Akbash Dog: Characteristics, Origin, Temperament

The Akbash dog is a beautiful breed of dog which is native to Turkey. It is mainly used as a livestock guardian dog or shepherd dog. It is an old and traditional breed of livestock guardian dog, used to protect the herds from predators in the nugged terrain of inland Turkey.

Not much known about the history of Akbash dog breed. But many believe that, they were first bred almost 3,000 years ago for protecting the shepher’s flock from predators. They are also known as Akbas Çoban Köpegi.

The name ‘Akbash’ is a Turkish word that means white head. The coat of these animals is important, as it helps them blend with the flock they are protecting. The Akbash is also the national dog of Turkey.

According to DogTime, Americans Judith and David Nelson were researching this breed in Western Turkey in the 1970s. Intrigued by the Akbash, they introduced the breed to North American around the same time. The United Stated Department of Agriculture uses this breed in their predator control program. AKC recognized these amazing pooches in 1998 under guardian breeds.

Today, the Akbash puppies are considered rare. Although, they might still be found at your local shelter or breed specific rescues. Consider adoption if you decide this is the breed for you and your family.

Akbash Dog Characteristics

The Akbash dogs are large, beautiful and powerful animals. They are mostly white in color, with possibly a touch of biscuit color (especially on the head). Their coats can be short or long, but are double coated and therefore heavy on the shedding side.

Their coat may have a wave to it and longer hair is on the backs of the legs and tail. Their ears are naturally hanged down. There are dark pigment around their eyes, nose and mouth.

The Akbash dogs are large sized animals. They are tall, standing in height between 27 and 32 inches at the withers. Average live body weight of a mature dog is between 34 and 57 kg.

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The Akbash puppies are a gentle dog breed who are very protective of their family. They are independent and like to have their own space from time to time. They were originally bred for protecting flocks of livestock. And they still have those strong guard instincts today.

The Akbash puppies are highly intelligent. Although they don’t have explosive energy, but they are quite agile and strong if they sense danger and need to act.

They will growl or bark at strangers, if they sense anything amiss. But they are not overly aggressive towards them. If you want a watchdog and guardian who will alert you to anyone who might approach your door, you can’t do much better than the Akbash.

The Akbash dogs need a strong and consistent owner who can also be sensitive to their need when training. They can be trained easily. But make sure to socialize them early to other dogs or pets who they might live with in the house.

The Akbash dogs generally don’t have any separation anxiety with their human counterparts, because they are independent. As they like to be on their own once and a while, so ensure giving them some space.


Average lifespan of the Akbash puppies is between 10 and 12 years.


How much a mature dog eats depends on it’s size, age, build, metabolism and activity level. Dogs are individuals, just like people, and they don’t all need the same amount of food. And ideal diet of Akbash dog should be formulated for a large breed with low energy.

Because of their low energy, they have a tendency to gain weight if they are overfed, so you should stick to a regular feeding schedule and not leave food out during the day. Limit their number of treats, as well.

Like all other dog breeds, the Akbash’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. Consult with your vet for recommendations about their diet (as there are too much variation among individual dogs).


Just like raising other dog breeds, you should always take good care of your Akbash dog for keeping them healthy, active and happy. You should keep up with regular vet checkups for detecting any health concerns early. Your vet can help you making a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.

The Akbash dogs are prone to weight gain, especially with their low energy levels. So ensure that your dogs get at least one good half-hour to a hour long walk daily with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.

Maintaining the oral health of your Akbash dog is another concern. So, you should brush their teeth as recommended by your vet (because many dogs are prone to dental issues). Your vet can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.


The Akbash dogs are generally healthy, but like other dog breeds, they are prone to certain health conditions. Not all the dogs will get any or all of these diseases, but it’s important to be aware of them if you are considering this breed to raise.

So, it is important to maintain a good care and regular vet checkups. Some of the more common health problems that the Akbash dog suffer from are hip dysplasia, hypothyroidism, dilated cordiomyopathy and bloat. Always try to keep good contact with a vet.

Breed NameAkbash
Other NamesAkbas Çoban Köpegi
Breed SizeLarge
Height27 to 32 inches tall at the withers
Weight34 to 57 kg
Good as petsYes
Climate ToleranceAll climates
Lifespan10 to 12 years
Good for childrenYes
Country of OriginTurkey

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