Akbash, the captivating creature from mountains of Turkey


Majestic white creature from the mountains of Turkey, that’s Akbash…

History of Akbash


Akbash is a variety of the Anatolian Shepherd Dog from the western Turkey. The origins of this breed date back to several thousand years BC, although different researches vary significantly in the question since when we can call these dogs by the name Akbash. First mentions of the Anatolian Shepherd come from the artwork of Babylonia and Assyria. The predecessors of the breed probably came to Anatolia with travelers from the east.

Although now a shepherd, the Akbash was originally used to hunt lions. They were bred to be very resilient and aggressive, quality that many of these dogs still tend to have.

In the 1970s first dogs of this breed were brought to the USA to protect cattle from wolves. The breed is recognized by the UKC but not by the AKC. It’s also not recognized by the FCI.

An interesting fact is that it is legal to export Akbash from Turkey but not it’s cousin Kangal (another variety of the Anatolian Shepherd).

Appearance, Temperament and Health

Appearance of the Akbash

Height: 28–32 in/71–81 cm (dogs), 27–30 in/69–76 cm (bitches)

Weight: 90–140 lb/41–64 kg (dogs), 75–105 lb/34–48 kg (bitches)

The Akbash is a large breed of white color and thick double coat. The lower isolation layer is very thick, the upper layer can be long or short. It can be lightly wavy or even felted.

Although the top limit of the average height is 32 in, many dogs are, in fact, taller. The dogs have long legs and long and strong body. The head is of medium size, the tail feathered and often curled and the ears frame the face. Imported dogs may come with cropped ears.

Rarely, purebred Akbash are born with double dewclaws – we can find this special feature in other breeds such as the Pyrenean Mountain Dog.


akbashAkbash is a very dominant breed with tendency to aggressivity, especially in contact with other dogs. It’s a good watch dog due to it’s awareness, suspiciousness towards strangers and strong sense of territory.

The dogs have a great capacity to adapt to the changes and read the situation.

They are also very protective and with intense socialization they can be very gentle with young cattle. They are, however, absolutely unsuitable as family dogs. An Akbash needs a very experienced owner who can handle it’s notable dominance. It’s not suitable for obedience training since the breed has been bred to be independent and to think on its own.


The average life expectancy of the breed is 10-11 years. These dogs are susceptible to diseases typical for large breeds such as the hip dysplasia.

The Akbash need large areas, they tend to be discontent and to display undesirable behavior in small gardens.

Akbash as Work Dog

Although it’s a shepherd breed, the Akbash don’t herd cattle, they guard it. They are very effective in announcing the presence of a predator and, when needed, in fighting it.

Ready for another shepherd dog breed? Learn a thing or two about the Bouvier des Flandres!