Akbash Breed Card
Akbash Breed Overview
Mixed Breed Dogs
28 to 34 inches tall
80 to 140 pounds
Country of Origin
Protective, Alert, Independent
Akbash are large, white-coated dogs that were bred with the purpose of protecting livestock from predators. The exact name – Akbaş Çoban Köpeği, translates from Turkish to “white head” as the dog’s white-colored fur easily distinguishes it from predators.
The Akbash share mixed characteristics of the Mastiff and Sighthound, both in their protective behavior and strong physique. The Akbash is a guardian breed native to Western Turkey, but its exact origins are yet to be known.
They were brought to the United States in the late 1970s by two American researchers, David Nelson and Judy Nelson, as they took interest in the breed and have since been used by the United States Department of Agriculture as sheepdogs.
The Akbash is accepted by the United Kennel Club (UKC) but does not have recognition in the American Kennel Club (AKC). Even today, this working dog is a relatively rare breed.
Low End: $700
High End: $900
Akbash Physical Traits
Akbash dogs are large, lean, and muscular dogs with an alert appearance. The breed only comes with a white, double-coated coat that makes them great as livestock guardian dogs because they blend in with the colors of the flock, avoiding spooking them, and believing that they are predators.
Akbash dogs have a long proportion as they are tall, with long legs, a wedge-shaped head with pendant ears, and a long tail usually carried in a curl over the back. The Akbash Dog displays a mix of Mastiff and gazehound characteristics.
The breed sports long legs, a deep chest, an arched loin, a shallow lower jaw, tucked flank, and an overall impression of power because of their large size. Many of the Akbash dogs are born with double dewclaws on the rear legs.
Akbash Dogs can come in both medium and long coat types. Medium-coated Akbash can have wavy hair that is feathered on the legs and tail. They have a dense undercoat with long and coarse guard hairs.
Size & Weight ❤️
Height: 33 inches
Weight: 100-140 pounds
Height: 29 inches
Weight: 80-120 pounds
Coat & Color
Golden brown to dark brown
White to biscuit
Medium to long
Akbash Temperament and Personality
Akbash are gentle giants that are very loyal to their families. One thing to note is that they have strong protective instincts, so they may not like strangers barging into the place. They can be very calm and affectionate but are also fast and powerful when it is time to get to work.
GOOD WITH KIDS
Yes, the Akbash is kid-friendly and makes a good family pet.
However, because of their size, they can knock small children over without thought, so it takes careful management and training before an Akbash is ready to interact appropriately with children. Once they are properly trained, though, they are sweet and protective dogs.
Good with Other Pets?
GOOD WITH PETS
No, Akbash dogs are instinctively protective and may take issue with other dogs entering the family picture. It will take early and consistent training for you to safely allow your Akbash alone with your other dogs, especially the smaller ones.
Barks a Lot?
Yes, Akbash dogs bark a lot.
These are large dogs, typically meant for the outside. They are easy to vocalize when they find something they think is a threat, so they can get pretty noisy. Their barking is a way to warn their owners of something or ward off a potential threat.
Can Be Left Alone?
Likes Being Alone
Yes, Akbash dogs handle alone time quite well.
They are not prone to separation anxiety and usually like flying solo as the watchdog. They are independent in nature and won’t cause any trouble if out of your watch. Puppies may still need to be accompanied, though, in order to socialize them properly.
Akbash Dogs are great guardians due to their independent nature. However, because of this, you may encounter some challenges in training. Address any behavioral issues during puppyhood immediately.
Begin training as soon as you bring your Akbash puppy home while he is still at a manageable size, as your small puppy will quickly grow much larger. Many Akbash breeders recommend a program requiring puppies to do tasks before giving them meals or toys. This instills a sense of authority at a young age, and it will be easier to train them in the future.
Once properly trained, the Akbash are very intelligent dogs that are great at what they do best, guarding. Their instinctively protective nature makes them a bit hard-headed at first, but they will protect their herds and family to the best of their ability.
The Akbash is generally a moderate-maintenance, healthy dog that requires little exercise and can be left alone but may be prone to certain diseases that are common to dogs of their size. Akbash will need high-quality food that is designed for their particular life stage, keeping in mind that they should never be overfed so that they don’t grow to be overweight.
Akbash are large dogs that need a high-quality diet that’s appropriate for their life stage. Do not feed them too much, as they can get too big and become prone to developing hip dysplasia as they age.
Maintain your Akbash at a healthy weight, keep an eye on their food intake and measure meal portions and give treats sparingly, as it shouldn’t take more than 10% of their caloric intake.
Just like other dogs, Akbash respond well to food motivation. However, they do not necessarily need to be trained effectively.
Exercise & Activity Levels
Akbash dogs are not overly active, but daily exercise is recommended to remain in good physical and mental shape. Low-intensity walks and backyard games are enough to get them moving and get their blood pumping.
Akbash dogs shed a lot. They have a double coat, composed of a dense undercoat and longer, coarse guard hairs that require weekly brushing to remove loose hair and keep them comfortable.
Bathe your Akbash on the occasions that they are dirty, and maintain bathing once a week. Trim the nails as needed, usually every few weeks, and brush their teeth frequently with a vet-approved pet toothpaste to avoid dental problems.
Akbash Average Lifespan
A healthy Akbash dog can live up to 10-12 years. Considering this is a very large breed, this is expected longevity. Same as all breeds, Akbash dogs are prone to certain health issues.
Commom Health Problems
- Hip dysplasia: A common occurrence in large dogs wherein there is loosening of the hip joint, which causes dysfunction and pain as the dogs try to walk or move their legs.
- Dilated Cardiomyopathy: This is a disease of cardiac muscle that results in a decreased ability of the heart to generate pressure to pump blood through the vascular system, making the dog weak and unable to tolerate physical activity.
- Hypothyroidism: This is an endocrine disease that is caused by the impaired production and secretion of thyroid hormones resulting in a decreased metabolic rate.
- Gastric Dilatation Volvulus (GDV): Gastric torsion is a condition usually seen in deep-chested large dogs wherein the stomach twists and causes excruciating pain for the dog. This is usually associated with too much gas in the stomach or “bloat.”
Recommended Health Tests
- Thyroid test
- Cardiac exam
Tips for New Akbash Owners
Here are some helpful tips for first-time Akbash dog owners:
Find a Reputable Breeder: It is best to get your puppy from a breeder that can fully disclose information on your puppy’s pedigree and lineage, making sure that they are sired from parents that do not have genetic conditions that could be passed on to their litter. Make sure your chosen breeder has fully taken care of and has provided basic sanitation and prophylaxis for their puppies.
Get Puppy/Dog Products in Advance: Prior to bringing your Akbash home, make sure you have prepared the necessary supplies and food that they will need. Having the right supplies beforehand will significantly improve the transition into your home, not just for you but for your dog as well.
Take Care of their Joints: Large breeds like the Akbash are more predisposed to dysplasia, and it can be extremely uncomfortable for them if left untreated. It is easy to fail to notice minor changes in their gait as they are working outdoor breeds, so check on them regularly. Consider giving them an extra bone and joint supplements as they grow older, and never make the mistake of overfeeding them.
Provide Outdoor Time: Akbash are large, powerful dogs that have great watchdog instincts, so do not expect them to sit and lay around quietly all day. They will bark and chase after anything that they feel is threatening their family or herd, so they are not apartment-friendly. They thrive on being outside regardless of the weather but always make sure they have a safe, clean, and cozy space to rest when they want to. They can get dirty very easily, so bathe them as needed.
Akbash Similar Breeds
– Great Pyrenees
– Anatolian Shepherd
Akbash Supplies You Need
There are a few things you should prepare before getting an Akbash. Have a sturdy leash and collar, though the nature of the Akbash is to be off-leash, you should keep them on a leash in residential areas and on country roads. The Akbash is a strong and big dog that can easily break off a poor-quality leash.
The Akbash is comfortable outdoors all year round. Therefore, investing in a spacious doghouse made of sturdy materials that will protect them from sun, rain, and cold would be great for your Akbash. A professional dog crate can be advisable for families that will potentially have to move their Akbash to places. Especially on long journeys, this offers additional safety for drivers and dogs.
Lastly, for basic grooming supplies, you should have tools on hand that will help you comb through your Akbash’s thick coat, like a stainless steel rake brush to take out the shedding fur. When bathing them, choose a hypoallergenic dog shampoo. Having a powerful blow dryer would be great to help their thick coat dry faster.
Best Dog Beds for Akbashs
Best Dog Food for Akbashs
Akbash Fun Facts
If interested in the Akbash dog breed, read these fun facts:
Fun Fact 1
The Akbash is known to be the National dog of Turkey.
Fun Fact 2
The Akbash dog is still frequently used as a guard dog in Turkey, South America, and Colorado because of its keen sense of hearing and ability to easily detect coyotes and bears.
Fun Fact 3
Akbash dogs are extremely courageous animals that will put their life on the line to protect their herd and family.
Fun Fact 4
The Akbash’s white coat was purposely selected as a way of matching the natural white color of sheep’s wool to avoid potentially confusing the sheep.
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