species is docile and calm, it will become very powerful and focus when defending livestock. Because it is a working dog that spends much of its time alone or with other members of its breed, training is often difficult, so it is not a common household pet. If kept as a pet, it is recommended that the akbash dog be given plenty of space to roam around and some form of work, as it can become destructive due to boredom.

Image Caption: Turkish Akbash, livestock guardian dog. Credit: Teddy Llovet/Wikipedia  (CC BY 2.0)

Akbash Dog