THE KANGAL DOG: DISPOSITION
The Kangal Dog is a quiet dog, protective but not aggressive without a reason. It is calm and trustworthy, devoted to its family, very good with children, and very trainable. Always on the alert for the intruder or the unexpected, the Kangal Dog often gives the impression of being nonchalant. Its size alone is often enough to deter a challenge, but when challenged, the Kangal Dog is a courageous and determined foe. This young Kangal Dog illustrates the gentle, but protective disposition of the breed. Work with the Kangal Dog in Turkey in a non-agricultural setting has shown that it is well-suited as a guard dog; however, when a patrol dog, a dog that will attack on command, is needed, the German Shepherd and the Doberman are used. Protection, not aggression, is the Kangal Dog's natural instinct.
In the U.S. and in Turkey, the Kangal Dog is often used as a livestock guardian on small farms. The breed's attachment to "its people" make it an ideal farm-family guardian. Only a few Kangal Dogs have been placed on range with livestock due primarily to the expense of securing pure Kangal Dogs from Turkey, the need to preserve breeding dogs, and the death rate among dogs in range situations. Nevertheless, the reports from the owners of those few Kangal Dogs on range have been glowing. One experienced livestock owner has said that the Kangal Dog performed better than any of the other breeds he had owned against large predators -- cougar and bear. His sheep and Kangal Dog guardians in winter were on the high desert in Eastern Washington, where coyotes were a constant problem and cougar an occasional one, and in summer in the Rocky Mountains, where cougar and bear (both black and grizzly) were a constant threat.
The breed gives one the impression of never being out of control. A Kangal Dog is always aware of what it is doing. It is virtually impossible to think of a Kangal Dog as excitable or as a potential "fear-biter." However, they are ready in a moment to protect what is theirs, no matter what the threat.
Kangal Dog owners attest to the intelligence of the breed. In spite of their large size, usually the tone of the voice and a few words alone serve as a reprimand. No doubt it is the breed's intelligence and trainability that has led to the Turkish military and police interest in the breed. A young Kangal Dog, like any other canine family member, should not be spoiled nor should it be allowed to become the "alpha" (dominant) member of the family. Basic training (such as sitting, staying, coming on command) will help the young dog develop respect for its owners and will help instill in the dog the idea that "nothing in life is free." Physical punishment is never recommended with a Kangal Dog; in spite of its large size, a young Kangal Dog that is physically punished can quickly lose all confidence and become completely subordinate. Only patient rehabilitation can undo the damage done by a heavy-handed owner or trainer.