The Akbash is a rare, purebred dog from the country of Turkey. Loyal, alert, and intelligent, these pups have some of the best qualities you could ask for.
These pooches go by several other names, including Coban Kopegi, Akbaş Çoban Köpeği, and Askbash Dog. Despite their status as a rare breed, you may find these purebred dogs at local shelters or rescues. Remember it’s always better to adopt and not shop!
These amazing pups are very protective of their families and have strong guarding instincts. They’re big dogs and better suited for larger homes with yards or near open areas where they can roam around. They’re fiercely independent but love to be around their human family. Akbashes are great with children but need early socialization if they’ll live with other dogs or pets in the home. If you want a protective and loyal dog who will love you unconditionally, then the Akbash may be right for you!
See below for all Akbash facts and dog breed characteristics!
Contrary to popular belief, small size doesn’t necessarily an apartment dog make. Plenty of small dogs are too high-energy and yappy for life in a high-rise. Being quiet, low energy, fairly calm indoors, and polite with the other residents are all good qualities in an apartment dog.
Some dogs are simply easier than others; they take to training better and are fairly easygoing. They’re also resilient enough to bounce back from your mistakes or inconsistencies.
Dogs who are highly sensitive, independent thinking, or assertive may be harder for a first-time dog parent to manage. You’ll get your best match if you take your dog-owning experience into account as you choose your new pooch.
If you’re new to dog parenting, take a look at 101 Dog Tricks and read up on how to train your dog!
Some dogs will let a stern reprimand roll off their backs, while others take even a dirty look to heart. Low-sensitivity dogs, also called “easygoing,” “tolerant,” “resilient,” and even “thick-skinned,” can better handle a noisy, chaotic household, a louder or more assertive owner, and an inconsistent or variable routine. Do you have young kids, throw lots of dinner parties, play in a garage band, or lead a hectic life? Go with a low-sensitivity dog.
Some breeds bond very closely with their family and are more prone to worry or even panic when left alone by their owner. An anxious dog can be very destructive–barking, whining, chewing, and otherwise causing mayhem. These breeds do best when a family member is home during the day or if you can take the dog to work.
Breeds with very short coats and little or no undercoat or body fat, such as Greyhounds, are vulnerable to the cold. Dogs with a low cold tolerance need to live inside in cool climates and should have a jacket or sweater for chilly walks.
Dogs with thick, double coats are more vulnerable to overheating. So are breeds with short noses, like Bulldogs or Pugs, since they can’t pant as well to cool themselves off. If you want a heat-sensitive breed, your dog will need to stay indoors with you on warm or humid days, and you’ll need to be extra cautious about exercising your dog in the heat.
All Around Friendliness
Some breeds are independent and aloof, even if they’ve been raised by the same person since puppyhood; others bond closely to one person and are indifferent to everyone else; and some shower the whole family with affection. Breed isn’t the only factor that goes into affection levels; dogs who were raised inside a home with people around feel more comfortable with humans and bond more easily.
See Dogs Less Affectionate with Family
Being gentle with children, sturdy enough to handle the heavy-handed pets and hugs they can dish out, and having a blasé attitude toward running, screaming children are all traits that make a kid-friendly dog. You may be surprised by who’s on that list: Fierce-looking Boxers are considered good with children, as are American Staffordshire Terriers (which are considered Pit Bulls). Small, delicate, and potentially snappy dogs such as Chihuahuas aren’t always so family-friendly.
**All dogs are individuals. Our ratings are generalizations, and they’re not a guarantee of how any breed or individual dog will behave. Dogs from any breed can be good with children based on their past experiences, training on how to get along with kids, and personality. No matter what the breed or breed type, all dogs have strong jaws, sharp pointy teeth, and may bite in stressful circumstances. Young children and dogs of any breed should always be supervised by an adult and never left alone together, period.
Friendliness toward dogs and friendliness toward humans are two completely different things. Some dogs may attack or try to dominate other dogs, even if they’re love-bugs with people; others would rather play than fight; and some will turn tail and run. Breed isn’t the only factor. Dogs who lived with their littermates and mother until at least six to eight weeks of age and who spent lots of time playing with other dogs during puppyhood, are more likely to have good canine social skills.
Stranger-friendly dogs will greet guests with wagging tails and nuzzles; others are shy, indifferent, or even aggressive. However, no matter what the breed, a dog who was socialized and exposed to lots of different types, ages, sizes, and shapes of people as a puppy will respond better to strangers as an adult. Remember that even friendly dogs should stay on a good, strong leash like this one in public!
Health And Grooming Needs
If you’re going to share your home with a dog, you’ll need to deal with some level of dog hair on your clothes and in your house. However, shedding does vary greatly among the breeds. Some dogs shed year-round, some “blow” seasonally, some do both, and some shed hardly at all. If you’re a neatnik, you’ll need to either pick a low-shedding breed or relax your standards. To help keep your home a little cleaner, you can find a great de-shedding tool here!
Drool-prone dogs may drape ropes of slobber on your arm and leave big, wet spots on your clothes when they come over to say hello. If you’ve got a laid-back attitude toward slobber, fine; but if you’re a neatnik, you may want to choose a dog who rates low in the drool department.
Some breeds are brush-and-go dogs; others require regular bathing, clipping, and other grooming just to stay clean and healthy. Consider whether you have the time and patience for a dog who needs a lot of grooming, or the money to pay someone else to do it.
Due to poor breeding practices, some breeds are prone to certain genetic health problems, such as hip dysplasia. This doesn’t mean that every dog of that breed will develop those diseases; it just means that they’re at an increased risk.
If you’re adopting a puppy, it’s a good idea to find out which genetic illnesses are common to the breed you’re interested in. You may also want to ask if your shelter or rescue has information about the physical health of your potential pup’s parents and other relatives.
Some breeds have hearty appetites and tend to put on weight easily. As in humans, being overweight can cause health problems in dogs. If you pick a breed that’s prone to packing on pounds, you’ll need to limit treats, make sure they get enough exercise, and measure out their daily food servings into regular meals rather than leaving food out all the time.
Ask your vet about your dog’s diet and what they recommend for feeding your pooch to keep them at a healthy weight. Weight gain can lead to other health issues or worsen problems like arthritis.
Dogs come in all sizes, from the world’s smallest pooch, the Chihuahua, to the towering Great Dane, how much space a dog takes up is a key factor in deciding if they’re compatible with you and your living space. Large dog breeds might seem overpowering and intimidating, but some of them are incredibly sweet! Take a look and find the right sized dog for you!
Easy-to-train dogs are more adept at forming an association between a prompt (such as the word “sit”), an action (sitting), and a consequence (getting a treat) very quickly. Other dogs need more time, patience, and repetition during training.
Many breeds are intelligent but approach training with a “What’s in it for me?” attitude, in which case you’ll need to use rewards and games to teach them to want to comply with your requests.
Dogs who were bred for jobs that require decision making, intelligence, and concentration, such as herding livestock, need to exercise their brains, just as dogs who were bred to run all day need to exercise their bodies. If they don’t get the mental stimulation they need, they’ll make their own work–usually with projects you won’t like, such as digging and chewing. Obedience training and interactive dog toys are good ways to give a dog a brain workout, as are dog sports and careers, such as agility and search and rescue.
Common in most breeds during puppyhood and in Retriever breeds at all ages, mouthiness means a tendency to nip, chew, and play-bite (a soft, fairly painless bite that doesn’t puncture the skin). Mouthy dogs are more likely to use their mouths to hold or “herd” their human family members, and they need training to learn that it’s fine to gnaw on chew toys, but not on people. Mouthy breeds tend to really enjoy a game of fetch, as well as a good chew on a toy that’s been stuffed with kibble and treats.
Dogs who were bred to hunt, such as Terriers, have an inborn desire to chase–and sometimes kill–other animals. Anything whizzing by, such as cats, squirrels, and perhaps even cars, can trigger that instinct. Dogs who like to chase need to be leashed or kept in a fenced area when outdoors, and you’ll need a high, secure fence in your yard. These breeds generally aren’t a good fit for homes with smaller pets that can look like prey, such as cats, hamsters, or small dogs. Breeds that were originally used for bird hunting, on the other hand, generally won’t chase, but you’ll probably have a hard time getting their attention when there are birds flying by.
Some breeds sound off more often than others. When choosing a breed, think about how often the dog vocalizes with barks or howls. If you’re considering a hound, would you find their trademark howls musical or maddening? If you’re considering a watchdog, will a city full of suspicious “strangers” put your pup on permanent alert? Will the local wildlife literally drive your dog wild? Do you live in housing with noise restrictions? Do you have neighbors nearby? Then you may wish to choose a quieter dog.
Some breeds are more free-spirited than others. Nordic dogs such as Siberian Huskies were bred to range long distances, and given the chance, they’ll take off after anything that catches their interest. And many hounds simply must follow their noses–or that bunny that just ran across the path–even if it means leaving you behind.
High-energy dogs are always ready and waiting for action. Originally bred to perform a canine job of some sort, such as retrieving game for hunters or herding livestock, they have the stamina to put in a full workday. They need a significant amount of exercise and mental stimulation, and they’re more likely to spend time jumping, playing, and investigating any new sights and smells.
Low-energy dogs are the canine equivalent of a couch potato, content to doze the day away. When picking a breed, consider your own activity level and lifestyle, and think about whether you’ll find a frisky, energetic dog invigorating or annoying.
A vigorous dog may or may not have high energy, but everything they do, they do with vigor: they strain on the leash (until you train them not to), try to plow through obstacles, and even eats and drinks with great big gulps. These dynamos need lots of training to learn good manners, and may not be the best fit for a home with young kids or someone who’s elderly or frail. A low-vigor dog, on the other hand, has a more subdued approach to life.
Some breeds do fine with a slow evening stroll around the block. Others need daily, vigorous exercise, especially those that were originally bred for physically demanding jobs, like herding or hunting.
Without enough exercise, these breeds may put on weight and vent their pent-up energy in ways you don’t like, such as barking, chewing, and digging. Breeds that need a lot of exercise are good for outdoorsy, active people, or those interested in training their dog to compete in a high-energy dog sport, such as agility.
Some dogs are perpetual puppies — always begging for a game — while others are more serious and sedate. Although a playful pup sounds endearing, consider how many games of fetch or tag you want to play each day, and whether you have kids or other dogs who can stand in as playmates for the dog.
Dog Breed Group:Working DogsHeight:27 to 34 inchesWeight:75 to 140 poundsLife Span:10 to 12 years
More About This Breed
- Akbash coats are only white. These dogs were bred to protect livestock and sheep, with their white coats helping to blend in with the flock.
- They shed moderately through the year and more heavily in summer, so a good brushing once or twice a week will help to remove dirt and old hair. The coat can be fairly easy to groom if you keep up with their needs.
- If they sense anything amiss, Akbashes will growl or bark at strangers, 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.
- Because Akbashes are independent, they usually don’t have any separation anxiety with their human counterparts. Make sure to give them some space, as they like to be on their own once and a while.
- Akbashes are prone to weight gain, especially with their low energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour- to hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.
- Akbashes can be socialized, but they aren’t naturally fond of other animals and may prefer to be the solo pet in the household.
- Because the Akbash is a large dog, they can easily handle the play of overly excited children. However, they’re low energy dogs and might prefer to be around adults or older kids who know how to play gently.
Not much is known about the Akbash breed, though many believe they were first bred almost 3,000 years ago to protect shepherds’ flocks from predators. The name Akbash is a Turkish word that means “white head.” Their white coat is important, as it helps them blend with the flock they’re protecting. They are also the national dog of Turkey.
In the 1970s, Americans Judith and David Nelson were researching this breed in Western Turkey. 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. The United Kennel Club (AKC) recognized these amazing pooches in 1998 under guardian breeds.
Even though this breed is rare, 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.
As the Akbash is a relatively pure breed, there are some standards when it comes to their size. You can expect the Akbash to be on the larger side.
Most weigh in at 75 to 140 pounds and range in height from 27 to 34 inches at the shoulder. That said, many can be smaller or larger than average.
The Akbash is a gentle dog who is very protective of their family. They’re independent and like to have their own space from time to time. Originally bred to protect flocks of livestock, they still have those strong guard instincts today.
These pups are highly intelligent and, though they don’t have explosive energy, are quite agile and strong if they sense danger and need to act. If they sense anything amiss, they will growl or bark at strangers, 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.
This dog needs a strong and consistent owner who can also be sensitive to their needs when training. They can be easily trained, but make sure to socialize them early to other dogs or pets who they might live with in the house.
Because they are independent, they usually don’t have any separation anxiety with their human counterparts. Make sure to give them some space, as they like to be on their own once and a while.
The Akbash breed is predisposed to some of the same conditions that Mastiffs might also face, as there is a distant relation. While most are generally healthy, some may be prone to a few health issues, which is why it is important to maintain good care and regular veterinary checkups.
Some of the more common health problems the Akbash suffer from include:
- hip dysplasia
- dilated cardiomyopathy
- gastric torsion (bloat)
As with all dogs, you should keep up with your Akbash’s regular veterinary checkups to to detect any health concerns early. Your vet can help you develop a care routine that will keep your dog healthy.
Akbashes are prone to weight gain, especially with their low energy levels. Make sure your dog gets at least one good half-hour- to hour-long walk per day with a few good, active play sessions and shorter walks mixed in.
Check their ears for debris and pests daily and clean them as recommended by your vet. Trim your dog’s nails before they get too long—usually once or twice per month. They should not be clicking against the floor. Your groomer can help with this.
Another concern when it comes to your Akbash’s care will be maintaining their oral health. You should brush their teeth as recommended by your vet, as many dogs are prone to dental issues. Your vet can instruct you on how to brush your dog’s teeth properly.
An ideal Akbash diet 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.
As with all dogs, the Akbash’s dietary needs will change from puppyhood to adulthood and will continue to change into their senior years. You should ask your veterinarian for recommendations about your Akbash’s diet, as there is far too much variation among individual dogs—including, weight, energy, and health—to make a specific recommendation.
Coat Color And Grooming
Akbash coats are only white. These beautiful pups were bred to protect livestock and sheep, with their white coats helping to blend in with the flock. There are no other accepted colors of the pure Akbash breed.
The Akbash has a medium-length double coat. They shed moderately, so a good brushing once or twice a week will help to remove dirt and old hair. The coat can be fairly easy to groom if you keep up with their needs every week.
Because they tend to have longer coats, the Akbash isn’t particularly suited for extreme weather. They shed a lot during the summer. Make sure to prepare accordingly if you take them anywhere with extreme weather.
Children And Other Pets
Because the Akbash is a large dog, they can easily handle the play of overly excited children. However, they’re low energy dogs and might prefer to be around adults or older kids who know how to play gently. That said, for children who learn how to properly approach and play with a large dog, the Akbash can make a great, active companion.
When it comes to other pets, the Akbash can get along with other animals if they are introduced slowly and calmly, and early socialization will help this go smoothly. It’s best if they get used to other pets early. That said, Akbashes aren’t naturally fond of other animals and may prefer to be the solo pet in the household.
Still, many Akbashes get along just fine with other dogs and cats, so it really comes down to training, socialization, and the luck of the draw.
Because the Akbash is a somewhat rare breed, it may be difficult to find a breed specific rescue. However, you can always check with your local shelter, and you may want to try a rescue that caters to large breeds or all types of dogs. You can take a look at the following:
- Gentle Giants Rescue And Adoption
- Angels Among Us Pet Rescue