Kangal Vs. German Shepherd: Size Comparison, Temperament, Training Needs, Health & Food Habits

Hello Readers! The next in our breed battle series is Kangal and German Shepherd. Both dogs are loyal companions. While GSDs came to the US for the first time in 1906, Kangals were introduced to the US audiences in the 1980s when these were transported here from Turkey. Are these two dogs completely different or have some points of commonalities too? Let’s find out.

German Shepherd Vs Kangal Shepherd Dog

1. Overview

Kangal or Kangal Shepherd is also known as Turkish Shepherd. This dog derives its name from its place of origin Kangal, which is a Turkish province. It is often confused with Anatolian Shepherd; a few canine registries, too, have done this mistake of recognizing it by this name. However, both Kangal and Anatolian Shepherds are very different species.

Kangal is a little more aggressive and dangerous than a German Shepherd. Though both dogs are trained to protect the livestock or as watchdogs, the GSD is a bit gentler in its approach to handling an intruder. While GSD just warns, Kangal goes a step ahead and can attack and kill.

Both dogs are not meant for first-time pet owners. Kangals are to be trained right at the puppy stage to recognize the owner as alpha, else they may not follow instructions and become completely uncontrollable. Also, both dogs are sturdy in appearance and love doing physical activities.

German Shepherd was recognized by American Canine Registries as a herding dog. It traveled from Germany to the US, and thus, made its appearance in the US in the 1900s. German Shepherds are also known as Alsatians or Wolf dogs. These are large dogs, wild by instinct, but trainable for civilized living.

While Kangals are not usable as service dogs, therapy dogs, etc. German Shepherds have the nature that makes them suitable for such roles. These dogs have served in the military and police because of their ability to absorb instructions and strong instincts.

2. Physical Characteristics

Kangal may look leaner than German Shepherds in a quick look, Let’s take a look at vital statistics like their height and weight, coat style, etc.

Height and Weight: Kangals are big-sized dogs. Male Kangals may grow 30-35inches in height on adulting, Female Kangals attain about 30 inches of height. While Male Kangals may weigh anywhere between 105-145lbs, a female’s healthy weight may reach 105lbs on maturity.

Male GSDs attain a height of about 26 inches, and females are 24 inches at their biggest. Male GSDs’ healthy weight maybe 66-88lbs; females weigh 49-70lbs on maturity.

Head: Rectangular muzzle ending in a black mask and v-shaped ears mostly dropped in type are the prominent facial features of the Kangal.

Coat: Common colors of the coat of a Kangal Shepherd may be Cream, Black, or Grey. They are never snow white. Their coat is double and dense and keeps them warm. Since they are heavy shedders, the owner requires combing this dog often. So, if you intend to keep this dog as a house pet, you might need regular vacuum cleaning.

German Shepherds have a dense and warm but fuzzy coat. You may find them in black, tan, grey, and red colors. They are heavy shedders like Kangals but are easy to groom with a home regime.

Grooming: Kangals have average grooming requirements. These can be bathed or cleaned at home. Occasional nail trimming and flea treatment are important. German Shepherds have similar grooming requirements as Kangals. They do not require regular bathing or a visit to a professional groomer.

3. Temperament

Kangals or Turkish Shepherds are antisocial by nature. They are loners and love spending time alone. However, they prefer staying in open. So, a garden in the house or a kennel placed in the open area of the house is ideal arrangements for this species. They do not mind their human going out for work leaving them alone at home, which means they do not display separation anxiety. Also, Kangals are not very welcoming to guests and do not adjust well in a crowded, noisy household. Kangals need to be kept engaged in activities when they are awake, else they may show destructive nature. Leaving them alone with some toys or a source of engagement in a garden or open space keeps them happy. So, these dogs make perfect companions for humans who are living nuclear or alone.

Kangals need pre-occupations. else they start barking and biting on the furniture, drapes, etc. Good thing is that Kangals do not bark much. They are quiet by nature usually, and bark only to send an alarm, or to seek attention, and when provoked.

Kangals are gentle, protective, and a bit jealous. They may not like their parent showing love towards other dogs. So, a little caution is required while raring Kangals with other dogs.

German Shepherds are quite friendly, loyal, and social as compared to Kangals. They love the company and cannot be left alone at home. Though big in size, GSDs are quite suitable for apartment living. They prefer living close to their parent all the time, and so, do not need a separate place in the house. But, these should be trained to sleep or rest in a designated place, else they may tend to cuddle along.

3. Training Needs

Since Kangals are leaders and protectors by nature, they tend to make their own rules. Thus, their training needs are higher. Kangals may tend to go astray or not listen to instructions at all if their training is not done properly. So, you should look only for a trained Kangal if you are the first time pet owner. Kangals absorb instructions a bit slowly. They need about 35-40 repetitions to learn anything, but they have sharp retention power. Whatever they learn, they tend to stick to it; just a little extra effort in training is needed to achieve that level of obedience.

German Shepherds absorb training and instructions because they tend to please their parents or trainer. Especially when they know that their obedience can win them a reward, they tend to perform better. However, the GSDs need to be trained right from an early age; else, they may become more commanding because of their basic nature of being the pack’s ruler. Because of their exceptional attentiveness and watching capacities, GSDs are used as service dogs in the military and police and make great watchdogs.

Both GSDs and Kangals are friendly to kids, seniors, known guests, but they are not dog-friendly. While Kangals cannot be used as service dogs or therapy dogs, GSDs can perform these roles rather comfortably.

4. Health and Food habits

Overall, Kangals are healthy dogs. Their life expectancy is 12-15 years. However, they become prone to some health problems a bit more easily. Poor development of hips (Hip Dysplasia) causing arthritis of joints eventually affect these dogs most commonly, so, it is advisable to keep a watch on their limbs’ growth and provide them good exercising. Secondly, the chances of developing fatty tumors are high too.

Kangals are prone to parasitic attacks. Hookworms, heartworms, fleas, etc. are their common enemies. So, a flea check program and maintaining hygiene are two important essentialities for this dog.

Their energy levels, exercising needs and sleeping requirements are average. Thus, these are easy-to-maintain breeds. They are heavy droolers and maybe a mess for cleanliness-freaks. So, beware!

German Shepherds are overall healthy dogs. But, they are also prone to Hip Dysplasia like Kangals. GSDs need extra attention in terms of health maintenance, because they may develop allergies easily. Also, the bad food regime or poor physical activity levels can make them prone to bloating. Their weight gain potential is lower when compared to Kangals’. GSDs may show a sign of discomfort by drooling because they do not drool otherwise. The average life of GSD is 10-13 years approx.

GSDs are quite active dogs, and they need regular playing and exercising to avoid bad mood and other health issues.

Food: Protein-rich kibbles and excellent quality dry dog food form the ideal food choice for Kangals. They may also show love for fruits, vegetables, and some carbohydrates. The carbohydrates should constitute not more than 10% of their diet; these are essential to keep them energetic.

GSDs need a high protein amount in their daily diet. They do well with organ meat, liver, and kibbles. Carbohydrates should also be included. Vegetables and fruits like carrots and watermelons can be fed to GSDs.

Vaccination schedule: Combo vaccine called ‘5-in-1 shot’ is to be given in the second, third, and fourth months, and once annually when Kangals become one year old. This shot provides immunity against parvovirus, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and distemper. The rabies vaccine is also given annually.

German Shepherds are given a ‘7-in-1 shot’ combo vaccine from 1.5 months of age, every alternate month till one year of age. This shot covers them against hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, distemper, parvovirus, Corona enteritis, and distemper. Their first rabies vaccine is due when they turn three months old. Then, they should be inoculated with the Rabies vaccine annually.

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