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a large white dog sitting
Other namesAkbaş Çoban Köpeği
Height Males 60–85 cm (24–33 in)[1]: 7 
Females 50–75 cm (20–30 in)[1]: 7 
Weight Males 45–65 kg (99–143 lb)[1]: 7 
Females 35–55 kg (77–121 lb)[1]: 7 
Coat double coat[2]: 90 
Colour white[2]: 90 
Life span 10–12 years[2]: 90 
Notesrecognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of Turkey
Dog (domestic dog)
a large white dog sitting among a flock of sheep
Guarding sheep in California

The Akbash (Turkish: Akbaş), is a traditional Turkish breed or type of flock guardian dog from western Anatolia.[3] The word akbaş means 'white head', and thus distinguishes this dog from the Karabaş, or 'black head'.[4]: 33 [5] It was recognised by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs in 2006; it is under the tutelage of the Köpek Irkları ve Kinoloji Federasyonu, the Turkish dog breed society, but is not recognised by the Fédération Cynologique Internationale.[3][6]


The Akbash is a traditional breed of livestock guardian dog, used to protect flocks from predators in the rugged terrain of western Anatolia.[2]: 90  It is distributed mainly in the provinces of Afyon, Ankara, Eskişehir and Manisa; some are present in the provinces of Ağrı, Konya, Sivas and Tunceli.[1]: 7 [7]: 5 

A standard was published by the Turkish Standards Institution in 2002, and in 2006 the Akbash was recognised by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs; it was added to the list of recognised native breeds and types, and the breed standard was published in the Resmi Gazete, the official government gazette.[7]: 5 [8][9]: 8 [10]


The Akbash is a flock guardian dog, providing protection from predators to shepherds and to their sheep; it does not have any herding ability.[1]: 7  It is large and powerful dog:[11]: 406  mean body weight is approximately 45 kg, and mean height at the withers just over 75 cm.[1]: 6 

The coat may be either long or of medium length; it is always double, and is usually white, though there may be some shading towards a biscuit colour.[12]: 70 [11]: 406  As with other white-coated flock guardian dogs, the white coat makes it easy for the shepherd to distinguish between the dog and a predator, even in the dark.[11]: 406  There is considerable feathering behind the legs, and the tail is heavily feathered.[12]: 70 


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Orhan Yılmaz, Mehmet Ertuğrul (2012). Determination of Akbash Shepherd Dog Raised in Turkey. Bitlis Eren University Journal of Science & Technology. 2 (1): 6–9.
  2. ^ a b c d Tamsin Pickeral (2014). Dogs Unleashed. San Diego: Thunder Bay Press. ISBN 9781626860681.
  3. ^ a b Akbaş Shepherd Dog (in Turkish). Köpek Irkları ve Kinoloji Federasyonu. Archived 6 December 2013.
  4. ^ Turkish Language Association - TDK Online Dictionary. ak[permanent dead link] , baş[dead link]
  5. ^ David Hancock (2014). Dogs of the Shepherds: A Review of the Pastoral Breeds. Ramsbury, Marlborough, Wiltshire: The Crowood Press. ISBN 9781847978080.
  6. ^ FCI breeds nomenclature. Fédération Cynologique Internationale. Accessed February 2020.
  7. ^ a b Orhan Yılmaz, Mehmet Ertuğrul, R. Trevor Wilson (2012). The domestic livestock resources of Turkey: breed descriptions and status of guard and hunting dogs. In: 63rd Annual Meeting of the EAAP, pages 27–31.
  8. ^ [s.n.] (2002). Akbaş Turk Coban Kopegi Standardi, TS 12891(=Turkish Akbash Shepherd Dog Standard, number 12891). Turk Standartlari Enstitusu/Turkish Standards Institution. Ankara: TSE Matbaasi.
  9. ^ Seyrani Koncagül, Canan Demiralp, Nermin Aksümer, A. Oya Akın, Mehmet Ertuğrul (2012). Domestic Animal Genetic Resources in Turkey. General Directorate of Agricultural Research and Policy, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Republic of Turkey. Published as: Animal Genetic Resources/Ressources Génétiques Animales/Recursos Genéticos Animales. 50 (111–11). doi:10.1017/S2078633612000240. Archived 29 May 2012.
  10. ^ [s.n.] (2006). Yerli Hayvan Irk ve Hatlarının Tescili Hakkında 2004/39 No’lu Tebliğde Değişiklik Yapılmasına Dair Tebliğ (Tebliğ No: 2006/32) (in Turkish). Resmi Gazete 9 July 2006, number 26223.
  11. ^ a b c Andrew De Prisco, James B. Johnson, Kerry V. Donnelly, Paquita Kriens (translator) (1992). Mini-atlas de las razas caninas: más de 400 razas ilustradas y detalladas (in Spanish). Barcelona: Hispano Europea. ISBN 8425509181.
  12. ^ a b [Bruce Fogle] (2013). The Dog Encyclopedia. London; New York: Dorling Kindersley. ISBN 9781465408440.