Akbash Dog

Akbash Dog Breed

Other names:
Akbas Coban Kopegi
Akbash Shepherd Dog

Pronunciation: [ Ak·bash dȯg ]

This is a very rare breed outside of Turkey. Although the dog has been around for a very long time, there is little history to go with it. They are very large dogs, and they tend live best in certain environments and conditions. They are strong, intelligent, and hard-working dogs that can be aggressive, stubborn, and demanding. They have only one coat color — white — as that kept them from being confused with predators as well as allowed them to blend in with the sheep they frequently guarded. (In Turkish, "akbash" means "white-headed.")

Akbash Breed Details

The Akbash Dog is a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) that is suited for a narrow range of people: ranchers with LGD experience head the list, and there are few others. These dogs are definitely not for first-time dog owners, families with kids, or people who are not extremely active and desiring a dog alongside them. They are also not good for small homes, other dogs, and people not ready to train and socialize these dogs during their 3 to 4 years of slow maturation. These dogs need to know their place in the hierarchy, require a job to do, and need experienced trainers to guide them. A few Akbash Dog facts below will help you to understand if this dog is for you:


  • Great guard dog
  • Excellent watchdog
  • Extremely intelligent
  • Highly alert at all times
  • Superb livestock guardian dogs


  • Hard to find
  • Not good with kids
  • Difficult to train
  • Not hypoallergenic
  • Matures very slowly
  • Very wary of strangers
  • Needs lots of daily exercise
  • Puppy phase can be very hard
  • Natural aggression toward dogs
  • Requires firm yet gentle training
10 - 12 yrs.
27 - 32 in.
90 - 140 lbs
OverallFamily FriendlyChild FriendlyPet FriendlyStranger Friendly
Easy to GroomEnergy LevelExercise NeedsHealthShedding Amount
Barks / HowlsEasy to TrainGuard DogPlayfulnessWatch Dog
Apartment DogCan be AloneGood for Busy OwnersGood for New OwnersIntelligence

Akbash Dog Breed Description

This page will give you the 101 on Akbash Dogs. There is not much Akbash Dog information and the breed is not recognized by the AKC, the FCI or the UKC; only the Turkish Kennel Club formally recognizes this extremely rare breed. These highly independent, hard-working dogs are not found much outside Turkey where they remain superb in their roles guarding and guiding livestock in harsh terrain.

As they are expected to work on their own far from home and without immediate human supervision even as they protect the interests of their human masters, the Akbash Dog is a very intelligent breed. These dogs can be very stubborn as they know how to take care of themselves as well as get the job done.

Akbash Dogs are exceedingly loyal, very territorial, and highly dominant. They are great dogs for the right person who has experience with this type of working dog. Despite their aggressive tendencies, they must be trained with a gentle hand lest they become highly protective of food and property against people. Properly trained and socialized, they are excellent guard dogs with very sharp hearing.

The Akbash is not at all good for apartments, people with leisurely lifestyles or being neglected. Dog parks are not exactly recommended as this breed's most notable aggression is toward other dogs. Still, they must be exercised at length and outdoors daily or their health may be quickly impacted.

Akbash Dog Temperament

The long years as a puppy, headstrong attitude as an adult, and demand to have a job as well as be high up in the hierarchy of the home should be understood as part of the Akbash temperament. While barking is a habit that may be mitigated, you should understand that it should not be completely curbed; this is the way these dogs communicate from afar when working without human supervision.

The puppy stage for this breed is much longer than most dogs, and as puppies, these dogs tend to play roughly. Mouthing is perhaps the one habit that must be firmly prevented. It may be cute when your Akbash puppy is little, but when they get to be 100 or more pounds, it can present a problem. They also need a lot of room to roam and run as they mature, even as they are being trained to guard various types of livestock. Patience is a must in all aspects of training.

Also of note is the Akbash Dog's territorial traits. If they are not trained well and gently handled, they are said to quickly exhibit signs of defending areas around a home against the people living in it. If they are treated harshly, they will respond by carving out spaces where people are not allowed.

This rare breed is known for her courage, fortitude, and intelligence, and she should be trained and socialized to best use these characteristics so that she and her family live well together.

Akbash Dog Health

The Akbash Dog has few possible hereditary health problems. You should never accept a dog that has no health papers and vet screenings. With this breed, you absolutely should insist on hip health tests such as those provided by the Orthopedic Foundation for Animals (OFA) as hip dysplasia is a huge problem in large dog breeds.

As a very large dog that is extremely active for most of her life, she is susceptible to problems that most such dogs can develop as well as those that generally affect dogs:

  • Bloat
  • Hernias
  • Epilepsy
  • Joint dysplasia
  • Heart conditions
  • Thyroid problems

Properly cared for and exercised as she needs and wants, your Akbash Dog should live for 10 to 12 years.

Akbash Dog Health Concerns

Below are potential health concerns associated with Akbash Dogs.

Hip dysplasia
Luxating patella
Umbilical hernias
Heart problems

About this Article

Authored by:Dog-Learn
Updated:April 19, 2017