The Akbash: A Complete Guide

The tall, lean, white-coated Akbash is a livestock guardian breed from Turkey. But he can be a family companion and show dog as well.

The Akbash has many good qualities, but he is not the easiest dog to live with if he’s not properly trained and socialized.

The Akbash is large, strong, and fast, as befits a dog whose job it is to guard valuable flocks of sheep.

When he’s not busy shooing or tackling wolves, he is a steady, quiet, and calm dog with an independent frame of mind.

He is used to working with people as partners and not as subordinates.

The Akbash is a great family companion and property protector. He is affectionate and gentle with his humans. But to strangers or intruders, he will be a tough one to deal with.

While his protective nature is attractive, the Akbash is not the best choice for a novice dog owner.

He needs an owner who can guide him with firm, consistent, and gentle training, never cruel or forceful.

Like most dogs of this type, the Akbash matures slowly. Give him plenty of time to grow up.

He won’t reach his full size or achieve his full mental abilities until he is two to three years old.

Chaining an Akbash outside in the backyard and ignoring him for most of the day is not just cruel, it can also lead to destructive and aggressive behavior.

The Akbash can live outdoors, but he should spend plenty of time indoors with his family.

Akbash Puppies – Before You Buy…

The Akbash is not a dog for everyone.

What Price are Akbash Puppies?

The price of Akbash puppies is approximately $500 to $700.

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How to Find Reputable Akbash Breeders?

Some dog breeders will ask you to fill out a questionnaire or ask questions about where you live, how you spend your time, and what your expectations of a dog are.

These are usually intended to make sure you have a suitable environment for one of their dogs. You are entitled to ask questions, as well.

Don’t be afraid to ask for references. Ask which breed club they endorse or belong to.

You should also expect a written guarantee that you are being provided a healthy puppy at the time of sale.

Reputable breeders should be happy to provide you with copies of the hip evaluations of the parents of the litter, and phone numbers of owners of previous puppies from the sire and dam, if any.

In short, a good breeder will not hide anything from you or leave you feeling doubtful.

If they ever use high-pressure sales tactics, look for another breeder.

Look for a breeder who will help you select the correct puppy. They will give you an opportunity to watch the sire and dam and get to know them.

Take advantage of breed clubs. Most breeds are represented by at least one breed club. You’ll learn about the backgrounds of breeders from them.

Many clubs have a code of ethics for breeders. Breed clubs know which genetic problems are important to their breed, as well as their strengths and weaknesses.

Be prepared to wait. Breeders cannot predict when their female dogs will cycle or whelp.

The ideal timing of purchasing a puppy is when all your questions have been answered and both you and the breeder are satisfied.

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3 Little-Known Facts About Akbash Puppies

  1. The Akbash gets his name from the Turkish word that means ‘white head’. This dog is still being used as a livestock guardian in Turkey.
  2. To be able to effectively fight off wolves, the Akbash must be large but not so massive that he can’t move with speed and agility.
  3. The coat of the Akbash is always white, but he sometimes has biscuit-colored or gray shading around the ears.

Physical Traits of the Akbash

Akbash Dogs are highly devoted to their owners.

These dogs are mostly white with perhaps a touch of “biscuit” color, especially on the head.

They are chosen as livestock guarding dogs because of their white color. It matches the color of the flock, which means they are not mistaken for predators which are usually dark colored.

Coats can be short or long but are double coated, and therefore heavy on the shedding side.

The coat may have a wave to it. Longer hair can be on the back of the legs and the tail.

Their ears hang down, though in some countries they are cropped.

Despite being white, these dogs are not albinos. They have dark pigment around the eyes, nose, and mouth.

Many Akbash dogs are born with double dewclaws on the rear legs, similar to Great Pyrenees and Briards.

They are surprisingly quick and agile. You can get an idea about their running speed judging from the small arch on their back.

How Big is a Full-Grown Akbash?

Male Akbash dogs grow up to 30 to 34 inches and weigh 90 to 130 lbs.

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Females weigh approximately the same and grow up to 28 to 32 inches.

What is the Life Expectancy of the Akbash?

The life expectancy of Akbash dogs is approximately 10 to 11 years.

Intelligence, Temperament and Personality Traits of the Akbash

Akbash Dogs possess good health and striking beauty.

These are dogs that are naturally suspicious and protective. They often function on their own without human guidance, making independent decisions while tending their flocks.

This sense of independence makes them more challenging to train. They need a steady but firm owner to make them suitable family pets.

The same guarding tendencies can make these dogs prone to ‘alarm barking,’ sometimes to excess.

Digging can be related to trying to keep themselves warm or cool while working.

Akbash dogs may not always get along harmoniously with other dogs that they were not raised with.

They often regard them as ‘predators’ to their flock.

The Akbash’s Diet

The Akbash dog can be given quality rich economic dog food. Although it can live on any kind of food, this dog is more the meat-eating type. They love having red meat in their diet.

It also needs high-fiber food. The diet rich with vegetables and other fiber-based food is good for its health.

How Much Exercise Does an Akbash Need?

The Akbash Dog is a working breed, originally bred for the purpose of livestock protection. Thus, they are not highly active.

These dogs have moderate energy, and they do perfectly well with daily walks.

Although they are not a very active breed, they can move with agility and speed so that they can effectively fight off larger predators.

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Akbash Health and Conditions

Because the Akbash dog is such an old breed, it has a fairly large gene pool and is fairly healthy.

This is not to say, however, that the Akbash is immune to health problems. All breeds of dog are prone to developing certain conditions.

Some of the most common conditions affecting the Akbash include gastric torsion, dilated cardiomyopathy, hypothyroidism, and hip dysplasia.

My Final Thoughts on the Akbash

Akbash Dogs are not for everyone.

Their traits include a powerful protective instinct, devotion to their owner, good health, striking beauty, and intelligence.

In the right environment, they will protect children and livestock, and home or farm.

On the other hand, they shed a large amount of hair, roam if given a chance, and compete with backhoes when it comes to digging.

The most serious disadvantage, which also happens to be this dog’s strength, is its behavior.

Akbash dogs have been selected for millennia to act independently.

They protect their property and charges without commands from people.

Therefore, if they cannot respect the humans that they live with, or if they have reason to believe the kids in their family may be in danger, Akbash dogs have a tendency to bite people or other animals.

Any mature dog that weighs over a hundred pounds can create challenges for dog owners who don’t know how to raise, train, and handle them.

These are large dogs can jump, climb, burrow, or dig their way out of many types of enclosures if they are so motivated.

As an owner of a companion dog, you must be ready to provide a lot of early and consistent socialization for your dog.

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Because it’s a large breed, Akbash dogs must be supervised around children all the time until they grow more mature and reliable, which can be when they turn 2 to 3 years old.

They are not natural babysitters, even if they love being around children.

Exposing Akbash dogs to other dogs is crucial since they are naturally suspicious of and aggressive towards dogs they don’t know.

This can be a big problem when you live in an urban environment, with neighbor’s dogs in close proximity.

If you don’t have enough experience in raising and training a more compliant and less protective breed of dog, perhaps you should look for other more suitable companion dogs.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3

OVERALL SUMMARY

6
Cost to Buy
9
Cuteness Level
7.5
Family Safety
6.5
Friendliness
9
Health Concerns
5
Life Span
7
Exercise Required
7
Food Required
OVERALL RATING 7.1 / 10

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