Kangal Dog breed development in Australia

ANKC Kangal Dog has historical significance to the breed’s development in Australia, and is based on the breed standards in use for Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in Australia from 1985-1995: the Anatolian Karabash, and the KC Anatolian Shepherd Dog breed standard.

The breed name which introduced the dogs to Australia in 1985 and marketed them as stock protection dogs for sheep and goat farmers was 'Anatolian Karabash'.  Karabash is still used as the breed name by older generation farmers to identify their dogs today.  

Karabash, from the Turkish kara and baş, translates to ‘black head’, and is one of several traditional descriptive names for Turkish Shepherd Dogs.   In ideological terms, ‘Anatolian Karabash’ was the precursor to Kangal Dog.

Anatolian puppy for sale livestock guardian dogThe first foundation dogs imported to Australia were from 'Anatolian Karabash' breeders in England.  The KC (The Kennel Club England) breed standard for Anatolian Karabash, later revised and published as Anatolian Shepherd Dog in 1987, did not amend its colour description until 2005.    From 1987 until 2005, Anatolian Shepherd Dogs in England had the colour description preference for a black mask, and whole coloured fawn dogs.  Rough coats (longer coated Anatolian Shepherd Dogs) have always been excluded in the KC Anatolian Shepherd Dog by the phrase: 'No feathering on ears or legs.'   From 1985 to 1987 Anatolian Shepherd Dog breeders in Australia followed the Anatolian Karabash ideal, and then in 1987 the Kennel Club breed standard for Anatolian Shepherd Dog.  The change to the FCI standard which allowed rough coated dogs and all colours without mention of a black mask was a significant change for the breed in Australia, and in the 1990s, it was believed that rough coats, pintos (excess white), and the lack of a black mask were indicators that the dog was not 'pedigree'.

ANKC Kangal Dog (1998) came about from Anatolian Shepherd breeders in Australia who were opposed to the change of standard from KC (which was based on Anatolian Karabash ideals, ie must have a black mask) to FCI, which allowed all colours, and did not place emphasis on the ‘characteristic black mask’.  Ironically, far from proving Kangal is a distinct breed from Anatolian because the Kangal breed 'always breeds true' (ie the Kangal has a black mask and is never white spotted), the ANKC Kangal Dog breed split demonstrated unequivocally that 'colour' is not an indicator of pedigree.  Under scrutiny of a registered breed population with generational record it became apparent that rough coats, excess white, recessive liver and black tan, and no black mask, was not the bane of 'mixed breed' Anatolian Shepherd Dogs - Kangal (Karabash black head) x Akbash (white head) x Kars (long coat) - but the genetic reality of a Turkish Shepherd's guardian dog with the Agouti allele.

During the breed’s early registry years, it would be anathema for Anatolian Shepherd Dogs (dogs with ‘impure’ coat indicators) to be Kangal Shepherd Dogs. From 1998 to 2011 the separate breed recognition of Kangal Dog in Australia demonstrated colour was not crucible to breed identity.  Rather more importantly, the function of the dogs - their ability to do their job as guard dogs of livestock on farms in Australia - was paramount to their breed identity as 'guard dogs for sheep and goats, hard working, capable of enduring extremes of heat and cold'.  Unlike the Kennel Club England, Australia's utilisation of the dogs is largely in rural working homes, either as bonded dogs to stock or roaming farm guardians on expansive allotments of land.  Owners of the breed in Australia arrived at the 2018 classification conclusion of FCI and Turkish Kennel Club, in 2011: Anatolian Shepherd and Kangal are alternative breed standard names for the same population of dogs.  Since 2012 the breed in Australia has thrived, and Australian dogs are exported to all main registries FCI, AKC, NZKC as breeding stock .  The breed in Australia is esteemed for its hardy breed type and preservation of working ability, developed from outdoor Australian conditions, by Austraian breeders, and ANKC registry outcomes since 1985. 

In 2018, FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dog = FCI Kangal Shepherd Dog, is a practical solution for the breed in Europe to integrate FCI's new member Turkey into their studbooks.

Likewise in 2018, a change of Standard to Country Of Development Standard - ANKC Kangal Dog, is a practical solution for the breed in Australia, and gives stewardship of the breed to the owners and registry, which registered the breed first:

ANKC was the first recognsed registry to produce a Kangal breed standard and register Kangal as a breed (1998) and the first registry to classify registered Kangal and registered Anatolian Shepherd as one breed population.  ANKC actioned the ‘one breed population’ model in 2012.  FCI and the Turkish Kennel Club actioned the ‘one breed population’ model in 2018.

Australia’s expansive sheep and goat enterprises has contributed to the breed’s acceptance as a livestock guardian dog beyond the borders of Turkey, and developed its breed identity as a guard dog of livestock and farm assets for agricultural industry.

The Karabash was imported for the Australian Farmer to increase the lambing rate ... Because of the size of Australian Farmers' properties they are unable to check the ewes day and night.   The use of the guarding dogs should see this lambing rate increased greatly with the foxes and domestic dog packs unable to penetrate the paddocks.
Sue Freshwater, RANSU, 1985

The Anatolian Karabash has a big future in Australia not only protecting sheep from predators but guarding valuable livestock against thieves.
Dean Beynon, IRADENE , 1985

The breed’s identity as a guard dog of farm assets, and the breed’s primary utilization as a working dog in Australia, is the result of extensive promotion by breeders to establish the breed as a successful livestock guardian dog in Australia, and breeders’ efforts to breed a dog suited to Australian working conditions and which met Australian farmers’ requirements.

The working conditions and requirements of the dogs in Australia and the livelihoods and assets of Australian farmers, are very different to the generally impoverished Shepherd in Turkey and his herd of goats and sheep.   Australian farmland is fenced, and the dogs are required to protect valuable assets against four and two legged threats.

“Anatolian Karabash Guard Dogs.  Guarding sheep cattle, goats, deer, poultry, ocean vessels, persons and property etc
Against: predators (dingoes, wild dogs, foxes, eagles), stock thieves, trespassers and raiding wild life (kangaroos etc)”
1986 breed promotion

In 2018 the dogs are utilised to protect diesel fuel lines in outback Australia and silos of grain supplies for export.  They are employed to guard and watch over cattle and sheep intended for live export and have differentiated into guard dogs of large free range chicken flocks (up to 30,000 birds) to protect against wedge tail eagles and foxes.  They live out with their stock unassisted and rely on automatic feeders; hardy constitution and good instincts nurtured by the breeder; and good training and rearing by the farmer.

Australian outdoor conditions, differential guard targets, and ANKC registry outcomes, have resulted in the breed population in Australia developing into a larger and more colour diverse dog than described by the 2018 FCI Kangal Shepherd Dog breed standard.  The sheep and goat guard dog of the Turkish Shepherd has been developed into an imposing guard dog of livestock and farm assets for Agriultural and Farming Industry in Australia.


“It must be realised that the conditions under which Anatolian Karabash Dogs are utilised in their native Turkey, and the conditions under which they will have to work in Australia, are entirely different.
We are in fact asking a great deal more of them under paddock conditions, in Turkey they work in conjunction with a shepherd for most of the time.
In Australia, we will be expecting them to work in the field, without any supervision.  They will also be expected to camp out at the mercy of the elements”.

Terry Page COOETONG 1985 - foundation Anatolian Karabash / Anatolian Shepherd Dog / Kangal Dog breeder.

livestock guard dog kangal 
Anadol Barck (Imp UK) - July 1985 - first working Anatolian in Australia


Chronology of the Anatolian / Kangal Shepherd Dog Breed Standard in Australia

1. ANKC Breed Standard for Anatolian Shepherd Dog 1985 - 1987: pre1987 KC Anatolian Karabash

breed standard anatolian karabash


 2. ANKC Breed Standard for Anatolian Shepherd Dog 1987 - 1995: KC Anatolian Shepherd Dog

breed standard anatolian shepherd dog 1987 kennel club


3. ANKC Breed Standard for Anatolian Shepherd Dog 1996 - 2018: FCI Anatolian Shepherd Dog

breed standard anatolian shepherd dog FCI


4. ANKC Breed Standard for Kangal Dog 1998 - 2011: ANKC Kangal Dog

breed standard kangal dog ANKC

Contact Details

A Sinclair
Queensland, QLD, Australia
Phone : 0417770884
Email : [email protected]
ABN: 27 212 192 055