Anatolian or Kangal?

Making Anatolia Dogs into Kangal Dogs: The Australian Outcome and Experience


The following article was first written in 2009 and updated in 2012.

It was written from the Australian experience of registering Anatolian Shepherd Dogs as Kangal Dogs, based on phenotype.  IE: attempting to assert 'pure breed' and delineate difference between ANKC Anatolian Shepherd Dog and ANKC Kangal Dog based on their coat colour and coat length.

Nevertheless, cynology breeders and breed enthusiasts still yearn to take the primitive, to take the archetype Shepherd's Dog, and make a pedigree 'purebred' model

The following is the outcome and experience of Shepherd Dogs of Turkey registered as Kangal Dogs and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs from 1998 to 2012 in Australia.

It is wortwhile noting that many of the foundation Turkish Karabash dogs in Australia, are from UK Karabash Kennels, today named Kangal.

"one crazy man throws a stone into a well.
1000 men go crazy trying to get it out."
Turkish proverb




As of 1st January 2012, the Australian National Kennel Council no longer recognises the ANKC Kangal as being a separate breed to the ANKC Anatolian Shepherd.
All Kangal Dogs in Australia are now registered as Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.

All Kangal Dogs and Anatolian Shepherds in Australia are regarded as being of the SAME BREED and are referred to under the one breed name of 'Anatolian Shepherd Dog'.

At the October 2011 ANKC Ltd Board meeting it was resolved that as from 1 January 2012 all Kangal Dogs on the national database will be changed to Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.
The Kangal Dog has been removed from the ANKC Ltd Group listing and the breed standard has also been removed from the ANKC Ltd website as the breed is no longer recognised.
Australian National Kennel Council



Essentially, the difference between an Anatolian Shepherd Dog and a Kangal Dog in Australia, is the name*.

In Australia the dogs of Turkey are either registered as an Anatolian Shepherd Dog or a Kangal Dog.  The ANKC recognised the Kangal Dog in 1998, and depending on breeder preference, made some registered Anatolian Shepherd into registered Kangal Dogs.

Except for the Kangal Dogs imported by Hakiki Kennels (Sivas Regals Pasha, Kangal Aga's Ulu Bey, Ayla) ALL Registered Kangal Dogs and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in Australia have the same dogs in their pedigrees and are from the same foundation stock.

The two puppies below are Kangal litter sisters from the imported Kangal Dog bloodlines:

Sire: Hakiki Hazine x Ayla 
Dam: Sivas Regal Pasha x Ayla




The puppy on the left has no black mask, the puppy on the right has a black head and is the classic 'Kangal type'.

Essentially the ANKC Kangal breed standard represents the Western ideal of what a Kangal should look like, but not in actuality, the Kangal Dog population or for that matter, Turkey's own description of the Kangal. 

The Australian (ANKC) Kangal breed standard was adopted from mostly American and English sources in 1998, in an attempt to DIFFERENTIATE Kangal Dogs from Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.
Despite the ANKC decision to recognise the Kangal Dog as being a seperate and distinct breed from the Anatolian Shepherd - there is no Judge, Breeder, or Owner -
who can look at a dog - that might be an Anatolian or Kangal - and discern from its appearance, what its registered breed actually is.

So apart from causing wide spread confusion about what is what, all the breed split decision did was allow breeders who believed in the 'Anatolian' ethos on Turkish dogs, to breed Anatolians,
and breeders who believed in the 'Kangal' ethos on Turkish dogs, to breed Kangals.

In all other respects the dogs are the same.


And so in Australia the dogs of Turkey are registered as either Anatolian Shepherd Dogs or Kangal Dogs -

there is no set of criteria which sets one apart from the other - Kangals can or cannot have a black mask, and so can Anatolians.  The Kangal breed standard refers to the body colour as 'dun'; Anatolian breeders (and most Kangal breeders) refer to the body colour as 'fawn' (boz).







The ANKC is the only national registration to recognise both the Kangal and Anatolian Shepherd.

Recognising the Kangal as a separate and distinct breed, implies that the ANKC is taking the approach of recognising each subtype of the Coban Kopegi (Turkish Shepherd). 

Which is all fine and well, as the Kangal Dog IS a type of Turkish Shepherd

however so is the Yoruk, Haymana, Aksaray, Akbas, Tuzkoy  etc


the ANKC also has simultaneous recognition of Anatolian Shepherd Dog, which incorporates all of the above. 

So the ANKC is in the unique position, where it effectively has two classification systems, and so two breed standards that describe one group of dogs with the same pedigrees.


Tsar, male Anatolian in Victoria, Australia

The problems the ANKC is facing with Kangal and Anatolian registrations, exist because the ANKC has two classification systems for the dogs of Turkey, when the FCI, AKC, KC and Turkey only have one.

A significant factor behind the FCI, KC, and AKC refusing separate recognition of the Kangal, is that by standard definition, the Kangal is a subset of Anatolian - and there is no effective means to definitively separate one from the other.
Consequently, a registry either takes the 'lump all Turkish Shepherd regional variants together' approach - and classifies all regional types under the name of Anatolian Shepherd

it classifies each regional subtype seperately (ie: Yoruk, Kangal, Haymana, Malak, Akbas) as they do in Turkey.

The ANKC by recognising both Anatolian and Kangal simultaneously, and attempting to separate and distinguish the two VIEWPOINTS on how to classify these dogs - which Turkey itself has not reached a national concensus on - has created a farce.
(NOTE: This is not whether the Kangal dog is a seperate breed debate, but rather what DEFINES a Kangal, Yoruk, Haymana, Malak etc).



Haymana; Yoruk; Malak 


In Turkey, the dogs are not known as the breed 'Anatolian' but rather described as Yoruk, Kangal, Haymana, Malak -depending on their function, physical form and the region from which they originate.
Also confusing to many, is the Turkish tradition of describing types of dogs by their colour - Karayaka, Akyaka, Sariyaka, Kizilyaka, Bozyaka, Karabas, Saribas, Alabas, Akit, Akbas. 

Indeed this Turkish tradition of using  different names with similar words and meanings, 

resulted in American, Australian and UK Kangal breeders, promoting a simplistic generalisation that was 'easier' to understand -

a Kangal is a fawn/dun coloured dog with a black mask and ears - any dog with a longer coat, no mask, too much white, or not dun/fawn in colour (ie: brindle, white, pinto) - is not a 'real' kangal.

Correctly coloured dogs are the 'kangal' breed, white dogs are 'akbas' breed and the rest are 'Anatolian'.


 Although this generalisation might make it easier for those in USA, Australia and UK to 'understand' the dogs of Turkey and enable breed standards to be conjured and joined to our kennel clubs -

it is not accurate of Kangal and  Çoban Köpegi breeders / owners / researchers in Turkey,

who speak a language where Kangals may also be brindle (Karayaka), red (Kizilyaka), black or white (Ayaka).



Karayaka photographed in Turkey



The use of colour uniformity as a breed identification indicator, has no practical application to the ÇobanKöpegi of Turkey - as Yoruks, Kangal, Haymana, Malak, may ALL be fawn with a black mask.
Their colour may also be:

white with no mask (Ayaka is a white kangal; Akit, Akkus and Akbas refer to a white Yoruk),
be red colour with or without black mask (Kizilyaka Kangal)
have a black or brindle coat with or without a black mask (Karayaka)
be pale yellow or beige with a black mask (Saribas Yoruk; Saribas Haymana; Sariyaka Kangal)

be tones of beige with a black mask (Bozyaka)
have a red mask, sometimes with red nose or a pinto face (Alabas Yoruk)
any colour other than white with a black mask (Karabas).


 White male Kangal puppy in Australia - 

this dog is line bred to Sivas Regals Pasha (Kangal Import)
and will lighten in colour as he matures. 


In Australia, the conformational difference in the Anatolian and Kangal breed standards, is that the Anatolian Standard calls for a rectangular muzzle, and the Kangal a square muzzle. But essentially the ANKC has two breed standards describing the same conformed dog.

The Kangal standard does not allow long (rough) coated dogs, but this does not imply that long coat dogs are not found in the Kangal population in Australia - currently there are more long coated 'Kangals' than long coated 'Anatolians'.
The Australian Kangal standard only allows fawn with a black mask - although in Turkey the 2006 Kangal FCI submission allowed for brindle, brindle and white, and black Kangals.

Long coat Kangal Dog in Australia, this dog comes from two registered short coat Kangal parents -
Sire: Arkadas Cesur
Dam: Cooetong Belarisi

The doppleganger effect seen between Anatolians and Kangals in Australia, is not really a surprise if you consider, that for an Anatolian to be reclassified as a Kangal, the ANKC simply required that the presented dog meet the Kangal Breed Standard,
but as the Anatolian and Kangal breed standards describe the same conformed dog, every black masked registered Anatolian in 1997 could have been reclassified as a Kangal.

Furthermore, while one owner may have taken their Anatolian along to the Kangal panel to be reclassified as a Kangal, the same dog's littermates may not have been, and so remained on the Anatolian register, while their littermate was now regarded as being a different breed.


Anatolian male in Victoria; Kangal female in Tasmania.

Ten years after the ANKC breed split, Kangal and Anatolians in Australia are closer in pedigree than prior to the split. Kangal and Anatolians share the same dogs in their pedigrees ie: one of my Anatolian stud dogs and the most prominent Kangal being shown at the moment, have the same sire; and even Anatolians and Kangals which do not share pedigrees still look ‘identical’, because they share the same breed characteristics: type, movement, conformation, tail set, coat colour, coat length, temperament, purpose. 
But because both are rarely exhibited at shows or seen together, many people are not aware that the Anatolian Shepherd and Kangal in Australia are the same dog.
Because the ANKC has classified the Anatolian and Kangal as being two different breeds - one would expect there to be seperate and distinct charcteristics between them - but there is not.

Nevertheless in an attempt to make sense of a difference that does not exist, lots of different myths exist in Australia as to what the illusive difference is.

The most common misconception, is that the difference between an Anatolian and Kangal is  the existence of a black mask - ie a Kangal has a black mask and an Anatolian doesn't.
Both Kangals and Anatolians can be with or without a black mask.  Kangal semen import Sivas Regals Pasha consistently produces Kangal puppies with no mask.  The Anatolian CobanKopegi Babayani also produces puppies with no mask.

Kangal puppy with no black mask

Another common misconception, is that the Anatolian can be 'any colour' because it is not a true pure bred - whereas 'pure' Kangal Dogs always breed true (ie dun with black mask) and any variation from this is indication of cross breeding.
Colour variation in Kangals exists just as it does in Anatolians.
Black masks are not indicators of an Anatolian Shepherd's or Kangal Dog's registered breed -
similarly a dun/fawn coloured kangal with a black mask, is just as 'pure' as a long coat Kangal, non masked Kangal, or different coloured Kangal.

Kangal female with black Kangal puppy

Kangal female Hakiki Lafebesi from imported Sivas Kangal lines (Sivas Regal Pasha x Ayla)
produces coloured Kangals when bred with a Kangal male also from 100% import Kangal lines -

Hakiki Lafebesi and Hakiki Kasil (Hakiki Hazine x Ayla)
have produced a cream Kangal, Kangal with no black mask, and a black Kangal.

 Most Kangals (and Anatolians) will be dun/fawn with a black mask, but sometimes - rarely - in a litter there may be one or two which inherit a set of recessive genes which gives them a different colour to their siblings.

Kangal littermates


Kangal puppy with light brown mask:


S: Karetaker Akilli (Sivas Regals Pasha x Hakiki Karamella (Hakiki Hazine x Ayla)
D: Karetaker Akilli x Cooetong Manolya (Hakiki Hazine x Hakiki Latif)


Pinto Kangal:

S: Karetaker Akilli [Sivas Regal Pasha x Hakiki Karamella (Hakiki Hazine x Ayla)]
D: Sivas Regal Pasha x Hakiki Karamella (Hakiki Hazine x Ayla)]


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