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Form and Function
A unique combination of Mastiff and gazehound features, the Akbash Dog’s characteristics enable him to perform as a livestock guardian. This all-white, lean, leggy, muscular dog has an alert, regal appearance conveying power, strength and courage with the speed and agility necessary to challenge and chase predators. His wedge-shaped head is adorned with pendant ears and long tail is curled over his back when moving or excited. Like other gazehounds, the Akbash Dog is characterized by his long legs, deep chest and tucked flank; the breed’s Mastiff influence is found in his height, weight, broad head and powerful appearance.
Friendliness To Dogs
Friendliness To Other Pets
Friendliness To Strangers
Ease of Training
120 pounds (male), 90 pounds (female)
30 to 34 inches (male), 28 to 32 inches (female)
Area of Origin
Date of Origin
The Akbash Dog is an ancient breed native to western Turkey’s plains and mountains, where he was bred by villagers and shepherds to guard livestock from wolves and other predators. Although the Akbash Dog is the Turkish counterpart to other white guardian breeds native to the northern Mediterranean Basin, he is the only breed to have the distinct combination of Mastiff and gazehound characteristics. In the 1970s, Americans David and Judy Nelson began studying these dogs, importing more than 40 Akbash Dogs to the United States. These imported dogs became the breed’s foundation stock in both the United States and Canada. In 1980, the US Department of Agriculture included Akbash Dogs in the Predator Control Program, in which they successfully performed, and in 1998, the United Kennel Club officially recognized the Akbash Dog as a member of its Guardian Dog Group.
Suitable as both a home companion and guard dog, the Akbash Dog is calm, quiet, independent and steady. He is loyal, gentle and affectionate with his human family, children and other pets. He is naturally alert and suspicious toward strangers and can be territorial toward other dogs. The Akbash Dog is receptive to training and should be properly and frequently socialized and trained from an early age to ensure a well-behaved family dog and guardian.
The Akbash Dog’s medium-length or long white coat, which can have light biscuit- or gray-colored shading around the ears or undercoat, should be brushed weekly to remove dirt and hair that has shed. Occasional bathing and regular teeth cleaning and nail trimming are also among the Akbash Dog’s basic grooming needs. Although his activity level is relatively low, the Akbash Dog is best suited for a home with a large fenced yard to provide him with plenty of room to run when needed.
Major Concerns: N/A
Minor Concerns: Hip dysplasia, epilepsy, dilated cardiomyopathy and hypothyroidism
Occasionally Seen: Gastric torsion and umbilical hernias
Suggested Tests: Hip, heart and thyroid
Lifespan: 10 to 12 years