Turkish Kangal Dog

Last updated June 2013

A breed standard is the guideline which describes the ideal characteristics, temperament and appearance including the correct colour of a breed and ensures that the breed is fit for function. Absolute soundness is essential. Breeders and judges should at all times be careful to avoid obvious conditions or exaggerations which would be detrimental in any way to the health, welfare or soundness of this breed.

From time to time certain conditions or exaggerations may be considered to have the potential to affect dogs in some breeds adversely, and judges and breeders are requested to refer to the Breed Watch information related to this breed for details of any such current issues. If a feature or quality is desirable it should only be present in the right measure. However, if a dog possesses a feature, characteristic or colour described as highly undesirable, it must not be rewarded in the show ring.

General appearance

Large, well muscled and of balanced proportions, with a sound and impressive stance. Important features of the breed include an impressive head, without any exaggeration, with black or dark coloured mask covering muzzle and with black or dark ears. Ears are medium sized and pendant; the double coat is short and dense, ranging in colour from cream through all shades of fawn to grey. When alert the tail is carried in an open curl over the back, forming a circle. Must have size, stamina and speed. Dogs noticeably masculine, bitches feminine.


Active breed used as a guarding dog for sheep and livestock; they guard the flock rather than herd. Capable of hard work and enduring extreme temperatures.


This is not by nature an aggressive breed but it can be dominant and territorial. Steady and bold, naturally independent, very intelligent. Proud and confident, but can be aloof with strangers. Loyal to its master.

Head and skull

Skull large, broad and slightly rounded. Appears flat between the ears when alert. Slight furrow in forehead. Moderate stop. Ratio of skull:muzzle approximately 3:2. Mature males have broader heads than females. Slightly pendulous lips giving a square profile to the foreface. The muzzle tapers slightly towards the nose, which is large and black with wide, open nostrils. The face always has a characteristic dark mask covering the muzzle. The mask may extend beyond the eyes.


Medium sized, almond to oval in shape. Tightly fitting eyelids showing no haw. Golden to brown in colour, harmonising with coat colour. Darker eyes preferred. Eye rims well pigmented.


Medium sized, triangular in shape, rounded at tips. The ears are set slightly below the top of skull, pendant and carried flat to the cheeks, higher when alert. Ears should be darkly pigmented to complement the hallmark dark mask.


Teeth are large and well placed with a perfect, regular and complete scissor bite i.e. upper teeth closely overlapping lower teeth and set square to jaw. Level bite or reverse scissor bite is acceptable. Jaws strong. Lips black.


Slightly arched, powerful, muscular, moderate in length, rather thick, slight dewlap permissible.


Shoulders well muscled and sloping. Forelegs set well apart, straight and well boned, of good length, being 50-55% of the total height of the dog. Strong pasterns, slightly sloping when viewed from the side. Elbows close to sides.


Chest deep to point of elbow, ribs well sprung. Body powerful, well muscled, never fat. Body slightly longer than height at withers = 10:9. Withers slightly prominent, with a very slight dip behind, rising to strong, slightly arched loins. Moderate tuck up.


Powerful, lighter than forequarters; moderate turn of stifle with firm, strong hocks.


Strong, round to oval, with well-arched toes, back feet more elongated than front feet. Nails black or grey. The pads are well cushioned and strong. Hind dewclaws can be seen in some individuals.


Long, reaching at least to hock. Set on rather high. The hair on the tail tends to be slightly longer than on the body, without feathering. When relaxed carried low with a slight curl. When alert carried high in an open, central curl over back, especially in males. It should never fall to either side of the hip.


Relaxed, even gait, with impression of latent power, very supple movement. Noticeable straight line of head, neck and body, giving impression of stalking in some dogs. Great drive when viewed from side. As speed increases however, the legs converge to a central line and there is a tendency to single track.


Short, dense and weatherproof with thick undercoat. Flat, close lying, neither fluffy nor wavy. Slightly longer and thicker at neck, shoulders and tail; no feathering on ears, legs or tail.


The Kangal dog is a whole coloured dog, ranging from cream through fawn, to dun or steel grey, with characteristic dark or black mask and ears. Small amount of white on chest, toes and chin permissible, but not to be encouraged. Black or white tip to tail acceptable (no more than 5 cm). Dark pigmentation preferred. Brindle undesirable.


Height at shoulders: dogs 74-81 cms (29-32 ins); bitches 71-79 cms (28-31 ins).


Any departure from the foregoing points should be considered a fault and the seriousness with which the fault should be regarded should be in exact proportion to its degree and its effect upon the health and welfare of the dog and on the dog’s ability to perform its traditional work.


Male animals should have two apparently normal testicles fully descended into the scrotum.

*Note for prospective puppy buyers

Size – The Kennel Club breed standard is a guide and description of the ideal for the breed; the size as described does not imply that a dog will match the measurements given (height or weight). A dog might be larger or smaller than the size measurements stated in the breed standard.