Although the Akbash is not well-known and considered a rare breed there is plenty to know and love about this large dog. Originally bred in Turkey thousands of years ago, this dog made its way over to the US during the 1970s and is now appreciated in many homes across the country. Loyal, courageous, and loving, the Akbash dog has lots to give. However, there is more to understand about this Guardian dog before you come to a final decision about finding your own. Read on to find out more about the loveable Turkish breed.
- Breed Group: Working
- Height: 27-34 Inches
- Weight: 80 – 140 lbs
- Life Span: 10 – 12 Years
Short History Of The Akbash Dog
Sources conflict when discussing how old the Akbash dog is. It is believed that the breed goes back around 3000 years and was bred in the area we now know to be Western Turkey. Although we consider the Akbash as a working dog breed, they were developed to be a livestock guardian as their thick white fur blends in with the animals to throw off unsuspecting predators such as wolves.
The Akbash is said to be originally related to the Sighthound and Mastiff which gifted these dogs with their unique features. Their most notable feature is their white coat which is known to be the Turkish form of other white guardian breeds found in the northern Mediterranean Basin.
Americans David and Judy Nelson studied the flock guardians and are responsible for their introduction into the United States during the 1970s. It was during 1980 when the breed was enrolled in the Predator Control Program by the United States Department of Agriculture.
Although the breed is not yet recognized by the American Kennel Club, the United Kennel Club registered the dog in 1998.
- Akbash dogs are not considered hypoallergenic.
- This breed can have a short or medium-length coat.
- Protective of their own family, an Akbash must be socialized from a young age to prevent aggression toward strangers and other animals.
- The Akbash dog breed is the national dog of Turkey
- Akbash comes from the Turkish word ‘Akbas’ which translates to ‘White head’.
- As an intelligent and watchful dog overall, some groups have made them the preferred breed for service training.
The Difference Between An Akbash And Great Pyrenees
At first glance, you may notice some physical similarities between the Akbash and Great Pyrenees dog breeds. Their build, stature, snowy coat, and form are almost identical. Also, not only are they similar in appearance, but they also have similar personality traits due to their independent genetics and heritage. However, The Great Pyrenees was bred to survive snowy mountains and can be born with other coat colors compared to the Akbash.
Akbash Dog Appearance
This guardian dog is known to have a muscular and lean frame due to its working background and heritage. An Akbash has pendant ears and a curled tail that can arch toward the sky. These large dogs tend to have long legs, a broad head, and a deep chest.
The Akbash dog is considered a large breed. Fully grown, these dogs can stand at a maximum height of 34 inches. Although, it is said that the female dogs typically grow to be up to 31 inches in height.
Considering their country of origin, Akbash dogs have a thick double coat that can either grow to be long or medium in length. Often, their coats will lie flat with extra tufts around the neck, legs, and tail.
Although this purebred dog will have an all-over white coat, some can hold a slight beige or grey tint. Purebred Akbash dogs will be predominantly white as they were bred to be able to conceal themselves in order to protect flocks from wolves and other predators.
Akbash Dog Temperament
A mature Akbash is typically gentle and calm but also courageous and attentive. This intelligent breed of dog has a loyal and watchful nature thanks to its guard dog heritage. An Akbash is likely to approach strangers and other animals with caution and will put his human’s well-being first if he’s suspicious or senses danger.
Besides their protective habits, the Akbash has an independent nature which is perfect for those owners who are not home at all hours of the day. However, this doesn’t mean to say that these dogs don’t appreciate the time spent with their favorite humans. When an Akbash has been brought up in a loving home, having dedicated time and attention to training and playing, they will grow to be gentle and affectionate dogs.
Being of the livestock Guardian breeds, and not a herding or hunting breed, the Akbash wasn’t burning copious amounts of energy. Instead, this dog simply stood guard and warded predators away. Therefore, Akbash dogs don’t typically have mounds of energy to contend with.
Although an adult Akbash isn’t known to be a particularly energetic dog they still have an amount of energy to burn. If not properly exercised and mentally stimulated this dog can develop destructive tendencies.
As you can imagine, Akbash puppies have mounds of energy so they will need adequate playtime and training added to their daily routine to ensure they are getting enough stimulation.
Due to the Akbash dog’s guarding instinct they are likely to bark a lot more when they sense danger. This ‘alarm barking’ is a way to communicate with their human family that something may be amiss. Although this trait is common in the Akbash breed it is possible to train a dog not to bark.
Although Akbashs have a watchful and protective nature over their families they are not prone to separation anxiety due to their willingness to spend time alone. However, that doesn’t mean that they are not friendly dogs or dislike affection. Like other dogs, an Akbash loves playtime, head scratches, and the occasional cuddle.
Due to their heritage, they are likely to keep a close eye on you at home and on walks to ensure you’re safe. If your Akbash has been raised in a loving home, they will grow to be doting and adoring members of the family.
However, some Akbash dogs have been known to become aggressive toward strangers and other dogs they are not familiar with if not given frequent early socialization.
Children and Other Pets
If socialized early, this dog breed will get on well with children of all ages as well as other pets in the house. However, if your Akbash isn’t introduced and socialized well with other animals and children they may be cold and watchful of them.
Like other large breeds, the Akbash may not know his own strength. Therefore it’s important to take caution when introducing this dog to a family with small children or small pets. This is because they are likely to cause injury when roughhousing due to their size.
Entertaining An Akbash Dog
The Akbash dog is not a lively breed but still requires walks and toys to keep him stimulated mentally. Unless trained and well stimulated, these dogs have a tendency to become destructive when bored. Since Akbash dogs are an intelligent breed, you may want to consider interactive dog toys to keep him entertained.
It’s also worth noting that this large dog will thrive better in a home with a big, fenced-off garden protected from busy roads. These dogs were bred to spend a lot of time outdoors and can potentially feel uneasy or uncomfortable in small spaces. Although they don’t have the high energy levels of other dog breeds they will still appreciate the space to lounge around in, play, and explore.
Not much is known about whether this dog will enjoy swimming as a way to stave off boredom. However, due to their low to moderate exercise requirements and energy levels, it wouldn’t be an ideal way to keep them occupied. Since their build is large and they are not considered an athletic or working dog breed they may find it difficult to swim for long periods.
Like all pets, there is a level of care and responsibility that comes with owning one of these guardian dogs. Applying adequate training, exercise, and the right diet will ensure a healthier dog that will have a long and happy life. Below is everything you need to know to take care of an Akbash.
Like other livestock guardian breeds, the Akbash dog is intelligent and will take to lessons and basic training well and quickly. It’s important to start obedience training your Akbash puppy the minute you bring them home to reduce the chances of them developing bad habits or destructive tendencies.
In addition to obedience training, it’s also crucial to socialize them from a young age to allow them to become familiar with other dogs and people. As mentioned previously, the Akbash breed is protective and will be wary of strangers however, with frequent socialization training they will be less likely to be aggressive or cold towards unfamiliar people.
It’s important to stick to firm and consistent training when raising your Akbash puppy to ensure that they don’t view all strangers and other dogs as dangerous. Like most dogs, the Akbash will learn best through positive reinforcement. If forcefulness and impatience are sensed during training they may respond with defiance.
You may also like our article on the Best Dog Training Books.
This breed doesn’t have major exercise requirements but they will still need some daily activity to help stave off obesity. The Akbash dog will need around 30 – 60 minutes of exercise a day for them to keep fit and healthy.
This large breed is another that is prone to weight gain and should be fed a high-quality diet catered specifically to big dogs. Throughout your dog’s life, you should stick to a regular feeding schedule to help keep them healthy and happy and choose treat time carefully.
If you struggle to find a suitable diet for your Akbash, it’s always worth consulting your vet or the breeder they were purchased from as they are sure to have all of the best advice for your pup. Furthermore, always make sure you have your dog weighed to make sure they are healthy and that you can ensure that they stay at an appropriate weight.
Regardless of what length coat your Akbash has they will shed a moderate amount. They are also likely to shed more as the warmer months approach however, frequent brushing will help to minimize the amount of dog hair you find around your home.
It is recommended that you brush an Akbash dog at least once a week. If your Akbash’s coat is long, consider brushing them more as this will reduce knots and matting in the fur. Brushing will also release stubborn dead hair and help distribute natural oils throughout their fur which will maintain a level of moisture and shine. However, you must consider bathing an Akbash once a month or when he is particularly dirty to assist the release of dead hair and to prevent matting.
Like all other dog breeds, you will need to clip their nails as they can become uncomfortable when they grow too long. In addition to this, you will need to keep on top of their dental hygiene and keep their ears clean.
This loyal dog breed is prone to very few genetic health problems however there are some conditions to look out for when owning an Akbash.
Both genetics and upbringing can cause hip dysplasia which is why a suitable and high-quality diet must be given to your dog. This condition generally affects older dogs and large breeds and can cause a lot of discomfort and pain.
This is a common hormone condition that can contribute to weight gain, lethargy, and a change in skin and coat. This condition is fairly common in more dog breeds than one but is easy to treat. Fortunately, if this is kept on top of your dog’s quality of life will remain positive.
Sadly, this heart problem can occur in the Akbash however a reputable breeder will ensure to have the appropriate tests completed to ensure their pups are healthy. They will also ensure that the pup’s parents are completely healthy and happy.
If you’re looking to get yourself a puppy from a breeder always make sure you obtain the appropriate paperwork that declares that they have been tested for affiliated health problems. Any breeder who won’t provide this information or testing is not reliable and can’t guarantee the pup is healthy.
Akbash Dog Lifespan
Unfortunately, some healthcare conditions cannot be prevented however, a healthy Akbash dog breed can live anywhere between 10 to 12 years. This short lifespan is common in large dog breeds.
Adopt Don’t Shop
If you’re thinking of adopting your new family pet there are several resources and rescue groups available to help you find them quickly. Take a look at the site below:
If you’re unable to find a new friend via these sites it may be worth taking a trip to your local shelter. Also, if you are really sold on getting yourself an Akbash but are worried about having them around small children due to their size, it may be worth considering getting an older dog if one is available. These dogs will relish being in a bustling home and will still remain playful but not at an extreme level like younger dogs.
Note: Always take into consideration the needs of a rescue dog before you decide to adopt. Sadly, a lot of these dogs have been the subject of abuse or neglect so aspiring owners will have to make sure they can accommodate the dog’s needs before they are taken home. An individual dog may have alternate needs compared to others so make sure you do your research and ask plenty of questions at the shelter.
How To Find A Good Breeder
Unfortunately, with the Akbash dog not being registered by the AKC it can make finding a purebred difficult. However, make sure to check the link below or have a further scout of the internet to find breeders and experts local to you.
Note: When you find a breeder make sure you go with a prepared list of questions. In addition to this, make sure to meet the pup’s parents and request proof of health testing for the pups in question. This way, you can be sure that the dog you’re getting is purebred and healthy. Any breeder that refuses these features must not be trusted and is a cause for concern.
What is the Average Price for a Turkish Akbash Dog?
Many sources conflict when declaring the average price of an Akbash puppy. Sometimes the price will depend on the breeder and their experience. Other times it will depend on the coat type and color of the pup. From our research, a purebred pup can cost anywhere between $300-$2000. This jump in price can also be affected by the rarity of the breed.