Clifford the Akbash Dog
I love this dog, and was at one time, in a position to take care of him properly. I lost custody of him in a break-up, but still get regular updates. It was a hard decision to make, but I no longer live in an environment where I could keep him safe and his dad does.
Although the pictures here show what looks like an easy going, great, sweet dog - do not be fooled. Every situation this dog is in MUST be carefully monitored by an experienced individual, which I am. The Akbash are a high maintenance breed which demands a knowledgeable owner. If you are interested in adopting an Akbash, it is imperative that you do your research beforehand and have previous Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) experience, as LGD breeds and the way they are trained and handled are completely different than human guard or watch dog breeds.
I've included information about the Akbash Dog, as I am constantly asked what breed "the big white Labrador on steroids" is. I try to do this breed service, while protecting their lineage and being completely up front about the demands owning an Akbash can present.
Excerpt from The Akbash Dog:
"The Akbash Dog is an elegant rare breed from Western Turkey. The name stems from the Turkish word "akbas" meaning "white head". Akbash Dogs are intelligent, emotionally sensitive flock guardians that were developed 3000 years ago to fend off wolves and bears which threatened flocks of sheep and goats in Turkey. Any dog not strong enough, cunning enough, or aware enough of its surroundings did not survive in this harsh environment. Survival under such harsh and primitive conditions has created a tough, powerful breed capable of dominating an inexperienced owner or individual with little knowledge of canine behavior and the working dog mentality.
The Akbash Dog is one of the most beautiful of the guardian breeds, combining the grace and elegance of the gazehound with the power of the mastiff. Their primary function is to bond with and protect livestock from predation and theft.
Livestock guardians are unique in combining submissive posturing to livestock with dominance and protectiveness. They bond to animals they were raised with and protect them from any perceived threats. Compared to other livestock protection breeds, the AkbashDog doesn't drool, has an easy to care for coat, and generally protects better against stray dogs than some of the less dog-aggressive livestock protection breeds.
Akbash Dogs are often more athletic and active than some of the other breeds and can get into more puppy play chase behaviors if not well supervised. However, as adults Akbash Dogs are far superior as livestock protection dogs, (having been documented to stand up to serious predation such as bear and wolves). They will bark and raise their hackles at unfamiliar animals or people approaching their territory unaccompanied by someone the dog knows well. With people that they know or with chaperoned visitors, properly socialized dogs are gentle, friendly, and happy for a visit. What makes the Akbash Dog special is its ability to form strong bonds with both owners and livestock, and at maturity live in harmony with them and fiercely protect them with maternal zeal."
Akbash Dogs are not for everyone. They are independent, self-thinking dogs that have no genetic memory of looking towards man for direction. A flock guardian pitted against predators must be able to assess any given situation on its own and act appropriately, or else the dogs’ survival may be at risk. Many say they are cat-like in personality and certainly not a breed to cater to our every whim. As trained and socialized companions they are intelligent, loyal, affectionate, clean, and generally non-destructive in the house. Akbash Dogs conserve their energy and will consume much less food than other breeds similar in size, generally eating 3-5 cups of premium dog food a day. Strong maternal instincts allow them to bond with and protect their human and animal flock; thus you may expect a properly trained and well-socialized Akbash Dog to be fond of and gentle towards infants and young children, while remaining suspicious of non-introduced strangers, particularly on its own territory. "