Akbash

Home > Dog Breeds > Akbash
90-110 lbs
28-32"
Turkey

The Akbash is a large livestock guardian dog. His main job has been to protect property and flocks from predators. He is evolving to become more of a family protector and guard dog. The Akbash is gentle and affectionate towards his family; however he is suspicious and possibly even vicious to strangers and other dogs. He needs continual training and is not the best choice for someone who cannot be an authoritative owner. He respects authority and will look to take the leadership role from his owner. He idoes not do well with children and can also be food aggressive. 

Purpose
Livestock guardian dog
Date of Origin
750 BC
Ancestry
Mastiff-type

Akbash Health

Average Size
Male Akbash size stats
Height: 28-34 inches Weight: 90-140 lbs
Female Akbash size stats
Height: 28-32 inches Weight: 90-110 lbs
Major Concerns
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Hip Dysplasia
Minor Concerns
  • Epilepsy
  • Hypothyroidism
Occasional Tests
  • Hip
  • Heart
  • Thyroid Tests
  • X-Rays
  • Physical Examination

Akbash Breed History

The Akbash was originally developed in Turkey possibly around 750 B.C. as a livestock guardian dog. He is almost always white in color or biscuit color to allow them to blend in with the flock and surprise potential predators. He originated in the western plains and mountains of Turkey and is thought to descend from mastiff-type dogs and sighthounds. Since the Akbash was a livestock guardian, he formed strong bonds with his flock or herd. He is more independent because he would live with the livestock without much human assistance or guidance. He has excellent eyesight and acute hearing, making it very difficult for predators to get close to the livestock. The Akbash is considered to be the counterpart to Mediterranean Basin guardian dogs; however, the Akbash is unique because of his combination of being stout like the Mastiff but also having sighthound characteristics. In the 1970s, Americans David and Judy Nelson began performing fieldwork in Turkey and they studied the Akbash. Since then, there have been over 40 Akbash imported into the United States by the Nelsons. The dogs that were imported by the Nelsons became the foundation stock for the Akbash in both the United States and Canada. The United States Department of Agriculture accepted the Akbash into its Predator Control Program in 1980. The Akbash was recognized as a guardian dog by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In 1998, the United Kennel Club (UKC) officially recognized the Akbash as a breed and allowed him to compete in all UKC sanctioned events. 

Akbash Breed Appearance

The Akbash is usually solid white in color or they can have some biscuit coloring in their coat or on their head. Most livestock guardian dogs are lighter in color so they blend into the flock or herd and shepherds do not mistake them for predators which are usually dark. Many Akbash have double dewclaws on their rear legs. His coat can be short or long but both varieties are double-coated, meaning they have a topcoat and an undercoat. He is prone to heavy shedding, especially during the spring and summer. His coat should be straight but can have a slight wave. His topcoat is coarse with outer guard hairs that are longer. The undercoat is fine and soft to touch. The short coat variety has body hair that is short to medium in length and is close fitting to his body. He will have slightly longer hair around his neck, on his legs, thighs and tails. The long coat variety has long body hair that often has a slight wave but it should never appear curly.

Eye Color Possibilities
brown Akbash eyes
Brown
Nose Color Possibilities
black Akbash nose
Black
Coat Color Possibilities
white Akbash coat
White
Coat Length
Short Medium Long
Coat Density
Sparse Normal Dense
Coat Texture
Akbash straight coat texture
Straight Wiry Wavy Curly Corded

Akbash Breed Maintenance

The Akbash can have either a short coat or a long coat. Both varieties have a thick undercoat that does shed excessively. The Akbash experiences shedding throughout the year and he does experience excessive shedding during the spring and summer when the dense undercoat comes out for the hotter weather. He will need to be brushed once a week to remove loose hairs and dirt from his coat. He will need to be brushed daily when he is shedding excessively to prevent matting. Use a pin brush and a metal comb to groom him. The short coat variety can be brushed with a natural bristle brush. Since his ears hang down, they will need to be checked weekly and cleaned as needed to keep infections from occurring. He does not need bathed often, only 2 to 3 times a year using a mild shampoo. His nails should be trimmed as needed, generally every 2 to 3 weeks. A routine dental plan should be followed to ensure he has healthy teeth and gums.

Brushes for Akbash
Slicker Brush
Comb
Deshedder
Nail Clipper
Brushing Frequency
Akbash requires weekly brushing
Daily Weekly Monthly

Akbash Temperament

Generally, the Akbash is a protective, watchful dog who takes his job of protecting his family and flock seriously. He is suspicious of strangers including dogs he does not know. He can become aggressive towards people and animals he is not familiar with. The Akbash does require early socialization and training to ensure he is a well-adjusted family member. He can be food aggressive and families with children are not ideal families for the Akbash. Inexperienced dog owners should not consider an Akbash for a family companion. Akbash puppies may be cute, but they are big, powerful puppies who like to play rough including biting or mouthing during play. His training must begin at a young age and continue throughout his lifetime. He also must be socialized from a young age to ensure he does not become an aggressive dog. Puppies are very active; however their activity level does become less as they mature. He does require a solid fence that is at least five or six feet tall. 

Activity Level
Low Medium High
Rec. Walk Mileage Per Week
10 miles
Minutes of Activity Per Day
45 minutes

Akbash Food Consumption

Cups Per Day
3 cups
Daily Cost
$1.50 - $1.90
Monthly Cost
$39.00 - $52.00

Akbash Height & Weight

6 Months
Male Akbash size stats at six months
Height: 18 inches Weight: 44 lbs
Female Akbash size stats at six months
Height: 17 inches Weight: 44 lbs
12 Months
Male Akbash size stats at 12 months
Height: 26 inches Weight: 92 lbs
Female Akbash size stats at 12 months
Height: 25 inches Weight: 80 lbs
18 Months
Male Akbash size stats at 18 months
Height: 31 inches Weight: 115 lbs
Female Akbash size stats at 18 months
Height: 30 inches Weight: 100 lbs

Akbash Owner Experiences

Clyde
2 Years
2 People
Apartment
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
We rescued Clyde from a local shelter where he was surrendered for apparent hostility and aggression towards a mail man...and I have yet to meet a more affectionate dog his size. While very protective of his 4 legged siblings he is quick to accept food and attention from those who greet him in our home and out. While a very mellow dog in general we take them on twice daily walks where they are able to get out stretch their legs and socialize with other animals in our area. Overall a lovely dog to add to a family, and trains very very well....which is necessary if they are being walked on a leash!
2 weeks, 6 days ago
6 Years
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
I lived on a farmstead in Washington state with an Akbash who was the guard dog for the pastured animals. His name is Yogi. The animals he protected included goats (grown and kids), chickens, and sheep... and the small dogs of the pack that lived on the farm! For the 6 months i lived and worked with him he was never ever aggressive towards me even in the first meeting. I think he knew I was there as part of the farm operation. I have seen him aggressive towards strangers coming on the property, however. When a coyote or fox was anywhere near his property line, there was no stopping or controlling him until he had scared it off by barking, howling, growling. We constantly had to keep raising the height of property fence because he kept jumping over (At it's end height it ended up being 7 ft. tall). When he did escape the property, it was only to pace further out from his line and patrol for predator animals but would sometimes find the occasional hiker which was never a good situation. The only way to get him to come back was to track him down and present something tasty to him. Yogi almost always got to come inside the house to sleep at night, though. And as soon as he was inside, that meant he was off duty and he would pass out next to the fireplace and sleep like a rock! IF he woke up, it was only to find the closest human for a butt scratch. Very friendly and loving to people that he knows and trusts. I cannot imagine "going for a walk" with an Akbash on a leash. I have only ever seen them in farm settings on large properties.
7 months ago
15 Weeks
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
The Akbash personality tends to be calm and aware. As a breed, it is not shy, nor is it aggressive. When used as a protection dog, it is suspicious of strangers in its territory, and any unusual sounds or changes in the environment. The breed is not naturally hostile, and is instead, naturally discerning, bred to think independently. The Akbash can be powerful against predators, yet, when properly exposed, be gentle with newborn lambs and goat kids. The usual first means of protection by an Akbash is to warn potential threats by posturing, barking and/or growling. The Akbash will chase away a predator, or engage in physical combat if necessary.
7 months ago
2 Months
People
Health
Grooming
Friendliness
Energy
Trainability
Pastimes
The Akbash personality tends to be calm and aware. As a breed, it is not shy, nor is it aggressive. When used as a protection dog, it is suspicious of strangers in its territory, and any unusual sounds or changes in the environment. The breed is not naturally hostile, and is instead, naturally discerning, bred to think independently. The Akbash can be powerful against predators, yet, when properly exposed, be gentle with newborn lambs and goat kids. The usual first means of protection by an Akbash is to warn potential threats by posturing, barking and/or growling. The Akbash will chase away a predator, or engage in physical combat if necessary.
7 months ago
Book me a walkiee?
Pweeeze!
Sketch of smiling australian shepherd