Turkey is known for its rich cultural history, exotic food, and beautiful art and archaeology. But it’s also home to some of the most unique dog breeds on the planet!
Let’s take a look at seven of Turkey’s native dog breeds and what makes them so special.
If you’re looking for a loyal guardian for your family, it’s hard to find any dog more devoted than the Akbash. They can be so protective of their families, early socialization is an absolute must with these pups to ensure you don’t have any problems with people or other dogs outside the home. They’re also a pretty low-energy breed and prefer to loaf about rather than running and playing.
2. Anatolian Shepherd Dog
The Anatolian Shepherd is another large guardian dog hailing from Turkey. These pups are direct descendants of one the oldest dog breeds on earth, and they stay very true to their roots. There’s nothing too different from today’s Anatolian Shepherd than those you would find 6,000 years ago. Anatolian Shepherds are a calm and level-headed breed showing patience and caution until provoked. Like the Akbash, this breed is an ultimate guardian dog. They’re extremely loyal to their families and will guard them—even the family cat—to the bitter end.
Kangals are extremely similar to the Anatolian Shepherd Dog. Originally bred in Sivas City, Turkey, these canines hold one of the scariest records in all of dogkind. They have the strongest bite out of any breed in the world. At 743 psi, their massive bite only becomes an issue when their families are threatened. Other than, they’re wonderful with their owners and children often taking on a sweet, adoring nanny role. But just because they’re great with children doesn’t mean they’re good with other pets. If you plan on owning a Kangal, it’s probably best they’re the only pet in your life and that they’re socialized as soon as possible.
If you’re looking for a truly unique dog breed, there’s nothing quite like the Catalburun. Also known as the Turkish Pointer, they are only one of three dog breeds on the planet with a split-nose feature (the other two being the Pachon Navarro and Andean Tiger-hound). And if you’ve ever seen one up close and personal, consider yourself extremely lucky. The Catalburun is a very rare breed and is seldom found outside of their native Turkey. Unlike most of the breeds on this list, the Catalburun isn’t a guardian dog, but a hunting dog—and one of the best around. Their split noses are exceptionally keen at picking up smells and like any greater Pointer breed can remain perfectly still while showing their hunting partner where prey is hiding.
5. Aksaray Malaklisi
These behemoths are also known as the Turkish Mastiff or Anatolian Lion. And these are names well earned. Historically, they were used by the Assyrians as war dogs trained to recognize the armor of enemies to take them down in battle. While they don’t share their massive bite, the Malaklisi share common ancestry with the Kangal dog. Nowadays, you find most Aksaray Malaklisi dogs working as livestock guardians as most other Turkish dog breeds do.
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6. Anatolian Sultanic Dog
This sighthound goes by many names including the Turkish Greyhound, and Anadolu Sultan Tazizi. Compared to many other sighthounds, the Turkish Greyhound is relatively short in stature. But don’t let that fool you. They’re swift and nimble hunters often chasing down prey such as rabbits, foxes, and partridges. They get their name from their first recorded appearance in history where one of these dogs is depicted at the side of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent.
7. Rize Koyun
The Rize Koyun is a Turkish variant of the Molosser dog. They’re a large and powerful breed used primarily as guardians for livestock. These dogs aren’t necessarily used for herding though. Instead, they serve primarily as protectors for their flocks in the event of attacks or unwanted incursion. Rize Koyun dogs are also well-known for their fierce bark to help warn their owners of danger.
Turkey’s Exotic Dog Breeds
While Turkey may not have as many native dog breeds as the British Isles, their unique and fearsome breeds are among the most unchanged throughout domesticated history. Each breed is deeply loyal and protective of their families. It’s easy to see through these Turkish exotic breeds how the title of “man’s best friend” came to be.
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