Updated: Jan 4
Written by a dog lover and her Kangal "Suly" from the heart of Washington, DC.
The Top Five BEST things about having an Urban Kangal:
1. I get to walk at any time of day or night in our up-and-coming (somewhat rough) neighborhood and never have to worry. People literally clear the sidewalk. Interestingly the more intimidating I observe a person to be, the swifter they tend to move away from Suly. He trumps all and struts around like he knows it.
2. If someone knocks on the door, he is the first to respond by silently staring at them through the window or security gate. Most people don’t stick around long enough for me to answer. The same goes for people working in the house (like a painter, electrician, etc.). Suly is happy to let them inside - especially if they let him kiss their face - but just as quickly he becomes my personal, watchful bodyguard, brokering any and all interaction that comes my way.
3. He gets a lot of attention (this is also a negative thing!). I truly mean a LOT of attention. Everyday, everywhere we walk, people roll down car windows, they pull over their cars and stop us. They honk and yell through traffic. They all tend to ask the same questions: “What kind of dog is that?”. I learned what NOT to say very quickly - “Turkish Kangal”, “Kangal Dog” even “Kangal” is off limits. If not, you’ll have to repeat it 3-4 times, followed by them asking you to spell it. They’ll still repeat it back to you as “Kingdoll” or “Canedog” and often say they’ve heard of the breed. I was initially worried that he'd think his name was (pardon the language) "That's a big ass dog!" since people said exactly this when they'd see him.
4. People often ask if he sleeps on the bed… to which I respond, “Never. And not because we have trained him!" Suly is happiest sleeping near the front door all stretched out on the sofa, or on his "own bed" in the guest room. While he has occasionally hopped up onto the bed right when one of us gets home from a trip, he won’t actually sleep. It’s like he is just tucking us in, and then goes back to his duty as the house watch.
5. Suly has become quite the seasonal running companion. This is great when nightfall hits at 5pm and we both still to blow off steam. At his most fit - right around January or February - Suly can run 3-4 miles nonstop, at a 10:00/mile pace. Typically we combine walking and running though, just to make sure we both get what we’re looking for out of the excursion.
Top Five WORST things about having an Urban Kangal:
1. He hates surprises. Other dogs being walked around a street corner in front of him, dogs hopping out of cars near us, etc. It’s all an eruption waiting to happen for Suly. Once he suddenly heard a big dog bark from inside a mini van that just pulled up next to us on the street. Before I
knew what was happening, Suly had catapulted himself into the air and bounced off of the entire side of their vehicle in a fit of fury, as if to say "How dare you interrupt what had been such a serene walk!"
2. In a big city, chicken bones are everywhere on the ground. I learned quickly that trying to eek it out of his large mouth usually ends in a swallow, so patiently waiting for him to chew it (and promising myself I'll see the next one before he does) is our general rule of thumb.
3. Failure to utilize all of the following tools perfectly means less control of Suly on a walk when he sees a threatening or aggressive dog while on a walk: Put on his gentle leader and affix it to his collar; Attach both leader and collar to his rope leash; Make sure you are using the leash with the double handle and the strategic "anti-rope burn knot" in the middle of its length. Each of Suly’s gadgets are vital to successful walks with a strong Kangal dog in tow. Most dog fights that have taken place on leash been have occurred when a liberty has been taken here or there.
4. Poop bags are not always big or strong enough... Proper poop bags are an excellent investment!
5. Small square footage inside, small square footage outside = dog hair everywhere on a daily basis. Also, Suly refuses to do any of his business in the yard. He always, always, always requires a walk. Even when he isn't feeling well. So much for having a yard for the dog to make life easier for the humans! At the same time, I can appreciate his desire to be tidy. He doesn’t even like stepping in mud or puddles!