The Kangal Dog is found in the high rolling plains country of central Turkey. The approximate geographic center of the region is Sivas City. The Kangal Dog has historically been associated with the town of Kangala district town within Sivas Province. While much of the landscape is rolling plains, the region is cut by the Kulmaç Mountains and the Tecer Mountains running approximately NE/SW. The Uzun Yayla southwest of Kangal is a major Kangal Dog and sheep producing area. The Kızılırmak River runs through the province. A karst topography dominates the northern part of the province.
Although Sivas Province is the center of Kangal Dog breeding, good examples of the breed can also be found in parts of the neighboring provinces of Kayseri, Yozgat, Tokat, Erzincan, and Malatya, where they border on Sivas Province. The precise regional boundaries for the Kangal Dog cannot be defined, but the demarcation between true Kangal Dogs and other dogs is usually abrupt.
Kangal. A name well known to the people of Turkey! Its very name evokes the romance and legendary aura of this land so steeped in history. This ancient breed springs forth like a lion from its epicenter – the Kangal District – a region in east central Turkey located in what is known as the Anti-Taurus. While Turkey has more than one indigenous dog breed, the Kangal is the most famous of them all. This breed’s status is manifested by its portrait on a national Turkish postage stamp. If any dog breed can be characterized as the national dog of Turkey, that breed is the Kangal Dog.
Standing a minimum of 30 inches (dogs) at the withers and weighing an average 120 pounds, the Kangal Dog is a strongly-built, magnificent dog distinguished by its black face and ears. The short, soft body coat ranges from light dun to steel grey in color and is usually accented with a white chest blaze and white stockings on the feet and legs. Turkish shepherds frequently crop the ears close to the skull, thereby enhancing its leonine appearance. When equipped with the traditional spiked, iron collar around its neck, the Kangal Dog, in its native land, projects an intimidating and powerful image.
The correct, traditional name for the breed in Turkey is Kangal Köpegi or Sivas Kangal Köpegi. (The Turkish word köpek means “dog” in English. When used with an adjective in the Turkish language, the word “köpek” takes the form köpeği.) Thus, the direct translation is Kangal Dog or Sivas Kangal Dog. No other name is acceptable to the Turks, nor to its original sponsor in Europe and the United States – The Kangal Dog Club of America, Inc., a non-profit corporation founded to preserve the breed, protect its name, and maintain the Turkish-American standard for the breed.
To understand the Kangal Dog, one needs to understand the context-historical, cultural, and physical-in which it is found. Our objective is to provide all the information needed to understand and appreciate this magnificent breed.
If any dog breed can be characterized as the “national dog” of Turkey, the Kangal Dog is that dog. Simply stated, the Kangal Dog is a cultural and historic icon of the Turkish people.
The image of the Kangal Dog in Turkey is very positive. This image connotes power, strength, and generates a great sense of pride. There is a feeling of awe for the great Kangals of Turkey!