Anatolian or Kangal?


Anatolian or kangal in ankara
Ankara c. 1955

Making Anatolian Shepherd Dogs into Kangal Shepherd Dogs: The Turkish Kennel Club Solution

On 15 June 2018, the Turkish Kennel Club (KIF) - Köpek Irklari ve Kinoloji Federasyonu, a Full Member of the Fédération Cynologique Internationale (FCI), effected Anatolian Shepherd Dogs and Kangal Shepherd Dogs to be the same breed.


FCI Kangal Shepherd Dog = Standard No. 331 = FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dog

All FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are now FCI Kangal Shepherd Dogs.

The breed name Anatolian Shepherd Dog was renamed to Kangal Shepherd Dog, and some of the breed standard content was updated.  
The significant difference is acceptable colour.  The breed standard template and genetic breed base is FCI 1989 Anatolian Shepherd Dog. 

Therefore in 2018, the answer to the age old questions:

Is a Anatolian Shepherd Dog the same breed as the Kangal?
The answer is:  Yes, the Kangal and Anatolian Shepherd Dog are the same breed.

What is the difference between Kangal and Anatolian?
The answer is: The difference between Kangal and Anatolian Shepherd is breed name and the allowable colour in the breed standard. The Kangal and Anatolian both have the same breed standard base, and that is the FCI 1989 Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed standard.  Each recognised international registry has its own breed standard for the breed, as they have for every other breed of dog. And like all breeds of dogs there are slight differences between each standard - it does not make the dogs in each country different breeds, it simply means the 'ideal description' of the breed varies. 

It is important to emphasise the Turkish Kennel Club (KIF) Kangal Shepherd Dog is not defined as a separate breed to the FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dog, nor does the Anatolian Shepherd cease to exist as a breed.  In simple terms what has occurred is the population of FCI Registered Anatolian Shepherd Dogs have been renamed to Kangal Shepherd Dog, and an updated breed standard for that population of dogs put in place.  If it was intended or possible for the Kangal Shepherd Dog breed to be genetically distinct and differentiated from the Anatolian Shepherd Dog, the Kangal Shepherd Dog would have undergone the FCI Provisional and Definitive breed recognition process and be issued its own FCI Standard Number.

The FCI Standing Orders outlining the procedure for the International recognition of new breeds is detailed here.  It was not necessary for the Turkish Kennel Club to follow this procedure for Kangal, as Kangal is not a new breed.  Kangal is merely the renaming of an existing breed internationally recognised on a definitive basis - the Anatolian Shepherd Dog.

The reason why the Turkish Kennel Club was able to rename Anatolian Shepherd Dog into their preferred breed name of Kangal Shepherd Dog, is because Standard No. 331 Anatolian Shepherd Dog, was allocated to the Turkish Kennel Club when the Turkish Kennel Club became a Full Member of the FCI in 2017.  The owner or patron of a Standard can make any changes to the breed standard content, pending approval of the FCI Standards Commission.  Therefore breed fanciers of Anatolian and Kangal should understand that the renaming of Anatolian Shepherd Dog to Kangal Shepherd Dog occured according to FCI process, and the FCI Standards Commission decision: the Kangal Shepherd Dog population is the 'same breed population' as the the Anatolian Shepherd Dog population.  The objective of FCI and the Turkish Kennel Club is to recognise their population(s) of dogs.  In order for this to occur - IE: for there to be official recognition of a standardised population of Turkish Shepherd Dogs named Kangal - required the compromise of the Turkish Kennel Club to accept new politics about Kangal. The acceptance being: the population of FCI registered Anatolian Shepherd Dogs outside of Turkey are the same breed as Turkish Kennel Club registered Kangals in Turkey.

The reality is registered Anatolian Shepherd Dog and Kangal Shepherd Dogs were never differentiated breeds.  They were the same dog with different colour ideals, and classified according to the name of their Standard.   Throughout the development of the breed and its breed name transformations (Anatolian Karabash was the precursor to Kangal Dog), the breed standards described the same type of dog, it was only ideology about colour which was the point of difference.  

In the beginning, in the absence of pedigrees, colour was the yardstick for purity and breed identification.  Hence a characteristic black mask, and a fawn coloured dog with black toe nails became important indicators to breed fanciers who believed uniformity of appearance was crucial to establishing the breed. Likewise colour became the point of difference for fanciers who held the opposing view, that coat colour was not indicative of purity or paramount to breed identity.  In any case, despite popular expectation that the Turkish Kennel Club would recognise Kangal as a separate breed to Anatolian, the realities of breed differentiation determined the colour divide between Kangal and Anatolian was simply that, a divide about colour only, and therefore all FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are now FCI Kangal Shepherd Dogs.


Registration outcomes for Anatolian and Kangal Shepherd Dogs in other countries:

The international organisations with the largest population of dogs do not separate the breed into Kangal and Anatolian Shepherd Dog.  Each registers the breed as one population according to the Standard in use

FCI Federation CynoIogique International: All FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are now FCI Kangal Shepherd Dogs.
AKC American Kennel Club: As FCI Anatolian = Standard no. 331 = FCI Kangal, the AKC applies the converse and FCI Kangal Shepherd Dogs are registered as AKC Anatolian Shepherd Dogs.
ANKC Australian National Kennel Club: 
ANKC re-registers Kangal Shepherd Dogs as Anatolian Shepherd Dogs (2010 to June 2018).
KC The Kennel Club England: The KC is the only recognised organisation actively registering Anatolian as a separate breed to kangal.  However KC separated Anatolian and Kangal in 2013 - prior to the FCI Anatolan Shepherd Dog standard rename to Kangal.  From June 2018, KC registered Anatolian Shepherd Dogs are ostracised from their established genetic exchange in the FCI.  The experience of the ANKC which separated Anatolian and kangal from 1998 to 2011, was that without genetic exchange a breed will fail.  It also struggles to attract new participants.  The future of the KC Anatolian Shepherd Dog - AS A SEPARATE BREED - is uncertain.  From 2014 to 2017 the average yearly registration was 8.  


About breed names:

A breed name change does not remove a breed from exisiting.  It is a change of breed name only.  The international population of a breed is not required to go by the same name and follow the same breed standard.  

For example: 
FCI American Akita = ANKC Akita = KC Akita
FCI Akita = ANKC Akita Japanese = KC Japanese Akita Inu
FCI Kangal Shepherd Dog = AKC Anatolian Shepherd Dog = KC Turkish Kangal Dog


What determines a breed name and a breed standard?

There are many dog breed registries in the world, but from the Australian international perspective, the only registries which are recognised, are the International Recognised Registries, or Controlling Bodies.

These are:
ANKC - Australian National Kennel Council
FCI - Fédération Cynologique Internationale.  All Full and Associate Members plus Contract Partners as listed on the FCI website.  This includes New Zealand Kennel Club (NZKC) and the Turkish Kennel Club (KIF).  
KC - The Kennel Club England
AKC - American Kennel Club
CKC - Canadian Kennel Club

All other Canine Controls are not recognized and have no international standing or influence over breed standards and breed names.



Anatolian or Kangal?
Making Anatolians into Kangal Dogs: The Australian Outcome and Experience

The following article was written in 2008.

It is the outcome and experience of Turkish Shepherd Dogs registered as Kangal Dogs and Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in Australia from 1998 to 2011.

It is 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 coat colour and coat length.

"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."


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

Kangal Vs Anatolian
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

but 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.


Anatolian Shepherd Dog male
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). 

Kangal Vs Anatolian Vs Yoruk Vs Malak 
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).

brindle Turkish Shepherd Dog Takas
Karayaka photographed in Turkey 

The use of colour uniformity as a breed identification indicator, has no practical application to the Çoban Köpegi 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 kangal puppy in Australia

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.

Kangal in Australia with a long coat
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 Shepherd Dog in Australia pet 
Anatolian male in Victoria

Kangal pet dog in Australia
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 Australia
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 puppies Australia
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 puppies

Kangal littermates


Kangal puppy with light brown mask:

 Kangal puppy

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 (white spotted) Kangal:

Kangal dog standing

kangal dog australia

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