Kangal Dog Puppy

Kangal Dog Puppy
Ariella - Hebrew for; "God's Lioness" died 11-8-11

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Adopted a new Kangal Dog

This is Lokum our new Kangal Dog. Our third Kangal. 

First one died prematurely from getting out on the highway and the second one Sarah is doing great.  Sarah is a very great live stock guardian dog.  Sarah is now about 8 years old. 

We adopted Lokum through a rescue in Southern IL called "Howlin 4 Help Rescue" which was working in conjunction with the Kangal Dog Club.  Thanks to Jerry, Liz, Christine and Mary for making it a smooth transaction!  All great folks to work with! 

Lokum is 2 years old and apparently he was too much for his original owner to handle due to some unforeseen circumstances in her life being left as a single mother.  Lokum does require a strong arm as he is 120lb to 125lb and has LOTS of energy. 

We drove down to southern IL on Thursday picked him up on Friday and returned to northern WI Friday night. 

Yesterday which was Saturday I took Lokum out several times and brought him in the house to meet the family and took him out for walks on a 6' leash.  Took him for a long walk of just under a mile.

Today I did the same with several short walks brought him into the house for a couple short visits to see the family and one good long walk this time over 1 mile.  We have 200 acres all together so can walk for miles and never leave our land.

On the long walk I had him on a 30' retractable lead which gave him a lot more exercise than yesterday on the short 6' leash where he mostly walked at heel the majority of time.  With this 30' retractable lead he got lots of opportunity to run around and burn off some energy. 

This is only the second full day here at our farm and he is already doing so well I think he will be a great asset to our operation. 

Sarah turned out to be a fantastic dog but she is aging.  Still doing great as a livestock guardian, but large dogs do not live terribly long so maybe we will have a few more good years with her so it is nice to have a younger dog on hand to move into her role once she is no longer as effective. 

This is Sarah in the house for a visit just over a month ago. 

Comparing Lokum to Sarah, Lokum is built way better in the way he is put together he moves way more fluidly than Sarah.  And he is way more muscular with a bigger head and neck.  Way more capable of going up against a predator if he had to.  However the idea is that the deter the predator rather than go up against them toe to toe.  I would never want any of my dogs to have to actually physically encounter a large predator like a wolf or bear but if it did happen I would want my dog to have a fighting chance. 

Our first dog Arie had a nice build and moved with fluidity like Lokum.  If I were breeding Kangal Dogs I would breed for good movement like that.  On the other hand Sarah is great in that she isn't high energy and she is a real "home-body".  She never tries the fences and never wants to be far from the livestock.  Whenever I take her out for walks or a visit to the house she gets restless and wants to go back to the animals and her place.  Time will tell if Lokum will turn into a "home-body" as well. 

Arie was not a good LGD in that she was a hunter and very "gamey" she wanted to hunt everything that moved.  That's what got her killed as I think she was out chasing deer.  Looking back on it and having pondered what happened with her for years now I think Arie climbed out over one small portion of fence that was not electrified.  It was about a 6' x 6' section that I never got around to putting electric fencing on because it was on the other side of a gate and connected to a building.  Arie would have been a fantastic "hunting mastiff" one that someone could have taken wild boar hunting. 

Well any way this post is mostly about Lokum, but with him being our 3rd Kangal I can't help but compare him to the others.  It's only been a couple days now, but I think he's got the making of a great dog. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Here's some video of Sarah that I took today.

Winter is just about over here in northern Wisconsin as of April 22, 2014. We had over a foot of snow on the ground just days ago, from a spring time snow storm.

Winter was so tough this year that I wound up making our Kangal Dog Sarah a little fat. I kept feeding her well hoping that the extra food would help keep her warm. But she did well nonetheless even in the sustained sub zero temps that we had a good part of the winter. As of the shooting of this video she still has her winter coat at this point and has barely started to shed.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Interesting goat business

I've heard of "brush goats" practically my whole life.  That's where people take a herd of goats and put them in an overgrown area to clean out the weeds and unwanted brush.  Here is a link to a website of some folks who have made a business out of it which I thought was really interesting and informative.  http://werentgoats.com/  Their business and website is called "We Rent Goats". 

Sunday, April 6, 2014

1 year update

Well, by Gods grace Sarah has become an outstanding guardian dog.  It's been just over a year since my last post about her and she has bonded excellently with the sheep. 

 This winter was a great test on all the animals as it was a brutally cold one.  We were in the deep freeze for a good long while with hardly any relief.  It was common to look out at our outside thermometer and see 10, 20 and 30 below zero Fahrenheit.  For our international viewers that's -23.3, -28-8 and -34.4 Celsius.  Sarah did fine through it all.  I am certainly impressed with the hardiness of kangal dogs.    
It took some time before I totally trusted Sarah with the sheep.  Early on I did notice evidence of some wool pulling now and then but I haven't seen it in a long time now. 

By last fall it did my heart good to see Sarah laying in the field close to the sheep.  Something about that scene just delights my heart, which is the same for me when I see ruminants grazing on pasture.  It just does something for me, gives me a warm feeling inside.  It's like sunshine and blue sky, makes me glad to be alive and thankful to our gracious Creator, God.  A good dog and some livestock grazing on green pastures for it to watch over.  Just makes me smile! 
Below are some scenes from our place here, taken a few weeks ago after some more snow. 
It's been a winter wonderland!  The striking beauty makes the bitter cold winter almost bearable!
This last picture was taken of Sarah last year late summer. 
The first two at the top of this post were taken last week, so they are current. 
I wish I had 1 or 2 more dogs just like Sarah, she has turned out to be a fine dog.  Sarah doesn't even think climbing fences unlike Arie did where nothing I had could keep her in, to her own demise.  Sarah is a real homebody she doesn't want to go away from her place or sheep, perfect!   
I know that Kangal Dogs have a reputation for going through fences which in my opinion is their biggest draw back.  All the breeders I researched before getting Arie all highly emphasized about having good fences.  I think Kangal Dogs are great but the idea of a dog that won't stay put is a very big draw back for anyone. 
Sarah on the other hand so far has been just fine.  This winter the snow got so deep that the electric fences are pretty much nonfunctional and it's been no problem with Sarah.  She could cross the fences if she wanted to she is perfectly capable, but she doesn't. 

I feel blessed being able to have Sarah out watching over our animals!

Sunday, March 24, 2013


Here are some pictures of Sarah and the sheep that I took today.  She is now living full time and unsupervised with the main flock.  The sheep in the last picture here of her and Sarah, has an injury to her left ear which you cannot see in the photo.  But I am pretty sure Sarah did it to her sometime in the last couple days. 

I suspect she got overly playful with the sheep as this one is the most tame of all our ewes and was raised around dogs.  The other ewes are rather afraid of Sarah and so keep a safer distance from her.  This particular sheep has no fear of Sarah at all as you can see how close they are standing together in the picture.

Sarah has been successfully integrated with the flock since the end of January.  The injury to this ewe is a first so I am keeping a close eye on things to make sure a bad habit is not developing. 

Tuesday, December 18, 2012


                                                          December 17, 2012

In my last post I mentioned how I was soon going to put the main flock in with Sarah.  Well it didn't happen right away as the weather turned inclement and I wanted to wait until dryer conditions. 

A week or so later I brought them in and began the introductions.  At first I only let Sarah loose with them while I was present.  After some days of doing this I let her out unsupervised.  After a little bit I heard Sarah doing a lot of barking so I went to check it out and found that she had a couple ewes isolated down by the pond and was harassing them pretty bad.  Barking and lunging at them as they kept their backs to the water.  One of the ewes was one that I was concerned about because she is was always the trouble maker when we still had Arie.  She is bossy with dogs and is obsessed with head butting them.  Sarah has not exhibited the chase behavior like Arie had so I strongly suspect that this bossy ewe instigated Sarah's actions.  So I went and got Sarah, as soon as I called her she immediately gave up her barking and came to me.  I put her away to try it again another day. 

In the mean time as I waited for more bonding to occur I would let her with them but only if I was present.  Then I tried it again unsupervised, again we had problems with her chasing and barking at the ewes.  I still suspected the bossy ewe was the instigator. 

This repeated itself every time I'd let her with them unsupervised, then one time she took chase while I was present.  I scolded her verbally and put her away.  Sarah responded to the scolding being very sensitive to it.  Unlike Arie, Sarah will quit the bad behavior when spoken to.  Arie would ignore me and continue the chase with a blood lust.  Sarah is not like that at all. 

I've continued letting Sarah with them while I am present and I quickly give her verbal reprimands at the slightest infraction and she responds well to that. 

Finally in the past week I've let her have extended unsupervised time with the flock and she has been much better.  The worse thing she has done was to try and get some of the ewes to play with her.  She would paw at them and prance around much like a dog would do with another dog to get them to play, only thing is, the sheep of course don't want to play, and simply walk away.  I watched this with binoculars and did not interfere, wanting to see how it would play out.  Sarah gave up so I called that a success.

My aim is to keep doing this and let her have unsupervised access  for longer and longer periods. Until eventually they can co-habitate indefinitely. 

 I still feel very much like a novice as far as training an LGD, since my only experience in it has been with Arie and she was a challenge to say the least.  But, I think now my biggest obstacle is getting the sheep more used to Sarah.  Our Shetland sheep tend to be flighty and once they stop bolting over the slightest move Sarah makes I think things will settle down. 

But, I am still quite impressed with Kangal Dogs.  They are some very impressive animals.  I like having a big dog like Sarah out with me because I know she always has my back.  The two kangals I've had it seems are always aware of their surroundings and easily notice things out of the ordinary. 

We are asking a lot out of dogs to live with livestock, it's very much like the "wolf and the lamb" lying down together.   At least with a dog like the Kangal they have been bred for millennia to do just that.

(For anyone new to checking out this blog I should clarify that I started it to chronicle our experiences with our first Kangal Dog Ariella, that we got as a puppy.  But Arie got out and was killed on the highway and now we have a new 3 year old female Kangal dog named Sarah and I am now using the site to tell about our experiences with her and of integrating her into our livestock and farm.)


Saturday, November 10, 2012

A new view of the farm

Last week I took this video of Sarah getting used to a different spot on the farm right next to our chicken yard. Our daughter had the house dog out for a walk and Sarah was checking them out and barking at them.

We still have not introduced Sarah and our golden retriever Tucker since I am still not sure what I think about mixing the LGD with the house dog.  According to some the two should never mix, I'm not sure of the reasoning behind that however.  Until I understand more fully the true dynamics of an real working LGD I'll hold back on the introductions. 

This is still all new to me, but so far Sarah seems to have correct LGD behavior as far as I can tell.  She is WAY easier to handle than was Arie.  The "measured" response which I have heard about of a good working Kangal seems certainly true of Sarah.  As you can see in this video Sarah barks, but does not go ballistic like Arie used to do.  Sarah does not throw herself against the fence, which is something Arie did regularly.   Sarah barks and keeps on the alert, but still minds her manners all at the same time.

 Tomorrow I plan to introduce Sarah to some members of the main flock, she has done well since we brought her home with two rams and two buck goats that we have.  We are going to rearrange things going into winter as we breed the ewes for spring time lambs and the rams and goats will be relocated. 

I wanted Sarah to have a closer view of the main flock before tomorrow so tonight I brought them over by her in our mobile sheep pen.  However it didn't go quite as I planned.  Sarah came a little too close to the electric fence to check out the new comers and she got nailed.  By this point it was dark and foggy and she disappeared and would not come when I called.  So I went out to look for her and found her as far away from those sheep as she possibly could get in that paddock and was not about to come any closer.  It seemed she associated the new comers with the zap, which is not at all what I had hoped for. But I hope in the light of day tomorrow when we bring them in she'll see that they're just fine and she has nothing to worry about.

We have owned many of the working breeds over the years and  I find Kangal dogs to be something just a little bit different as far as dogs go.  The closest in personality to any other dog we've had is probably that of a Canaan Dog that we had for 14 almost years.  Only the Canaan Dog is a fraction of the size.  A Kangal is also a little bit like a Siberian Husky we used to have as well.  Kind of a blend of the two.  They seem to have a "wild" aspect to their dispositions, very unlike a Doberman, German Shepherd or Rottweiler which live to "please". 

I've owned and trained the three working breeds I just mentioned in years past and with those guys you could train in an almost robotically programmable fashion.   They thrived on that kind of attention, Kangals can be trained to do some things but, act as if they simply "tolerate" the training and seem to get bored with it.  This aspect of a Kangal makes me just a little bit uneasy in that if a situation ever occurred, they would be a whole lot of animal to have to physically restrain if it didn't want to listen.  In this respect a Kangal in the city is certainly not for everyone.

But, I'm happy with Sarah, so far she seems to have far more of the LDG characteristics I had read and heard about concerning Kangal Dogs.  However it still feels like kind of a balancing act in setting up the living arrangements for two opposite species to cohabitate together.  Basically we are forcing the "wolf" and the "lamb" to lie down together and expect everyone to live as one big happy family. 

Tomorrow should be interesting but, we'll be kind of starting over.  Sarah has proven to be reliable with the livestock so it will be more on the part of the sheep to get used to her in the coming days and weeks.