Facts on the Kurdish Kangal Dog

by Valerie A. Modreski

    Kurdish Kangals are large dogs initially bred for herding. Notable for their large physiques, these dogs tip the scales at more than 160 pounds, with females running a little smaller. Size is not the only thing that distinguishes these dogs from other breeds.

    Turkey's Big Dogs

    Kurdish Kangal dogs, often called Kangals, are a livestock guardian breed that has grown in popularity among people who want companion dogs. Because of their heartiness and size, 27.5 inches for males and 25.5 inches for females, these dogs need plenty of space. Common colors for this dog include pale grey and yellow. They have black-masked faces, shins and feet. Kangal dogs have short double coats with soft, dense undercoats. These dogs' lineage is traced to the Turkish Kangal family and a Sivas province city of the same name.

    History of a Working Class Canine

    It is the burden of the Kangal Dog Club of America to ensure that only dogs from the purest gene pools propagate as pedigrees in U.S. breeding. The KDCA is an American organization dedicated to the welfare and lineage purity of Kangals. The KDCA is appointed the National Parent Breed Association for Kangals by the United Kennel Club.

    The Breed's Genetic Distinctness

    The most highly prized Kangal lineage is traceable to the Uzun Yayla region in Turkey. To maintain the purity of their canine national treasure, Turkish government officials assigned an accomplished group of geneticists to undertake a process called selective genetic management to ensure the continuation of only the purest lineage. In a pioneering case study of genetic distinctness as determined by molecular markers, geneticists are weeding out all but the most distinct Kangal genes. Given the repetition of a single DNA marker in pedigree Kangals, called haplogroup D, geneticists agree this link to be the truest genetic connection to the beginning of this breed.

    Is This Dog for Me

    Because of their herding instincts, Kangals are protective, they prefer to act independently, and they are devoted and attuned to their owners. To keep these large dogs, a fenced yard is essential. Kangals have a veterinary predisposition for hip and elbow dysplasia, heart disease and cruciate ligament injury. Kangals are good with children and other pets but should always be monitored around small children and during an introduction to other animals.

    About the Author

    Valerie A. Modreski has been a professional writer since 1982. She studied English literature at Broward College, and has written for a variety of publications. Modreski holds certifications in canine behavior and has worked extensively in the field of obedience. She also has hands-on experience in all issues related to canine welfare, including veterinary medicine, rescue and activism.

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