The Kangal (pronounced, khan-ghahl) is a breed of large livestock guardian dog originating from the Sivas province of Turkey. The breed is of an early Mastiff type with a solid, pale tan or sabled coat, and a black mask. According to official Kangal organisations in Turkey, including the Cynology Federation of Turkey (Köpek Irkları ve Kinoloji Federasyonu, KIF) and the Ankara Kangal Association (Ankara Kangal Derneği, ANKADER), Kangals may also be brindle or feature a recessive black tan pattern; with or without a black mask; and/or with white markings.
While the Kangal is often referred to as a sheep dog, it is not a herding dog, but rather a flock guardian that lives with the flock of sheep to actively fend off predators of all sizes. Typically used as protection against wolves, bears, and jackals in its native Turkey,the breed has been exported to African countries like Namibia and Kenya in more recent years due to its intimidating size and capabilities as an effective guardian, where it successfully protects local herds from lions, cheetahs, and similar indigenous big cats, which has had the benefit of not only protecting livestock, but ensuring the continuity of endangered predators due to reduced cullings by local farmers.
The Sivas Kangal Dog’s protectiveness, loyalty, and gentleness with small children and animals has led to its growing popularity as a guardian for families as well, as it regards people as its “flock” and guards them with extreme devotion.
While similar in appearance, the Kangal is a separate breed from the Anatolian Shepherd.