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Breed Standard

The Turkish Standard
The Turkish Kennel Club, formed in 2001, approved a detailed breed standard for the Kangal Dog, which was published in Turkey at the Second International Kangal Dog Symposium in July 2005.

The Breed Standard of the Kangal Dog
(Approved by Turkish Kennel Club 2005, presented by Doç Dr Mustafa Özcan, Istanbul University Veterinary Faculty, Department of Animal Breeding and Husbandry)

General appearance
Kangal dog is a large and strong livestock guarding dog with an awe-inspiring stance and balanced proportions. The head is large; ears are medium-sized, black and pendant; a black mask covers nose and muzzle; coat colour varies from sand to pale grey; the short, dense, double coat and the tail carried in an open curl over the back forming a circle, when the dog is alert, are the typical characteristics of the breed.

Temperament and behaviour
The Kangal dog is a livestock guarding dog. Instinctively it provides protection for sheep and goat flocks, guarding rather than herding them. It is courageous, fast and agile. It warns against danger and will pursue predators when necessary. It maintains a protective and balanced relationship with the animals in the herd. It prefers to act independently of the shepherd and to be free to protect the herd. It possesses strong instinctive working capabilities. It is full of love for and loyalty to its master. It is aloof to strangers; however, it does not display undue aggression.

Head and skull
The mesocephalic head is large but in good proportion with the body in general. The proportion of the foreface (from the stop to the tip of the nose) to the head length (from the occiput to the tip of the nose) is between 1:2.1 and 1:2.5 and foreface and forehead are parallel. Skull may show slightly raised occiput. While the head of the male dog resembles that of a lion, the head of the bitch is comparatively narrower and more elegant. The ears are set well apart and black. Characteristic black mask covers the nose and mouth.
Faults: Dolichocephalic (narrow, long head) and brachycephalic (short-faced) head structure; extremely large head.

Eyes have an intelligent and trustworthy expression. In proportion to the head size, eyes are medium sized, oval and deeply set. The eye rims are black. The colour of the eyes varies from honey yellow to brown. The white of the eye and the haw should not be visible.
Faults: Large, round eye structure, drooping eyelids, light yellow eye colour.

Nose and muzzle
The nose is prominent and blunt, with large nostrils. When the mouth is closed and observed from the side the nose is rectangular in profile. The muzzle is completely black including the lower jaw. There can be a black spot on the cheek. The structure of the jaws is strong. The teeth are well placed in the upper and lower jaws and upper and lower jaws close in a scissor or level bite. Jaws are strong. Black lips are pendulous enough to cover the lower jaw, but tight enough not to cause slobbering. The colour of the tongue is pink.
Faults: Extremely pendulous lips; narrow, long nose.

The ears are medium-sized, pendant and triangular in shape, rounded at the tips, placed at the outer edge of the head and set a little higher than the level of the eyes. The front edge of the ear can be measured to a spot near to the cheek and when pulled forward should have the length to overlap the eye. The colour of the ears is black, complementing the mask on the face.
Faults: Straight ears; too short or too long ear size.

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The neck is slightly shorter than head length, thick, well muscled, slightly arched where it meets the head. Slight dewlap, especially seen in males.
Faults: Too short or too long neck proportions; weak neck.

Body structure
The body is well proportioned and strong. The back line flows gently from the shoulder, runs parallel to the ground and ends with a slightly arched tail end. The chest reaches down to the elbows; the ribs are substantial; abdomen is slightly drawn in. The loin is well muscled. Shoulder is strongly constructed and well muscled and at the same height as the rump. The parts of the body are firm, well muscled and without fat. The proportion of the shoulder height and body length is 1:1.2. This proportion gives the dog a slightly rectangular appearance. The proportion of chest width (width across shoulders) and chest depth (width across between withers and sternum) is 1:1.5.
Faults: Narrow and weak chest or cylinder-shaped body structure; extreme thinness.

The forelegs and hindlegs are large-boned, well muscled, strong and move in close co-ordination with the rest of the body. When observed from the front, the forelegs are parallel and straight to the ground; elbows are close to the chest. When observed from the back, hocks are parallel and straight to the ground. Hind legs are strong with moderate stifle angulation.
Faults: Weak or poorly muscled legs; over- and under-angulation of the knee; hocks turning in or out.

The feet are large, strong and well arched. The nails are short and blunt. The colour of the nails can be white or black. The pads are well cushioned, dark in colour and firm. Hind dewclaws can be seen in some individuals. However, this is not a requirement.
Faults: Narrow or splayed feet.

The tail reaches to the hock. The hair on the tail is denser than on the body. When relaxed the tail is carried straight down to the hocks with the tip slightly curled upwards. When alert, the tail forms a single or double curl. The curled tail is carried in line with the spine, not falling to either side of the hip.
Faults: Tail with too long hair (feathering) or with thin hair; insufficient curl; straight tail.

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The Kangal Dog is a short-coated breed. It has a double-layered coat structure formed of short and longer hair. The hair in the outer layer is longer and coarser. The undercoat is soft and dense. The hair on the neck and shoulder areas is longer than the hair on the other body parts. The hair on the face, head and ears is very short.
Faults: A coat structure of too short or too long hair; wavy coat.

Pale grey, pale yellow, pale brown coat colours can be seen. White colour markings can only be accepted on feet, up to the knees, and on chest. Characteristic black mask and ears. Other than these markings, solid overall coat colour is required.
Faults: Lack of black mask; white markings on the chest and feet extending into main coat colour.

The Kangal Dog has a calm and self-confident gait, suggesting inherent power and agility. The back remains straight when walking and at slow speed it can be observed from the side that fore and hind legs move parallel to each other (pacing). When trotting, diagonally opposite legs move in parallel. At the walk and the trot, the head and neck are held level with the line of the back. Strides are of moderate length, not short-stepping or over-reaching. As speed increases, so does the tendency to single-track.

50–70 kg in male dogs, 40–55 kg in bitches.

70–85 cm in male dogs, 65–75 cm in bitches.

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  • Unilateral or bilateral cryptorchidism
  • Brown nose
  • Albinism Harming stock (chasing, biting, killing); shy or fearful behaviour; failure to stay with the flock; extreme and uncontrolled aggression
  • Lack of black mask; white markings on face
  • Blue, green, black eye colour
  • Undershot or overshot jaw
  • Tail not curled over back when alert
  • Colour other than the stated standard coat colours; multicolour or striped coat colour; markings on any part of the coat other than below knees and chest.

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The Kangal Dog is also a recognized pedigree breed with published standards in
Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and United States (by the United Kennel Club but not the American Kennel Club).

It is not yet recognized by the English Kennel Club or the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.

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