TURKISH KANGAL DOG – WOLF KILLER OR PET?


Hello and welcome to Animal Watch and
this week we’re talking The Turkish Kangal Dog There are a few breeds in the world who
are known as formidable flock Guardians One being the feared and immense Kangal
Claimed to have the size, strength and ferocity to kill wolves, in order to
protect their flock. Claimed to have the speed and launch power of a Ferrari and
suggested to have a bite force that is the most powerful out of every dog breed
there is. Possessing an old and ancient history that goes back thousands of
years Some stories even suggest that actual
wolf blood runs through their veins, but what is the truth? Are these huge herding
dogs mindless killers or simply protectors of the innocent? Are they
suitable as pets or best left as working dogs? And can they really kill a wolf or
are they simply effective wolf deterrents? Today I’m visiting Carl
Westfield in the UK who is guardian of several Kangals and also one of the UK’s
top Kangal experts Sheila Reed in order to find out just what the temperament is
of one of these incredible looking dogs and also the truth…. Hi Carl. Hi Anneka, nice to meet you. These are my Kangals. Wow look at him. Hello..This is Dave here. Dave? Yes this is Dave. (laughs) What a tough name for a Kangal, I love it. Its amazing isn’t it? Its brilliant, oh he’s beautiful isn’t he? and this is? This is Dave and Kaiaz.
Kaiaz? That’s a pretty name I met Carl’s two Kangals
and the first thing that hit me was how lovely they were. Really affectionate and
welcoming of strangers. Dave his male Kangal just wanted to be petted and
loved to roll over and fall down in my lap. The two dogs had an obvious roving
curiosity and Carl mentioned that he preferred to keep them leashed, as their
protective streak would kick in like a Ferrari from zero to 80 miles per hour
if a passing dog went by in the distance Even though they had just been
introduced to this field, apparently it would now have become their territory to
protect and keep safe. Well Carl these are beautiful, beautiful dogs. This is the
first time I’ve ever met a Kangal dog You get this sort of idea when people go
on about them being, you know, sort of these ferocious flock guardians and that that
they’re going to be somewhat unfriendly but they are so sweet and lovely. They are with people and families and especially children. You know, a good Kangal is completely solid temperament, basically calm until roused. They can be confrontational if
they consider that there’s something outside of what they perceive to be
their flock, their family, their garden their area. If anything kind of threatens
that then they yes they do come alive It’s very very well documented that they
are exceptional with children literally because for centuries they’ve had to grow up in villages with children running around and they can’t
show any undue aggression otherwise they would be fiercely treated. How tall do the Kangals stand? There’s again there’s quite a disparity with what you think is a
massive Kangal versus what is the reality of a Kangal. I believe if you if
you do any Googling or if you look at YouTube or pictures or wherever you
sometimes see massive dogs generally originating out of Turkey that are
coming in at you know 80 90 100 kilos These are just these are just not
Kangal, they’re not a working dog. They couldn’t do a day’s
work. These are more of the proper working Kangals that are out there with the Shepherds? Yes, there is big there is small within a standard anywhere between 28 and 32
approximately. How heavy are the Kangals approximately? Anywhere between about ninety and a hundred and thirty pounds
Let’s just quickly talk about Dave’s ears here because I know people comment
a lot about cropped ears. In the United Kingdom we don’t crop ears it’s illegal
He’s an import and of course when they come in from working lines they’ve been
cropped when they’ve been very, very young and of course little Dave here is
an import so he’s not being cropped here in the UK
and Carl certainly doesn’t crop any of the ears and of course as you can see
here on the female this is what their ears are supposed to look like. So what is it
like having a Kangal in your house? For such big dogs you sometimes you can’t hear them, you don’t know where they are and yet they know, they constantly watch.
They’re pretty much sleep with one eye open, so they’ll know exactly what’s happening Anything out of the unusual they’ll
let you know. Yes so if somebody rings the doorbell will they fly up? Yeah they want to know what it is. How about if somebody is walking a dog past your window? Yes they will go mental, they will go mental.
If I came to greet you in your house would they still treat me exactly the same? So just
lovely dogs, actually really, really lovely dogs that have got a bit of a
rubbish reputation I’ve got to say on some of the clips I’ve been seeing. What
is the life expectancy for a Kangal? because they’re quite large dogs, but
they’re healthy. Yes they are they are very, very healthy there’s normally fair
to say that the bigger the dog the less long they live.
But that is quite unusual with these because I’ve known dogs of 14, 15, 16 years old. That’s a really good age. A good, healthy age They live and work for a very long time
It’s an unbelievable coat, I mean if I rub my hand up here it’s dense. The
under coat..Hello Dave, he’s so sweet. It’s so thick and dense isn’t it and like the undercoat is
the same length as the guard hairs isn’t it and you can see how they can keep so warm up
in the mountains, I mean how cold does it get in Turkey? Cor, in the
winters it’s got to be minus 30. Minus 30? And of course they crop the ears out there
because they can get frostbite and one of the first things to go is the ears as
well of course if they come into a confrontation with a wolf. A wolf will
latch on to anything that’s hanging off so like the ears. This is the only colour
they come in then I presume? What colour is this called? It’s faun with a black mask. And it’s a
very similar colour to Akitas isn’t it that’s why you said they
sometimes get muddled up? Yeah there’s that and of course they have a similar Akita
tail. They’re not rambunctious, they’re not rambunctious or clumsy or anything
like that and they’re just very calm. Ok so can have a very small child with them and they’re not going to jump on them or scratch them? They seem very, very relaxed to me These dogs are very, very aloof and
they’re very independent. If you let them off the lead and they see something
you were saying they could just literally go?..Yeah they will – always on a
leash. You’ve got to be a quite a brave person to let your Kangal run loose. It
might be fair to say that if you get recall from your Kangal, you’ll go down in
history. (laughs) When they go it’s gosh and they pull they really pull. They have greater
strength than what they seem to be in size. You got to be fairly young
and agile and fit and strong to have one of these dogs. A fenced garden. A fenced
garden because you’re saying your boy here is a jumper? Yeah, they’re also very, very good diggers. They’re very, very good diggers they will dig under
fences to get out. I think the digging comes back from in summer time they’ll dig for a cool shade, cool area and then
in the winter time they go down in the snow, exactly like a wolf will do that too. What do they eat? What do they eat? Mine eat fresh meat, fresh meat and biscuits or
kibble or or anything really that I’ve got for them. They survive on
very little actually. It’s not true to say that, you know, they’re big dogs and
you’ve got to feed them two three four pounds of meat a day,
no they survive on quite small amount of food. Maybe that’s
because of their breeding and their you know having to be up in the mountains Later that week I dropped by to meet a
very special lady indeed, Sheila Reed respected across the UK for her
expertise in the Kangal breed. Both her and her husband Michael had kept Kangals
for decades now and had travelled out to Turkey many times to source dogs from
working lines. If there was anyone who knew The Kangal better then it would be
her. We fell in love with the breed our old dog had died and we just wanted, we
wanted a natural dog. We went to see a lady called Mrs Betty Marshall and she
bought our her dog called Fenner, he stood on his back legs and he put his
paws on my shoulders and he looked me in the eye and he looked right into my soul and that was it…
The Turkish people will tell you that they came with them as they moved up
through into Turkey. They’ve been used for thousands and thousands of years and
it is their role to protect whatever it is that they live with that’s what they
do naturally. If you go into Turkey and you go into the villages you’ll see the
old dogs and if they’re no longer fit you know and young out with the flock
they actually can’t stay in the villages and when the children start to wander
off you’ll actually see the old dogs go *sigh* and heave themselves to their feet, but
they will go off with the children to ensure that the children are never alone
and they are their guardian so they don’t march up and down being aggressive
they just wander quietly along making sure the children are safe. Certainly the
Kangal dog could kill a wolf without any problem at all. If you watch the Kangal dogs when they’re young puppies their mother teaches them in
play and they will use their shoulders to charge. They don’t always win, we had a
very, very sad story. We went out on a vaccination program in 2003 I think it
was. One day we went up to the top of the mountain to this village first
and there were only three puppies and that was because previous week there was
a big, big pack of wolves had come into the village in in the middle of the
night and the males had gone out and what would happen is they’d gone into
attack mode with the with the wolves. The wolves basically were winning so the
people of the village got their burning staves and gone out, but the mother of
these puppies but been in a shed with the puppies when
she could hear that things were going badly, because it is usually the bitch
that kills the wolves not the males She’d broken free and left the puppies
locked in a safe place and gone out so between her and the villagers the
wolves were chased away, but all of the males were dead, but she was severely
damaged. They do take enormous care of their dogs and they worked very hard on
her, but unfortunately she didn’t survive and all they’ve got left were these
three puppies and the villagers were absolutely heartbroken, but the Turks
don’t recognize any dog called an Anatolian Shepherd dog to them the word
Anatolian Shepherd
A)They don’t accept the word Anatolian, because that’s just
that a plateau in Turkey it’s a nothingness. It was a word that was
taken up by the Americans to give it a name and basically it’s a word that
covers any big dog that comes from Turkey, any dog over 24 inches that comes
out of Turkey, so it could be any colour, any coat length, anything really, whereas
The Kangal dog is a particular type. If you look at an Anatolian Shepherd dog
some of them look like Kangal dogs because a lot of them might have in
their background a grandfather or grandmother They’re not a dog for somebody who wants
a dog that they can wander down the road and go to the local park and let them
off fully to play with all the other dogs. They’d be fine when they were
puppies, but what would happen is gradually that park would become theirs
if they went there every day or once a week gradually as they grew up that
would be their park and so they would consider that everybody within that park
were people who needed to abide by certain behaviour pans civilised behaviour
patterns. If some stupid dog comes up to it growling and snapping and
snarling and biting at his face a Kangal dog will just do dog behaviour and he
will stand completely statue-like which is dog language for your behaviour is
unacceptable please stop, but if that doesn’t work he will follow through in
animal behaviour patterns until it gets to the point where he has to do what
animal behaviour insists that he must do which is to pick it up and give it a
good thumping, which is not acceptable in today’s modern world. In today’s modern
world that will make him a dangerous dog which he doesn’t understand because as
far as he’s concerned he’s followed all the patterns
You know I’ve tried and I’ve been very civilised I’ve said don’t do that I’ve
said I told you not to do that you know I’ve followed all the behaviour
lines. It isn’t just physical strength You need them to know what you want them
to do. When we had our first dogs they knew that I didn’t want them to behave
in a certain way at a certain place what they did know was they had somewhere
where they could do that. Always our dogs have had somewhere where they could
guard. Our dogs here we’ve got a bridleway at the side they guard. They run up and
down and they shout and they scream if anybody goes by – that’s what they do. When
we go out from here they know that that behaviour is not
acceptable. We do not have a dog barking and growling and screaming in a car and
we make that clear from an early age They’re not a dog that goes around with
their sleeves rolled up looking for trouble and they should not be like that
and that is not what somebody should be wanting. They are not aggressive, what
they are is they are there to take care of you.
They are my heart and soul and they will give you their heart and their soul. They
don’t hold back ever – there’s no half ways. They’re an all or nothing dog and
that’s the trouble with me I’m an all or nothing person and that’s what I like
about them. I was deeply moved by Sheila’s stories and found out
information I did not previously know such as there being varying types of
Kangal, some larger, some more large- headed, some with more toes and some far
more aggressive than others. What was clear though was her deep unwavering
love and respect of this breed, a breed that she was keen to not have
misrepresented, a breed that would love and look after you with its soul and one
that she wanted to be embraced by the world. She backed up my conclusion that a
wolf can kill a Kangal, but equally if the conditions were right a Kangal could
kill a wolf. The wolves of Turkey and the surrounding areas are much smaller than
North American Timber Wolves and this small size would equate for why they are
killed from time to time, but equally it was clear that wolves regularly killed
the Kangals, however what was most important was the dog’s role, as if more
flock guardians were use the world around then there would be less licensed
wolf culls as farmers could then protect their
sheep in the fair and natural way allowing wolves to coexist in the lands
they all once roamed before industrial farming. Sheila also nicely cleared up
the Kangal versus Anatolian Shepherd debate and explained why these two dog
breeds are certainly not the same If you enjoyed this episode on Kangals then
please give us a big thumbs up and subscribe to the channel by clicking the
button in the bottom of the screen and do feel free to ask us any questions in
the box below and I will do my best to answer them. If you’d like to find out
more about the Caucasian Shepherd I filmed with a few weeks ago you can
click the information box at the top of the page which will take you to the
video on the Caucasian Shepherd who is another flock garden which is known for
being the nemesis of the wolf and I will see you next week for another fantastic
episode of animal watch which is on dogs wolves, wolfdogs, animal rescue, wildlife
and conservation. Bye for now. If you would like to find out more about Kangals you
can contact Carl via his web page

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