Akbash: Breed Profile

| Updated: August 10, 2023
Akbash Dog strolling through a field

Origin History of the Akbash:

The Akbash is an ancient breed that has been around for over three thousand years, originally bred in Turkey to serve as livestock guardians. The name Akbash is derived from the Turkish word for “white head,” and their white coats help them blend in with their flock for protection. The breed is also the national dog of Turkey.

In the 1970s, Americans Judith and David Nelson began researching the Akbash breed in western Turkey. Intrigued by the Akbash, they imported the breed to North America in the same decade. The United States Department of Agriculture was so impressed with the Akbash that they began using them in their predator control program.

The United Kennel Club officially recognized the Akbash in 1998, classifying the breed under their guardian breeds. While the Akbash is still considered a rare breed, they may be found in local shelters or breed-specific rescues. If you are interested in adding an Akbash to your family, we’d encourage you to consider adoption before other options.

Akbash Appearance:

The Akbash is an impressive and imposing dog, with a strong, muscular body and an alert, inquisitive expression. The breed is medium-large sized, with males typically standing 27 to 34 inches tall at the shoulder and weighing between 75 and 140 pounds. The Akbash has a double coat, with a medium-length outer coat and a thick undercoat to protect them from the elements. The Akbash’s coat is only one color – white – and is often described as having a “sheen” or glow. This helps them to blend in with their surroundings and provides effective camouflage when protecting livestock.

The breed is known for its alert and inquisitive expression, with a head that is carried high and proud. The Akbash has a deep chest, broad back, and straight legs, all of which contribute to its strength and agility. The tail is usually carried low and has a slight curve at the end. The Akbash’s coat is easy to care for but does require some regular brushing to remove dirt and old hair. The breed is not particularly well-suited for extreme heat and can shed heavily in the summer months.

Overall, the Akbash is an impressive and imposing breed. With its white coat and powerful frame, the Akbash is a formidable protector and guardian. Its alert expression and inquisitive demeanor make it a great watchdog, and its size and strength make it well-suited for its intended purpose – to protect livestock.

Diet and Nutrition:

As with any dog breed, the Akbash has special dietary and nutrition needs in order to stay healthy and happy. As a large breed with low energy, the Akbash needs a diet that is tailored to their specific needs. To start, it is important to create a regular feeding schedule and stick to it. This will help keep your pup from overeating and gaining weight. Additionally, it is important to limit treats, as these can also lead to weight gain.

When it comes to the food itself, an Akbash should be fed a diet that is appropriate for their size and energy level. It is important to speak with your veterinarian to determine what type of food and how much of it is best for your pup. As a large breed, they may be prone to bloat, so a slow feeder may be helpful in this case.

Overall, it is important to remember that the dietary and nutrition needs of your Akbash will vary depending on their age, size, and activity level. Therefore, it is important to consult with your veterinarian to ensure that your pup is getting the right nutrition and care.

Common Health Issues Affecting Akbashs:

The Akbash is a large, powerful dog that is prone to a variety of health issues. While most Akbashs are generally healthy, there are some genetic predispositions that can lead to health problems. It is important for owners of Akbashs to be aware of the potential health issues in order to provide their pups with the best care possible.

One of the most common health issues seen in Akbashs is hip dysplasia. This is a condition in which the hip joint does not fit properly into the hip socket, resulting in pain, discomfort, and eventual arthritis. Some Akbashs may also be prone to eye problems, such as progressive retinal atrophy, which can cause vision loss. In addition, Akbashs may also suffer from elbow dysplasia, ear infections, and hypothyroidism.

Fortunately, most of these health conditions can be managed through proper diet, exercise, and regular veterinary checkups. Additionally, it is important to do research and buy from a reputable breeder to ensure that the Akbash is as healthy as possible.

Interesting Facts about the Akbash:

The Akbash is an ancient Turkish breed that has been around for centuries, and is known for its loyal, guardian-like protective nature. Here are some interesting facts about this incredible breed:

  1. The name Akbash translates to “white head” in Turkish, and the breed is easily recognizable due to its white coat. This coat helps them blend in with the flock they’re protecting and makes them more effective at their job.
  2. The Akbash is believed to be one of the oldest breeds of guard dogs, having existed for almost 3,000 years. They were originally bred to protect Turkish shepherds’ flocks from predators, and this strong protective instinct is still present in the breed today.
  3. The Akbash is officially recognized by the United Kennel Club (UKC) as a guardian breed in 1998. Not only that, but they were also used in the United States Department of Agriculture’s predator control program.
  4. The Akbash is a very independent breed, and they are not known to suffer from separation anxiety if left alone with their humans. However, they do need to be socialized at an early age with other animals or dogs they might live with.
  5. The Akbash is a gentle dog who is very protective of its family. They are highly intelligent and make great watchdogs, as they will alert you to anyone who might approach your door.
  6. Akbashs’ are the parent breed to some fantastic mixes such as the Akbash Pyrenees

Where to Buy or Adopt:

If you’re looking to buy or adopt an Akbash, you may find it difficult to track down a breeder in your area. The Akbash is a rare breed and not many breeders specialize in them. However, you can always check with your local shelters and rescues as they may have an Akbash in their care. Many rescues and shelters cater to large breeds or all types of dogs, so you might have some luck.

If you do find a breeder or an Akbash available for adoption, make sure to do your research on them before committing. Ask questions such as how long they’ve been in business, how they socialize and train the puppies, and how they ensure the health and safety of their pups. You should also ask to see the parents of the puppy and the breeder should be able to provide medical records to show that the puppies have been checked for any potential health issues.

If you’re looking for a loyal, protective companion, the Akbash may be a great choice for you. Just make sure to do your research and find a responsible breeder or adoption center before bringing home your new pup.


In conclusion, Akbash are loyal and devoted protectors that can make wonderful additions to any family. They are independent, intelligent, and strong, making them excellent watchdogs. They are also gentle and loving with their family, and can easily handle the play of excited children with ease. They do, however, require an owner who is both strong and sensitive, as well as early socialization with other animals and pets in the home.


Q: What is the average lifespan of an Akbash?

A: The average lifespan of an Akbash is between 10 and 12 years, though some can live for up to 15 years with proper care and nutrition. Akbash tend to be relatively healthy dogs, but regular veterinary checkups can help to ensure that any potential health problems are caught and treated early.

Q: Are Akbash good with children?

A: Yes, Akbash can be great family dogs. They are gentle and loving with children, but can also be protective of them if they sense any danger. They are usually calm and patient with kids and enjoy spending time with their family. It is important to socialize your Akbash from a young age to ensure they are comfortable around other people and pets.

Q: Can Akbash be left alone for long periods of time?

A: Generally speaking, no. Akbash, like most dogs, needs human companionship and exercise to stay healthy and happy. If you need to leave them alone for long periods of time, make sure they have plenty of toys, enrichment activities, and a safe, comfortable space to stay in. Additionally, it is important to provide them with regular walks and other forms of exercise to maintain their mental and physical health.

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