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Proposed Revisions to the UKC Kangal Dog Standard

As the national parent club for our breed, we have a direct interest in our Standard and it is good form to periodically review it. The current Standard was adopted in 1997.


For some time we have wanted to revise the History section of the Standard, to better reflect what we’ve learned about the origin and genetics of the Kangal Dog in the past 30 years. We also wished to clarify some words in the breed description. Finally, with the adoption of the new FCI Standard for the Kangal Dog, we wished to include what seems preferable in the KIF/FCI Standard versus our own, while maintaining the portions that allow for more diversity in our North American dogs. For these reasons, it was a good time to establish a working committee of Board and club members to take a look at the Standard. Any changes require a vote of the entire club membership, and need to meet the requirements of our Charter and Constitution. After approval by the Board and the membership, the proposed changes will be sent to UKC for review by the breed standard committee. Some or all of the changes may be adopted or slightly altered, depending on the wording choices. Since KDCA is a National Breed Association it does have quite a bit authority over what the standard says even though UKC owns the standard itself.  Standard Review Committee was established on July 28, 2019 by the KDCA Board. Work was held on both a dedicated email group and Zoom meetings. As Chair, I would like to thank the members of the committee for their dedication to this project, their attention to detail, and their understanding of the importance of this work for our breed.

Members of the Committee included:


Jan Dohner, Chair

Cedric Giraud

Babette Turk

Elisabeth Jensen

Rachel Prince

Karen Grey

Stacy Shipman

Stuart Richens

Sue Kocher


Reference Documents:


UKC standard

FCI/KIF Standard

KDCA Statement on KIF Standard

KDCA Statement on The Importance of Color in the Kangal Dog


Summary of Changes:


As anticipated, the History section received the most changes and was completely rewritten in some portions to reflect what we actually know about our breed and to eliminate what we don’t know. The History section now reads:


“The Kangal Dog is an ancient flock-guarding breed, genetically related to the livestock guardian dogs found today in Central Asia. Beginning in the 11th Century, nomadic Turkic tribes who migrated into modern day Turkey most likely brought along their own working livestock dogs. The degree to which the modern breed descends from these dogs as opposed to the influence of working dogs already native to Anatolia remains an open question.


Today the breed is named for the Kangal District of Sivas Province in Central Turkey, but the dogs were historically found throughout the high Anatolian plateau, displaying remarkable uniformity in appearance, disposition, and behavior. Both the prominent landowners (referred to as aghas) as well as shepherds and villagers with their personal flocks took great pride in the dogs’ ability to guard their flocks of sheep and goats from traditional predators such as the wolf, bear, and jackal. Kangal Dogs guarded livestock close to villages and on the high summer pastures known as yaylas. In recent years there has been a decline in livestock-raising, and in village-raised Kangal Dogs because many people have left for urban areas, where Kangal dogs and crosses are now common. The Kangal Dog is a national treasure and cultural icon, celebrated in festivals and appearing on Turkish postage stamps and commemorative coins.


The Kangal Dog was first imported to the United States in 1985 by David and Judith Nelson, who conducted fieldwork on livestock guardian dogs in Turkey in the 1970s. These early dogs and subsequent imports provided the foundation for the Kangal Dog in the United States. The Kangal Dog was recognized by the United Kennel Club in 1998.“



Changes to the Description include:

  • Simplify or correct misleading or redundant words or phrases.

  • Clarification of color descriptions to utilize genetically accurate terms and descriptions, as well as to reflect the reality of their expression in our dogs.

  • Clarify acceptable white markings.

  • Clarify that the upright curled tail may be carried off to one side; eliminate this as a fault.

  • Slightly expand the acceptable range for size and weight to allow for dogs recognized under the FCI/KIF Standard but not to penalize in any way the larger dogs we have always seen here. We feel this position allows for more diversity within our breed and meets the requirements of North American livestock guardian dog work.

  • Eliminate the penalty for cropped ears in a North American-bred dog, in recognition that some users of working livestock guardians may wish to crop to protect their dogs in altercations with large predators. This is not a preference for cropped ears in any way.



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