Turkish Guardian Dog: The Akbash
The history of the Turkish guardian dog known as the Akbash is somewhat controversial, with some experts claiming that the Akbash is the same general breed as the other white, herd guarding dogs that have been in Turkey for centuries, and others stating that the breed is unique and unrelated to other breeds that have similar attributes.
Some believe the breed originated in Europe, while others state that it began in Italy. Regardless of its history, the Turkish guardian dog known as the Akbash is becoming increasingly more popular in homes across the world to be enjoyed simply as household pets. Learning more about Akbash dog may help in deciding if this breed is right for you.
Duties of the Akbash:
The Akbash was first and foremost bred to guard herds of sheep, although they are not a herding dog. Their sole job was to be the guardians of their charges, protecting them from predators. Many farmers and ranchers are now using the Akbash in the same manner for their cattle, sheep and horses, and other livestock.
The brave Akbash is known to be able to protect livestock from predators including wolves, coyotes, other canines, and even bears. They were brought to the United States in 1978 and have become highly sought after for their excellent guarding abilities.
Most Akbash will be approximately thirty inches tall and can weigh up to 130 pounds. The females are slightly smaller, being closer to twenty-eight inches tall and weighing in at approximately ninety to one hundred pounds. The Akbash is quite muscular and sturdy in appearance. They are known to be very quick and agile.
The temperament of the Turkish Guardian Akbash is, despite its protective appearance, quite quiet and calm. It may be very protective of its family members, but if socialized and trained at an early age, it can be a great house pet for families with or without children.
The Akbash can, at times, have a very independent nature, but is known to be extremely smart and easily trained.
Owners of the Akbash breed state that the breed loves to be praised and will do its best to please its owner, but also that training needs to begin as soon as the puppy is brought into the home, as it is harder to train an older dog. The Akbash is counted as a family member of the white sheep dogs of Turkey, but has its own unique personality traits.
Importance of Training:
Because of their protective nature, the Akbash needs early training. Although they tend to be well behaved with young children and even smaller animals, they have a fierce need to protect those around them.
It is important that the Akbash be taught that it is not the alpha dog in the family pack, otherwise it may become overly protective. Because of the dogs sheer size, training is necessary to be able to fully enjoy this guardian’s companionship in a family setting. It will be the owners responsibility to train the Akbash to behave appropriately in whatever circumstances may be present.
The Turkish guardian dog, the Akbash, can be an enjoyable and loving companion, in addition to being a working dog that will guard livestock, which in essence makes it an all around great addition to any family that is willing to take the time to train it properly.