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The Akbash reaches a stately size of up to 86 cm and therefore belongs to the large dogs . His name comes from the Turkish and means translated white head, which agrees with his appearance.
The Akbash is an extremely independent, hardworking and courageous working dog that will stand in the way of any threat to protect its herd.
Its medium-length coat consists of topcoat and undercoat and is white, with various shades such as milk and porcelain white. The fur protects the dogs well against both cold and heat.
They have medium-length ears that usually lie flat or hang down from the wedge-shaped head. Their medium-sized, almond-shaped eyes stand far apart and are usually golden brown to dark brown. The rod of the Akbash is comparatively long.
The dogs have a very strong, athletic and elegant figure and are very muscular, which is why they weigh an average of 60 kg.
They usually live between 10 and 11 years.
The Akbash is the perfect protector and guardian, not least because it was originally used primarily as a guard dog. This role is reflected within the family in that he is loyal and open to it, but rather suspicious of strangers. He can also become aggressive towards other dogs if his territory is threatened.
Although these brave and alert dogs are concerned about the safety of their families, they are intrinsically very independent, self-reliant characters who form few close bonds with people.
The Akbash is first and foremost an industrious working dog, which absolutely needs a task and enough occupation, because otherwise it is underutilized. Although the dogs are basically balanced beings, they can become quite stubborn and also very dominant.
The most important thing in keeping an Akbash is, as already mentioned, that he needs a task. If he does not have this, he is not balanced and can develop negative behavior.
The Akbash is definitely better suited as a working dog than as a pet dog. If you still want to get an Akbash for personal reasons, you should have a very active lifestyle and be very involved with the dog. Also, a large garden with a high fence is a must, in an apartment the dog would waste away. However, a garden alone is not enough for exercise. If you don’t have a job for your dog as a guard dog or herding dog, you should definitely provide him with the necessary exercise in the form of long daily walks. Since dogs generally prefer to spend their time outside, it is also recommended to provide them with their own outdoor shelter.
As a family dog the Akbash is only suitable in the respect that he gets along well with children, however, he is just on the other hand very independent and no affectionate companion. In addition, his dominance could become a problem, as the Akbash sees himself as the protector of the herd, best able to do his job when he is at the top of the hierarchy and makes the decisions for the members of his pack. Therefore, it is extremely important to convey to your dog from the beginning that you are higher in rank. On the one hand, you must radiate security, but also respect and be assertive. If you don’t manage to do that very early in your upbringing, it’s very hard to correct later. What you should also pay attention to early on is getting your dog used to being around other dogs. Since the Akbash is a guard dog and also actively fights threats, it is important that your dog learns to accept other dogs and not immediately view them as enemies. Within the home, the Akbash usually gets along well with other dogs, but he can be prone to jealousy.
So, in summary, the Akbash is clearly a working dog, not a family dog, and is not at all suitable for beginners.
Due to its robustness, the Akbash is very uncomplicated as far as nutrition is concerned. He can tolerate just about anything. Although he can get by without much protein for a while in a pinch, because it simply wasn’t available in his home country, you should make sure that he eats meat and thus animal protein every now and then.
Since he can tend to joint diseases and in old age also to overweight, you should use food adapted to it if necessary.
The coat care is also very uncomplicated. It is usually sufficient to brush your Akbash’s coat every now and then to remove dead hairs. Dirt, on the other hand, falls off anyway after the coat dries. Depending on the season, the Akbash can lose quite a lot of hair.
Although there are breed-specific diseases such as epilepsy, eye disease, gastric torsion, and hip dysplasia, they are relatively rare in the Akbash. In fact, since he had to be very resistant for his use as a herding dog in the open air, and in addition there was little veterinary care, only the healthiest animals reproduced.
According to the first evidence from the 15th century, the Akbash originally comes from Anatolia in Turkey, which is why he is also counted among the Anatolian shepherd dogs. Although its ancestry is not clear and there are several theories about it, it is probably descended from Mesopotamian hunting dogs.
In his homeland, the Akbash served as a guard dog, which has made him very hardened and hardly susceptible to disease. Due to its white coat, it had the advantage in its function of being seen as a conspecific by sheep on the one hand and being recognized less easily by predators in the flock on the other. The dogs acted mostly alone and without instructions from humans.
Because of its important task, the dog received much recognition and therefore was even named the national dog of Turkey.
Towards the middle to end of the 20th century, the Akbash was increasingly brought to Great Britain and the USA, where it was bred as a pedigree dog. However, due to many hybrids that have arisen and illegal imports, it is now difficult to find suitable puppies, which is why you should definitely contact reputable breeders. In this country, however, the dogs are very rare anyway, among other things because there are hardly any predators that require the use of an Akbash.
The Akbash is an extremely independent, hardworking and courageous working dog that will stand in the way of any threat to protect its herd. As a house dog and without a task, however, the stubborn four-legged friend can quickly become underchallenged and underutilized. You should only get an Akbash if you can offer him everything he needs, have a lot of experience and expertise with dogs and are willing to invest a lot of diligence and patience. If you can fulfill this, you will find in him a good but still independent friend.