The Anatolian Shepherd Dog & Kangal Dog (Coban Kopegi) is the term used to describe the indigenous livestock guardian dogs from the regions of Turkey; bred for thousands of years to guard flocks travelling on the Anatolian Plateu.
Large, upstanding, powerfully built - a dog capable of great speed and strength - the Coban Kopegi's image has been presented on stamps in Turkey in acknowledgment of its time-honoured partnership with Turkish herdsmen to protect sheep and other livestock. Evolving over millenia, Anatolians & Kangals are dogs of great size and stamina; their hardy physical constitution reflecting that throughout its ancient lineage, these dogs were bred to work while withstanding extremes in climate and terrain.
In Australia today, Anatolians & Kangals are widely used in a working capacity to guard sheep, goats, chickens, alpacas, horses and are renowned for their dedication to their livestock charges, and unsurpassed loyalty to their human handlers. They may also be found in semi-rural and suburban environments, in the role of family guardian and companion. The Anatolian Shepherd & Kangal are very adaptable, strong, hardy, long-living dogs, but due to their immense size, strength and willful nature, require a home where owners will give the young Anatolian/Kangal the obedience and socialization training necessary, for it to be a happy member of the family.
The general appearance of the Coban Kopegi is that of a tall, rugged and powerful livestock guardian dog; with a dense double coat, broad strong head with pendant shaped ears; well-developed muscular shoulders and hindquarters with good bone; a level topline and a long relatively high-set tail that is carried high and curled over the dog's back when alert.
The predominant colour is that of a fawn dog with a black mask (karabas) on a short dense coat (approximately 1 inch), with a thick undercoat; somewheat longer and thicker at the neck and mane.
Other colours (pinto, brindle, white, red) and a longer coat length, also exist, and reflect the Turkish people's description of their dogs
(ie: Alabas - pinto; Karayaka - brindle kangal; Akyaka - white kangal with no mask, Akbas - white yoruk with no mask; Kizilyaka - red Kangal)
and that herdsmen when selecting breeding stock, prized their dogs on their physical hardiness and fearless ability to protect stock.
It is important to note, that in Turkey, the Coban Kopegi (shepherd dogs) are not known as 'Anatolian' but rather Yoruk, Kangal, Haymana, Malak - depending on their function, physical form and the region from which they originate.
Turkish tradition also describes types of dogs by their colour -
Karayaka, Akyaka, Sariyaka, Kizilyaka, Bozyaka, Karabas, Saribas, Alabas, Akit, Akbas.