Although the Akbash Dog is leaner than many other Turkish guard dog breeds, he is still a massive and powerful creature. The Akbash Dog has a huge head with very strong jaws and a set of well-developed teeth. They are muscularly built, and they have strong, arched toes with thickly padded feet. The breed’s solid white coat does not mat easily, and it contains very little odor. The hair is short to medium in length, coarse, and weather resistant. An Akbash Dog’s ears are curved at the tips, lie flat, and sit high on his head. Their eyes are wide-set, almond-shaped, and can vary from golden to dark brown in color. The breed has a distinctive tail that is feathered, curved, and long in length.
Akbash Dogs are primitive guard dogs that require sensitive, knowledgeable, and dedicated owners. They are naturally aggressive towards larger animals and other dogs, but they are extraordinarily loyal and brave to their owners and livestock. They are not hostile, despite their guard dog tendencies. Contrary to common belief, Akbash Dogs are not sheep dogs. Rather, they are guardians to the flock they tend. Akbash Dogs are independent and serious, and they do best in an environment where they can work or be of legitimate use. Trained Akbash Dogs make good companions, as long as they receive constant socialization from their families. They are natural guard dogs and form strong bonds with the people and livestock they protect. Akbash Dogs can be especially good with infants because of their maternal instincts, and they won’t hesitate to risk their lives in order to protect their families and/or livestock.
In comparison to many other large-sized dog breeds, Akbash Dogs are very healthy. Cases of dysplasia have been recorded, but the same can be said for any other breed of similar stature. When purchasing an Akbash Dog, it is vital to buy from OFA hip certified stock. The breed has an average life expectancy of 10 to 11 years, and they average 7 to 9 puppies per litter.
Due to inbreeding, loose tendons and knee caps sliding off to the outside in the back legs is a recessive gene condition.
The Akbash Dog originated in Turkey about 3,000 years ago. The breed was initially developed by shepherds who sought a white-colored sheepdog. The exact reason for this color choice is unknown, but it’s possible the shepherds wanted a dog they could easily differentiate from predators. The name Akbash is derived from the Turkish word “akbas”, meaning “white head”.
Brushing this breed is beneficial to assist the shedding process. Akbash Dogs are above average shedders, but their coats stay clean and do not mat easily. Overall, the Akbash Dog does not require a great deal of grooming.
Akbash Dogs need a great deal of space and they do best in rural settings. Large fenced yards are ideal for this breed. The Akbash Dog is comparatively inactive indoors, so he should spend a substantial amount of time outdoors. No matter how much exercise they are given, Akbash Dogs do not do well in an apartment-type setting. They are very clean and quiet indoors.
Most Akbash dogs are perfectly happy living outside but may require a large doghouse in order to be comfortable.