Akbash – Full Breed Profile

Written by: Bojana Radulovic
Akbash is one of the best guarding dog breeds alive. This dog is independent but extremely loyal. Read on to learn more about this powerful dog.
Dog Breed Group:
Working Dogs
27 to 34 inches
75 to 140 pounds
Life Span:
10 to 12 years

Breed Characteristics:

Apartment Friendly


How well will this breed adapt to apartment living? Is the apartment size the most important factor when it comes to proper living conditions? Is the breed suitable for apartment living?

Good For First-Time Owners


Some dogs aren't suitable for first-time dog owners. Is this breed a good match for someone with no dog experience? Can training help them be on their best behavior with owners with no dog experience? Are they suitable to be handled by someone who is just entering the canine world?

Overall Sensitivity


Some dogs are sensitive. Certain breeds are rough on the outside, while having the softest heart on the inside. In other words, some dogs are 'thick-skinned' while some are 'easygoing.' Is this breed prone to sensitivity?

Tolerates Being Alone


Separation anxiety in dogs is a serious condition that can affect a dog's life quality. Is this breed prone to this condition? Can you leave him alone for hours? How destructive this breed can become when bored, neglected, or not loved enough?

Affectionate With Family


How affectionate this breed will be around his humans? Will he welcome new family friends easily or he will choose to be shy? Some breeds can be clingy with owners, while others don't attach a lot. Will this breed act as the family's best friend?



Some dogs will tolerate children, while others will adore well-behaved ones. Dogs and children should always be supervised, no matter how well trained the dog might be. Will this breed act as a nanny dog or he will stay away from children?

Friendly Toward Other Dogs


Some dog breeds cannot wait to run to the dog park and run with others. Others prefer to be with their humans, and not to be a part of a multi-pet household. Is this breed dog lover or not? How friendly this breed will be toward other dogs?

Friendly Toward Strangers


Some dog breeds tend to be reserved toward strangers and highly suspicious. Others are fast to walk away with them easily. How welcoming this breed is toward strangers?

Drooling Level


If you love to clean all the time drooling level in dogs is a trait that you should mind. Is this breed less likely to drool, or you will always need a towel on hand?

Easy To Groom


Heavier shedding during the shedding season is something that every dog needs to go through. However, some dogs shed just a bit all year round. Is this breed one of them? How often should you groom this dog?

Overall Health


What can you expect from this breed in terms of health? Are there any genetic conditions to vary about? Is obesity a major issue in this breed? By knowing more about the dog's health, you are learning how to help him live a longer and healthier life.

Prone To Obesity


Treats are a great addition to training sessions. Dogs love sweet bites of dog treats but they should be served in moderation. Treats can lead to obesity, next to poor nutrition. Can this breed gain extra weight from treats? How prone to obesity this breed actually is?

Trainability Level


Training some dogs is easier than others. How easy this dog will be to train? What can you expect? Some dogs are huge people pleasers and they will master commands easily, while others will try to outsmart you.

Intelligence Level


Dogs are smart beings. We do our best to train them, but they do still end up training us to adapt to their needs. How intelligent is this breed? Will he try to outsmart you? Or he will need multiple training sessions to master basic commands?

Prey Drive


Dogs were bred for a specific purpose. Those who were bred to hunt have natural instincts to hunt, even today. This is why many dogs, like Terriers, will chase other animals. They will also have a hard time concentrating on your commands when there is something small moving. Is this breed prone to following his prey instincts?

Barking Level


How vocal this breed is? Can you expect neighbors to ring you often to calm your dog? Or you can sleep without worries of hearing your Fido bark? Some breeds are highly vocal, others have unusual sounds, and some are silent. Is this breed prone to barking?

Energy Level


Low-energy dogs are happy with regular walks and indoor chill times. High-energy dogs are always ready for action. Is this breed a couch potato, energetic dog, or somewhere in between?

Exercise Needs


Some dogs are more than happy with a slow stroll down the street. Others need hours of active time to stay happy and fit. Is this breed demanding in terms of exercise? How much exercise this breed needs to stay happy and healthy?

Playfulness Level


Some dogs never lose that puppy spirit, not even in their senior years. Others are more serious and prefer having a job to do. Is this breed demanding in terms of playfulness? Can you expect playfulness in their senior years as well?

Akbash is a very rare purebred dog originally from Turkey.

This is a loyal, devoted, and brave dog that is highly intelligent. These dogs are packed with some of the best features that one dog might have.

Akbash goes by many names, including Coban Kopegi, but they are mostly known simply as Akbash.

These loyal dogs are highly protective of their families, and nothing makes them happier than when they are around their people keeping them safe.

As very protective dogs they have strong guarding instincts that they aren’t afraid to use.

Akbashes are large size dogs who need large living space to thrive. They also need a large backyard so that they can have enough space to be active.

Keeping dog joints strong is crucial, especially when they are larger in size.

Arthritis in dogs is common, especially in senior dogs and dogs with extra weight. Akbashes are independent but great to train. They should only go to experienced dog owners who know their way around large size dogs.

They are great with children, while with other pets they need early socialization to share a home.

If you want a protective dog who is large in size and extremely loyal, then Akbash may be the right breed for you.

If you’re sure that Akbash is a dog for your home, make sure that you check local shelters first.

Are you fine with adopting a dog? Do you have experience with rescued dogs? If so, Akbash just might be in your local shelter waiting for you.

You may find these purebred dogs at local shelters or rescues.

Quick Facts

Real name: Akbash
Other names: Coban Kopegi, Akbaş Çoban Köpeği, Askbash Dog
Origin: Turkey
Breed type: Working Dogs
Weight: 75 to 140 pounds
Height: 27 to 34 inches
Lifespan: 10 – 12 years
Litter Size: 7 – 9 puppies
Color: White
Coat: Medium-length double coat

Akbash History

Little is known about this breed’s history. They may be rare, but knowledge of their history is put to its minimum.

Little is known, but some dog lovers and experts believe that this rare breed has been around for quite a period. To be precise, many believe that they have been around for 3,000 years if not even longer.

Back in the day, their main duty was to protect shepherds’ flocks from predators, which is something that they do even today.

From the linguistic side, Akbash is a Turkish word that means “white head”, due to their white coat. This rare breed can only have a coat in white color.

This color is purposely designed to help them be great guarding dogs. Thanks to their white coat Akbashes can blend with the flock much easier. They are also the national dog of Turkey.

A big milestone for this breed’s popularity happened in the 1970s when Americans Judith and David Nelson were researching this breed in Western Turkey.

They were so amazed at this breed that they decided to introduce these powerful dogs to Americans in the States.

Thanks to their efforts The United States Department of Agriculture uses this breed in their predator control program. As of 1998 this breed is officially recognized with AKC, under guardian breeds.

Akbash Physical Appearance

Akbash is a large size dog. They are not fit for those who cannot physically restrain them if needed.

Just walking them on a leash is something that should be left only to physically powerful people, and never children.

No matter how great your Akbash and your children might get along you should never let your child walk this powerful dog on its own. These powerful dogs tend to weigh in at 75 to 140 pounds and range in height from 27 to 34 inches at the shoulder.

They may be smaller or larger than average but you can expect them to be large and powerful. Their coat is usually of medium length, double, and commonly white. Some biscuit color is allowed.

There could be some biscuit or gray coloring shedding around the ears or undercoat. Their tails should be heavily feathered.

Due to their size, Akbashes are best suited for homes with a large fenced yard to provide him enough free space to roam freely.

These dogs need moderate exercise levels, but they still need enough space to move freely.

Important: Akbash is not to be mistaken with Anatolian Shepherd, although they have some similarities.

Use this compare dog breeds tool to compare these two breeds and learn about their similarities and differences.

Akbash Personality

Akbash may seem intimidating, but this is a gentle dog who loves his family.

Not only that they love being around people and sharing family moments, but they are also very protective. They will spend every moment of their time monitoring their humans carefully, for them their family members are their ‘flock’ that needs protection.

These dogs will live in a loving and caring environment, but that doesn’t mean that they won’t be independent. They are not stubborn, but they believe enough in their skills to know to determine what kind of reaction a certain situation may require.

Originally bred to protect flocks of livestock, you can expect them to have strong guard instincts even today. This is something to bear in mind when it comes to training them and keeping them entertained.

They are intelligent and have a mild temper. Explosive energy isn’t something that is part of this breed’s personality. However, if they spot any form of danger they will react in a matter of seconds.

They will bark or growl at strangers, but they should not be overly aggressive toward them.

Still, this is large size dog, just jumping on someone who is lighter in terms of weight can lead to an injury, so make sure that you place a ”Beware of the dog” sign.

Living With Akbash

Akbash dogs are large in size, but they are easy to keep overall. Due to their working background, these dogs are independent which makes them easy to keep.

As a working breed, they stay fit on a minimum amount of food. As long as you serve them high-quality food they should not only look but feel fit as well.

With this breed regular, weekly, brushing is a must. They may shed more intense during the shedding sessions which occur in spring and autumn.

Daily exercise is something this is a must because you want to keep their joints properly functioning.

Since they were bred to guard and not to run, they will spend hours monitoring their people.

To keep this breed long living and without major health issues, they need preventive care and routine maintenance.

For them, guarding is a serious job and they need to be well socialized and trained right from puppyhood.

Akbash With Children And Other Pets

Akbash is a large size dog and they can easily handle any kind of play. Still, due to their size, it is not advised to leave them around children of any age without adult supervision.

No matter how great your child/children and Akbash might get along, you should still let them interact with precautions.

These dogs are dogs of mild energy and they will prefer being around older children or adults.

Children should know how to behave around dogs and respect their place. That being said, children should know that dogs are territorial beings who should not be disturbed while eating, sleeping, resting, or drinking water.

As for the other pets, Akbashes might learn how to get along with other animals if introduced properly at an early age.

They aren’t naturally fond of other animals and they prefer to be the only pet in the household.

Many Akbashes get along nicely with other dogs and cats but they all come down to training, socialization, and the dog’s personality in general.

Akbash Grooming

Akbash is a breed of short to medium-length coat. Their coat doesn’t shed much, which is why this breed is considered to be a moderate shedder.

You may expect some extra hair during the shedding season which occurs in spring and autumn.

Major blowout usually happens during the shedding season. To survive this period provide additional brushing sessions and have a vacuum cleaner on hand.

Weekly brushing throughout the year should be enough to keep Akbash looking clean and neat.

Most dogs enjoy being brushed, although they may dislike being handled at first. This is why you should start with a grooming practice as soon as you get your puppy.

When dogs learn to be handled from an early age they will accept grooming practice as something that is part of their routine.

Do not forget to reward them with a nice treat afterward.

Grooming should include:

  • Weekly brushing
  • Monthly nail trimming or grinding
  • Bathe time when needed
  • Weekly gums check
  • Daily eye check for any sign of eye discharge
  • Ear cleaning when needed
  • Paw cleaning

If your veterinarian recommends it, you might have to brush your dog’s teeth. If you have to do it make sure that you use products that are specially designed for dogs.

Remember: If you start any grooming process when your dog is a puppy, it will make the grooming process later on much easier and even more fun.

To make grooming easier and faster make sure that you are using the right grooming tools – don’t forget that after every grooming session you serve your Fido a delicious treat.

Akbash Training

Akbash is a breed for only highly experienced dog owners. They will thrive in hands of experienced dog owners, who know how to deal with large size dogs.

No dog should ever experience any harsh handling method, which is why it is crucial, to be honest when it comes to training.

Even if you have experience as a dog owner, can you really train this large dog? Do you feel 100% confident in training this breed?

If you have any doubts, it is OK to ask for additional support. Think about hiring a professional dog trainer, or enrolling your puppy in puppy classes.

Both options are great, as they can both speed up the training process and provide you with further tips on how to continue training your Akbash. Otherwise, training sessions should be fun, consistent, engaging, packed with treats, and reward-based.

Dogs are food-driven beings and training them without treats won’t lead to any results.

Always use positive-reinforcement training methods, such as praise and treats.

To create a well-behaved canine citizen, you should use early socialization properly.

By the time the socialization window ends, your Akbash should know the following:

  • Basic commands such as sit and stay
  • House dog rules
  • How to behave around house visitors
  • How to walk on a leash
  • What a pee walk is
  • What house areas are allowed and what is forbidden

Once your veterinarian gives you a green light, you can take your Akbash to the dog park.

Make sure that you know your state’s dog regulations. If your state demanded large size dogs to wear a dog muzzle when outside, make sure that you are well-informed on that.

Akbash Exercise

Akbash doesn’t need lots of exercise, but they still need exercise to keep them healthy and strong.

Dogs are specially bred to perform certain tasks, which is why we have dogs of different skills, traits, and groups. These large size dogs were bred to be guarding dogs, not herding dogs.

Herding dogs are known for being highly active, such as Border Collies, while Akbash was bred to be calm and observing.

They don’t have to spend their days running and gathering livestock, but they need to spend hours watching over the flock from a safe and comfortable point.

They can get energy out through walking, slow jogging, and hiking in areas that are set low.

If you take your Akbash with you on a hike or a running session, could you be able to carry him back for miles?

If the answer is no, you should stick to low-intensity and safe activities, such as walking. To keep his mind stimulated think about implementing indoor games on a daily level.

Akbash Health

Akbash is a breed with a relatively short lifespan between 10 to 12 years. When getting a dog you should think about the breed’s longevity.

Once you get a dog you are getting a living being that will live for years. Make sure that you are ready for that commitment.

To keep your Akbash healthy and strong in his senior years you should provide the proper care.

Proper care should include the following:

  • Serving high-quality food
  • Regular veterinarian check-ups
  • Proper vaccination
  • Well-conducted parasite control
  • Easy access to fresh and clean water
  • Regular pee walks and exercise

Even if you manage to provide the best care possible your dog still may get sick. Just like humans dogs do get sick due to various reasons.

They may also suffer from some hereditary health issues, that may include:

  • Hip dysplasia
  • Cruciate ligament injuries
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Gastric dilatation volvulus (bloat)
  • Cancer
  • Kidney disease
  • Epilepsy
  • Cardiomyopathy

To avoid any of these conditions, you should stick to regular veterinarian check-ups.

Your veterinarian is the only one who can tell you just how really healthy your Akbash really is.

Do not forget that once you get a dog, you are directly responsible for his weight.

Obesity in dogs is on the rise and this is something that you want to prevent seeing in your dog.

Extra pounds may lead to many health issues, including issues with blood pressure and heart.

Are you thinking about buying an Akbash puppy? If you are buying a dog make sure that you work only with responsible dog breeders only.

Puppy mills are on the rise and you do not want a dog who is bred under inhumane conditions. To separate responsible dog breeders from puppy mills you should look for red flags.

Here are the most common signs of puppy mills:

  • Dog has no papers
  • Breeder isn’t registered
  • It is extremely hard to find any form of contact with the breeder
  • If puppies or parents aren’t used to human interaction or they look scary, it is a red flag
  • If puppies or parents look unhealthy or unclean
  • ‘Breeders’ have multiple breeds of dogs
  • You can only buy puppies online
  • Puppies do not have the breed standard traits

On the other hand, responsible breeders are easy to recognize as they will have the following practice:

  • Let you meet the bitch
  • Show you the facilities
  • Show you medical documentation on the puppy, as they screen puppies for the most common health issues of the breed
  • Ask you a lot of questions to make sure that you are the best fit for their puppy
  • They won’t be super fast to hand you over the puppy
  • Responsible breeders will always be registered

Some breeders may even tell you that in case of a hardship you return the dog to them. This isn’t regular practice, but more of individual preference.

Where To Adopt Or Buy An Akbash?

Akbash is a rare dog breed, but it can be found across the States. Many purebred dogs end up in animal shelters, so make sure that you check your local shelter.

If they do care about Akbash, they might know where is a large Akbash waiting for his forever home.

Since they are rare dogs, finding them in local animal shelters and reduces isn’t easy, but it is still worth checking.

Finding local breeders will demand time, especially finding a reputable and responsible breeder.

How much can it cost you to get an Akbash from a responsible breeder? You can expect to invest between $600 to $2,000 on average.

For more directions on where to find healthy Akbahs, check the links listed below:

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