Akbash Dogs (Turkish: Akbaş, translated as White Head) are native to Turkey, and they are primarily used as livestock guardians and shepherd dogs. Breeders Judith and David Nelson, who had been conducting research on white-colored dogs in western Turkey, introduced this breed to North America in the 1970s.
Akbash dogs are large dogs, weighing 75-140 pounds (34-64 kg), with females averaging 90 pounds and males 120 pounds. Akbash dogs are usually between the heights of 27 and 32 inches (69 to 81 cm). This breed is typically leaner than those of other livestock guardian breeds (such as the Kangal and Anatolian Shepherd).
Akbash’s personality is calm and alert. There is nothing timid or aggressive about this breed. It is suspicious of strangers and alert to unexpected sounds or changes in the environment when used as a guard dog. A naturally discerning breed, it is bred to think independently.
Breeders do not intentionally breed the dogs to be hostile. Akbash predators can be very powerful yet compassionate toward newborn lambs and goat kids when exposed properly. A typical Akbash’s first line of defense is to bark and/or growl at potential threats in order to warn them. Akbash will chase off predators or fight if necessary.
Like some large breeds, Akbash Dogs can expect a lifespan of between 10 and 11 years, but some live much longer. Akbash Dogs can bond deeply with their owner and other animals and express a range of emotions that makes them stand out among many other breeds.